60-SECOND FILM REVIEWS

NowShowing

New movies showing in Minneapolis

By Wendy Schadewald (Rating system: 4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (PG-13) (4) [Thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content, and language.] — Nostalgic music dominates this entertaining, captivating, star-studded (Aidan Gillen, Mike Myers, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, and Dermot Murphy), 134-minute film in which Rami Malek gives an Oscar-caliber performance as charismatic, egotistical, flamboyant, rock-and-roll, singer/songwriter legend Freddie Mercury, who has a testy relationship with his parents (Meneka Das and Ahsen Rafiq Bhatti) and found himself falling for a loves-struck woman (Lucy Boynton) despite being primarily attracted to men, his rise to fame with Queen band mates (Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joseph Mazzelllo) in 1970s London and their eventual reunion for the astounding Live Aide concert in 1985.

 

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (R) (3.5) [Language, including some sexual references, and brief drug use.] A gloomy, well-acted, factually based, unevenly paced, star-dotted (Ben Falcone, Dolly Wells, Christian Navarro, Anna Deavere Smith, and Stephen Spinella), 106-minute film adapted from Lee Israel’s novel “Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger” in which a broke, alcoholic, once-bestselling, cat-loving, curmudgeonly, Manhattan biographer Lenore Carol “Lee” Israel, who is socially inept and ignored by her snobbish agent (Jane Curtin), is down on her luck and resorts in 1991 to creatively forging more than 400 letters by famous authors to pay her rent and to treat her sick feline, and when her gay best friend (Richard E. Grant) rats her out to two FBI agents (Pun Bandhu and Erik LaRay Harvey), she is finally exposed.

 

“Hunter Killer” (R) (3.5) [Violence and some language.] — A suspenseful, action-packed, entertaining, twist-filled, unpredictable, star-studded (Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Edna Cardellini, Caroline Goodall, Corey Johnson, and Henry Goodman), 121-minute thriller based on George Wallace’s and Don Keith’s 2012 novel “Firing Point” in which an unconventional submarine captain (Gerard Butler) saves his Russian counterpart (Michael Nyqvist) after his sub lies at the bottom of the Arctic and when a power-hungry defense minister (Mikhail Vitalievich Gorevoy) starts a coup in Russia, four Navy SEALS (Toby Stephens, Gabriel Chavarria, Zane Holtz, and Ryan John McPartlin) rescue the Russian president (Alexander Diachenko) and try to rendezvous with the American submarine.

 

“In Search of Greatness” (PG-13) (3.5) [Brief language and some partial nudity.] — An insightful, fascinating, educational, critically acclaimed, 80-minute documentary that interviews sport legends hockey player Wayne Gretzky, football player Jerry Rice, and soccer star Pelé as well as creativity experts investigative journalist David Epstein and British author and speaker Sir Ken Robinson who discuss what makes a great athlete and the role of artistry and creativity in sports, including football, basketball, soccer, tennis, gymnastics, pole vaulting, skateboarding, and martial arts, with film clip snippets of Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady, Rocky Marciano, and Red Auerbach.

 

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” (PG) (3) [Some mild peril.] — When a confident, but distraught teenager (Mackenzie Foy), who lives with her widowed father (Matthew Macfadyen) and two siblings, attends an elaborate Christmas Eve party at the mansion of her wealthy godfather (Morgan Freeman) in this colorful, entertaining, family-friendly, 3D, star-studded (Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Eugenio Derbez, Miranda Hart, Ellie Bomber, and Jack Whitehall), 110-minute fantasy film dominated by original Tchaikovsky’s music and gorgeous costumes, sets, and makeup and based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Marius Petipa’s “The Nutcracker Ballet,” searches for the key to a beautiful, mysterious egg that was a gift from her mother (Anna Madaley) and ends up in a magical, parallel world where a nutcracker soldier (Jayden Fowora-Knight) tries to protect her while she leaves the three realms of sweets, snowflakes, and flowers to enter the creepy, dangerous fourth realm and eventually to restore peace to the kingdom.

 

“Suspiria” (R) (3.5) [Disturbing content involving ritualistic violence, bloody images, and graphic nudity, and some language, including sexual references.] [Partially subtitled] A riveting, creepy, well-paced, artistic, blood-soaked, disturbing, violent, unpredictable, 153-minute remake of the 1977 horror classic, which is told in six acts (Act 1—1977, Act 2—Palaces of Tears, Act 3—Borrowing, Act 4—Taking, Act 5—All Floors Are Darkness, and Act 6—A Sliced-up Pear), in which a talented, Mennonite-raised American dancer (Dakota Johnson) leaves Ohio for Berlin in 1977 to join a famous dance academy with other dancers (Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Renée Soutendijk, et al.) who are directed by a renown choreographer (Tilda Swinton), and when a disturbed patient (Chloë Grace Moretz) claims the school is run by a coven of witches (Angela Winkler, Alek Wek, Ingrid Caven, Sylvie Testud, et al.), her guilt-ridden, widowed psychoanalyst (Tilda Swinton) and two German detectives (Mikael Olsson and Fred Kelemen) try to investigate the audacious claim.

 

“Wildlife” (PG-13) (3.5) [Thematic material, including a sexual situation, brief strong language, and smoking.] — Beautiful cinematography and landscapes highlight this captivating, realistic, bittersweet, well-acted, moving, critically acclaimed, 104-minue Paul Dano film based on Richard Ford’s 1990 novel in which a sensitive, mature 15-year-old high school student (Ed Oxenbould), who has a part-time job at a photography studio working for a photographer (John Walpole), grows up fast when he watches his mother (Carey Mulligan) struggle to support the household and then become drawn to a wealthy, divorced businessman (Bill Camp) after his proud father (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job as a caddy at the local golf course and accepts a dangerous job fighting wildfires near the Canadian border in 1960.

 

 

On DVD

 

“Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!” (NR) (.5) [DVD only] — Garish colors, nude bodies, and risqué visual jokes and puns dominate this foul-mouthed, campy, irreverent, 99-minute, 2008 comedy about four longtime gay friends (Jonah Blechman, Jake Mosser, Jimmy Clabots, and Aaron Michael Davies) who go to Fort Lauderdale, Fl., for spring break and enter a contest to sleep with as many people as possible.

 

“Gran Torino” (R) (4) [Language throughout, and some violence.] [DVD only] — Smartly written, witty dialogue dominates this superbly acted, touching, poignant, intelligent, 116-minute, 2008 film about a beer-swigging, curmudgeonly, retired, widowed Korean War veteran (Clint Eastwood) in Detroit who surprisingly ends up befriending a Hmong teenager (Ahney Her) next door and her geeky teenage brother (Bee Vang) after he tries to steal his prized 1972 Gran Torino as part of a gang initiation.

 

“Hotel for Dogs” (PG) (3) [Brief mild thematic elements, language, and some crude humor.] [DVD only] — A heartwarming, family-friendly, chuckle-inducing, 100-minute, 2009 comedy about two orphaned siblings (Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin) who cause headaches for their clueless foster parents (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon) and a compassionate social worker (Don Cheadle) when they begin to care for stray canines at an abandoned hotel with the help of two pet store employees (Johnny Simmons and Kyla Pratt) and a curly-haired kid (Troy Gentile) from the neighborhood.

 

“Notorious” (R) (3) [Pervasive language, some strong sexuality that includes dialogue and nudity, and drug content.] [DVD only] — A fascinating, in-depth, factually based, 122-minute, 2009 film that chronicles the all-too-short career and life of overweight, confident rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace (Jamal Woolard), beginning in 1983 with his childhood growing up with his hardworking mother (Angela Bassett) in Brooklyn, his drug dealing days and eventual incarceration, the tumultuous relationships with his many girlfriends (Julia Pace Mitchell, Naturi Naughton, et al.), his rocky marriage to singer Faith (Antonique Smith), his rise of stardom after he teams up with music mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs (Derek Luke), and ending with his death at age 24 on March 8, 1997, from a gunshot wound in Los Angeles.

 

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (PG) (2.5) [Some violence, mild crude and suggestive humor, and language.] [DVD only] — A pratfall, entertaining, twist-filled, 91-minute, 2009 comedy about a lonely, liable, overweight, hypoglycemic security officer (Kevin James) who ignores the orders of a New Jersey police chief (Peter Gerety) and a SWAT team leader (Bobby Cannavale) and takes on a gang of thieves (Keir O’Donnell, Mike Vallely, et al.) after they take hostages (Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez, Stephen Rannazzisi, et al.) a mall.

 

“The Unborn” (PG-13) (1) [Intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images, thematic material and language, including some sexual references.] [DVD only] — A lame, nonsensical, 88-minute, 2009 thriller about a twin (Odette Yustman) who seeks the help of her best friend (Megan Good), her boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), her maternal grandmother (Jane Alexander), and a priest (Gary Oldman) when she is terrorized by an evil entity trying to possess her body.

Film Critic Wendy Schadewald reviewed films in the Twin Cities since 1986, and has been a guest critic on KARE-11’s Showcase Minnesota, WCCO radio, and AMC-950 radio. She reviews more than 250 films annually and has been a film buff for as long as she can remember. To see more of her film reviews, log on to shortredheadreelreviews.com.

©1986 through 2018 by Wendy Schadewald.

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