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)

“Boy Erased” (R) (3.5) [Sexual content, including an assault, some language, and brief drug use.] — An engaging, factually based, well-acted, coming-of-age, realistic, down-to-earth, 114-minute film based on Garrard Conley’s memoir “Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family” in which a gay, 19-year-old student (Lucas Hedges) is forced to participate in homosexual conversion therapy run by an unqualified preacher (Joel Edgerton) with other homosexuals (Théodore Pellerin, Xavier Dolan, David Joseph Craig, Michael “Flea” Balzary, Troye Sivan, et al. ) when a classmate (Joe Alwyn) tells his straitlaced, Baptist minister father (Russell Crowe), who owns a car dealership in Arkansas, and concerned mother (Nicole Kidman) that he is attracted to men.

 

“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” (PG) (3.5) [Brief rude humor.] — Pharrell Williams narrates this colorful, humorous, family-friendly, heartwarming, 3D, 90-minute animated film with a great message based on Dr. Seuss’ 1967 holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” in which the lonely, curmudgeonly Grinch (voiceover by Benedict Cumberbatch), who has a loyal servant dog Max, decides to steal Christmas from the decorative-happy citizens (voiceovers by Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, et al.) of Whoville because the season’s celebrations are a painful reminder of growing up as a lonely boy in an orphanage, but when a young girl (voiceover by Cameron Seely), who lives with her overworked mother (voiceover by Rashida Jones) and two baby brothers, befriends him, it turns his life and outlook around.

 

“The Children Act” (R) (3.5) [A sexual reference.] [On Demand and Netflix only] — While a stoic, piano-playing British high court judge (Emma Thompson) makes life and death decisions, including whether to order a blood transfusion for a leukemia-stricken, 17-year-old son (Fionn Whitehead) of Jehovah Witness parents (Ben Chaplin and Eileen Walsh), in London in this poignant, heartbreaking, well-acted, realistic, 106-minute, 2017 film based on Ian McEwan’s 2014 novel, she ignores the needs of her unhappy, neglected husband (Stanley Tucci) who is contemplating an affair with a mathematician colleague in a desperate effort to spark intimacy in his longtime marriage.

 

“A Private War” (R) (3.5) [Disturbing violent images, language throughout, and brief sexuality/nudity.] A gritty, factually based, well-acted, heartbreaking, star-studded (Stanley Tucci, Tom Hollander, Jamie Dornan, Faye Marsay, and Greg Wise), 105-minute biographical film, which is based on Arash Amel’s “Vanity Fair” article “Marie Colvin’s Private War,” that follows critically acclaimed, award-winning, driven, divorced British war correspondent Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) from 2001-2012 as she works with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) to cover the conflicts in war-torn countries such as Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Syria.

 

 

On DVD

 

“August Evening” (PG-13) (3) [Brief strong language.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — After the sudden death of a family matriarch (Raquel Gavia) in this unpretentious, touching, 128-minute, 2007 film, her husband (Pedro Castaneda), who works on a chicken farm in Texas, and sons try to move forward with their lives while her young, widowed daughter-in-law (Veronica Loren) tries to find love with a smitten butcher (Walter Perez).

 

“Bride Wars” (PG) (2.5) [Suggestive content, language, and some rude behavior.] [DVD only] — A predictable, romantic, chick-flick, 89-minute, 2009 comedy about two childhood best friends, a high-powered attorney (Kate Hudson) and a pushover schoolteacher (Anne Hathaway), who sabotage each other while preparing for their June nuptials to their respective fiancées (Steve Howey and Chris Platt) after a popular Manhattan wedding planner (Candice Bergen) discovers that her secretary booked their Plaza Hotel weddings for the same day.

 

“Defiance” (R) (3.5) [Violence and language.] [DVD only] — An inspirational, gut-wrenching, heartwarming, factually based, 137-minuute, 2008 film about three Jewish brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell) in Poland who help to save more than 1,200 Jews (Alexa Davalos, Mark Feuerstein, Iben Hjejle, et al.) from the Nazis between 1941 and 1944 by escaping into the Belarussian forest where they managed to survive despite tremendous, unbelievable hardships while being hunted down by the Germans and even their own people.

 

“Dog Tags” (NR) (1.5) [DVD only] — A wayward Marine (Paul Preiss) on leave from boot camp yearns for his mother (Candy Clarke) to tell him the truth about his father’s identity in this risqué, down-to-earth, 90-minute, 2008 film and rethinks the direction of his life after meeting a flamboyant, smoky-eyed single father (Bart Fletcher) and learning that his fiancée (Amy Lindsay) is cheating on him.

 

“Inkheart” (PG) (2.5) [Fantasy adventure action, some scary moments, and brief language.] [DVD only]  — While a fire-swallowing, scar-faced hero (Paul Bettany) tries to return to his fictional family in the “Inkheart” novel in this adventurous, beautifully photographed, family-oriented, fantasy, 106-minute, 2008 film, a silver-tongued book doctor (Brendan Fraser), who can bring characters to life by simply reading, tries to protect his 12-year-old daughter (Eliza Bennett) from menacing medieval characters (Andy Serkis and Jamie Foreman) and to find his wife (Sienna Guillory) who he believes has disappeared into the pages of a book with the help of his eccentric, book-loving aunt (Helen Mirren) and a crusty author (Jim Broadbent).

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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