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)

“RBG” (PG) (3.5) [Some thematic elements and language.] [Streaming Only] — An engaging, informative, insightful, candid, in-depth, 98-minute documentary that focuses on the life and career journey of brilliant, workaholic, 84-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg from her days growing up in Brooklyn, marrying her supportive tax attorney husband Martin Ginsberg, raising children Jane and James, facing discrimination at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools, working as a law professor at Rutgers University, and eventually landing the top job as a Supreme Court Justice where she continues to fight for gender equality and consists of black-and-white photographs, footage of her 1993 Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing, film clips, and interview snippets with NPR commentator Nina Totenberg, lawyers Sharron Frontier Cohen and Ted Olson, Director of the Women’s Rights Project Kathleen Peratis, Director of American Civil Liberties Union Aryeh Neier, judge Harry Edwards and Helen Alvaré, “Notorious R.B.G.: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” authors Shana Knizhnik and Irin Carmon, former law clerks Lisa Beattie Frelinghuysen and Aaron Saiger, President Bill Clinton, senator Orrin Hatch, former stenographers Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams, writer and activist Gloria Steinem, plaintiffs Lily Ledbetter and Stephen Wiesenfeld, Harvard Law School graduate Brenda Feigen, writer Arthur R. Miller, strategist Frank Chi, fitness trainer Bryant Johnson, actor Robert Longbottom, and family members, including husband Marty, son James, daughter Jane, and granddaughter Clara Spera.

 

The following films play Jan. 4-Feb. 28 as part of the 2019 20th birthday celebration of the Omnifest film festival at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater:

 

“The Greatest Places” (NR) (2.5) — Avery Brooks narrates this fascinating, educational, 40-minute, 1998 IMAX documentary dominated by great photography that highlights wildlife and inhabitants of beautiful and unique places on Earth, including Madagascar, Greenland’s majestic icebergs, the Chang Tang plateau in Tibet, the Amazon River in South America, the fertile Okavango Delta in Botswana, Iguaçu Falls in Brazil, and the rolling sand dunes in the Namib Desert.

 

“Journey to Space” (NR) (3.5) — Patrick Stewart narrates this informative, inspirational, 3D, 45-minute, 2015 IMAX documentary that gives a history lesson of NASA’s space program and our desire for deep space exploration; showcases the space shuttles Endeavor, which was the first reusable, piloted space craft, and Atlantis housed at the Kennedy Space Center, shows astronauts working at the international space station, which was built by fifteen countries, and fixing the Hubble Space Telescope that gives us an unprecedented view of Earth and other distant galaxies; consists of interviews with astronauts Dr. Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor and Chris J. Ferguson and engineer Lindsay Atchison working on designing a functional, comfortable, and safe space suit; and details NASA’s plans for sending six astronauts on a three-mission to Mars in the 2030s using the thirty-eight story Orion shuttle and inflatable habitat .

 

“National Parks Adventure” (NR) (4) — Robert Redford narrates this educational, stunning, 45-minute, 2016 IMAX documentary highlighted by extraordinary cinematography that gives the history of the national parks; showcases geysers in Yellowstone, the Colorado River rapids in the Grand Canyon, colorful scenery in Choppo canyon in New Mexico, beautiful lakes and landscapes in Glacier National Park in Montana, the majestic redwoods in Redwood National Park in California, magnificent land vistas in Yosemite Valley in California, gorgeous Canyonlands in Utah, breathtaking stone pillars in Monument Valley in Arizona, meandering Grand Tetons in Wyoming, beautiful Bear Lake in Oregon, myriad landscapes in Everglades National Park in Florida, salmon-eating bears in Denali National Park in Alaska, and iconic Central Park in New York; and follows adventurous climbers Rachel Pohl, Conrad Anker, and Max Lowe as they climb Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and ice walls in Pictured Rocks Glacier in National Lakeshore Park in upper Michigan.

 

“Ring of Fire” (NR) (3) — Robert Foxworth narrates this highly-informative, 40-minute, stunningly photographed, 1991 IMAX documentary that showcases the ring of volcanoes in the Pacific Rim in the Pacific Ocean, details how Japanese and Indonesians live with the threat of volcanic eruptions, discusses volcanoes and lava flows in Chile and Hawaii (such as Mauna Loa and Kilauea), and uses computer animation to explain the magna flow and plate tectonics in volcanic eruptions such as Mount Saint Helens in 1980 and earthquakes such as the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.

 

“Tornado Alley” (NR) (3) — Bill Paxton narrates this thrilling, breathtaking, educational, 43-minute, 2012 IMAX documentary that follows daredevil scientists such as Sean Casey as they chase menacing, destructive super-cell storms through the tornado alley that winds through Arkansas, Iowa, eastern South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, eastern Colorado, and the Texas Panhandle to research the development of tornados and to collect comprehensive data using sophisticated VORTEX2 equipment and a 7-ton tornado intercept vehicle that can withstand 200-mph winds, golf-ball-size hail, and torrential rain in an attempt to better forecast tornados and thereby save lives.

 

 

On DVD

 

“The Betrayal” (NR) (3.5) [Partially Subtitled] [DVD only] — Striking photography dots this heartrending, deeply moving, eye-opening, highly personal, 87-minute, 2008 Ellen Kuras documentary filled with memorable news footage, home movies, and archival photographs as Laotian co-director Thavisouk Phrasavath expertly chronicles the arduous and hellish journey of his large family to Brooklyn, New York, after escaping persecution in Laos upon the imprisonment of his father in a “reeducation” camp in 1975 after he diligently worked for the Americans as a Royal Lao solider during the Vietnam War and their subsequent trials and tribulations of making a new life in America.

 

“Daughters of Wisdom” (NR) (4) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Spectacular mountain scenery and gorgeous photography dominate this colorful and informative, 68-miute, 2007documentary about a group of more than 300 Tibetan nuns (Ochi Drolma, Phunsok Tsomo, Yangchi, Rangzung Palmo, et al.) living at the historic, groundbreaking Kala Rongo Monastery, which was founded in 1990 by Lama Norlha Rinpoche, and receiving religious, spiritual, and educational training.

 

“Gomorra” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A gripping, gritty, critically acclaimed, gut-wrenchingly realistic, 137-minute, 2008 Italian film about the notorious and far-reaching Camorra Mafia in Naples, the ruthless and greedy gangsters (Toni Servillo, Carmine Paternoster, et al.) who commit unspeakable acts and are involved in everything from drug dealing to murder, and their flunkies, including a tailor (Salvatore Cantalupo), an aging bagman (Gianfelice Imparato), a young grocery delivery boy (Salvatore Abruzzese) looking for his way into the crime family, and two foolish and ambitious teenagers (Ciro Petrone and Marco Macor) who are too stupid for their own good.

 

“Manon on the Asphalt” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — After a French woman (Aude Léger) is struck by a car while riding a bicycle to meet her boyfriend in this intriguing, 15-minute, 2007, Oscar-nominated French film, she reminiscences about the people in her life and her life experiences, including the last time she saw the sea to the last time she made love.

 

“Mysteries of the Great Lakes” (NR) (3) [DVD only] — Gordon Pinsent narrates this fascinating, educational 40-minute, 2008 IMAX documentary that captures the gorgeous scenery of Lake Huron’s Georgia Bay, Lake Superior’s Slate Islands, and the Benjamin and Apostle Islands; shows a myriad of wildlife, including beavers, endangered bald eagles, woodland caribou, turtles, and birds; presents interesting historical facts about the Great Lakes region, including the six to ten thousand ships (such as the Edmund Fitzgerald on Nov. 10, 1975) that ran aground or sank in its waters; and showcases the diligent efforts of biologists and conservationists to save the prehistoric, fresh water lake sturgeon from extinction and repopulate the Great Lakes with this species that has survived virtually unchanged for more than 100 million years.

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 2019 by Wendy Schadewald.

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