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)

“Serenity” (R) (2.5) [Language throughout, sexual content, and some bloody images.] —A captivating, twist-filled, risqué, unpredictable, mysterious, thought-provoking, star-dotted (Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, and Robert Hobbs), 106-minute neo-noir thriller in which a tuna-obsessed boat captain (Matthew McConaughey), who has a fishing-loving, IT genius son (Rafael Sayegh), is confronted by his abused ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) who offers him $10 million to kill her mean, abusive millionaire husband (Jason Clarke) by feeding him to the sharks.

 

“They Shall Not Grow Old” (R) (3) [Disturbing war images.] — Peter Jackson’s educational, insightful, eye-opening, gut-wrenching, 3D, 99-minute documentary that depicts the horrific, filthy, dehumanizing, terrifying conditions that WWI British soldiers endured during the Great War between 1914-1918 on the battlefield of Verdun, France, and consists of archival black-and-white photographs and enlistment advertisements, hundreds of hours of monochromatic film footage from the British Imperial War Museum that was condensed and then colorized through modern computer techniques, candid BBC interviews and audio footage snippets with British servicemen who reminisced about their fighting on the western front, and drawings from the “The War Illustrated” magazine.

 

 

On DVD

 

“Chris & Don: A Love Story” (NR) (3) [DVD only] — A heartwarming, fascinating, 90-minute, 2007 documentary in which artist Don Bachardy recounts his longtime love affair with handsome, world-famous British novelist Christopher Isherwood, who was 30 years his senior, whom he met in 1952 and lived with until his death from prostate cancer in 1989 by using home movies and family photographs, diary excerpts, and interviews with director John Boorman, editor Jim Berg, writer James P. White, and actors Liza Minnelli, Leslie Caron, and Jack Larson.

 

“The Great Challenge” (PG-13) (2) [Martial arts violence.] [DVD only] — When an African-American (Charles Perrière) heads to Thailand with five friends (Laurent Piemontesi, Williams Belle, Malik Diouf, et al.) to open a gym for kids in this uninspired, action-packed, futuristic, 90-minute, 2004 film dominated by high-flying martial arts, they get involved with a beautiful half-Chinese woman (Elodie Yung) and her estranged brother (Chau Belle Dinh) who have stolen a priceless artifact from a powerful Japanese Yakuza boss (Burt Kwouk).

 

“Knowing” (PG-13) (2) [Disaster sequences, disturbing images, and brief strong language.] [DVD only] — When a hard-drinking, widowed MIT astrophysicist professor (Nicolas Cage) becomes increasingly alarmed after he deciphers a cryptic series of numbers written by a Massachusetts schoolgirl (Lara Robinson) for a time capsule 50 years earlier and his young son (Chandler Canterbury) begins to have frighten nightmares in this apocalyptic, nonsensical, 121-minute, 2009 sci-fi thriller filled with loopholes and nifty special effects, he confides in a skeptical colleague (Ben Mendelsohn) and hunts down the daughter (Rose Byrne) of the disturbed student in an attempt to find some answers.

 

“Sita Sings the Blues” (NR) (3) [DVD only] The lyrical voice of 1920s jazz singer Annette Hanshaw highlights Nina Paley’s colorfully animated, award-winning, 82-minute, 2009 film, which is based on “The Ramayana of Valmiki” and narrated by Aseem Chhabra, Bhavana Nagulapally, and Manish Acharya, about a beautiful Indian women (voiceover by Reena Shah) who misses her husband when he is banished to the forest in 14th century India and a modern-day wife (voiceover by Nina Paley) in San Francisco who is rejected by her husband when he heads to India for a contract job.

 

“The Other End of the Line” (PG-13) (2) [Some suggestive material.] [DVD only] — A predictable, romantic, 106-minute, 2008 chick-flick comedy in which a New York City advertising executive (Jesse Metcalfe) heads to San Francisco with his business partner (Austin Basis) to gather information for a campaign for an eccentric hotel owner (Larry Miller) and finds himself falling for an engaged credit card company operator (Shriya Saran) who has traveled from Mumbai to arrange a meeting with him.

 

“Tricks” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] Gorgeous photography dominates this critically acclaimed, low-key, 95-minute, 2007 Polish film about a young boy (Damian Ul) who spends his days wondering whether the businessman (Tomas Sapryk) he spots daily on the train station platform is his estranged father and hanging out with his ambitious sister (Ewelina Walendziak) who currently works as a dishwasher, her mechanically inclined boyfriend (Rafal Guzniczak), and a comely neighbor (Joanna Liszowska).

 

“Youssou Ndour:  I Bring What I Love” (PG) (3.5) [Thematic elements and brief smoking.] [Partially subtitled] [DVD only] Haunting, rhythmic African music and stunning cinematography highlight this moving, educational, inspirational, 102-minute, 2008 documentary, which includes concert excerpts from the platinum album “7 Seconds” and the Grammy-winning album “Egypt,” that focuses on influential social activist and powerful Griot Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour who is a musical storyteller who sings about family, African history, politics, human rights, justice, and religion.

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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