"Oceans: Our Blue Planet"

"Oceans: Our Blue Planet"

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


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 “Here Are the Young Men” (NR) (3) [Available April 27 on various VOD platforms.] — Eoin Macken’s gritty, violent, intense, coming-of-age, well-acted, star-studded (Anya Taylor-Joy, Conleth Hill, Travis Fimmel, Ralph Ineson, Lola Petticrew, Susan Lynch, and Noomi Rapace), 96-minute, 2020 film adapted from Rob Doyle’s 2014 novel in which the lives of three rabble-rousing, mischievous, Irish high school friends (Finn Cole, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who are eager to experience life after graduation and become grownups, increasingly go off the rails in 2003 in Dublin when they vandalize property, drink too much, experiment with drugs, party to excess, and engage in sex after witnessing a young girl die in a tragic car accident.

“The Maid” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD and VOD Only] — A well-acted, realistic, critically acclaimed film in which an ill, cranky, virginal, 42-year-old maid (Catalina Saavedra) in Chili becomes increasingly irritated and agitated when her concerned and caring employers (Claudia Celedón and Alejandro Goic) of 23 years decide to hire assistants (Mercedes Villanueva and Anita Reeves) to help her care for the family (Andrea García-Huidobro, Sebastián La Rivera, et al.) but her jealousy and pride get in the way until a headstrong, free-spirited woman (Mariana Loyola) from Peru joins the household.

“Maria Full of Grace” (R) (3) [Drug content and language.] [Partially subtitled] [DVD and VOD Only]  — After a pregnant, free-spirited, 17-year-old, Columbian girl (Catalina Sandino Moreno) quits her job at a rose plantation and rejects the insincere marriage proposal of her boyfriend (Wilson Guerrero) in this powerful, well-acted, gritty film, she and her naïve cousin (Yenny Paolo Vega) are lured by a slick drug trafficker (John Alex Toro) into accepting the lucrative, but risky job as couriers to deliver heroin pellets to New York City.

“News of the World” (PG-13) (3) [Violence, disturbing images, thematic material, and some language.] [Available on various VOD platforms.] — Superb acting and striking cinematography highlight Paul Greengrass’s compelling, moving, entertaining, unevenly paced, predictable, star-dotted (Mare Winningham, Ray McKinnon, Bill Camp, Elizabeth Marvel, Michael Covino, Fred Hechinger, Thomas Francis Murphy, William Sterchi, and Chukwudi), 2-hour, 2020 western film based on Paulette Jiles’s 2016 novel in which a compassionate, widowed, retired Confederate Army captain (Tom Hanks) stumbles on a spunky, Indian-raised, 10-year-old orphan (Helena Zengel) in 1870 Texas while making a living reading newspapers from town to town and gallantly decides to escort her to find the farmstead of her German aunt (Winsome Brown) and uncle (Neil Sandilands) and end up encountering one obstacle after another on their perilous journey.

“Oceans: Our Blue Planet” (G) (3) [Plays April 22 - Oct. 20 at the William L. McKnight 3M Omnitheater at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omni Theater; for more information, log on to smm.org or call 651/221-9444.] — Kate Winslet narrates this 3D, informative, colorful, 22-minute, 2018 IMAX documentary dominated by awesome cinematography that explores the oceans that cover 70% of the globe and showcases the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, remarkable kelp forests, and a myriad of sea life, including dolphins, fish, otters, lobsters, sea turtles, whales, sea urchins jellyfish, sharks, and octopuses. 

“Predators” (R) (2.5) [Strong creature violence and gore, and pervasive language.] [DVD and VOD Only] — An intense, action-packed, fast-paced, violent, sci-fi thriller in which a hard-nosed, motley group (Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alicia Braga, Oleg Taktarov, Danny Trejo, Walton Groggins, Louis Ozawa Changchien, and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) of skilled killers join other humans (Laurence Fishburne, et al.) on an alien game reserve where they are hunted down by alien predators (Derek Mears, Carey Jones, and Brian Steele) like animals for sport. 

“The Race to Save the World” (NR) (3) [Available April 22 virtually at theaters and climate organizations through http://theracetosavetheworld.com website.] — Joe Gantz’s compelling, engaging, inspirational, slow-paced, 102-minute documentary that focuses primarily on an eclectic group of climate change protestors and activists, including ambitious 17-year-old Black high school student Aji who is fighting for clean air by protesting and filing a lawsuit and lives with his mother Helena and 12-year-old brother Adonis in Washington, North Dakota schoolteacher Michael Forester arrested for interfering with the operation of five pipelines, passionate housewife Abigail standing trial for blocking oil trains on the railway and is supported by her husband Roger and teenage daughter Sienna, and doggedly determined 71-year-old retired therapist Miriam who walked from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. to bring attention to global warming, and the motivation and price they pay for their civil disobedience actions and includes commentary by other activists such as psychologist Michael, organizer Bill, college student Michael Z., protestors Mark and Sean, and journalist Mark Hertsgaard.

“Rain” (NR) (2.5) [DVD and VOD Only] — When her sister (Jerrika D. Hinton) is raped and brutally murdered in New York City and the life of her brother (Julius Washington) is threatened by a thug (Brandon Craig) in this gritty, down-to-earth, 2007 film, an outspoken, talented, African-American teenage singer (Brooklyn Sudano) is sent by her adoptive parents (Khandi Alexander and Giancarlo Esposito) to live with her biological mother’s (LeeAnn Locken) reserved, wealthy mom (Faye Dunaway), where she can be protected by a former detective (Robert Loggia) and attend an elite private school.

“Smash His Camera” (NR) (3) [DVD and VOD Only] — Stunning photographs of celebrities, including Jackie Onassis, Robert Redford, Elizabeth Taylor, Brad Pitt, Katherine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Bowie, Andy Warhol, Paul Newman, Angelina Jolie, Oprah, Princess Diana, Brook Shields, Richard Burton, Larry David, Andy Kaufmann, Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, Elton John, Elvis, Sean Penn, and Frank Sinatra, dominate this informative, fascinating, 87-minute, 2010 HBO documentary that examines the infamous, long career of tenacious, cheap, freelance, New Jersey paparazzo photographer Ron Gallela through sound bites with the photographer himself and wife Betty Burke Gallela, writer Peter Howe, gossip columnist Liz Smith, former talk show host Dick Cavett, artist Chuck Close, magazine editor Graydon Carter, former assistant Paul Schmulbauch, photojournalists Harry Benson and David McGough, former magazine editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller, television reporter Marvin Scott, former magazine photo editor M.C. Marden, and photographers Neil Leifer, John Loengard, Lynn Goldsmith, and Patrick McMullan.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (PG) (3.5) [Fantasy action violence, some mild rude humor, and brief language.] [DVD and VOD Only] — After two highly skilled apprentices (Alfred Molina and Monica Bellucci) and Merlin’s feared, power-hungry nemesis (Alice Krige) end up trapped in a Russian nesting doll in 740 A.D. in Britain in this entertaining, fun, wit-filled, family-oriented film dominated by dazzling special effects, a third, pointed-shoe-wearing, leather-clad apprentice (Nicolas Cage) of Merlin’s finds himself in modern-day New York City where he takes a bright, nerdy, NYU physics major (Jay Baruchel), who is in love with a beautiful blonde student (Teresa Palmer), under his wing to quickly teach him the ropes of being a formidable sorcerer while they battle a fearsome dragon in Chinatown and a self-absorbed, spike-haired magician (Toby Kebbell).

“Thunder Force” (PG-13) (2) [Some action/violence, language, and mild suggestive material.] [Netflix Only] — When menacing, villainous miscreants (Jason Bateman, Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff, and Ben Falcone) with super powers terrorize Chicago in Ben Falcone’s entertaining, wacky, silly, intermittently funny, pratfall, star-studded (Melissa Leo, Taylor Mosby, Marcella Lowery, Kevin Dunn, Tyrel Jackson Williams, and Sarah Baker), 107-minute comedic spoof, a forklift driver (Melissa Mccarthy) and a wealthy scientist (Octavia Spencer), who were best friends in childhood, turn themselves into a heroic team with super abilities such as tremendous strength and invisibility to take down those terrorizing the Windy City.

“The Year the Earth Changed” (TV-PG) (4) [Available April 16 on Apple TV+ Only] — Spectacular cinematography dominates Tom Beard’s compelling, educational, inspirational, 48-minute documentary narrated by David Attenborough that examines some of the positive effects on nature and the planet since the onset of the global pandemic in March 2020, which forced people and tourists to stay home, including decreased air and water pollution, especially in India; improved survival of orcas in Canada that do not have to compete as much with ships; increased laying of eggs by loggerhead turtles in Florida and offspring by jackass penguins that find feeding their chicks easier with much fewer beachgoers; increased safety of African cheetah cubs when their mothers can hunt and feed them without tourists watching; improved health of dolphins in New Zealand, gorillas in Uganda, elephants in India, and spiny seahorses in England; and increased exploration in urban environments by animals, including monkeys, leopards, and antelope in South Africa, rhinos in Kenya, geckos in Israel, pumas in Chile, capybara in Argentina, and deer in Japan and consists of insightful commentary by turtle researcher Justin Perrault, cheetah researcher Salim Mandela, wildlife photographer Russell Maclaughlin, conservationists Meghna Hazarika and Dulu Bora, and whale researchers Christine Gabriele, Janet Nielsen, and Suzie Terrlink.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident. 

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