Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Amreeka” (PG-13) (3) [Brief drug use involving teens, and some language.] [Partially subtitled] — A heartwarming, down-to-earth, eye-opening film in which a headstrong, divorced Palestinian bank administrator (Nisreen Faour) moves with her teenage son (Melkar Muallem) from the West Bank to start a new life with her homesick sister (Hiam Abbass) and her husband (Yussuf Abu-Warda) in Illinois.
“Citizen K” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] — Alex Gibney’s Oscar-nominated, critically acclaimed, fascinating, educational, insightful, 126-minute documentary that consists of news clips, archival film footage, photographs, and interview snippets with journalists Martin Sixsmith and Talyana Lysoba, business partners Leonid Nevylin and Platon Lebedev, NTV President Igor Malashenko, and attorneys Anton Drel, Maria Logan, and Vasily Aleksanyan to present an indepth, multilayered look into the inner workings of Russia, including politics, government, corruption, and the oligarchy, after the breakup of the Soviet Union from the perspective of one time powerful, influential, richest businessman in Russia Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who amassed his fortune in financing and oil, served 10 years of a 13-year sentence for allegedly illegal shenanigans, often faced off against arrogant and egotistical President Vladimir Putin, and eventually exiled in London as a political dissident.
“Coco Before Chanel” (PG-13) (2.5) [Sexual content and smoking.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Striking cinematography highlights this slightly too long, too narrowly focused, factually inspired French film about the early years of legendary, tomboyish, audacious, never-married French designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel (Audrey Tautou), who was left at an orphanage with her younger sister (Marie Gillian) by their father in 1893, as she struggles to realize her dreams by becoming a mistress to racehorse-loving Étienne Balsan (Benoît Poelvoorde), who beds women indiscriminately, and by falling for Englishman Arthur 'Boy' Capel (Alessandro Nivola) who ultimately helps to finance her millinery and clothing design business.
“Diary of a Tired Black Man” (R) (3) [Pervasive language, including sexual references.] [DVD only] — A fascinating, enlightening, thought-provoking documentary in which filmmaker Tim Alexander travels to Houston, Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. to interview African-American people about their relationships with black women while showing vignettes about a frustrated, divorced man (Jimmy Jean-Louis) and the dissolution of his marriage.
“The Gentlemen” (R) (2) [Violence, language throughout, sexual references, and drug content.] — Double-crosses run rampant and bodies pile up in Guy Ritchie’s complicated, well-paced, intense, creative, violent, intermittently funny, love-it-or-leave-it, 107-minute crime caper dominated by gorgeous cinematography, two-dimensional characters, and oftentimes difficult to understand accents in which a ruthless, savvy, Oxford-educated American drug kingpin (Matthew McConaughey), who has a beautiful, no-nonsense, all-female, car repair shop owner wife (Michelle Dockery) in London, hopes to sell his highly-successful marijuana business with the help of his wagyu steak-loving right-hand henchman (Charlie Hunnam) to a wealthy buyer (Jeremy Strong) in the $400 million range while a wacky, scriptwriting private investigator (Hugh Grant) keeps tabs on rival drug dealers (Henry Golding, et al.) and gathers intel on a questionable boxing gym owner (Colin Farrell) and an unsavory tabloid editor (Eddie Marsan).
“I Lost My Body” (NR) (3) — Striking and wonderful hand-drawn animation highlights this original, Oscar-nominated, creative, touching, quirky, melancholy, 81-minute, 2019 animated French film with an unexpected ending, told in flashbacks, and based on Guillaume Laurant’s novel “Happy Hand” in which a severed, tenacious hand escapes a French laboratory in the 1990s and encounters a harrowing, treacherous journey while searching the Paris streets for the rest of its body in the form of a pizza delivery man (voiceover by Hakim Faris/Dev Patel), who lost his parents (voiceovers by Hichem Mesbah/Anouar H. Smaine and Myriam Loucif/Sarah Lynn Dawson) in a tragic car accident as a child (voiceover by Alphonse Arfi/Tucker Chandler) and becomes an apprentice to a kindhearted carpenter (Patrick d’Assumçao/George Wendt) to get closer to a comely librarian (voiceover by Victoire Du Bois/Alia Shawkat) with whom he is smitten.
“The Last Full Measure” (R) (3.5) [War violence and language.] — An ambitious, initially reluctant, Pentagon executive (Sebastian Stan), who has a pregnant wife (Alison Sudol) and young son (Asher Miles Fallica), interviews a few PTSD-afflicted 1st Infantry Division U.S. Army veterans (Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda, Ed Harris, and John Savage) in an attempt to honor the request made by the tenacious parents (Christopher Plummer and Diane Ladd) and best friend (William Hurt) to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to heroic, courageous, 21-year-old, U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen medic William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), which frustratingly and irritatingly took 34 years due to bureaucratic redtape and a coverup, who saved more than sixty men on April 11, 1966, in this heart-wrenching, factually inspired, inspirational, intense, violent, star-studded (Bradley Whitford, Amy Madigan, Michael Imperioli, Linus Roache, LisaGay Hamilton, Robert Pine, and Julian Adams), 110-minute, 2019 film, which intersperses some fierce, bloody battle scenes fought by the grateful Army soldiers (Ser’Darius Blain, Ethan Russell, Zach Roerig, James Jagger, Cody Walker, Richard Cawthrone, et al.) in their younger days in Vietnam who witnessed the brave, selfish sacrifice of the airmen medic during the horrific, bloody Abilene Battle.
“Law Abiding Citizen” (R) (3) [Strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language.] [DVD only] — After an ambitious Philadelphia attorney (Jamie Foxx), who has a wife (Regina Hall) and 10-year-old daughter (Emerald-Angel Young), cuts deal with a murderous, callous thug (Christian Stolte) involved with the brutal murder of a housewife (Brooke Stacy Mills) and her young daughter (Ksenia Hulayev), to sell out his partner (Josh Stewart), in this suspenseful, action-packed, fast-paced, violent thriller, a shrewd, smart, sociopathic, inventive engineer (Gerard Butler) exacts his own form of justice by threatening anyone involved, including a district attorney (Bruce McGill), attorneys (Colm Meaney, Leslie Bibb, and Richard Portnow), and a judge (Annie Corley), in the trial and the murder of his family.
“The Rhythm Section” (R) (2.5) [Violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.] — Striking cinematography and scenery highlights this convoluted, dark, well-acted, violent, star-studded (Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Mays, Raza Jaffrey, Max Casella, and Geoff Bell), 109-minute film based on Mark Burnell’s novel in which a heroin-shooting, tenacious, revenge-fueled woman (Blake Lively) in London is determined to track down the culprits (Tawfeek Barhom, Richard Brake, et al.) and to seek justice for her close-knit parents (Shane Whisker and Elly Curtis), brother (David Duggan), and sister after they were tragically killed in an airplane bombing and then mysteriously ends up being detoxed and trained by a hard-hitting former British MI-6 agent (Jude Law) in Inverness, Scotland, in order to accomplish her dangerous mission in locales from London, Madrid, New York, Marseilles, and Tangiers.
“The Stepfather” (PG-13) (2.5) [Intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, mature thematic material, and brief sensuality.] [DVD only] — After murdering a mother and her three children in Salt Lake City in this tension-filled, predictable remake of the 1987 thriller, a calculating, family-obsessed sociopath (Dylan Walsh) sets his sights on a beautiful divorcee (Sela Ward) and her three children (Braeden Lemasters, Skyler Samuels, and Penn Badgley) in Oregon.
“Where the Wild Things Are” (PG) (3)[Mild thematic elements, some adventure action, and brief language.] [DVD only] — Slow pacing hinders this visually stunning, adult-geared, creative, Spike Jonze fantasy film based on Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book about a lonely, rebellious boy (Max Records) who meets mysterious, magical, and strange creatures (voiceovers by James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Michael Berry, Jr., and Chris Cooper) in his vivid imagination after he runs away from his worried, stressed-out mother (Catherine Keener), her boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo), and his older sister (Pepita Emmerichs) one stormy night.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.