Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Accepted” (NR) (3) [Opens July 1 in theaters and available on various VOD platforms.] — Dan Chen’s educational, enlightening, disturbing, thought-provoking, 92-minute, 2021 documentary that showcases ambitious, college-bound, Black high school students Alicia Simon, Adia Sabatier, Isaac Smith, and Cathy Bui in Louisiana in 2019 who attended the unorthodox T.M. Landry College Preparatory School founded in 2005 and run by motivating charismatic, no-nonsense teacher Michael Landry, who used unconventional methods and occasionally mental and physical abuse to get students into Ivy League institutions, and his wife Tracey and then examines the controversy that erupted when a “New York Times” article revealed evidence of fraud, abuse, falsifying records, and unscrupulous and highly unconventional tactics.
“Bridesmaids” (R) (3) [Some strong sexuality, and language throughout.] [DVD and VOD only] — Jealousy and frayed emotions escalate in this funny, wacky, over-the-top comedy when an unhappy, unemployed, former Milwaukee bake shop owner (Kristen Wiig), who ends up living with her artistic mother (Jill Clayburgh), is asked by her childhood best friend (Maya Rudolph) to be her maid of honor and then finds herself at odds with a lonely, wealthy housewife (Rose Byrne) and three other bridesmaids (Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Ellie Kemper) while dealing with her feelings for a handsome player (Jon Hamm) who only wants her for sex and a smitten highway patrolman (Chris O’Dowd) who wants more.
“CIVIL: Ben Crump” (PG-13) (3.5) [Strong language and thematic material.] [Opened June 17 in select theaters and available June 19 on Netflix.] — Nadia Hallgren’s powerful, educational, enlightening, insightful, 101-minute documentary that follows successful, prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin L. Crump during the years 2020 and 2021 as he and his dedicated team handle numerous high-profile civil rights cases for the families of victims, including George Perry Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Andre Hill, Daunte Wright, Tafara Williams, Fred Cox, Sheira Brown, and Trayvon Martin, and seeks justice and compensation for the crimes committed against these and other marginalized Americans.
“Everything Must Go” (R) (3) [Language and some sexual content.] [DVD and VOD only] — After his wife changes the locks and puts all of his possessions on the front lawn and he loses his job all on the same day in this downbeat, well-acted, gritty, cameo-dotted (Michael Peña, Laura Dern, and Stephen Root) drama, which is based on the short story “Why Don’t You Dance,” an alcoholic executive salesman (Will Ferrell) is befriended by a lonely, African-American kid (Christopher Jordan Wallace) and his new pregnant neighbor (Rebecca Hall) when he is forced to live on his front lawn, to sell all of his stuff, and to rethink his downward, spiraling life.
“Hot Seat” (R) (2.5) [Language throughout and some violence.] [Opens July 1 in select theaters and available on various digital and VOD platforms.] — When a former hacker and IT security whiz (Kevin Dillon) unexpectedly finds a pressure bomb underneath his office chair and learns that he has been framed for a bombing attack and that his threatened wife (Lydia Hill) and teenage daughter (Anna Harr) are in danger in James Cullen Bressack’s tension-filled, taut, well-paced, predictable,104-minute cyber thriller, a shadowy, disgruntled, anonymous terrorist (Michael Welch) forces him to steal digital hedge fund currency and unlock a safe deposit vault while a well-seasoned bomb expert (Mel Gibson) and his partner (Eddie Steeples) are called in along with the police chief (Shannen Doherty) and S.W.A.T team (Sam Asghari, Xzavier Estrada, et al.) to help diffuse the situation.
“The Human Trial: The Race for a Diabetes Cure” (NR) (3.5) [Played June 23 as part of AARP’s Movies for Grownups, opens July 1 at MSP Film Society, and available on Amazon Prime Video and various VOD platforms.] — Diabetic Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman’s captivating, educational, moving, heartbreaking, inspirational, 91-minute documentary that follows the emotional turmoil and physical effects that hopeful type 1 diabetic patients Maren L. Badger and Gregory Romero as they participate in a six-year trial, which began in July 2014 at the U of M Medical Center, with experimental treatment involving implanting insulin-producing stem cells developed by biotechnology company ViaCyte in San Diego, Calif., with the potential to cure their diabetes and some day prevent the 5 million deaths that occur annually and consists of commentary by registered nurse Mary Rose DeCaroli, Dr. Melena Bellin, Gregory Romero’s wife Becky, and ViaCyte staff, including President Dr. Paul Laikind, Chief Medical Officer Howard Foyt, Strategic Relations Director Eugene Brandon, Device R&D Vice President Michael Scott, Director Susan McClatchey, and Chief Scientific Officer Kevin D'Amour.
“A Life without Pain” (NR) (3.5) [DVD and VOD only] — An educational, heartbreaking, inspirational, 2005 documentary in which filmmaker Melody Gilbert chronicles the difficult and injury-prone lives of 3-year-old Minnesotan Gabby, 10-year-old German Jamilah, and 7-year-old Norwegian Miriam who suffer from Congenital Insensitivity to Pain syndrome.
“Operation Mincemeat” (PG-13) (3.5) [Strong language, some sexual content, brief war violence, disturbing images, and smoking.] [Available currently only on Netflix.] — John Madden’s intense, factually inspired, well-acted, suspenseful, star-studded (Penelope Wilton, Simon Russell Beale, Kelly Macdonald, Mark Gatiss, Mark Bonnar, Paul Ritter, Nicholas Rowe, Johnny Flynn, Will Keen, and Rufus Wright), 128-minute, 2021 film based on Ben Macintyre’s novel and the film “The Man Who Never Was” in which high-level British military command (Jason Isaacs, Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, et al.) concoct a plan using a corpse (Lorne MacFadyen) and a briefcase carrying bogus documents to lead the Germans to believe that British and Allied forces are invading Greece on July 10, 1943, rather than Sicily.
“Patrik, Age 1.5” (R) (3.5) [Some language and brief sexual content.] [Subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] — When a gay Swedish doctor (Gustaf Skarsgård) and his husband (Torkel Petersson) move into a new neighborhood and then discover that the 1-1/2 year-old baby that they expected to adopt is actually a troubled, angry, 15-year-old juvenile delinquent (Thomas Ljungman) in this engaging, well-acted, predictable, 2008 film, the shock, disappointment, and anger jeopardizes the couple’s relationship and the well being of the orphaned teenager who has lived in institutions for more than 10 years of his life.
“Prom” (PG) (2.5) [Mild language and a brief fight.] [DVD and VOD only] — An enjoyable, but sugary sweet, unrealistic, tween-geared, romantic Walt Disney film in which high school students, including the ambitious class president (Aimee Teegarden) who is ignored by a clueless peer (Jonathan Keltz) but then falls for a handsome rebel (Thomas McDonell) who has no desire to attend the festivities, a shy teenager (Nolan Sotillo) who neglects his supportive best friend (Cameron Monaghan) in an attempt to get noticed by a comely peer (Danielle Campbell) who has eyes for the football star (DeVaughn Nixon) who is cheating on his girlfriend (Kylie Bunbury), a wannabe fashion designer (Yin Chang) who is afraid to tell her longtime boyfriend (Jared Kusnitz) that they will separate after graduation because she has been accepted by a design school in New York City, and a tenacious teenager (Nicholas Braun) who takes his free-spirited sister as his date after many rejections, try to land or confirm a date for a “starry night” prom in Michigan.
“Sex, Love, Misery: New New York” (NR) (3) [Available currently via streaming on Tubi.] — Shannon Alexander’s compelling, candid, insightful, original, low-key, wit-punctuated, 68-minute documentary that consists of interviews with an eclectic group of twentysomething New Yorkers, including Aisha Kerensa, Emile Filippi, Izzie Zuniga, Troy Weekes, Jack Terzi, and Camila Allison, in the Big Apple who discuss the characteristics they desire in a romantic partner, their surprisingly honest and conflicting opinions of their date when it was over, and the difficulties in meeting new people and the struggles in developing a meaningful relationship especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Something Borrowed” (PG-13) (3) [Sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material.] [DVD and VOD only] — When a smart, kindhearted Manhattan lawyer (Ginnifer Goodwin) realizes that she is still in love with a handsome attorney (Colin Egglesfield) she met as students in college but who is now engaged to her free-spirited, lifelong best friend (Kate Hudson) in this entertaining, lighthearted, well-paced, romantic comedy, she commiserates with a smitten, supportive writer (John Krasinski) and spends time with friends (Steve Howey, Ashley Williams, et al.) in the Hamptons before the upcoming nuptials trying to figure a way out of her predicament.
“Sniper: The White Raven” (NR) (4) [Subtitled] [Available July 1 on various digital platforms.] — After ruthless Russian soldiers murder his artistic, pregnant wife (Maryna Koshkina) and set fire to his modest, eco-friendly home in Marian Bushan’s riveting, poignant, timely, factually inspired, well-acted, gut-wrenching, suspenseful, violent, 111-minute film, grieving, revenge-fueled, Ukrainian physics teacher and ecologist Mykola Voronin (Pavlo Aldoshyn) enlists in the army and trains as a sniper under a strict brigade commander (Roman Semysal) in the Donbas region in an effort to protect his homeland.
“Thor” (PG-13) (2.5) [Sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence.] [DVD and VOD only] — After the hunky, powerful, hammer-wielding Norwegian god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is banished to Earth by his father (Anthony Hopkins) in this action-packed, fast-paced, fun, 3D, star-dotted (Ray Stevenson, Colm Feore, Clark Gregg, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, et al.) film that is filled with spectacular special effects and quirky humor, he is befriended by a comely astrophysist (Natalie Portman) and her two scientist colleagues (Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings) in New Mexico and then tries to return to Asgard to save his ill father from his jealous brother (Tom Hiddleston) who has lured vengeful frost giants (Richard Cetrone, Joshua Cox, Justice Smith, Luke Massy, et al.) to the city.
“The Wednesdays” (NR) (3) [DVD and VOD only] — A hilarious, witty, 20-minute, 2007 comedy about a bored, regimented, elderly Irish couple (Doreen and Des Keogh) who get in trouble with the law when a detective (Alan Devlin) discovers that they are taking ecstasy pills on Wednesdays to get them through the week.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.