"The Tobacconist"

"The Tobacconist"

 

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

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“Another Day in Paradise” (R) (1.5) [Strong violence, sexuality, drug use, and language.] [DVD only] — The screwed up lives of a drug-addicted, juvenile, petty crook (Vincent Kartheiser) and his pregnant girlfriend (Natasha Gregson Wagner) go even further downhill in this gritty, violent, cameo-dotted (Peter Sarsgaard, Lou Diamond Phillips, and James Otis) 1998 film when a slimy, greedy, streetwise, drug-dealing thief (James Woods) and his junkie old lady (Melanie Griffith) take them under their Bonnie and Clyde wings.

“The Boxer” (R) (2) [Language.][DVD only] — A guilt-ridden ex-con (Joshua Dallas), who is estranged from his mother (Leslie Malton) after attacking his stepfather, fights with his inner emotional demons and struggles with his past in this gritty, down-to-earth, lightweight, predictable film when he accepts help from a comely nurse (Kelly Adams) and training from a cigarette-smoking retired pugilist and gym owner (Stacy Keach) and goes up against another angry boxer (Henry Garrett) in the ring.

“Chaos” (R) (2) [Violence and language.] [DVD only] — When a serial bank robber (Wesley Snipes) begins killing off accomplices (Chris Lei, John Cassini, Mike Dodd, et al.) after holding people hostage and blowing up a bank in this convoluted, twist-filled, action-packed, lackluster 2005 film, Seattle detectives (Jason Statham, Ryan Phillippe, Henry Czerny, Justine Waddell, Nicolas Lea, et al.) join forces to track down the murderous thief.

“First Cow” (PG-13) (3.5) [Brief strong language.] [Opens July 10 for purchase on Premium VOD and July 21 for VOD rental.] — Kelly Reichardt’s visually impressive, original, unusual, well-acted, poignant, down-to-Earth, comedic, unpredictable, star-studded (Alia Shawkat, René Auberjonois, Scott Shepherd, Gary Farmer, Lily Gladstone, Ted Rooney, and Dylan Smith), 122-minute, 2019 film based on Jonathan Raymond’s novel “Half Life” and highlighted by wonderful sets in which a talented cook and baker (John Magaro) traveling with fur trappers in the Oregon Territory in the 1820s develops a friendship with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) on the run from Russians he meets in the woods and together they start a profitable but precarious business in a ramshackle town selling delicious fried pastries to hungry townsfolk, but to make their prized dough they must steal milk from a cow that belongs to a wealthy aristocrat (Toby Jones) in the middle of the night in secret.

“Five Fingers” (R) (2.5) [Torture, violence, and language, including sexual references.] [DVD only] — When a duplicitous piano-playing Dutch banker (Ryan Phillippe) leaves his girlfriend in Amsterdam allegedly to start a food program in Morocco to feed needy children with the help of an English bodyguard (Colm Meaney) in this intense, well-acted 2006 psychological thriller punctuated with torture and a surprise ending, he is kidnapped by a chess-playing African (Laurence Fishburne) and his tenacious, knife-wielding accomplices (Saïd Taghmaoui, Gina Torres, and Touriya Haoud) who question him about his associates and where he got the substantial funds.

“A French Gigolo” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A tasteful, bittersweet, down-to-earth French film in which a wealthy, lonely, divorced, 51-year-old telemarketing executive (Nathalie Baye), who works with her supportive sister (Josiane Balasko) hawking products on television, becomes attached to a handsome male escort (Eric Caravaca) who jeopardizes his four-year marriage to his ambitious wife (Isabelle Carré) when she discovers that he has been supplementing his income from his sparse house painting jobs and paying for her hemorrhaging hairdressing salon business by seducing older, needy women.

“The Maiden Heist” (PG-13) (3.5) [Some strong language, nudity, and brief fantasy violence.] [DVD only] — When a daydreaming security guard (Christopher Walken), who has been married to his domineering wife (Marcia Gay Harden) for years, at a Boston museum learns that the curator is moving a number of artworks to Copenhagen in this delightfully wacky, hilarious, fun-filled, entertaining film, he concocts a reckless plan with two other longtime security guards (Morgan Freeman and William H. Macy) to steal three artwork pieces, two paintings and a bronze statute, with which they cannot bare to part.

“The Secret of the Grain” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A well-acted, compelling, critically acclaimed, 150-minute, 2007 film about the struggles of a tenacious, 61-year-old unemployed dockworker (Habib Boufares), who is separated from his wife (Bouraouïa Marzouk) and immigrated from north Africa to a southeastern seaport city in France, and the daughter (Hafsia Herzi) of his girlfriend (Hatika Karaoui) to open a restaurant that specializes in couscous and fish aboard a renovated boat.

“The Skeptic” (NR) (2.5) [DVD only] — A creepy, engaging psychological thriller in which a concerned coworker and friend (Tom Arnold), a longtime-family priest (Robert Prosky), a psychic (Zoe Saldana), a psychiatrist (Edward Hermann), and a sleep disorders doctor (Bruce Altman) with interest in the paranormal come to the aid of a Massachusetts lawyer (Tim Daly) after he separates from his wife (Andrea Roth) and young son (Paul Tietjen) and begins to recall long-buried memories about his abusive mother (Sarah Weaver) and exhibit strange behavior upon moving into an antique-filled Victorian mansion after the death of his estranged 81-year-old aunt (Judy Spevack).

“The Tobacconist” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [Opens July 10 in Virtual Cinema sponsored by MSP Film Society; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org.] — Striking cinematography and period sets dominate this engaging, poignant, well-acted, gut-wrenching, coming-of-age, heartbreaking, tension-filled, 117-minute, 2018 film based on Robert Seethaler’s bestselling novel in which a seventeen-year-old teenager (Simon Morzé) leaves his widowed mother (Regina Fritsch) in the scenic countryside and travels to Vienna to work as an apprentice for a one-legged, tobacco shop owner (Johannes Krisch), falls hopelessly in love with a feisty Czech music-hall dancer (Emma Drogunova), and becomes unlikely friends with controversial, world-renown, cigar-loving psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (Bruno Ganz) in late 1930s Nazi-occupied Austria who tries to give him advice about love, relationships, and purpose in life.

“The Widow’s Might” (NR) (2.5) [DVD only] — After a coldhearted, self-serving, small-town mayor (Terry Taylor) in Texas refuses to help a struggling widow (Millie King) who is in danger of losing her home of 42 years due to increased property taxes in this sugary sweet, inspirational film with wonderful songs and cinematography, two budding, religious, homeschooled filmmakers (John R. Moore and Cameron Heidrick) decide to raise public awareness of the widow’s plight by producing a musical western with the aid of family (Gator Moore and Angela Coates) and friends (Jeff Moreland, Colin Gunn, et al.) despite the sabotaging efforts of a reporter (Evan Ramos).

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident. 

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