"Rebuilding Paradise"

"Rebuilding Paradise"

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

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“The Butterfly” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] Beautiful mountain and meadow scenery dots this family-friendly, heartwarming, 2003 French film about the mutually beneficial friendship that develops when a retired, widowed entomologist (Michel Serrault) with a penchant for repairing watches and collecting butterflies, such as the Madagascar comet, lemon, Calligo Dominus, and Apollo, reluctantly takes an 8-year-old girl (Claire Bouanich) on an 8-day excursion to the Alps in search of the elusive Graellsia Isabellae butterfly when he believes that her neglectful mother (Nade Dieu) has temporarily abandoned her. 

“Crazy Heart” (R) (4) [Language and brief sexuality.] [DVD only] Entertaining honky tonk music highlights this compelling, critically acclaimed, bittersweet, well-acted film in which a scruffy, down-on-his luck, four-times-divorced, 57-year-old singer/songwriter (Jeff Bridges) finds escape in a bottle of whiskey, a longtime friendship with a bar Texas bar owner (Robert Duvall), respect from a successful country western singer (Colin Farrell), support from his manager (James Keane), and eventually hope for change from a divorced Santa Fe music scene journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her young son (Jack Nation).

“The Cuban” (NR) (3.5) [Opens July 31 in Virtual Cinema sponsored by MSP Film Society; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org.] — When a compassionate, kind-hearted, 19-year-old, Muslim pre-med student (Ana Golja), who lives with her controlling and strict Afghani aunt (Shohreh Aghdashloo), is assigned to care for an overmedicated, agitated, Alzheimer’s nursing home resident (Louis Gossett Jr.), who suffers from dementia and refuses to eat, in this captivating, touching, heartwarming, down-to-earth, well acted, star-dotted (Lauren Holly, Giacomo Gianniotti, and Shiva Negar), 109-minute, 2019 film highlighted by wonderful music and wonderful cinematography, she reignites her own passion for music after she decides to see whether she can help her charge through his love of music and Cuban food and in the process discovers that he is a legendary, talented jazz musician from Cuba.

“The Education of Charlie Banks” (R) (2.5) [Pervasive language, some violence, sexual content, and drug and alcohol use.] [DVD only] After recanting his witness statement to the dismay of his father (Dennis Boutsikaris) that forces the New York City district attorney to drop charges against an anger-filled teenager (Jason Ritter) who severely injured two students during a fight at a party in this unpredictable, intense, coming-of-age 2007 film, a geeky Connecticut college student (Jesse Eisenberg) becomes leery when the hotheaded jerk shows up to visit his roommate (Chris Marquette) 3 years later, follows him around campus, makes a play for a student (Eva Amurri) he likes, and then attacks a friend (Sebastian Stan).

“The Fight” (PG-13) (3.5) [Strong language, thematic material, and brief violence.] [Partially subtitled] [Opens July 31 in Virtual Cinema sponsored by MSP Film Society; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org.] — An educational, critically acclaimed, ire-inducing, heartbreaking, inspirational, behind-the-scenes, 96-minute documentary that follows a group of committed, dedicated, heroic American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys, including ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho, Deputy Director of ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project Brigitte Amiri, senior staff lawyer Joshua Block at the LGBT & HIV Project, ACLU Deputy Director of Immigrants’ Rights Lee Gelernt, and Deputy Director Transgender Justice Chase Strangio, who represented a diverse group of clients during the Trump administration on unpopular, controversial cases involving abortion rights, immigrant rights and the separation of children from their parents who are seeking asylum in America, LGBT rights and the prohibition of transgenders serving in the military, the legality of the citizenship question in the census, and the Muslim travel ban that denies Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia from entering the U.S. and consists of commentary by director of refugee resettlement Scott Lloyd, naval petty officer Brock Stone, ACLU legal directors Jeffrey Robinson and David Cole, and ACLU communications director Stacy Sullivan.

“Lives Well Lived: Celebrating the Secrets, Wit, & Wisdom of Age” (NR) (3.5) [Plays on various VOD platforms and DVD available for purchase.] Sky Bergman’s poignant, profound, educational, inspirational, candid, touching, uplifting, 72-minute, 2018 documentary that consists of archival black-and-white photographs and film footage; interview snippets and life lessons and stories from wise, positive, optimistic, and well-lived octogenarians (such as Latvian yoga teacher Emmy Cleaves [86] and her husband Bob [84], Japanese widow Susy Eto Bauman [95], director’s Italian grandmother Evelyn Ricciuti [103], retired Dr. Lou Tedone [92], Rose Albano Ballestero [80], former civil rights activist and African dance teacher Blanche Brown [78], Danish portrait artist Evy Justesen [81], Sicilian photojournalist Santi Visalli [81], Russian music teacher and sculptor Wachtang Korisheli [93], writer/environmentalist/nurse Ciel Bergman [76], widower Dr. Edward Okun [82], and Jewish couple Marion [84] and Paul Wolff [84]); additional brief commentary by other seniors (such as William Abel [85], Doris Achterkirchen [97], Jesse Alexander [85], Dr. Herbert Bergman [75], Irene Devin [90], Barbara Dreyfuss [91], Brenda Edelson [75], Dorothy Ellis [76], Barbara Gesino [75], Lou Goodman [90], Satoshi Hane [91], Terry Hertz [95], Jules Hook [79], Elinor Logan [87], Eugene Pozzebon [89], Ken Schwartz [88], Bob Sinsheimen [84], Dr. Joe Stevens [76], Georgia Lee [87], Linnaea Phillips [81], Joan Tanner [78], Dottie Thompson [81], Jesse Stone [84], Joe Talaugon [83], Barbara J. Williams [85], and Rachel Winn Yon [78]); and wise tidbits and advice, including happiness is a state of mind, think positive, fight for what you want, you can’t get anything out of life if you don’t put anything into life, don’t try to change anyone an iotta, don’t sweat the little things, be yourself, and take time to understand and appreciate the beauty around you. 

“No Impact Man” (NR) (3) [DVD only] An eye-opening, discussion-provoking, inspirational, 91-minute, 2008 documentary that follows history writer Colin Beavan, his wife Michelle, and their young daughter Isabella in New York City as they try to minimize their negative impact (such as, buying only locally grown food, avoiding automated transportation, turning off electricity, and buying only necessary consumer goods) on the environment for one year by reducing, reusing, and recycling.

“Rebuilding Paradise” (PG-13) (3) [Intense scenes of peril, thematic elements, and some strong language.] [Opens July 31 in select theaters and via VOD platforms.] — Spectacular, harrowing cinematography highlights Ron Howard's compelling, gut-wrenching, emotional, intense, inspirational, 95-minute National Geographic documentary that chronicles the crippling effect of the horrific, tragic Camp Fire that claimed the lives of 85 people, burned down more than 18,000 structures, and decimated the picturesque town of Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 8, 2018, due to climate change and PG&E's negligence and shows the resiliency of the community as it bands together to rebuild and consists of commentary and interviews snippets with former mayor Woody Culleton, governor Jerry Brown, governor elect Gavin Newsom, police officer Matt Gates, Paradise residents (such as Marcus Nelson, Kayla Cox, Phillip Allan John, Krystle Young, and Tenille Gates), school superintendent Michelle John, fireman Sean Norman, retired fire chief Ken Pimlott, attorney Mike Ramsey, school psychologist Carly Ingersoll, high school seniors Brandon Burke and Zach Boston, school custodian Justin Cox, state assemblyman James Gallagher, fire safe council member Calli-Jane DeAnda, town council members Mike Zuccolillo and Melissa Schuster, consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, forestry expert Danny Davis, and pyrogeographer Zeke Lunder.

 “The Secret: Dare to Dream” (PG) (3) [Language and an injury image.] [Opens July 31 on VOD platforms.] — When violent storm hits one night in Louisiana and damages the home of a down-on-her-luck, widowed restaurant manager (Katie Holmes) who is raising her three children (Sarah Hoffmeister, Aidan Brennan, and Chloe Lee) in this engaging, touching, realistic, star-studded (Jerry O'Connell, Celia Weston, and Katrina Begin) after the death of her inventor husband (Cory Scott Allen) in this down-to-Earth, low-key, well-acted, 107-minute film adapted from Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 bestseller “The Secret,” a kind-hearted, Tennessee engineer professor (Josh Lucas) , who is keeping a secret that can change all of their lives, gets closer to the family after offering to fix the decimated roof.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.

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