Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“The Accidental Husband” (PG-13) (2.5) [Some sexual content and brief strong language.] [DVD only] — When a New York City “Real Love” radio talk show love doctor (Uma Thurman) finds herself surprisingly married to a fun-loving, spirited fireman (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose fiancée (Justina Machado) recently dumped him in this wacky, star-studded (Isabella Rossellini, Sam Shepard, Brooke Adams, and Sarita Choudhury), predictable comedy, she finds herself torn between canceling her wedding to her longtime publisher lover (Colin Firth) and staying married to the impulsive, carefree hunk she just met.
“America the Beautiful” (R) (4) [Some language, including sexual references.] [DVD only] — A compelling, eye-opening, informative, and thought-provoking 2007 documentary that examines the wide-ranging and skewed perceptions of beauty and the world’s obsession with physical beauty attained at any cost (e.g., death from eating disorders, plastic surgery, and suicides) by focusing on the experiences of 12-year-old African-American model Gerren Taylor as she becomes the new star on the runway and through interviews with editors-in-chiefs (such as Susan Schulz, Atoosa Rubenstein, and Brandon Holley), marketing director Phillippe Harousseu, fashion editors Booth Moore and Simon Constable, reporter Peter Sanders, model Aluel Bol, Hollywood publicist Michael Levin, modeling agent Suzanne Rynne, school principal Chris Elder, marketing planner Denise Fedewa, photographer Mark Baptiste, writer Jill Ishkanian, sociologist Dr. Anne Becker, and celebrities (such as Jessica Simpson, Aisha Tyler, Julianne Moore, Mena Suvari, Paris Hilton, and Martin Short).
“Battleground” (NR) (3.5) [DVD only] — A gritty, realistic, intense, award-winning, black-and-white, factually based 1949 film in which courageous American soldiers (Van Johnson, James Whitmore, Guy Anderson, George Murphy, Bruce Cowling, Don Taylor, Ricardo Montalban, Richard Jaeckel, Jerome Courtland, Marshall Thompson, John Hodiak, et al.), who became known as “the battered bastards of Bastogne,” fought off the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge during a cold, brutal winter in World War II.
“The Dawning” (PG) (3) [DVD only] — A picturesque, intriguing 1988 film in which a beautiful, trusting, orphaned, 18-year-old Irish schoolgirl (Rebecca Pidgeon), who lives with her aunt (Jean Simmons) and grandfather (Trevor Howard), befriends a mysterious, gun-toting stranger (Anthony Hopkins) who has taken up residency in a rundown beach shack on the coast of Ireland in 1920 and their friendship ultimately results in the death of twelve British soldiers.
“The Final Destination” (R) (2) [Strong violent/gruesome accidents, language, and a scene of sexuality.] [DVD only] — Freakish, creative, grisly deaths highlight this otherwise run-of-the-mill, violent, three-dimensional horror sequel about a college student (Bobby Campo) who has a horrifying premonition while at a speedway with three friends (Haley Webb, Nick Zano, and Shantel Van Santen) after which many people are killed in gruesome ways and then joins forces with a widowed racetrack security guard (Wykelti Williamson) when he believes all survivors (Justin Welborn, Jackson Walker, et al.) who cheated death at the racetrack are all in line to die.
“The Garden” (NR) (4) [Partially subtitled] [DVD only] — An 80-minute, emotionally charged, ire-raising, inspirational, Oscar-nominated 2008 documentary that chronicles the struggle of 372 dedicated, tenacious, low-income farmers, along with politicians (such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, and Deputy Mayor Larry Frank) and stars (such as Daryl Hannah, Martin Sheen, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, and Danny Glover), who tried to save the 14-acre South Central Los Angeles community garden, the largest in the United States, before selfish real estate developer and owner Ralph Horowitz tried to evict the growers on Feb. 29, 2004.
“Halloween II” (R) (1.5) [Strong brutal bloody violence throughout, terror, disturbing graphic images, language, and some crude sexual content, and nudity.] [DVD only] — Screaming, mutilated bodies dominate Rob Zombie’s graphically violent, blood-splattered, repetitious, nonsensical, tired, star-dotted (Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif, Margot Kidder, Sheri Moon Zombie, et al.) horror film sequel in which psychopathic, sadistic, revenge-fueled, mask-wearing Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) continues his butchering murder spree in Illinois in late October where he claims a multitude of victims (Danielle Harris, Brea Grant, Octavia Spencer, Danielle Harris, Richard Riehle, et al.) after his physically and emotionally scarred sister (Scout Taylor-Compton) failed to kill him one year earlier on Halloween.
“Into Temptation” (R) (3.5) [Language and sexual content.] [DVD only] — Superb acting and well-written dialogue dominate this engaging, touching, down-to-earth film about a worried, compassionate, desperate Catholic priest (Jeremy Sisto) in Minneapolis who seeks the help of a African-American parishioner and a cigarette-smoking colleague (Brian Baumgartner), to find a sultry-voiced, despondent prostitute (Kristin Chenoweth) after she confesses to him that she intends to commit suicide on her birthday.
“Lorna’s Silence” (R) (3) [Brief sexuality/nudity, and language.] [Subtitled] — A compelling, dark drama in which an Albanian dry cleaning employee (Arta Dobroshi) working in Belgium enters into a short-term marriage with a heroin addict (Jérémie Renier) as a means to get citizenship and money for herself and her boyfriend (Alban Ukaj) to eventually open a snack bar, but plans go awry when an ambitious taxi driver (Fabrizio Rongione) and his right-hand man (Morgan Marinne) want to knock off her unsuspecting husband so that she can marry a Russian cigarette smuggler (Anton Yakovlev) in another money-making marriage scam.
“Madame Hollywood” (R) (1) [Strong sexual content.] [DVD only] — After two vice detectives (Richard Moses and Danny Pape) bust prostitutes (Shauna O’Brien, Brandy Miller, et al.) at a high-end escort service in Los Angeles in this hokey, sexually explicit 2004 film dominated by bare breasts and horrible acting, the disillusioned, confident, and ambitious madame (Mia) chronicles how she got into the hooker business upon losing an acting gig because of a slimy casting agent (Robert Lombard), finding her boyfriend (Lyle Torres) in bed with another woman, and taking a job as a stripper in a nightclub owned by a money-grubbing sleazy bag (Hershel Savage).
“Picture a Scientist” (NR) (3.5) [Opens June 12 in Virtual Cinema sponsored by MSP Film Society; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org.] — An insightful, informative, inspirational, poignant, candid, 97-minute documentary that chronicles the blatant and systemic discrimination of women in science and focuses on the experiences of three scientists, including geomorphologist and Scripps Institution of Oceanography geology professor Dr. Jane Willenbring who felt she was “treated like trash” by some colleagues, retired molecular biologist and MIT biology professor Dr. Nancy Hopkins, and American University analytical chemistry professor Dr. Raychelle Burks, who became activists to stop discrimination after they struggled to overcome roadblocks in order to advance their careers in a pervasive negative environment where the “playbook was written by men” and sexual harassment was rampant and consists of eye-opening commentary by biological anthropologist Kathryn Clancy, Wellesley College President Paula Johnson, geologist Marcia McNutt, chemist Sylvia Ceyer, cognitive scientist Molly Potter, oceanographer Paola Rizzoli, ecologist Penny Chisholm, biologists Ruth Lehmann and Leigh Royden, biological engineer Sangeeta Bhatia, and investigative reporter Azeen Ghorayshi.
“The Work and the Glory” (PG) (3) [Some mild thematic elements and violence.] [DVD only] — Beautiful photography and scenery highlight this preachy, factually inspired 2004 film about a Vermont couple (Sam Hennings and Brenda Strong) in 1926 who moves their family (Brighton Hertford, Kimberly Varadi, Colin Ford, et al.) to western New York where their two oldest sons (Eric Johnson and Alexander Carroll) fall for the striking daughter (Tiffany Dupont) of a shopkeeper and controversial Joseph Smith (Jonathan Scarfe), the founder of Latter-Day Saints, worries his wife (Sarah Darling) and children (Ryan Wood, Jordan Rose Tarter, et al.) and causes discord among the community and families as he compiles his “Book of Mormon” and preaches among the faithful.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.