Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” (PG) (2) [Some mild rude humor.] — [DVD only] After a shy slacker (Zachary Levi) becomes the temporary guardian of the rambunctious, meerkat-loving, accident-prone singing Chipmunks (voiceovers by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney) when his uncle (Jason Lee) lands in a Paris hospital in this super cute, family-oriented, fun-filled, entertaining film, the feisty, lovable, world-famous chipmunks end up at a Hollywood school run by a chipmunk-tattooed principal (Wendie Malick) and find themselves in competition with three vivacious Chipette singers (voiceovers by Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler, and Anna Faris), who have hired their old sleazy nemesis (David Cross) as their manager, when they try to save the school’s music program by winning $25,000 in a singing contest.
“Avatar” (PG-13) (4) [Intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language, and some smoking.] [DVD only] — Mind-blowing, mesmerizing special effects are the highlight of James Cameron’s engaging, gorgeous, vibrant, action-packed, costly, three-dimensional, star-dotted (Giovanni Ribisi, West Studi, CCH Pounder, et al.), 162-minute, sci-fi thriller in which a jarhead paraplegic war veteran (Sam Worthington) in 2154 unexpectedly falls in love with a strong-willed Na’vi woman (Zoe Saldana) on Pandora after a trigger-happy, coldhearted colonel (Stephen Lang) orders him to gather information on the nature-worshipping, peaceful, 10-feet-tall, blue-skinned race and ultimately ends up helping the people with the aid of other rogue military personnel (Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel Moore, et al.) when he learns that their lives and forest homes are in danger.
“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” (PG-13) (2) [Some sexual references and momentary violence.] [DVD only] — After a separated, estranged New York City couple, a whiny real estate broker (Sarah Jessica Parker) with her biological clock furiously ticking and a hotshot lawyer (Hugh Grant) who is trying to make amends for his cheating ways, are witnesses to a murder in this silly, predictable, strained comedy with stilted dialogue, they end up in the federal witness protection program under the watchful eye of a small-town sheriff (Sam Elliott) and his gun-toting wife (Mary Steenburgen) in Wyoming.
“It’s Complicated” (R) (3) [Some drug content and sexuality.] [DVD only] — The stagnant love life of a divorced Santa Barbara café owner (Meryl Streep) is turned upside down in this humorous, entertaining, bittersweet, cameo-dotted (Rita Wilson, John Krasinki, and Mary Kay Place) comedy when she ends up in an affair with her attorney ex-husband (Alec Baldwin), who is married to a younger woman (Lake Bell), and is then wooed by a handsome architect (Steve Martin).
“Me and Orson Welles” (PG-13) (3) [Sexual references and smoking.] [DVD only] — After a talented, 17-year-old high school student (Zac Efron) in New York City lands a part with other actors (Ben Chaplin, James Tupper, Leo Bill, Kelly Reilly, Simon Nehan, Thomas Arnold, et al.) with fragile egos in an off-Broadway play “Caesar” in a modern-interpretation of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in 1937 in this engaging, well-acted, coming-of-age story, he finds himself at odds with the egotistical, brilliant, cigar-smoking director Orson Welles (Christian McKay), who has a pregnant wife (Emily Allen), when he falls for an ambitious, comely assistant (Claire Danes) at the Mercury Theater.
“Nine” (PG-13 (3.5) [Sexual content and smoking.] [DVD only] — Sensual musical numbers and superb choreography punctuate this glitzy, arty film based on the 1982 Broadway musical and the Federico Fellini’s “8-1/2” in which a world-famous, nerve-wrecked, exhausted Italian film director (Daniel Day-Lewis) struggles to get a script completed for his next film “Italia” while he is haunted by his past with his mother (Sophia Loren) and a hooker (Fergie) from his childhood and confronted by his present in the form of his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penélope Cruz), his muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Dame Judi Dench), and an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson).
“The Voice” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [Plays May 15-23 as part of the MSPIFF39 Redefined: A Virtual Film Festival; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org/festivals/mspiff.] — After a smart, rebellious, stubborn teenager (Franko Jakovcevic) with atheist tendencies is dropped off at a rural Catholic boarding school in Croatia when his mother (Barbara Vickovic) takes a job on a cruise ship in Ognjen Sviličić’s engaging, thought-provoking, realistic, down-to-Earth, 80-minute, 2019 film highlighted by striking photography, he finds himself at odds with the strict headmistress (Belma Kosutic), the priest (Stipe Radoja), and his religious peers (Lovre Trogrlic, Petar Cakic, Nina Crncevic, et al.) when he refuses to pray and blindly accept taught beliefs.
“The Wretched” (NR) (2) [Plays at some drive-ins and on most cable and digital VOD platforms.] — After a mischievous, 17-year-old student (John-Paul Howard) with a broken arm goes to live with his father (Jamison Jones), who works at a lakeside marina and is dating a dark-haired employee (Azie Tesfai) while separated from his wife, for the summer in this suspenseful, dark, creepy, gruesome, unpredictable, 95-minute supernatural horror film reminiscent of “Disturbia,” he becomes suspicious of the couple (Zarah Mahler and Kevin Bigley) next door when their young son (Blane Crockarell) becomes frightened of his strange-acting mother and then with the help of a skeptical teenager (Piper Curda) he starts to suspect that a murderous, tree-harboring, shape-shifting, skin-walking witch (Madelynn Stuenkel) has possessed various townsfolk as children disappear and are forgotten.
“The Young Victoria” (PG) (3.5) [Mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking.] [DVD only] — Opulent costumes and striking sets dominate this fascinating, colorful, factually based, star-studded (Paul Bettany, Thomas Kretschmann, et al.) historical drama that chronicles the love story and the early, turbulent years of headstrong, savvy Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt), who was the longest running British monarch at her death at age 81, from her coronation in 1838 at age 18 after the death of King William (Jim Broadbent), her longstanding discord with her mother the Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson) and her power-hungry stepfather Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) when he tried to become regent, and her 20-year marriage to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) of Belgium with whom she had nine children.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.