"Joker"

"Joker"

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

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“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [Plays Oct. 4 at the MSP Film Society at the St. Anthony on Main Theater; for information, log on to info@mspfilm.org or call 612/331-7563.] After broke, down-on-his-luck, avante-garde, Spanish director Luis Buñuel (voiceover by Jorge Usón) has a rift with filmmaker Salvador Dali in Salvador Simó’s imaginative, factually inspired, engaging, unique, thought-provoking, humor-sprinkled, colorful, violence-dotted, surrealistic, 80-minute, 2018 animated film highlighted by creative and striking animation, punctuated by graphic live-action snippets of his black-and-white documentary, and based on Fermín Solís's graphic novel, he collaborates with poet/sculptor/friend lottery-winning Ramón Acín Aquilué (voiceover by Fernando Ramos), French cinematographer Eli Lotar (voiceover by Cyril Corral), and writer Pierre Unik (voiceover by Luis Enrique de Tomás) in 1933 to direct his surreal film “Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan” (aka “Land without Bread”) that showcases the making of the 28-minute documentary about the poverty-stricken residents of Las Hurdes against the backdrop of the horrors of Franco’s Spain.

“The Death of Dick Long” ´(R) (3) [Pervasive language, disturbing sexual material, and brief drug use.] After a small-town redneck (Michael Abbott Jr.), who lives with his wife (Virginia Newcomb) and daughter (Poppy Cunningham) in Alabama, and his moronic best friend (Andre Hyland) drop the body of their nearly-dead friend (Daniel Scheinert) at the hospital entrance in this wacky, disturbing, not-everyone's-cup-of-tea, 110-minute dark comedy, the African-American pathologist (Roy Wood Jr.) discovers an unusual cause of death while the clueless cops (Sarah Baker and Janelle Cochrane) try to figure out who the John Doe is in the morgue and those involved in his demise.

“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.

“Joker” (R) (3.5) [Strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language, and brief sexual images.] — Phoenix’s Oscar-caliber, jaw-dropping performance dominates this dark, gritty, gripping, disturbing, violent, well-paced, star-dotted (Bill Camp, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Brian Tyree Henry, Douglas Hodge, and Zazie Beetz), 122-minute psychological thriller with striking cinematography in which a mentally unstable, lonely, bullied, inappropriate laughter-prone, psychopathic, wannabe standup comedian (Joaquin Phoenix), who poses as a clown at different venues and cares for his eccentric mother (Frances Conroy), becomes increasingly unhinged and turns into a raging, cold-blooded killer in 1981 in Gotham City after thugs steal his sign and beat him up, much-needed therapy support is taken away due to government cuts and he stops his meds, he loses his job, and his television talk show host idol (Robert De Niro) makes fun of a video recording of his greenhorn standup routine at a comedy club while masked citizens rally in the chaotic streets in support of the clown vigilante.

“Where’s My Roy Cohn?” (PG-13) (3) [Thematic content, some sexual material, and violent images.] — A fascinating, insightful, candid, comprehensive, 97-minute documentary that examines the life and career of powerful, charismatic, manipulative, smart, ruthless, socially connected, egotistical, gay, Jewish attorney Roy M. Cohn (1927-1986), who was highly influential in American politics and the Rosenberg and McCarthy hearings, from his graduation from Columbia Law School to his disbarment in 1986 and includes audio and video recordings and interview snippets with protégé Roger Stone, publishers Jason Epstein and David Rosenthal, journalists (such as Sam Roberts, David Cay Johnston, and Marie Brennen), media reporter Ken Auletta, lawyers (such as Robert Cohen, Martin London, and John A. Vassallo), historian Thomas Doherty, former U. S. attorney Peter Sudler, gossip columnist Liz Smith, boyfriend Wallace Adams, cousins Anne Roiphe and Gary and Dave Marcus, and writer Gore Vidal, as well as television clips from interviewers Tom Snyder, Mike Wallace, and Larry King.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident. 

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