Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Grey Gardens” (G) (3) [DVD only] — A fascinating, insightful 1975 documentary in which the Maysles brothers let their eccentric, paranoid, emotionally-fragile subjects, who were relatives of Jackie O., speak for themselves as cameras follow the perpetual scarf-wearing 56-year-old Edie Bouvier Beale and her wise-cracking 79-year-old mother Edith Bouvier Beale at their raccoon-infested, cat-laden, trashed Long Island mansion as they ramble about nothing and reminiscence about happier times.
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (PG) (2.5) [Scary images, some violence, language, and mild sensuality.] [DVD only] — Terrific sets, scenery, and special effects highlight this unevenly paced, disappointing, dark, gap-filled, star-studded (Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, et al.) sixth installment in which the dangerous dark lord’s presence is increasingly felt as his Death Eater minions (Helen Bonham Carter, et al.) wreck havoc worldwide while headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) brings an eccentric and flighty professor (Jim Broadbent) back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who he believes has valuable information to aid in defeating Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), but he needs Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his two closest friends (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) to undercover the secret the professor is hiding; this sequel may be too hard to follow for those who have not read the book.
“Midsommar” (R) (2.5) [Disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, and language.] — After a traumatized American psychology student (Florence Pugh), who has recently lost her parents and sister, goes with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) of four years, two of his friends (Will Poulter and William Jackson Harper), and a Swedish exchange student (Vilhelm Blomgren) to a summer festival in the idyllic Swedish countryside in this bizarre, dark, depressing, violent, absurd, creepy, 140-minute horror film with striking cinematography, they unexpectedly find themselves in the midst of a strange cult where its pagan commune members (Liv Mjönes, Anna Åström, Anki Larsson, Henrik Norlén, et al.) are steeped in longheld traditions and perform sadistic rituals every 90 years.
“Spider-Man: Far from Home” (PG-13) (3) [Sci-fi action, some language, and brief suggestive comment.] — When geeky, smart, love-struck, 16-year-old Spider-Man (Tom Holland) leaves his devoted aunt (Marisa Tomei) in Queens to head to Europe with his best friend (Jacob Batalon) and other high school classmates (Zendaya, Angourie Rice, Remi Hii, et al.) on vacation in this fun, entertaining, humorous, twist-filled, action-packed, star-studded (Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, and J. B. Smoove), 129-minute, sci-fi thriller dominated by terrific special effects, he ends up reluctantly drawn into a fight with destructive monsters made of Earth elements water and fire along with a mysterious superhero (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Venice, Prague, Austrian Alps, Berlin, and London.
“Tokyo!” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Filmmakers Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon Ho interpret modern-day Tokyo in this arty and imaginative 2008 film, which is reminiscent of “Night on Earth,” “New York Stories,” and “Paris, Je T’aime,” that is divided into their respective vignettes: In “Interior Design” (4), an unemployed Japanese woman (Ayako Fujitani) becomes frustrated as she searches with her gift-wrapping, avant garde filmmaker boyfriend (Ryo Kase) for a new home while staying at the cramped apartment of a friend (Ayumi Ito) and eventually finds her self-worth and usefulness through unusual means; in “Merde” (2), a bizarre chrysanthemum-eating, sewer-dwelling foreigner (Denis Lavant) terrorizes citizens in Tokyo and is defended by a French lawyer (Jean-François Balmer) afflicted with similar physical attributes after his client goes on a murderous rampage with grenades; and in “Shaking Tokyo" (3), a pizza-loving agoraphobic (Teruyuki Kagawa) musters the courage to venture outside after 10 years when he meets a tattooed delivery girl (Yû Aoi) during a Tokyo earthquake.
“11:14” (R) (3) [Violence, sexuality, and pervasive language.] [DVD only] — After a flying body (Blake Heron) strikes the roof of an unlicensed driver (Henry Thomas) on a dark road and a patrolman (Clark Gregg) begins to investigate the accident scene in this deliciously wacky, entertaining, well-written, cleverly intertwined, unpredictable 2003 film, three reckless, joyriding teenagers (Colin Hanks, Ben Foster, and Stark Sands) get themselves into a hit-and-run accident while parents (Patrick Swayze and Barbara Hershey) worry about the whereabouts of their promiscuous teenage daughter (Rachel Leigh Cook), and a desperate teenager (Shawn Hatosy) robs and shoots a cashier (Hilary Swank) at a convenience store to pay for his girlfriend’s abortion.
“Tetro” (NR) (3) [Partially subtitled] [DVD only] — Painful childhood memories and long-kept dark secrets are exposed in this intriguing, somber, black-and-white, Francis Ford Coppola film punctuated with color when a lonely, virginal, 17-year-old cruise ship waiter (Alden Ehrenreich) visit his estranged, testy, melancholy, guilt-ridden brother (Vincent Gallo) who has changed his name and given up writing while living with his steadfast, supportive girlfriend (Maribel Verdú) in Buenos Aires and harboring resentment for his coldhearted, world-famous symphony conductor father (Klaus Maria Brandauer) after the death of his mother and the loss of his lover years earlier.
“Personal Effects” (R) (3) [Language, some violence, and disturbing images.] [DVD only] — While an angry, grieving, 24-year-old wrestler returns home to Iowa to help his mother (Kathy Bates) after his sister is murdered and to attend the trial of the alleged killer in this moving, heartbreaking film, a frustrated, sad widow (Michelle Pfeiffer) has her hands full dealing with the tragic loss of her husband and a rebellious, bullied, deaf, teenage son (Spencer Hudson).
“Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her” (PG-13) (3) [Mature thematic elements, sexual content, and language.][DVD only] — Looking for love and perceptions are the interconnecting themes in this well-acted, poignant, captivating 2000 Rodrigo Garcia film told in five vignettes: In “This Is Dr. Kenner,” a forlorn gynecologist (Glenn Close) caring for her elderly mother (Irma St. Paule) meets with a tarot card reading fortune teller (Calista Flockhart) in the hopes changing her bleak romantic future; in “Fantasies About Rebecca,” a cigarette-smoking homeless woman (Penelope Allen) throws barbs at a 39-year-old bank manager (Holly Hunter) who finds herself suddenly pregnant and contemplating an abortion because of the unsupportive response by her African-American boyfriend (Gregory Hines) of three years; in “Someone for Rose,” a lonely, novel-writing schoolteacher (Kathy Baker) with a 15-year-old son (Noah Fleiss) flirts with a new neighbor (Danny Woodburn); in “Good Night Lilly, Good Night Christine,” a gay cancer patient (Valerie Golino) and her lover reminiscence about the past and how they met; and in “Love Waits for Kathy,” a detective (Amy Brenneman) investigating the suicide of a former acquaintance (Elpidia Carrillo) accepts a date with a medical examiner (Miguel Sandoval) while her free-spirited blind sister (Cameron Diaz) starts a relationship with a new beau (Matt Craven).
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.