by Wendy Schadewald
Special to Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune
Rating system: (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
“Before Midnight” (R) (3) [Sexual content/nudity and language.] — In this dialogue-heavy, down-to-earth, well-acted, realistic, 108-minute Richard Linklater sequel to “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” a bitter married couple (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) are slowly moving apart after meeting on a train in Vienna years earlier and now spend their vacation in Greece discussing their twin daughters (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior), reminiscing about their marriage, and constantly bickering.
“The Bling Ring” (R) (2.5) [Teen drug and alcohol use, and language, including some brief sexual references.] — An intriguing, factually inspired, cameo-dotted (Leslie Mann, Kirsten Dunst, and Paris Hilton), 90-minute, Sofia Coppola film, which is based on Nancy Jo Sales “Vanity Fair” article “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” about a group of bored, privileged, designer-obsessed Los Angeles teenagers (Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Claire Julian, and Taissa Farmiga) who blatantly and nonchalantly rob the homes of wealthy celebrities in the Hollywood Hills after tracking their whereabouts on the Internet.
“Chasing Ice” (PG-13) (4) [Brief strong language.] [DVD only] — Phenomenal, breathtaking, jaw-dropping photography dominates scientist and “National Geographic” photographer James Balog’s educational, discussion-provoking, critically acclaimed, 75-minute, 2012 documentary that shows irrefutable evidence of the drastic effects and impact of global warming through time-lapsed photography over more than a three-year-period in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana using numerous cameras at various locations, including Alaska’s Columbia and Mendenhall glaciers, Greenland’s Llulissat and Stores glaciers, Montana’s Glacier National Park, and Iceland’s Solheim glacier, and interviews with “National Geographic” editor Dennis Dimich, Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) photographer assistant Svavar Jonatansson, photographer and Oscar-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, Aspen Institute member Kitty Boone, “National Geographic” editor Dr. Sylvia Earle, EIS engineer Adam LeWinter, Ohio State University climatologist Dr. Jason Box, EIS videographer Jeff Orlowski, University of Colorado glaciologist Dr. Tad Pfeffer, National Center for Atmospheric Research oceanographer Dr. Synte Peacock and Senior Scientist Dr. Gerald Meehl, Stanford University Woods Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Terry Root, University of Arizona Director of Tree-Ring Research Dr. Thomas Swetnam, and former Central Intelligence Director R. James Woosley.
“Dirty Wars” (NR) (3.5) — Tenacious, veteran, investigative, Brooklyn war journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote the bestselling book “Blackwater” and writes for “The Nation,” magazine, narrates his powerful, educational, eye-opening, thought-provoking, critically acclaimed, 90-minute documentary that chronicles his diligent attempt to expose the global “war on terror” role of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the numerous murders of innocent citizens in war-torn countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia by American soldiers during covert nighttime raids and consists of interviews with the families of innocent victims to gather their heartbreaking stories to encourage Congress and American military leaders to take responsibility for their actions and to consider these victims not merely “collateral damage.”
“Epic” (PG) (3.5) [Mild action, some scary images, and brief rude language.] [DVD only] — A colorful, family-oriented, action-packed, 3D, entertaining, 102-minute animated film about a headstrong, 17-year-old girl (voiceover by Amanda Seyfried) who ends up being magically shrunk in size during a storm while visiting her estranged, eccentric scientist father (voiceover by Jason Sudeikis) and then tries to help the beautiful “mother nature” queen (voiceover by Beyoncé Knowles), a hummingbird-riding leaf warrior (voiceover by Colin Farrell), an immature wannabe warrior (voiceover by Josh Hutcherson), and other forest inhabitants (voiceovers by, Steven Tyler, Chris O’Dowd, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Allison Bills, Edie Mirman, John DiMaggio, et al.) to save their lush, green world from a power-hungry, destructive leader (voiceover by Christopher Waltz) and his minions (voiceovers by Blake Anderson, Jason Fricchione, et al.) who are bent on killing the forest.
“Inside Man” (R) (2.5) [Language and some violent images.] [DVD only] — After a clever and cocky bank robber (Clive Owen) and his jumpsuit-wearing cohorts take hostages at a New York City bank in this twist-filled, cliché-sprinkled Spike Lee film, an intense detective (Denzel Washington) and his team (Willem Dafoe, et al.) work to resolve the crisis while a nervous bank founder (Christopher Plummer) hires a tough, well-connected woman (Jodie Foster) to safeguard a reputation-damaging secret from his past.
“V for Vendetta” (R) (3) [Strong violence and some language.] [DVD only] — When a masked burn victim (Hugo Weaving) uses unconventional methods to seek revenge against his Nazi-like captors responsible for monstrous, biochemical warfare experiments and to inspire and give hope to a British television network employee (Natalie Portman) and the other oppressed people (Stephen Fry, et al.) living in Orwellian London in this futuristic film thriller with striking photography and sets, the chief police inspector (Stephen Rea) tries to uncover the identity of the popular terrorist while the maniacal government leader (John Hurt) tries to cover up the terrorist’s agenda and vendetta.
“World War Z” (PG-13) (3) [Intense frightening zombie sequences, violence, and disturbing images.] — When a deadly disease breaks out worldwide that turns victims into zombies within twelve seconds and threatens all of mankind in this suspenseful, violent, intriguing, well-paced, star-dotted (James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, and David Morse), 3D, 2-hour thriller based on the Max Brooks novel, a United Nations investigator (Brad Pitt), who lives with his wife (Mierelle Enos) and two daughters (Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove) in Philadelphia, travels to North Korea and Israel to search for patient zero and then heads to Wales to find a possible cure and vaccine.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.