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)
“Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction” (R) (3.5) [Strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language, and some drug content.] [DVD only] — In this taut and suspenseful sequel to the 1996 psychological thriller, a prominent London psychoanalyst (David Morrissey) gets tangled in the murderous web of a seductive, control-devouring, risk-seeking, narcissistic novelist (Sharon Stone) after the suspicious death of a soccer player (Stan Collymore) as she mesmerizes and manipulates everyone around her, including the therapist’s ex-wife (Indira Varma), a dubious detective (David Thewlis), a well-respected psychiatrist (Charlotte Rampling), and an aggressive tabloid journalist (Hugh Dancy).
“C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” (NR) (2) [DVD only] — An intentionally offensive, tongue-in-cheek, satirical pseudo documentary that explores the question of how history would have changed and what life would be like in the United States if General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army had won the Civil War.
“Garçon Stupide” (NR) (2) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A sexually explicit film about a cynical, gay, and exceedingly blunt chocolate factory worker (Pierre Chatagny) in Switzerland who aspires to be a photographer, shares an apartment with his longtime straight roommate (Natacha Koutchoumov), and eventually begins to reevaluate his shallow life of cruising the Internet for one-night stands after stimulating conversations with an older man (Lionel Baier) that opens his eyes to the possibility of finding love.
“The Lone Ranger” (PG-13) (3.5) [Sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material.] — Terrific dialogue and stunt work dominate this surprisingly funny, highly entertaining, well-acted, action-packed, well-paced, star-dotted (Helen Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, and James Frain), 145-minute comedic western in which a Texas district attorney (Armie Hammer) reluctantly teams up with an ostracized Comanche (Johnny Depp) in 1869 after a ruthless, flesh-eating, silver-hungry outlaw (William Fichtner) and his gang (Harry Treadaway, Joaquín Cosio, W. Earl Brown, et al.) kill his Texas ranger brother (James Badge Dale) and then they try to find his kidnapped sister-in-law (Ruth Wilson) and her son (Bryant Prince).
“Thank You for Smoking” (R) (3) [Language and some sexual content.] [DVD only] — A hard-hitting, hilarious, star filled satire (Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, Mario Bello, Katie Holmes, Sam Elliott, et al.) about a smooth, slick-talking tobacco lobbyist (Aaron Eckhart) who walks a dangerous tightrope in Washington, D.C., as he spins a good yarn about the benefits of cigarettes while trying to be a role model as he show his precocious 12-year-old son (Cameron Bright) the ways of the world.
“Stella Days” (NR) (3.5) [DVD only] — A charming, engaging, 90-minute, 2011 film, which is inspired by Michael Doorley’s memoir, about a discontented, movie-loving, Irish priest (Martin Sheen) who becomes unpopular when he hires the new schoolteacher (Trystan Gravelle) and then initially gets into trouble with the bishop (Tom Hickey) and the town big shot (Stephen Rae) and his prudish wife (Derbhlia Crotty) but to the delight of other Tipperary townsfolk (Joseph O’ Sullivan, Amy Huberman, Marcella Plunkett, et al.) when he decides to open a movie theater in 1956.
“Twenty Feet from Stardom” (PG-13) (3) [Some strong language and sexual material.] — A fascinating, educational, historically based, 90 minute documentary about the careers of background singers such as Darlene Love, Patti Austin, Susaye Greene, Rose Stone, Merry Clayton, Lynn Mabry, Janice Pendarvis, Jo Lawry, Edna Wright, Cindy Mizelle, Charlotte Crosley, Gloria Jones, Tata Vega, Judith Hill, David Lesley, Claudia Lennear, Dr. Mable John, Stevi Alexander, The Blossoms, and The Waters Family who worked for legendary stars, including Bette Midler, Cher, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and Mick Jagger, and consists of archival film and muscial clips and interviews with backup singers, music historian Warren Zanes, jazz trumpeter Chris Rotti, music biographer David Ritz, producer Lou Adler, vocalist contractor Bill Maxwell, and critical studies professor Dr. Todd Boyd.
“Unfinished Song” (PG-13) (3) [Some sexual references and rude gestures.] — A charming, low-key, heart-tugging, predictable, well-acted, low-budget, 93-minute 2012 film in which a crotchety, standoffish, impatient retired Englishman (Terence Stamp), who is watched over by his estranged mechanic son (Christopher Eccleston) and his precocious granddaughter (Orla Hill), surprisingly joins the unconventional OAP’Z choir group at their local community center led by a charismatic, devoted, volunteer music teacher (Gemma Arterton) to honor his beloved, joyous, cancer-stricken wife (Vanessa Redgrave) after her death and eventually joins the eclectic members to compete in an annual choir competition.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.