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)
For past reviews, click here.
“Chronicle of an Escape” (R) (3) [Brutality and torture, nudity, and language.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — This gritty, violent, factually based, well-acted, critically acclaimed, 111-minute, 2006 thriller that chronicles the horrific and harrowing kidnapping of Argentinean soccer goalie Claudio Tamburrini (Rodrigo De la Serna) [Sweden granted him political asylum where he played amateur soccer and became a philosophy researcher] on Nov. 23, 1977, by corrupt, ruthless military junta members and his daring, dangerous escape with three fellow prisoners, including Guillermo Fernández (Nazareno Casero) [became an actor in France after escaping], El Gallego (Lautaro Delgado) [escaped to Spain], and El Vasco (Matías Marmorato) [imprisoned again and later freed to testify in 1985 against the military dictatorship], more than four months later from an armed compound in Buenos Aires.
“Don’t Come Knocking” (R) (3.5) [Language and brief nudity.] [DVD only] — After ditching his cowboy boots and responsibilities on a Western film set in Utah with an insurance investigator (Tim Roth) hot on his trail in this delightfully quirky Wim Wender film, an over-the-hill actor (Sam Shepard) does some soul searching as he reconnects with his estranged mother (Eva Marie Saint) in Nevada, learns that he might have a daughter (Sarah Polley), and discovers that a Montana waitress (Jessica Lange) he met while filming a movie 20 years earlier bore him a son (Gabriel Mann).
“Europa Report” (PG-13) (2) [Sci-fi action and peril.] — While six astronauts, including the captain (Daniel Wu), the pilot (Anamaria Marinca), the chief science officer (Christian Camargo), the science officer (Karolina Wydra), the chief engineer (Michael Nyquist), and the engineer (Sharlto Copley), onboard an international spaceship bound for deep space document their dangerous, thrilling journey to Jupiter in this lackluster, sci-fi, 90-minute mock documentary, the lead mission control planner (Embeth Davidtz) back on Earth speculates about their fate after not hearing from the crew when scheduled.
“I Give It a Year” (R) (2) [Sexual content, language, and some graphic nudity.] — While an unhappily married British marketing account executive (Rose Byrne) is doggedly pursued by a charming, handsome, tenacious American businessman (Simon Baker) in London in this predictable, star-dotted (Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant, and Jane Asher), 97-minute comedy, her nerdy, novelist husband (Rafe Spall) of barely one year, who is suffering from writer’s block, finds himself falling for a charity worker (Anna Faris).
“In a World…” (R) (2) [Language, including some sexual references.] — After her father (Fred Melamed) kicks her out of his apartment so that his much-younger girlfriend (Alexandra Holden) can move in with him in this wacky, low-key, quirky, star-dotted (Eva Longoria, Nick Offerman, and Geena Davis), 95-minute comedy, a California voice coach (Lake Bell), who dreams of being a successful voiceover artist, temporarily moves in with her sister (Michaela Watkins) and her husband (Rob Corddry) and then surprisingly ends up competing with her father and a one-night stand (Ken Marino) for a big voiceover gig with support of a longtime friend (Demetri Martin).
“Kick-Ass 2” (R) (2.5) [Strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity.] — When the skilled Bad Ass superhero (Chloë Grace Moretz) promises her detective guardian (Morris Chestnut) that she will hang up her mask and an evil, maniacal, rich, Motherf%&* kid (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has ruthless dad (Steven Mackintosh) in prison and a personal guardian (John Leguizamo) after he accidentally killed her mother (Yancy Butler), forms a group of super villains (Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Nyman, Olga Kurkulina, Tom, Wu, August Prew, et al.) to wreck havoc and mayhem in New York City in this action-packed, fast-paced, violent, 103-minute sequel peppered with foul language, she eventually joins forces with the teenage Nick-Ass superhero (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and members (Donald Faison, Clark Duke, Lindy Booth, et al.) of the Justice Forever league led by a born-again colonel (Jim Carrey) to take down the nasty super villains.
“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (PG-13) (4) [Some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements, and smoking.] — A compelling, poignant, eye-opening, factually based, star-studded (Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Clarence Williams III, Lenny Kravitz, and Alex Pettyfer), 132-minute film that chronicles the life of Cecil Gaines (Aml Ameen/Michael Rainey Jr./Forest Whitaker) from his difficult childhood working in the cotton fields with his parents (Mariah Carey and David Banner) in Macon, Ga., in the 1920s to working at the White House serving President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Robin Williams), President John F. Kennedy (James Marsden) and Jackie (Minka Kelly), President Lyndon Johnson (Liev Schreiber), President Richard Nixon (John Cusack), and President Ronald Regan (Alan Rickman) and Nancy (Jane Fonda) while dealing with his alcoholic, jealous wife (Oprah Winfrey) and raising two sons (David Oweloyo and Elijah Kelley), one of whom became estranged when he became involved in the civil rights movement as a college student at Fisk University.
“Lonesome Jim” (R) (2.5) [Language, some sexuality, and drug content.] [DVD only] — A somber mood reinforces this downbeat Steve Buscemi film in which a melancholic, broke dog walker (Casey Affleck) with dreams of being a writer gets a new perspective on life when he meets an upbeat nurse (Liv Tyler) with a young son (Jack Rovello) after he returns home to live with his parents (Mary Kay Place and Seymour Cassell) and depressed, divorced brother (Kevin Corrigan) in Indiana.
“Phat Girlz” (PG-13) (2.5) [Sexual content and language, including some crude sexual references.] [DVD only] — When a zaftig store clerk (Mo’Nique) meets a complimentary, sizzling Nigerian doctor (Jimmy Jean-Louis) while on vacation with her shy best friend (Kendra C. Johnson) and buff cousin (Joyful Drake) in Palm Springs in this lightweight romantic comedy, she eventually gains the confidence in herself to approach a Los Angeles clothing buyer (Eric Roberts) to help her pursue her dreams of being a plus-size fashion designer.
“The Wild” (G) (2.5) [DVD only] — When a lion cub (voiceover by Greg Cipes) searching for his roar runs away from his home in this family-friendly Walt Disney animated film, his worried father (voiceover by Keifer Sutherland), a lovestruck squirrel (voiceover by James Belushi), an anaconda snake, a giraffe (voiceover by Janeane Garofalo), and a koala bear (voiceover by Eddie Izzard) are in for an adventure as they leave the New York City zoo to find the little guy.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.