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)
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“Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa” (R) (2) [Language, brief violence, and nudity.] — When a widowed, disgruntled English DJ (Colm Meaney) takes employees (Monica Dolan, et al.) hostage at British radio station after he is fired by the new owners in this wacky, predictable, 91-minute, 2013 comedy, an eccentric, divorced radio talk show host (Steve Coogan) ends up being the unlikely liaison between his friend and the police (Jaspar Badwell, Paul Blackwell, et al.).
“All About My Mother” (R) (3.5) [Sexuality, including strong sexual dialogue, language, and some drug content.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Pedro Almodóvar’s 1999 film about a mother (Cecilia Roth) who loses her teenage son (Eloy Azorín) and returns to Barcelona to find his father (Toni Cantó) and receives comfort from a transvestite hooker (Antonia San Juan), a pregnant nun (Penélope Cruz), and a gay actress (Marisa Paredes).
“All the King’s Men” (PG-13) (2.5) [An intense sequence of violence, sexual content, and partial nudity.] [DVD only] — A star-studded cast (Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Kathy Baker, et al.) is the highlight of this well-acted, but convoluted remake of the 1949 film based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Robert Penn Warren novel about down-and-dirty politics in Louisiana and the rise of a charismatic door-to-door salesman (Sean Penn) in New Orleans to the governor’s office in the early 1950s.
“Brick Mansions” (PG-13) (3) [Frenetic gunplay, violence and action throughout, language, sexual menace, and drug material.] — When a Russian neutron bomb is allegedly stolen by a cook-loving, drug-dealing arms dealer (RZA) and his thugs (Grouchy Boy, Ayisha Issa, Robert Maillet, et al.) in this action-packed, bullet-riddled, fast-paced, 90-minute remake of the 2006 French film “District B13,” the duplicitous Detroit mayor (Richard Zeman) sends in an undercover narcotics detective (Paul Walker), who teams up with an agile, concerned projects resident (David Belle) whose ex-girlfriend (Catalina Denis) has been kidnapped, to save the day.
“Flyboys” (PG-13) (3.5) [War action violence and some sexual content.] [DVD only] — Amazing bullet-riddled, high-flying acrobatics during aerial combat missions are the highlight of this factually inspired film about a cocky Texan (James Franco) who falls in love with a beautiful French woman (Jennifer Decker) when he volunteers to serve in the French military with other greenhorn American fighter pilots (David Ellison, Philip Winchester, Abdul Salis, Tyler Labine, Michael Jibson, et al.) led by compassionate French officers (Jean Reno and Martin Henderson) to shoot down German planes during World War I.
“Half Nelson” (R) (3) [Drug content throughout, language, and some sexuality.] [DVD only] — A coke-addicted history teacher (Ryan Gosling) and his African-American, inner-city junior high school student (Shareeka Epps), who is being used by a local drug dealer (Anthony Mackie), gravitate toward each other in an unconscious attempt to straighten out their messed up lives.
“Haven” (R) (2) Language, drug use, sexual content, and some violence.] [DVD only] — While a shady Miami businessman (Bill Paxton) in cahoots with a dishonest banker (Stephen Dillane) escapes to the Cayman Island with his teenage daughter (Agnes Bruckner) and a federal agent (Bobby Cannavale) hot on their tails in this hard to follow film done in flashbacks, a local dude (Orlando Bloom) just wants to be with the woman (Zoe Zaldana) he loves to the chagrin of her hardnosed father (Robert Wisdom) and hotheaded brother (Anthony Mackie).
“The Other Woman” (R) (3) [Some sexual references.] — When a gullible Connecticut housewife (Leslie Mann) discovers that her scheming husband (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is cheating on her with a sexy, hotshot New York lawyer (Cameron Diaz), who has a feisty father (Don Johnson) and a luscious-booty assistant (Nicki Minaj), in this funny, entertaining, predictable, 109-minute, chick-flick comedy, they unlikely become friends and team up with a second mistress (Kate Upton) to give him his just desserts.
“The War Tapes” (NR) (4) [DVD only] — An unfiltered, jarring, sobering, and eye-opening Deborah Scranton documentary in which several New Hampshire National Guard soldiers, primarily Michael Moriarity, Steve Pink, and Zack Bazzi, used digital video cameras to film their intense, life-changing day-to-day experiences as they arrived and served at the frontlines in Iraq in 2004.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.