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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“22 Jump Street” (R) (3) [Language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity, and some violence.] — A wacky, silly, funny, pratfall, star-dotted (Queen Latifah, Peter Storemare, Nick Offerman, David Franco, and Amber Stevens), 112-minute, comedic sequel in which the Metro City police captain (Ice Cube) sends two inept cops (Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill) undercover as college students to determine the identity of a drug dealer.
“Facing the Giants” (PG) (2) [Some thematic elements.] [DVD only] — When a despondent, down-on-his luck coach (Alex Kendrick) at a Christian academy learns that he and his encouraging wife (Shannen Fields) may not be able to have a baby and that his coaching job may be in jeopardy if his football team does not start winning games in this preachy, heavy-handed, religious film, he turns to God for guidance and begins preaching the power of the Bible in the locker room and on the gird iron to ignite a spiritual fire and winning team spirit in his high school players (Bailey Cave, Jason McLeod, et al.).
“The Grand Seduction” (PG-13) (4) [Some suggestive material and drug references.] — A delightfully charming, hilarious, heartwarming, 2-hour, 2013 comedy based on the 2003 film “Seducing Dr. Lewis” in which a wheeling-dealing, Newfoundland mayor (Brendan Gleeson) and desperate, welfare-dependent townsfolk (Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Rhonda Rodgers. et al.) of a small coastal harbor (aka village) that has lost its fishing industry spend one month trying to coerce a hotshot, handsome, cocaine-snorting, cricket-loving, engaged, plastic surgeon (Taylor Kitsch) to be the town’s permanent doctor in order to entice unethical corporate bigwigs to build a “petrochemical byproduct repurposing” factory that will generate much-needed jobs.
“The Great Beauty” (aka “La Grande Bellezza”) (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Iconic Italian landscapes and structures such as the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, and stone arch bridges highlight this unusual, artsy, Oscar-winning, 146minute, 2013 film filled with gorgeous cinematography in which a 65-year-old, charismatic, Italian journalist (Toni Servillo) reminisces about life while taking the audience on a tour of Rome and Tuscany as he attends wild parties at nightclubs, watches an aging stripper (Sabrina Ferilli) at a strip club, visits with old friends (Carlo Verdone, et al.), argues with his flamboyant editor (Giovanna Vignola), attends live art performed by a nude artist, beds beautiful women (Isabella Ferrari), and attends a funeral of former girlfriend (Annaluisa Capasa).
“Jesus Camp” (PG-13) (3.5) [Some discussions of mature subject matter.] [DVD only] — An alarming, unsettling, eye-opening documentary that gives insight into the Evangelical brainwashing process of vulnerable and receptive fundamentalist Christian children across America at religious camps such as Kids on Fire at Devil’s Lake, ND, and megachurchs by feverish Evangelical leaders, including Pentecostal pastor Becky Fischer and minister Ted Haggard, through their hard-hitting ministry to advance rightwing, ultra conservative religious beliefs that includes antiabortion indoctrination.
“The Last King of Scotland” (R) (3.5) [Some strong violence and gruesome images, sexual content, and language.] [DVD only] — A powerful, Oscar-worthy, factually inspired thriller about an adventure-seeking, naïve Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) who escapes from his parents (David Ashton and Barbara Rafferty) to Uganda in 1970 at the height of Idi Amin’s coup and is initially seduced and eventually trapped into being the personal physician and advisor to the charismatic, murderous, megalomaniac, dictator (Forest Whitaker) who was overthrown in 1979.
“Legendary Weapons of China” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Phenomenally synchronized choreography, stunning aerial stunts, and multiple impersonations highlight this convoluted, but delightfully whimsical Lau Kar-leung 1982 Chinese film in which three assassins, including a fearsome clansman (Lau Kar-wing) who hires a hilarious conman (Alexander Fu Sheng), a young killer (Hsiao Hou) who poses as a postman, and an expert boxer (Gordon Lau Kar-fai), use a combination of spiritual boxing and magical fighting techniques in their diligent attempt to kill an alleged renegade leader (Lau Kar-leung) living the simple life as a woodcutter, who is highly skilled in the use of eighteen weapons (that is, twin blades, sword, single blade, tassel spear, double tiger hook sword, double hammer, snake halberd, double axes, broadblade, three-sectioned chain whip, double dagger, double crutch, monk’s spade, stick, three-prong fork, shield, tie-sheet blade, and three-sectioned staff).
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.