Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of July 25

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 more reviews, click here.

“And So It Goes” (PG-13) (3) [Some sexual references and drug elements.] — After a grouchy, widowed, self-absorbed Connecticut realtor (Michael Douglas) ends up caring for his estranged granddaughter (Sterling Jerins) when his son (Scott Shepherd) is sent to prison in this charming, low-key, star-dotted (Rob Reiner, Frances Sternhagen, Frank Valli, and Yaya DaCosta), 94-minute, Rob Reiner romantic comedy, he mellows out as he finds himself falling for his lounge-singing next door neighbor (Diane Keaton).

“Death of a President” (R) (4) [Brief violent images.] [DVD only] — A highly-controversial, captivating, unsettling, and eerily realistic pseudo documentary/mock drama that uses fictional flip clips, news reel footage, and interviews with a former special advisor to the president (Becky Ann Baker), a joint terrorism task force member (Christian Stolte), a former head of the presidential protection detail (Brian Boland), potential suspects (Malik Bader, Neko Parham, et al.), a first deputy superintendent for the Chicago police department (Robert Mangiardi), a Secret Service agent (Michael Reilly Burke), a former White House correspondent for the Washington Post (Jay Patterson), and a former FBI forensic examiner (James Urbaniak) to speculate about the events leading up to and the aftermath of the unsurprising assassination of President George W. Bush on Oct. 19, 2007, at the Chicago Sheraton amidst a multitude of angry protestors after his speech at the Economic Club and to explore the turbulent, emotionally charged political climate in the United States that fueled the murder.

“Hellion” (NR) (2.5) — When an angry, 13-year-old boy (Josh Wiggins), who lives with his hard-drinking, widowed, blue-collar father (Aaron Paul) in Texas, runs with the wrong crowd (Dalton Sutton, et al.) and gets into trouble with the law in this heartbreaking, gritty, realistic, 94-minute film, life gets more chaotic for him when a social worker removes his younger brother (Deke Garner) from the home to live with his aunt (Juliette Lewis).

“I Origins” (R) (2.5) [Some sexuality/nudity and language.] — Seven years after an atheistic, skeptical molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) in New York City lost his fiancée (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) in a tragic accident and he married his lab partner (Brit Marling) with whom he studied eyes that often have been called “mirrors to the soul” in this slow-paced, albeit intriguing, predictable, 113-minute film, they are shocked to learn that an Indian girl (Kashish) may have identical iris patterns to his dead fiancée.

“Lucy” (R) (3) [Strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality.] — When a wacky blond American (Scarlett Johansson) gets a powerful, mind-altering, synthetic blue crystal drug surgically implanted in her abdomen in Tapei and then finds her brain function rapidly increasing after the pouch ruptures in this riveting, thought-provoking, violent, farfetched  uneven, 85-minute, Luc Besson sci-fi thriller reminiscent of “Limitless” and highlighted by colorful, terrific cinematography and high-speed action, she retaliates against a tenacious, ruthless gangster (Min-sik Choi) and his henchmen while seeking the aid of French police captain (Amr Waked) in Paris and a brilliant scientist (Morgan Freeman) who is researching cerebral capacity.

“A Most Wanted Man” (R) (3) [Language.] — When a tortured half-Chechen, half-Russian Muslim (Grigorly Dobrygin) enters Hamburg illegally and tries to access more than 10 million Euros of his father’s ill-gotten money held in a private bank in this engaging, suspenseful, complex, thought-provoking, 2-hour political thriller, which is slow paced, uneven, and based on John le Carré’s novel, a chain-smoking German agent (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a compassionate amnesty lawyer (Rachel McAdams), and a smitten banker (Willem Dafoe) try to determine whether he is a Jihad terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda while American CIA operatives (Robin Wright, et al.) plan their own agenda.

“Shortbus” (NR) (1) [DVD only] — While a Chinese couples counselor (Sook-Yin Lee) goes to a sex club in New York City to observe its members (Lindsay Beamish, Raphael Barker, Peter Stickles, et al.) in orgasmic orgies in the hopes of finding her own never-achieved orgasm in this graphic, sexually explicit, and shallow film, a limber, suicidal lifeguard (Paul Dawson) is terrified of opening up emotionally to his lovesick partner (P.J. DeBoy) and uses the medium of film to try and express his inner feelings.

“Stolen” (NR) (2.5) [DVD only] — This fascinating documentary for museum aficionados centers on the still unsolved, largest art heist in history and focuses primarily on skin-cancer-afflicted art detective Harold J. Smith and his 15-year search for the thirteen classical paintings, including five Degas, one Manet, one Flinck, three Rembrandt, and Vermeer’s “The Concert,” stolen by two cop-posing thieves in March 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston and consists of readings from letters written by Grand Dame Isabella Stewart Gardner (voice by Blythe Danner) and Bernard Berenson (voice by Campbell Scott) and interviews with a FBI special agent, a Boston Herald reporter, art historian Tracy Chevalier, writer Susan Vreeland, and a Vermeer biographer.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.