by Wendy Schadewald
Special to Sun Thisweek-Dakota County Tribune
Rating system: (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
For more reviews, click here.
“Beowulf” (PG-13) (3.5) [Intense sequences of violence, including disturbing images, some sexual material, and nudity.] [DVD only] — When the confident, well-toned Viking warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) and fourteen of his sword-wielding men arrive in Denmark in 507 A.D. to help the cursed king (Anthony Hopkins) and his wise queen (Robin Wright Penn) slay the raging, pain-filled, monstrous, flesh-eating creature Grendel (Crispin Hellion Glover) that has plagued their mythical kingdom in this 3-D, exquisitely digitally enhanced live action, violent, star-studded (John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson, Alison Lohman, Costas Mandylor, et al.) film that is based on the legendary epic poem, dominated by stunning visual imagery, and peppered with sophisticated humor, the slayer is not prepared for the long-term, far-reaching consequences exacted by the monster’s seductive, vengeful, dragon-tailed mother (Angelina Jolie).
“Earrings of Madame De” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A captivating, black-and-white 1953 farce about a well-traveled pair of valuable diamond earrings that ironically and surprisingly finds their way back to a faint-prone coquettish countess (Danielle Darrieux) in Vienna after she secretly pawned them to an untrustworthy jeweler (Jean Debucourt), who in turn sells them back to her adulterous husband (Charles Boyer) who gives them as a keepsake to his roulette-playing mistress (Lia Di Leo) as she leaves for Constantinople, where a handsome baron (Vittorio De Sica) buys the earrings and eventually gives them to his mistress.
“Live by Night” (R) (3.5) [Strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity.] — A multilayered, well-acted, violent, star-studded (Chris Cooper, Elle Fanning, Anthony Michael Hall, Scott Eastwood, Chris Sullivan, Miguel, Titus Welliver, Clark Gregg, and Matthew Maher), 128-minute film based on Dennis Lehane’s novel in which a gangster (Ben Affleck) in 1926 Boston disappoints his veteran police captain father (Brendan Gleeson) when he leads a life of crime and lands in jail, recklessly becomes smitten with the girlfriend (Sienna Miller) of an Irish mobster (Robert Glenister), and then ends up being a bootlegger running rum and speakeasies for an Italian don (Remo Girone) with his longtime, trusted partner (Chris Messina) in Tampa during the Prohibition and falling in love with a beautiful Cuban (Zoe Saldana).
“Love in the Time of Cholera” (R) (3.5) [Sexual content/nudity and brief language.] [DVD only] — After a smitten Colombia telegraph operator (Unax Ugalde) proposes to a beautiful Catholic girl (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and she is forced by her wealthy, widowed father (John Leguizamo) to reject his proposal in 1879 and ultimately ends up marrying a handsome, Paris-educated doctor (Benjamin Bratt) in this touching, sad, and beautifully photographed film based on Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel, the spurned lover (Javier Bardem) falls into a deep depression and spends the next 51 years bedding more than 600 hundred women and dreaming of his reunion with his long lost love.
“Monster Trucks” (PG) (3) [Action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor.] — After an oil company discovers subterranean, intelligent, oil-eating creatures while drilling in North Dakota in this entertaining, family-friendly, humorous, star-dotted (Rob Lowe, Holt McCallany, Amy Ryan, and Frank Whaley), 104-minute film based on Matthew Robinson’s story, a kindhearted, mechanically inclined high school student (Lucas Till), a smitten classmate (Jane Levy), a change-of-heart scientist (Thomas Lennon), a disable junkyard owner (Danny Glover), and a sheriff (Barry Pepper ) end up banding together to save the friendly, octopus-like animals.
“Patriots Day” (R) (3.5) [Violence, realistically graphic injury images, language throughout, and some drug use.] — After the two Muslim Tsarnaev brothers (Themo Melikidz and Alex Wolff) terrorize Boston by detonating two homemade bombs one block apart during the Boston Marathon on Apr. 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring numerous bystanders and competitors (Christopher O’Shea, Rachel Brosnahan, et al.) in this intense, well-acted, superbly paced, gut-wrenching, star-dotted (Michelle Monaghan, Melissa Benoist, and Peter Berg), 133-minute film, dedicated Boston cops (Mark Wahlberg, J. K. Simmons, Jake Picking, et al.), the police commissioner (John Goodman), the police superintendent (James Colby), the Massachusetts governor (Michael Beach), and FBI agents (Kevin Bacon, et al.) lock own the city to find the terrorists.
“Underworld: Blood Wars” (R) (2) [Strong bloody violence, and some sexuality.] — A dark, violent, action-packed, fast-paced, 3D, 91-minute thriller in which a martial-arts savvy vampire (Kate Beckinsale) and a vampire-lycan hybrid (Theo James) are betrayed by a power-hungry vampire (Lara Pulver) when they accept an invitation by a coven of vampires (Charles Dance, James Falkner, Peter Andersson, Clementine Nicholson, et al.) to help train new blood-sucking recruits for an eventual showdown with a lycan leader (Tobias Menzies) and his wolf pack (Oliver Stark, et al.).
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.