Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of Feb. 3

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)

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“Gold” (R) (3) [Language throughout and some sexuality/nudity.] — An intriguing, well-acted, factually inspired, multifaceted, star-studded (Stacy Keach, Rachael Taylor, Bruce Greenwood, Cory Stoll, Craig T. Nelson, Toby Kebbell, Adam LeFevre, Bill Camp, and Macon Blair), 121-minute film in which a paunchy, balding, down-on-his-luck mining executive (Matthew McConaughey), who has a devoted waitress girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) in Nevada, heads to the jungles of Indonesia in 1988 to team up with a gold prospector (Edgar Ramirez) and then finds himself on one long, tumultuous roller coaster ride from becoming the toast of Wall Street to being investigated for fraud by the FBI.

 

“August Rush” (PG) (3.5) [Some thematic elements, mild violence, and language.] [DVD only] — While a New York City homeless man (Robin Williams) tries to take advantage of the outstanding talents of an upbeat, confident, orphaned musical prodigy (Freddie Highmore) who is searching for his parents through his music in this heartwarming, entertaining, family-oriented film punctuated with memorable music, a professional cellist (Keri Russell) begins the search for the son she never knew she had after the death of her father (William Sadler) with the help of a state social worker (Terrence Howard) and an Irish singer/guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) searches for the woman who never left his dreams.

 

“The Bubble” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — When an Israeli music store salesman (Ohad Knoller) and part-time army reserve soldier brings home a Palestinian lover (Yousef Sweid) to the apartment he shares in Tel Aviv with a gay café manager (Alon Freidmann) and a soap salesclerk (Danielle Wircer) who are all looking for love in this poignant, powerful, bittersweet film, their lives are forever changed by the passion and love they share.

 

“Hitman” (R) (2.5) [Strong bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity.] [DVD only] — When highly trained, skilful, ghost-like assassin number 47 (Timothy Olyphant) learns that he has been set up after fulfilling a contract on the Russian president (Henry Ian Cusick) in St. Petersburg and then ends up kidnapping the only eyewitness (Olga Kurylenko) to the murder in this action-packed, fast-paced, twist-filled thriller based on a videogame, an English Interpol inspector (Dougray Scott) is hot on his trail through eastern Europe to the chagrin of a disgruntled, duplicitous Russian cop (Robert Knepper).

 

“I’m Not There” (R) (2.5) [Language, some sexuality, and nudity.] [DVD only] — Nostalgic folk music, including “The Times They Are A-Changin,” highlights this surreal, disconnected, unconventional, creative, star-studded (Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, et al.) biographical film in which Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Ben Whishaw literally play the many faces of the legendary singer and songwriter Bob Dylan during different stages of his life; primarily for Bob Dylan aficionados.

 

“Nanking” (NR) (3) {Partially subtitled] [DVD only] — An in-depth, gut-wrenching, powerful Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman documentary, which is based on the novel “The Rape of Nanking,” that consists of shocking photos and archival film footage detailing the Japanese destruction of and atrocities in Nanking, emotional readings from diaries and letters of western relief workers (such as American surgeon Bob Wilson [Woody Harrelson], Nazi businessman John Rabe [Jürgen Prochnow], missionary college dean Minni Nautrin [Mariel Hemingway], missionary George Fitch [John Getz], minister John Magee [Hugo Armstrong], and sociology professor Lewis Smythe [Stephen Dorff]) who established a walled safety zone in attempt to save Chinese civilians, candid and surprising interviews with Japanese soldiers and sailors, and Chinese survivors recount their traumatic experiences during the Japanese occupation of Nanking between 1937-1938 when they massacred and raped thousands.

 

“One Last Dance” (PG-13) (2) [Brief strong language.] [DVD only] — Striking ballet dance routines are the only reason to watch is otherwise lackluster 2003 film in which emotions run high and painful memories surface when three estranged dancers (Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi, and George De La Pena) reunite after 7 years to perform the “Without a Word” ensemble piece after the artistic director (Matthew Walker) of their former New York City dance company suddenly dies.

 

“Toni Erdmann” (R) (3) [Strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language, and brief drug use.] [Partially subtitled] — A highly quirky, fascinating, overly long, Oscar-nominated,162-minute comedy about the dysfunctional relationship of an eccentric, oddball, lonely, retired German music teacher (Peter Simonischek) who goes to Bucharest, Romania, to try and reconnect with his controlling, bigwig oil industry consultant daughter (Sandra Huller) as she attempts to close a deal with the help of her assistant (Ingrid Bisu) and coworkers (Thomas Loibl, Trystan Putter, et al.).

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.