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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“Deep Water” (PG) (3) [Thematic elements, mild language and incidental smoking.] [DVD only] — Tilda Swinton narrates this suspense-building, heartrending documentary that consists of archival photographs and film footage, commentary by journalists and television reporters, and interviews with family members to recount the valiant and tragic attempt of the daring English engineer Donald Crowhurst, a weekend sailor, to sail around the world alone when he left his wife and four children on Oct. 31, 1968, and entered a harrowing and grueling 33,000-mile yacht race to compete with eight other men for a 5,000-pound prize.
“Elling” (R) (4) [Language and some sexual content.] [Subtitled.] [DVD only] — A hysterically funny 2002 Norwegian comedy in which two longtime roommates (Per Christian Ellefsen and Sven Nordin) try to cope living together in a government-subsidized Oslo apartment after being released from a mental institution.
“The Golden Compass” (PG-13) (3) [Sequences of fantasy violence.] [DVD only] — Phenomenal special effects and magical sets dominate this imaginative, action-packed, cameo-studded (Daniel Craig, Ian McShane, Christopher Lee, Kristin Scott Thomas, Kathy Bates, Derek Jacobi, et al.), but convoluted fantasy film about a cheeky and courageous 12-year-old orphan (Dakota Blue Richards) with has a truth-divulging compass who is joined by her shape-shifting daemon companion (voiceover by Freddie Highmore), a fiercely loyal armor-wearing bear (voiceover by Ian McKellen), an adventurous Zeppelin-piloting aviator (Sam Elliott), and arrow-wielding witches (Eva Green, et al.) when she searches for her best friend (Ben Walker) and other missing children (Charlie Rowe, et al.) after goblins kidnap them on the order of a mysterious and powerful woman (Nicole Kidman); too violent and confusing for young children.
“Kong: Skull Island” (PG-13) (3) [Intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language.] — When an Army lieutenant colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) and his soldiers (Toby Kebbell, Shea Whigham, Jason Mitchell, Thomas Mann, Eugene Cordero, et al.) head out from Bangkok, Thailand, to escort a team of explorers, including a duplicitous scientist (John Goodman), a jungle tracker (Tom Hiddleston), a photojournalist (Brie Larson), a geologist (Corey Hawkins), and a biologist (Tian Jing), to a mysterious, uncharted island in the South Pacific in 1973 in this entertaining, action-packed, fast-paced, suspenseful, star-studded (John C. Reilly, John Ortiz, Richard Jenkins, and Robert Taylor), 3D, 2-hour film highlighted by amazing special effects and based on story by John Gatins, they end up in a battle with a giant gorilla (Toby Kebbell) that protects a grateful tribe of people on the island from a horde of gargantuan, hungry creatures.
“Logan” (R) (3.5) [Strong brutal violence and language throughout, and brief nudity.] — A gripping, thrilling, action-packed, violent, well-acted, 3D, 135-minute film based on the Marvel “X-Men” franchise in which aging Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who hires himself out as a chauffeur and tries to protect seizure-prone Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a sun-allergic mutant (Stephen Merchant) in a rundown hovel in the desert near Mexico, reluctantly escorts his daughter (Dafne Keen), who also has retractable daggers, to North Dakota in 2029 to search for her genetically engineered mutant friends (Hannah Westerfield, Bryce Romero, Aidan Kennedy, Chester Rushing, Vincenzo Lucatorto, Chase Cubia, Nayah Murphy, Haley Glass. Kelton DuMont, et al.) while all of them are hunted by a mad scientist (Richard E. Grant) and his henchmen (Boyd Holbrook, Krzysztof Soszynski, et al.).
“The Ottoman Lieutenant” (R) (3) [Some war violence.] [Subtitled] — Gorgeous cinematography highlights this engaging, well-acted, unpredictable, mild violence, 109-minute romantic film in which a striking, headstrong, Christian nurse (Hera Hilmar) leaves her stunned, worried parents (Paul Barrett and Jessica Turner) in Philadelphia to deliver her deceased brother’s much-needed truck and medical supplies to a remote American mission hospital founded by a hotheaded doctor (Ben Kingsley) in Istanbul in 1914 and then finds herself being pursued by a smitten American doctor (Josh Hartnett) and a handsome Muslim Turkish Imperial Army lieutenant (Michiel Huisman) while WWI rages around her when Russia sides with Germany and takes on Ottoman Empire soldiers (Haluk Bilginer, et al.) and Armenian rebels.
Red Lights (NR) (1.5) [Subtitled.] [DVD only] — When an alcoholic insurance employee (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) has a spat with his testy wife (Carole Bouquet) on a road trip to pick up their two children from summer camp in this dreary 2004 French film, the trip goes from bad to worse when she disappears and he gives a fugitive (Vincent Deniard) a lift.
“Revolver” (R) (1.5) [Violence, language, and some nudity.] [DVD only] — Bullets fly in this convoluted and violent 2005 film in which a gambling ex-con (Jason Statham) gets embroiled in an intricate con game involving a paranoid casino owner (Ray Liotta) and two conniving loan sharks (André Benjamin and Vincent Pastore).
“The Shack” (PG-13) (3.5) [Thematic material including some violence.] — After receiving an alleged note from God in his mailbox when his daughter (Amélie Eve) is murdered by a serial killer in a shack in the Oregon woods in this heart-tugging, faith-based, inspirational, thought-provoking, star-dotted (Tim McGraw, Graham Greene, and Alice Braga Moraes),132-minute film based on William P. Young’s bestselling 2007 novel and highlighted by gorgeous cinematography, a grieving father (Sam Worthington), who lives with his wife (Radha Mitchell) and two children (Megan Charpentier and Gage Munroe), returns to the scene of the crime and goes on a spiritual reawakening with God (Octavia Spencer), Jesus (Avraham Aviv Alush), and the Holy Spirit (Sumire Matsubara) trying to come to terms with his loss and anger.
“Table 19” (PG-13) (2) [Thematic elements, sexual content, drug use, language, and some brief nudity.] — A depressing, dark, intermittently funny, star-dotted (Margo Martindale, Amanda Crew, Andrew Daly, Andy Stahl, Becky Ann Baker, and Thomas Cocquerel), 87-minute comedy in which a group of alleged misfit losers, including a pregnant former maid of honor (Anna Kendrick) who was dumped by the bride’s brother (Wyatt Hawn Russell), an unhappy Ohio restaurateur couple (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson), a tall and lanky former prisoner (Stephen James Merchant), a shy Indian man (Anthony Revolori) desperate to meet someone, and a terminally-ill, pot-smoking nanny (June Squibb), try to make the most of it when they are assigned an out-of-the-way table at a wedding reception on an island.
“A United Kingdom” (PG-13) (3) [Some language, including racial epithets and a scene of sensuality.] — When African Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) falls in love and marries English typist Ruth Williams (Roseamund Pike), who lives with her parents (Nicholas Lyndhurst and Anastasia Hille) and sister (Laura Carmichael) in London, in 1947 and they return to Bechuanaland Protectorate (aka Bostwana) in this engaging, ire-producing, factually based, star-studded (Jack Davenport and Tom Felton), romantic, 111-minute film based on the novel by Susan Williams, it causes a political quagmire for the British government and fuels discord with his Bamangwate people and his disapproving ruling uncle (Vusi Kunene).
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.