Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of May 12

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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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (PG-13) (4) [Sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and suggestive content.] — While the golden sovereign queen (Elizabeth Debicki) searches for the guardians (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and voiceovers by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) after priceless batteries are stolen n this entertaining, hokey, fun-filled, action-packed, star-studded (Sylvester Stallone, Karen Gillian, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, Chris Sullivan, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames, and Michelle Yeoh), 3D, 137-minute film highlighted by a wonderful soundtrack, the star-lord tries to get to know his duplicitous, power-hungry, diety father (Kurt Russell) he never knew.


“How She Move” (PG-13) (2.5) [Some drug content, suggestive material, and language.] [DVD only] After a bright and conscientious teenager (Rutina Wesley), who aspires to be a doctor, is forced to leave a private academy and return home to live with her Jamaican parents (Melanie Nicholls-King and Conrad Coates) in the projects due to the death of her older, drug-addicted sister in this upbeat, inspirational dance film, she joins a five-man crew (Dwain Murphy, Brennan Gademans, et al.) to compete against other steppers (Tré Armstrong, Clé Bennett, et al.) in Detroit in the hope of sharing in the $50,000 prize money.


“King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword” (PG-13) (3) [Sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content, and brief strong language.] — After his parents (Eric Bana and Poppy Delevingne) are murdered by his power-hungry uncle (Jude Law) who partnered with an evil sorcerer (Rob Knighton) to usurp the throne in Guy Ritchie’s unusual, action-packed, violent, entertaining, 3-D, star-studded (Annabelle Wallis, Katie McGrath, David Beckham, Peter Guinness, and Hermione Corfield), 126-minute film dominated by terrific special effects, Arthur Pendragon (Charlie Hunnam) reluctantly returns to Camelot to seek his revenge and to unite his oppressed people with the help of Merlin’s legendary sword Excalibur, a sorceress (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), and resistance fighters (Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Geoff Bell, Neil Maskell, Tom Wu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Freddie Fox, et al.) anxious to dethrone the king.


“Meet the Spartans” (PG-13) (0) [Crude and sexual content throughout, language, and some comic violence.] [DVD only] An inanely stupid, shameless, groan-inducing, embarrassing, satirical, parody that spoofs television shows and films, including “300,” “Heroes,” “Shrek,” “March of the Penguins,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Ugly Betty,” “Rocky,” “Spider-Man,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “American Idol,” “Ghost Rider,” “Deal or No Deal,” and “America’s Next Top Model,” as the Spartan king (Sean Maguire) leaves his horny wife (Carmen Elektra) at home and skips with his questionable six-pack soldiers (Kevin Sorbo, Travis Van Winkle, et al.) into battle against rotund Xerxes (Ken Davitian) and his Persian army.


“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.


“Over Her Dead Body” (PG-13) (.5) [Sexual content and language.] [DVD only] A sleep-inducing, poorly written excuse for a comedy about a part-time psychic (Lake Bell) in business with her smitten catering partner (Jason Biggs) who falls in love with a grieving, skeptical veterinarian (Paul Rudd) who has sought her help on the advice of his concerned sister (Lindsay Sloane) and in turn becomes the victim of his meddling, unhappy, ghostly fiancée (Eva Longoria Parker) who tragically died on her wedding day.


“Persepolis” (PG-13) (3) [Subtitled] [Mature thematic material that includes violent images, sexual references, language, and brief drug content.] [DVD only] A somber, Oscar-nominated, black-and-white, historically inspired French animated film that focuses on the life of a headstrong Iranian girl (voiceovers by Gabrielle Lopes and Chiara Mastroianni) growing up in Tehran beginning in 1978 with her politically active parents (voiceovers by Catherine Deneuve and Simon Abkarian) and tell-it-like-it-is grandmother (voiceover by Danielle Darrieux) under the politically repressive shah’s regime, continuing with her schooling in Vienna, and ending with her eventual return to her homeland in 1992.


“Snatched” (R) (3) [Crude sexual content, brief nudity, and language throughout.] — After a lazy thirty-something salesclerk (Amy Schumer) is unexpectedly fired from her job and then suddenly is dumped by her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) in this wacky, funny, risqué, entertaining, pratfall, star-dotted (Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Christopher Meloni, Colin Quinn, and Tim Choi), 91-minute comedy, she coerces her divorced, wary mother (Goldie Hawn) to leave her agoraphobic brother (Ike Barinholtz) at home and join her on a nonrefundable trip to Ecuador, but when she meets a hunky guy (Tom Bateman) at the hotel bar, they unfortunately end up dodging ruthless, drug-dealing locals (Andre Derizans, Damion Scandrick, and Óscar Jaenada) who have kidnapped them for a $100,000 ransom and then are forced to traipse through the Amazon jungle to get rescued in Bogotá, Colombia, per the instructions of a U.S. state department agent (Bashir Salahuddin).


“The Wall” (R) (3) [Language throughout and some war violence.] — An unsettling ending punctuates this intense, down-to-earth, well-acted, 81-minute psychological thriller based on Dwain Worrell’s “Black List” script about an injured American Army sniper (Aaron Taylor Johnson) who is trapped behind a dilapidated wall in 2007 by an Iraqi sniper after his partner (John Cena) lay wounded yard away from him.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.