by Wendy Schadewald
Sun Thisweek-Dakota County Tribune
Rating system: (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Cocaine Cowboys” (R) (3) [Pervasive drug content, gruesome violent images, and language.] [DVD only] — A candid, informative, in-depth, and disturbing Billy Corben documentary that interviews infamous cocaine smugglers (such as Jon Roberts and Mickey Munday), unremorseful hit men, frustrated detectives, and district attorneys to examine the gruesome killings, the key ruthless drug lords (such as Griselda Blanco), and the lucrative covered up business deals that impacted the Miami financial infrastructure surrounding the cocaine smuggling operations of the Colombia Medellin cartel during the 1970s and 1980s in Miami, Florida.
“Definitely, Maybe” (PG-13) (2.5) [Sexual content, including some frank dialogue, language, and smoking.] [DVD only] — After his precocious daughter (Abigail Breslin) learns about the birds and the bees at school in this lighthearted, down-to-earth, star-filled (Kevin Kline, Derek Luke, Kevin Korrigan, et al.) romantic comedy, a Manhattan advertising executive (Ryan Reynolds) recounts to her his past loves, including his college sweetheart (Elizabeth Banks) in Wisconsin, a hard-hitting journalist (Rachel Weisz), and a no-nonsense, adventurous bookstore clerk (Isla Fisher).
“I, Daniel Blake” (R) (3.5) [Language.] — While trying desperately and futility to work through the bureaucratic red tape and to deal with regimented, coldhearted employees (Kate Rutter, et al.) at the Newcastle unemployment office in order to find a job after suffering a heart attack in this engaging, touching, anger-producing, critically acclaimed, 100-minute Ken Loach film, a widowed, 59-year-old British carpenter (Dave Johns) befriends a single mother (Hayley Squires) with two children (Briana Shann and Dylan Phillips McKiernan) who is also down on her luck.
“Jumper” (PG-13) (1.5) [Sequences of intense action violence, some language, and brief sexuality.] [DVD only] — Loopholes and a weak plot mar this action-packed, disappointing, cameo-filled (Tom Hulce, Kristen Stewart, AnnaSophia Robb, Max Thieriot, et al.) film in which a Michigan teenager (Hayden Christensen), who lived with his alcoholic father (Michael Rooker) after he was mysteriously abandoned by his mother (Diane Lane) at 5 years old, learns that he has the ability to teleport himself at will and then must protect his girlfriend (Rachel Bilson) when he teams up with another jumper (Jamie Bell) to ward off a tenacious tracker (Samuel L. Jackson) and his henchmen.
“Megan Leavey” (PG-13) (3) [War violence, language, suggestive material, and thematic elements.] — An engaging, heartwarming, factually based, intense, star-dotted (Edie Falco, Will Patton, Bradley Whitmore, Tom Felton, Corey Johnson, Ramón Rodríguez, Miguel Gomez, and Catherine Dyer), 116-minute film in which tenacious Marine Corporal Megan Leavey (Kate Mara), who was awarded the Purple Heart medal for her bravery and service, struggles to adopt her retired bomb-detecting, military combat service dog Rex that saved her life in 2006 after an IED exploded next to them while they were stationed in Iraq performing more than 100 mission together when the coldhearted veterinarian (Geraldine James) labeled the German shepherd unadoptable and the Gunnery Sergeant (Common) refused to help her.
“The Mummy” (PG-13) (2) [Violence, action, and scary images, and some suggestive content and partial nudity.] — A lackluster, silly plot dominates this disappointing, loophole-filled, action-packed, predictable, 3D, star-studded (Russell Crowe, Courtney B. Vance, and Jake Johnson), 105-minute thriller in which a treasure-hunting American soldier (Tom Cruise) finds himself cursed after unearthing an angry, power-hungry Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) in Iraq who claims him as her mate, and then he works with an archeologist (Annabelle Wallis) to stop the princess from getting possession of a mysterious dagger that would increase her monstrous power.
“My Cousin Rachel” (PG-13) (2.5) [Some sexuality and brief strong language.] — Striking cinematography, scenery, and sets highlight this well-acted, convoluted, unpredictable, 106-minute remake of the 1952 film adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s novel in which a handsome Brit (Sam Claflin) in 19th century England ignores his romantic feelings for longtime childhood friend (Holliday Grainger) and becomes obsessed with his beautiful widowed cousin (Rachel Weisz) whom he suspects may have poisoned her husband to inherit his substantial wealth.
“The Spiderwick Chronicles” (PG) (3) [Scary creature action and violence, peril, and some thematic elements.] [DVD only] — Creative special effects and fantastical creatures highlight this dark, imaginative, mystical, star-studded (Martin Short, Seth Rogen, et al.) fairytale about a naturalist (David Strathairn) who wrote an arcane and mysterious field guide that is discovered 80 years later in the rundown house of his great aunt (Joan Plowright) by a young boy (Freddie Highmore) who then tries to convince his disbelieving twin (Freddie Highmore), older sister (Sarah Bolger), and divorced mother (Mary Louise-Parker) of the existence of the magic world filled with fairies and goblins and the menacing ogre (voiceover by Nick Nolte) that seeks the coveted book; maybe too scary for young children.
“Taxis to the Dark Side” (R) (3.5) [Disturbing images, and content involving torture, and graphic nudity.] [DVD only] — An Oscar-nominated, stomach-churning, unflinching, eye-opening, ire-rising documentary that interviews military interrogators, military lawyers, government officials, and erroneously held prisoners to examine the U.S. sanctioned torturous interrogation practices and the abrogation of human rights at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay prisons after the murder of an innocent Afghan taxi driver, Dilawar, at Bagram prison in 2002 came to light.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.