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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“The Bank Job” (R) (3) [Sexual content, nudity, violence, and language.] [DVD only] — When MI-6 agents (Tim Everett, et al.) sponsor a bank heist in 1971 in which a married auto body dealer (Jason Statham) and a beautiful model (Saffron Burrows) get a motley, “Walkie Talkie” crew (Daniel Mays, Michael Jibson, James Faulkner, et al) together to break into safety deposit boxes at a Lloyds bank in London to unwittingly obtain incriminating and scandalous photographs of a royal princess in this well-paced, suspenseful, factually based film, they end up opening a political can of worms that has far-reaching repercussions after the robbers also find a secret ledger of corrupt brothel owner Lew Vogel (David Suchet).
“The Counterfeiters” (R) (4) [Some strong violence, brief sexuality/nudity, and language.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A compelling, disturbing, Oscar-winning, factually based film about professional Jewish counterfeiter Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) who is arrested in Berlin in 1936 by the CID police and subsequently is forced by a Nazi officer (Devid Striesow) during WWII to lead a group of Sachsenhausen concentration camp prisoners (August Diehl, Andreas Schmidt, Sebastian Urzendowsky, et al.) in Operation Berhard to counterfeit English pound sterling and the American dollar, which proved to be the largest counterfeit operation in history.
“Faces of a Fig Tree” (NR) (1.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Vibrant colors and a barren fig tree highlight this quirky, slow-moving 2006 Kaori Momoi film in which a Japanese housewife (Kaori Momoi) in Tokyo suspects that her workaholic pipefitter husband (Saburo Ishikura) is cheating on her, but when he suddenly dies, she quickly moves in with her adopted daughter (Hanako Yamada) who finds herself pregnant and then as quickly ends up marrying a restaurant owner (Katsumi Takahashi).
“George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead” (R) (3) [Strong horror violence and gore, and pervasive language.] [DVD only] — While a camera-obsessed, wannabe documentarian (Joshua Close) and his amateur crew of Pittsburg college students (Michelle Morgan, Shawn Roberts, Amy Ciupak- Lalonde, Tatiana Maslany, Joe Dinicol, Philip Riccio, and Chris Violette) and a booze-swigging emeritus professor (Scott Wentworth) are filming their horror movie “The Death of Death” in this deliciously campy social satire filled with graphic, bloody violence, they realize that the real world is succumbing to voracious, flesh-ripping zombies.
“I Could Never Be Your Woman” (PG-13) (1.5) [Sexual content and language.] [DVD only] — While meddling Mother Nature (Tracey Ullman) shadows a divorced television producer (Michelle Pfeiffer) who becomes attracted to a younger, comedic actor (Paul Rudd) she auditions for a part in this lackluster, cameo-dotted (Jon Lovitz, Fred Willard, Henry Winkler, Sally Kellerman) romantic comedy, her precocious daughter (Saoirse Ronan) tries to fit in with her peers (Rory Copus, et al.) at school.
Madonnas” (NR) (1.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A choppy, bleakly realistic, and somber 2007 Maria Speth film about a pathologically-lying, emotionally empty, single mother (Sandra Hüller) in Germany who desperately and clumsily tries to build a family unit with an infatuated American Marine (Coleman Orlando Swinton) and her five children (Luisa Sappelt, et al.) despite and because of her traumatic childhood with her emotionally-distant mother (Susanne Lothar) and her absentee father (Olivier Gourmet).
“Making Trouble” (NR) (3.5) [DVD only] — A well-paced, informative, and entertaining 2007 Rachel Talbot documentary in which four contemporary comedians (Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney, Jessica Kirson, and Judy Gold) discuss six legendary Jewish women (Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, Sophie Tucker, and Wendy Wasserstein) in comedy interspersed with interviews and archival film footage and photographs.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” (PG-13) (4) [Some partial nudity and innuendo.] [DVD only] — When a savvy, down-on-her-luck, prim-and-proper, middle-aged governess (Frances McDormand) in pre-WWII London finagles a job as a social secretary to a frazzled, gorgeous, aspiring American actress (Amy Adams) who splits her affections among a down-to-earth pianist (Lee Pace), the cocky son (Tom Payne) of a theater producer, and an arrogant cabaret lounge owner (Mark Strong) in this wonderfully charming, well-acted, witty film, she finds herself falling for a charming lingerie designer (Ciarán Hinds) already engaged to a two-timing dress salon owner (Shirley Henderson).
“Parting Shot” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — After a disillusioned, suicidal night-shift nurse (Isild Le Besco) in a small Swiss town breaks up with her boyfriend (Christopher Sermet) and impulsively shoots an angry 14-year-old boy (Steven de Almeida) who is emotionally disconnected from his worried parents (Lio and Yves Verhoeven) in this 2006 Jeanne Waltz unsettling and dramatic character study, she unexpectedly ends up caring for her shooting victim and together they learn to be forgiving.
“Semi-Pro” (R) (1.5) [Language and some sexual content.] [DVD only] — When a flamboyant, one-song singer (Will Ferrell) buys a ramshackle Michigan basketball team (Andre Benjamin, Josh Braaten, Peter Cornell, et al.) in 1976 and later learns that his underdog ABA league team may not be eligible to merge with the NBA in this stupid, silly, over-the-top comedy filled with foul language, he hires a new team member (Woody Harrelson) to help them win games and devises a series of wacky promotions to lure the crowds.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (PG-13) (4) [Sci-fi action violence, some language, and brief suggestive comments.] — After Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) takes 15-year-old Spider-Man (Tom Holland) under this wing in preparation for his becoming a full-fledged Avenger, builds him a million-dollar suit, and invites him to participate in a Tony Stark internship in this entertaining, riveting, humorous, superbly acted, well-paced, surprise dotted, action-packed, star-studded (Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Chris Evans, Tony Revolori, Hannibal Buress, Tyne Daly, Kenneth Choi, Angourie Rice, Garcelle Beauvais, Zach Cherry, Amadeus Cho, Gary Weeks, Jennifer Connolly, and Kerry Condon), 3D, 133-minute sequel, the zealous, eager teenager, who lives with his aunt (Marisa Tomei) in Queens, hangs out with his excitable best friend (Jacob Batalon), and has a crush on one of his gorgeous decathlon teammates (Laura Harrier), is desperate to prove himself by taking on an unapproved mission and going after a tenacious small-time contractor (Michael Keaton) turned villain known as the Vulture and his henchmen (Bokeem Woodbinem, Michael Chernus, Logan Marshall-Green, et al.) who are selling alien technology and weapons to the highest bidders (Donald Glover, Michael Mando, et al.).
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.