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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“Amadeus (The Director’s Cut)” (R) (4) [Brief nudity.] [DVD only] — An outstanding musical score, gorgeous costumes, and stunning cinematography dominate this Oscar-winning, 3-hour, extraordinary Milos Forman 1984 film based on Sir Peter Shaffer’s Broadway hit that focuses on the jealous 18th-c-century court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) to Italian Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) as he traces from his confinement in a mental institution the tumultuous last 10 years in the life and career of genius, flamboyant, cackling composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) as he composed myriad musical scores and more than 40 operas, including “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Don Giovanni,” in Vienna while dealing with his wife (Elizabeth Berridge) and overbearing, judgmental father (Roy Dotrice).
“Black Peter” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — When an inexperienced Czech teenager (Lasdislav Jakim) begins a new job spying on customers who might steal inventory at a local grocery store and has a disappointing first day in this subtle, charming, black-and-white, coming-of-age, 1964 Milos Forman comedy, he frustrates his boss (Frantisek Kosina) and annoys his lecturing father (Jan Ostroil).
“Brigsby Bear” (PG-13) (3) [Thematic elements, brief sexuality, drug material, and teen partying.] — When detectives (Greg Kinnear and Beck Bennett) find the 25-year-old victim (Kyle Mooney) in an isolated desert compound after he was abducted by his kidnappers (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) as a baby and finally returned home to his biological parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins) and teenage sister (Ryan Simpkins) in this offbeat, engaging, creative, star-dotted (Claire Danes and Andy Samberg), 97-minute comedy, the socially inept, awkward, imaginative survivor is obsessed with making and completing the movie with his new friends (Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Alexa Demie, et al.) that his captors had created for him about the adventures of Brigsby Bear.
“The Dark Tower” (PG-13) (2) [Thematic material, including sequences of gun violence, and action.] — A disappointing, loophole-filled, dark, star-dotted (Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Haysbert, and José Zúñiga), 95-minute Stephen King thriller in which a troubled 11-year-old student (Tom Taylor), who lives with his worried, widowed mother (Katheryn Winnick) and mean stepfather in earthquake-plagued New York City, draws his terrifying, visionary nightmares and ends up traveling through a portal into the dangerous world of the dark tower at the center of the universe where a tenacious gunslinger (Idris Elba) keeps the tower from falling and preventing an evil sorcerer (Matthew McConaughey) from bringing endless darkness, demons, and monsters into the world.
“The Glass Castle” (PG-13) (4) [Mature thematic content involving family dysfunction, and some language and smoking.] — Terrific acting dominates this tense, engaging, factually based, 127-minute film based on Jeannette Walls’s bestselling memoir that focuses on a New York gossip columnist (Brie Larson/Ella Anderson/Chandler Head), who is engaged to a wealthy financial analyst (Max Greenfield), as she reminiscences about her chaotic, dysfunctional life growing up with her three siblings (Josh Caras/Charlie Shotwell/Iain Armitage, Sarah Snook/Sadie Sink/ Olivia Kate Rice, and Brigette Lundy-Paine/Shree Crooks/Eden Grace Redfield) and her neglectful, alcoholic father (Woody Harrelson) and eccentric, artistic mother (Naomi Watts) who dragged the family around the country from one dilapidated house after another while evading the cops and social workers.
“Goya’s Ghosts” (R) (2.5) [Violence, disturbing images, some sexual, content and nudity.] [DVD only] — The horrors and injustices of the Spanish Inquisition as seen through the eyes and paintings of famous Spanish painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård) set the backdrop of this historically inspired, but fictional dark, tragic, uneven, 2006 Miloš Forman film about Spanish church officials (Michael Lonsdale, et al.) who falsely imprison Inés (Natalie Portman), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Madrid merchant (José Luis Gómez), as a heretic in 1792, and the painter’s efforts to get his muse released by soliciting the help of an inquisition priest (Javier Bardem) who subsequently disgraces the Church, escapes to France, and triumphantly returns to Spain 16 years later after joining Napoleon’s army only to discover that Inés bore him a child while in prison.
“The Independent” (R) (3.5) [Language, some violence and sexuality.] [DVD only] — Filmmakers Ron Howard, Ted Demme, Nick Cassavetes, and Peter Bogdanovich make cameo appearances in this hilarious, wacky, irreverent, delightfully corny, tongue-in-cheek, star-studded (Ben Stiller, Anne Meara, Andy Dick, Fred Dryer, et al.) 2002 mock documentary that shows outrageous outtakes from forgettable B-movies, including “The Simplex Complex,” “Teenie Weenie Bikini Beach,” “Christ for the Defense,” “Cheerleaders Campus Massacre,” “Bald Justice,” “Whale of a Cop,” “The Whole Story of America,” “World War III II,” “Wrath of the Sabine Women,” “Kent State Nurses,” “What Planet Is This? (Oh My God, It’s Earth),” “The Fox Chocolate Robot,” “Brothers Divided,” “Twelve Angry Men and a Baby,” and “The Eco Angels,” from bankrupt, infamous, longtime, schlock indie movie producer (Jerry Stiller) as he struggles with his spray-tanned daughter (Janeane Garofalo) and loyal assistant (Max Perlich) to raise money through a retrospective of his films at a Nevada film festival in order to complete his latest film “Ms. Kervorkian” and to produce a bad taste, questionable musical about a singing serial killer (Larry Hankin).
“Married Life” (PG-13) (2) [Some thematic elements and a scene of sexuality.] [DVD only] — Slow pacing and a frustratingly unrealistic plot mar this well-acted, twist-filled drama set in 1949 about a successful, guilt-ridden businessman (Chris Cooper) who cannot bear to leave his seemingly loving wife (Patricia Clarkson) after many years of marriage for his stunningly beautiful, widowed lover (Rachel McAdams) who is cunningly pursued by his manipulative lothario of a best friend (Pierce Brosnan).
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.