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 Mourning Forest” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Lush scenery and breathtaking cinematography dominate this poignant and touching 2007 Naomi Kawase film in which a grieving, guilt-ridden Japanese nurse (Machiko Ono), who is tormented by the loss of her young son and her angry husband (Yoichiro Saito) who views her with distain, and a 70-year-old, widowed Alzheimer patient (Uda Shigeki) find a common, healing bond when they search for the forest-laden tomb of the wife he lost 33 years earlier.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (R) (4) [DVD only] — After a charismatic, 38-year-old prisoner (Jack Nicholson) with a devilish twinkle in his eye is transferred from a work farm to an insane asylum in this well-crafted, superbly acted, Oscar-winning, 1975 Miloš Forman film, he stirs up trouble for a hardnosed, iron-fisted head nurse (Louise Fletcher) and her staff (Scatman Crothers, et al.) when he riles up and takes charge of a motley group of patients (Danny DeVito, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, William Redfield, Vincent Schiavelli, Delos V. Smith Jr., Ken Kenny, Sydney Lassick, and Will Sampson) desperate for some freedom.
“Shara” (NR) (2) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Interesting camera shots frame this slow-paced, gap-filled 2003 Naomi Kawase film about a reserved 17-year-old Japanese student (Kohei Fukungaga) and his lower middle-class parents (Naomi Kawase and Katsuhisa Namase) who seem to put their lives on hold after the disappearance of a twin son during a summer festival five years earlier.
“Shutter” (PG-13) (2) [Terror, disturbing images, sexual content, and language.] [DVD only] — After experiencing a horrific and traumatizing traffic accident on a dark road while in Japan for their honeymoon, followed by a coveted fashion shoot in Tokyo in this uninspired, lifeless remake of the 2004 Thai thriller filled with unsympathetic and shallow characters, a bilingual, newly married photographer (Joshua Jackson) and his gorgeous wife (Rachel Taylor) begin to see disturbing, ghostly images of a mysterious woman (Megumi Tanaka) who is ultimately bent on revenge.
“Snow Angels” (R) (1.5) [Language, some violent content, brief sexuality, and drug use.] [DVD only] — A dark, dismal, slow-paced, disconnected film based on the Stewart O’Nan novel about a depressed, jealous carpet salesman (Sam Rockwell) who tries to win back his estranged wife (Kate Beckinsale) who has begun an adulterous relationship with the caddish husband (Nicky Katt) of her best friend (Amy Sedaris) while struggling to raise her headstrong daughter (Gracie Hudson).
“Ragtime” (PG) (4) [DVD only] — Miloš Forman’s multifaceted, highly acclaimed, star-studded (James Cagney, Mandy Patinkin, Booker T. Washington, Pat O’Brien, John Ratzenberger, Norman Mailer, et al.) 1981 film that intertwines the lives of a fireworks maker (Brad Dourif) smitten with a ditzy chorus girl (Elizabeth McGovern) who saves her murdering husband from death row, a prim housewife (Mary Steenburgen) who opens her home to the objections of her husband (James Olson) to a black woman (Debbie Allen) who just gave birth to a young son, and a proud African-American piano player (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) who goes to extraordinary lengths to obtain justice when a racist, unapologetic fire chief (Kenneth McMillan) and his staff take a practical joke to extremes with dire, far-reaching consequences in 1900s New York City.
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (R) (3) [Strong sci-fi action and violence, and language.] — In this 3D rerelease of the 1991 action-packed, fast-paced, violent, star-studded (S. Epatha Merkerson, Joe Morton, Dean Norris, and Xander Berkeley), 137-minute sci-fi sequel punctuated by flashy special effects, a futuristic T800 cybernetic organism (Arnold Schwarzenegger) returns to the year 1995 from 2029 to protect a precocious teenager (Edward Furlong), whose mother (Linda Hamilton) is in a mental institution, from a tenacious, shape-shifting T1000 cyborg (Robert Patrick) because the boy is instrumental in stopping the war between humans and the machines in the future.
“The Trip to Spain” (NR) (3) — Scrumptious food, interesting intellectual conversation, witty banter, stunning scenery and architecture, and wacky improv and impersonations highlight this engaging, low-key, partially scripted, 115-minute film that is a sequel to “The Trip” and “The Trip to Italy” and follows actor/writer Steve Coogan and his friend Rob Brydon as they travel from one Spanish town to another sampling the delectable food.
“Wind River” (R) (3.5) [Strong violence, a rape, disturbing images, and language.] — After a beautiful Native American teenager (Kelsey Asbille), who lives with her parents (Gil Birmingham and Kelsey Chow) and is dating an older man (Jon Bernthal), is found raped, beaten, and frozen to death on a snow-covered Wyoming reservation in this engaging, factually inspired, heartbreaking, well-acted, 110-minute film, an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) from Colorado joins forces with a divorced veteran game tracker (Jeremy Renner) for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the tribal police chief (Graham Greene) to search for answers in her tragic death.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.