Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of June 14 – ECM Publishers

Rating system:  (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)

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“Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché”  (NR) (3.5) – Jodi Foster narrates Pamela B. Green’s engaging, fascinating, informative, 103-minute documentary that focuses on the remarkable, obscure career of pioneering, Paris-born, first woman filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) who wrote, directed, and/or produced more than 1,000 films many with unconventional subject matter through her film production company Solax and tells her story through candid interview snippets with the groundbreaking filmmaker in 1964, excerpts from her letters, and black-and-white film clips and photographs and includes insightful interviews with filmmakers (such as Ava DuVernay, Catherine Hardwicke, Diablo Cody, Patricia Riggen, Tacita Dean, Julie Taymor, John Chu, Ann Fletcher, Liz Goldwyn, Cari Beauchamp, Cecile Starr, Anne Fontaine, Mark Romanek, Peter Farrelly, Floria Sigismondi, Kevin Macdonald, Maxine Haleff, Patty Jenkins, Michel Hazanavicius, Marjane Satpari, and Gary Mairs), actors (such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Julie Delpy, Evan Rachel Wood, Geena Davis, Lake Bell, Andy Samberg, Janeane Garofolo, and Kathleen Turner), producers Marc Abraham and Stephanie Dillain, Co-President of Roadside Attractions Howard Cohen, screenwriter Gale Ann Hurd, film critic Peter Bogdanovich, historians (such as Mark Wanamaker, Anthony Slide, Kevin Brownlow, Glenn Myrent, Alison McMahon, Naum `Kleiman, and Alan Williams), Guy-Blaché memoirs co-editor Claire Clouzet, film preservationist Serge Bromberg, professors (such as Drake Stutesman, Jane Goenes, Henry Jenkins, Gigi Pritzker, Richard Koszaeski, and Vanessa Schwartz), journalist Jean-Michel Frodon, film editor Walter Murch, film archivist Dino Everett, facial recognition analyst Steve Wilkins, costume designer Deborah Nadvolman Landis, lecturer Roland-Francois Lick, cinematographers (such as Pierre-William Glenn, Claire Wickell, and John Bailey), film collector Murray Glass, visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President John Bailey, and granddaughter Tatiana Page-Relo.

“Country Teacher” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — After a Czech natural science teacher (Pavel Liska) leaves his prep school job, his parents (Zuzana Kronerová and Miroslav Krobot), and his angry, forlorn lover (Marek Daniel) in Prague in this sensitive, poignant, down-to-earth 2008 film, he finds himself the object of a widowed cow farmer’s (Zuzana Bydzovská) flirtations and jeopardizes his relationship with her when he is attracted to her 17-year-old son (Ladislav Sedivý) who only has his eyes for a free-spirited teenager (Tereza Vorísková).

“The Dead Don’t Die” (R) (3.5) [Zombie violence/gore and language.] — When the Earth goes off its axis and the reanimated undead rise from their graves in the woods where a recluse (Tom Waits) lives in Jim Jarmusch’s entertaining, deadpan funny, tongue-in-cheek, satiric, love-it-or-hate-it, star-dotted (Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, Austin Butler, Luka Sabbat, and Sara Driver), 105-minute horror spoof, the police chief (Bill Murray), his two cops (Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny), and a samurai-wielding, Scottish funeral director (Tilda Swinton) try to protect citizens, including a farmer (Steve Buscemi), a delivery driver (RZA), a store manager (Caleb Landry Jones), a motel owner (Larry Fessenden), a cleaning woman (Rosal Colon), and a waitress (Eszter Balint), from the flesh-eating zombies roaming their small town.

“Dirty” (R) (2) [Strong violence, pervasive language, some sexual, content and drug use.] [DVD only] — While a jaded police officer (Clifton Collins, Jr.) in smog-filled Los Angeles is investigated by Internal Affairs for his involvement in a shooting death and contemplates coming forth regarding corruption of his boss (Keith David) and other officers (Cole Hauser, et al.) on the force in this gritty, lackluster, violent 2005film, his crooked, hard-edged partner (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) harasses innocent bystanders.

“The Fall of the American Empire” (R) (3) [Some strong violence, sexual content/nudity, and language.] [Subtitled] — After a shy, intelligent Canadian courier driver (Alexandre Landry), who has a Ph.D. in philosophy, happens upon two thieves (Patrick Emmanuel Abellard and Kémy St-Éloy) who botch a robbery of a strip mall store in Montreal and then abruptly stashes two duffel bags full of cash in his van in this thrilling, hilarious, well-written, superbly acted, unpredictable, 127-minute, 2018 crime thriller, he tries to figure out how to safeguard his windfall with the help of an ex-con biker (Rémy Girard), a gorgeous prostitute (Maripier Morin), former bank teller girlfriend (Florence Longpré), and a financial business guru (Pierre Curzi) while gang members desperately try to locate the loot and two frustrated detectives (Maxim Roy and Louis Morissette) constantly have them under surveillance as they investigate the missing money.

“The Girl from Monaco” (R) (3) [Some sexual content and language.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A delightful, unpredictable, 2007 romantic comedy in which a respected French lawyer (Fabrice Luchini) unexpectedly falls in love with a free-spirited, promiscuous weather girl (Louise Bourgoin) while defending an elderly socialite (Stéphane Audran) in Monaco who killed her lover after learning that he was sleeping with her son (Gilles Cohen) and then finds himself surprisingly depending on his faithful bodyguard (Roschdy Zem) when the affair gets out of control.

“Halston” (NR) (3.5) — A fascinating, informative, insightful, 105-minute documentary that chronicles the fabulous life and career of legendary, Iowa-born fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick from 1984 until his death from AIDS in March 1990 through archival film clips of his stunning fashions and interview snippets with filmmaker Joel Schumacher, columnist R. Couri Hay, partner Victor Hugo, actresses Liza Minnelli and Marisa Berenson, models (such as Pat Cleveland, Nancy North, Chris Royer, Alva Chinn, and Karen Bjornson), Halston workroom supervisor Fred Rottman, tailor Gino Balsamo, fashion curator Fred Dennis, jewelry designer Elsa Peretti, Made-to-Order director Sassy Johnson, writer Bob Colacello, Bergdorf assistant Tom Fallon, secretaries Podie Lynch and Faye Robson, Norton Simon president David Mahoney, personal assistant Lisa Zay, artist Andy Warhol, Sales Vice President Don Friese, public relations director Paul Wilmot, Playtex CEO Joel Smilow, niece Lesley Frowick and brother Robert Frowick, workroom manager Tom David Ridge, and lawyers Malcolm Lewin and Michael Lichtenstein.

“The Hurt Locker” (R) (3.5) [War violence and language.] [DVD only] — The horrors and ugliness of war take center stage in this tension-filled, realistic, cameo-dotted (Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, et al.) film that follows reckless, hotshot bomb defusing expert (Jeremy Renner) and the Bravo company soldiers (Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, et al.) who protect him during their final 39 days in war-torn Baghdad in 2004.

“I Hate Valentine’s Day” (PG-13) (2) [Some sexual content.] [DVD only] — The unrealistic dating rules of a relationship-shy, perpetually bubbly New York City florist (Nia Vardolas) in this contrived, lackluster, predictable, romantic chick flick comedy hinder her chances of finding love with a neighborhood tapas bar owner (John Corbett).

“Men in Black: International” (PG-13) (3) [Sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material.] — The plot takes a backseat in this otherwise action-packed, fast-paced, entertaining, violent, star-studded (Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, and Rafe Spall), 3D, 115-minute, sci-fi sequel with amazing special effects and witty dialogue in which a senior agent (Chris Hemsworth) and a newbie (Tessa Thompson), who has supportive parents (Inny Clemons and Marcy Harriell), work with a cheeky pawn (voiceover by Kumail Nanjiani) in an attempt to stop two ruthless aliens (Larry and Laurent Bourgeois) from possessing a powerful weapon of destruction, and then they try and determine who the mole is in the MIB agency.

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” (PG) (3) [Some action and rude humor.] — While adorable dogs (voiceover by Patton Oswalt and Eric Stonestreet) in New York City travel with their human family (voiceover by Henry Lynch, Ellie Kemper, and Pete Holmes) to the countryside to visit an uncle in this entertaining, funny, family-friendly, colorful, star-studded (voiceovers by Harrison Ford, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, and Hannibal Burgess), 86-minute animated sequel, a fearless shih tzu (voiceover by Tiffany Haddish) and an energetic bunny (voiceover by Kevin Hart) try to save an abused tiger from the cruel owner (voiceover by Nick Kroll) of a traveling circus and a fluffy Pomeranian (voiceover by Jenny Slate) pretends to be a feline as she and her guinea pig friend (voiceover by Chris Renaud) attempt to retrieve for her terrier friend his beloved busy bee toy from a cat lady’s (voiceover by Meredith Salenger) household of mischievous felines.

“Shaft” (R) (3.5) [Pervasive language, violence, sexual content, some drug material, and brief nudity.] — After his once-addicted, Army veteran best friend (Avan Jogia) allegedly dies from a heroin overdose in this highly entertaining, well-written, funny, violent, star-studded (Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Titus Welliver, Clifford ‘Method Man’ Smith, Matt Lauria, and Robbie Jones), 111-minute sequel highlighted by terrific chemistry and dialogue, a savvy, smart, FBI data analyst (Jessie T. Usher) seeks out his estranged, no-nonsense, colorful, pistol-packing father (Samuel L. Jackson), who owns his own investigation agency, to find out what really happened to his friend and whether a Jamaican drug dealer (Isaach De Bankole) was involved.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.