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Continued: Reviewed in brief

  • Article by: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 4, 2010 - 3:30 PM
FOUR BOXES

★★ 1/2 out of four star

Rated: R for language and some sexuality.

Where: Parkway Theater.

Filmmakers Megan Huber and Wyatt McDill are interested in the Web's voyeur side, and apply "Rear Window" theatrics to their Minnesota-made thriller "Four Boxes."

Trevor, Amber and Rob are three goofballs who sell dead people's belongings on eBay. Inside the house of their latest job they discover that the deceased had been a regular viewer of a website where hidden cameras catch the daily minutiae of a hooded man with killer intentions. Do the directors have something interesting to say about Internet voyeurism? Sure. It's that we're all culprits in this worldwide network of Peeping Toms.

The pitter-patter dialogue recalls early Kevin Smith, but the writers can't find a comfy rhythm for this sort of sly stoner talk. "Four Boxes" has its funny spots, and when the plot finally revs up, it delivers some freaky moments. But did we really need a triple-twist ending? "Four Boxes" was made on a shoestring budget, so you'd think the filmmakers would have learned: Less is more.

TOM HORGEN

VALHALLA RISING

★★★ out of four stars

Unrated; gory violence. Where: Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls.

When: 7 and 8:50 p.m. Tuesday and Nov. 23.

This blood-and-guts Viking death trip kicks off Trylon Microcinema's Premiere Tuesdays program, playing a new release the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn draws from Kubrick, Malick, Herzog and samurai films in this trippy historical action movie. Mads Mikkelsen, who played the suave Le Chiffre in "Casino Royale," plays One-Eye, a silent Norse brute caged by his Christian captors and released only to fight for sport. He's a stone cold killer; his brain-spattering battles to the death are swift and brutal beyond belief. When his jailers set sail for glory in the Holy Land, they bring him along. Bad move. The film mixes theological symbolism with fatalistic visions of madness and folly. It's a chilly, often slow, uncompromisingly harsh film, but Refn's images will sear your retinas.

COLIN COVERT

VISION: FROM THE LIFE OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN

★★★ out of four stars

Unrated; scenes of self-flagellation. In German, subtitled.

Where: Lagoon.

Here's a rarity: a reverent, respectful biography of a medieval Benedictine nun. Margarethe von Trotta, the actress/director best known for such politically charged feminist dramas as "The Lost Honor of Katherina Blum" and "Rosa Luxemburg," turns her lens on Hildegard, a 12th-century pioneer in medicine, philosophy and musical composition, whose contemporaries considered her a saint. The pace is slow as vespers and the production budget is strictly poor box, but there's a rare spirit of sincere veneration in the film.

"Vision" follows Hildegard from her induction into convent life as a sickly child with supernatural visions. The film is agnostic about the nature of her revelations and experiences, but her sincerity is never in question. Her run-ins with ecclesiastical authorities are powerfully dramatized, and Barbara Sukowa is fine as the diplomatic yet forward-thinking nun. There's a funny scene when she wears a gorgeous dress and lectures a sour, black-cloaked nun about God's love of beauty, and even a nice little musical number as the sisters perform Hildegarde's lyrical drama "Ordo Virtutum."

COLIN COVERT

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