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Vicky Krieps in “Two Lives.”

Sundance Selects,

TWO LIVES

⋆⋆ out of four stars

Unrated: Violence, sensuality. In Norwegian, German and English.

Theater: Edina

Reviewed in brief: 'Two Lives,' 'Cesar Chavez'

  • March 27, 2014 - 3:09 PM

Two Lives
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: Unrated; Violence, sensuality. In Norwegian, German and English.
Theater: Edina.

 

The glum Norwegian Cold War drama “Two Lives” involves a little bit of spying and a whole lot of brooding. Juliane Kohler plays a Norwegian graphic designer tangled in conflicting loyalties to her country and the place of her upbringing, East Germany. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, potentially devastating details of her background threaten to emerge, and she fabricates ever-changing lies for her family and political operatives from both countries.

The personal drama is “I can’t tell any more lies!” obvious, the international intrigue is lukewarm, and the big payoff, which should be a shocker, is so poorly staged as to be laughable. Liv Ullmann, who plays Kohler’s mother, calls this her last film appearance. What a way to go out.

Colin Covert

 

CESAR CHAVEZ
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: PG-13; contains some violence and strong language.

 

This biopic about the famous labor and civil-rights champion should have been a plum role for the talented Michael Peña, but he doesn’t get to do much more than recite trite adages offered by a disjointed, sometimes inscrutable script.

The movie begins in the early 1960s as Chavez uproots his family to help low-paid grape pickers organize. Chavez founds the National Farm Workers Association with the help of Dolores Huerta (Rosario Dawson) and immediately ends up on the wrong side of the law, given that the sheriff is in cahoots with the vineyard owners, including the sinister Bogdanovitch (John Malko­vich). We get little insight into Chavez’s character. It seems like a waste of talent, but worse still, “Cesar Chavez” squanders an opportunity to revisit a story worth telling.

STEPHANIE MERRY,

Washington post

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