Four Great Movie Presidents for July 4

It’s almost the Fourth of July, a time of year to put out the stars and stripes while enjoying some BBQ and parades.

Since it’s an American holiday, it’s worth taking a look at American leaders from movies. Here are who I consider some of the best fictional presidents featured in movies.
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REVIEW: Pixar’s ‘Luca’ is a winner

Pixar has another great movie on its resume.

The latest film from the Disney-owned studio takes place in and around a small town on the Italian Riviera. The titular character, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, is a young humanoid sea creature who lives beneath the waves with his mother (Maya Rudolph), father (Jim Gaffigan) and grandma (Sandy Martin). The family has a strict rule about not visiting the surface, as humans have been known to be dangerous, but Luca is fascinated by the world above.

At the film’s start, Luca is given a chance to explore the Italian turf when he meets another “sea monster,” Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). The duo become fast friends and, with growing frustration toward his parents’ rules, Luca decides to travel to the Italian village with Alberto, in human disguise. There, they become friends with a girl named Giulia (Emma Berman), who wants to enter a local triathlon.

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REVIEW: Nein to ‘F9’

Tactical gear? Gadgets and equipment? Nope. All Dominic Toretto needs for a mission is a t-shirt, specifically one that’s skin tight.

The protagonist for all but two of the “Fast and Furious” movies, portrayed by Vin Diesel, is back but not in action at the start of “F9.” Dominic is living in peace now, raising his son and continuing his relationship with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in a rural area. However, this peace is broken when he’s approached by his crew of Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) for a new mission.

The crew’s government covert operations contact Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) was attacked for a high tech military device and it could destabilize the world. On top of the global threat, the stakes are raised more with this mission, as the one who attacked Mr. Nobody was Dominic’s long lost brother Jakob (John Cena).

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Assessing the loss of Uptown and Edina

I don’t live in the Twin Cities metro area. The Uptown Theatre and Edina Cinema weren’t my go to places to see movies, mainly since I live a four hours drive north of them.

Despite not being a frequent visitor to these two locations, though, the nearly 20 times I did watch a film at either theater were very memorable. Plus, many of the films were quite good.

That’s what makes their closure hard to stomach.

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REVIEW: Despite problems, ‘Mighty Orphans’ still cross the goal line for the win

I guess now I know who to thank for the high scoring Big 12 games on Saturdays.

Luke Wilson is Coach Rusty Russell in “12 Mighty Orphans.” As the name implies, the movie centers on a group of orphans who live at a Texas home for children and teenagers without families. Sadly, their home has seen better days and one of the educators, Frank (Wayne Knight), mistreats the students.

However, their fortunes begin to change when Russell arrives at the school in the midst of the Great Depression, along with his wife Juanita (Vinessa). On top of both Russells being teachers, Rusty also has experience as a football coach. He decides to apply that and forms a team. As orphans, though, the unit has to fight for respect both on and off the field.

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REVIEW: Don’t bother with ‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’

If you like yelling, and I mean a lot of yelling, then this is the movie for you.

Ryan Reynolds returns to the role of bodyguard Michael Bryce in this sequel. Because of his actions in the first film, though, he’s lost his status as a AAA bodyguard. To escape the stress of the situation, he decides to take his therapist’s advice and go on vacation.

Unfortunately it’s all quickly interrupted when Sonia (Salma Hayek), wife of hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) approaches him. Turns out, Darius was kidnapped and Sonia needs Michael’s assistance in the rescue. The whole situation gets the trio mixed up in an evil plot to devastate Europe, and they’re recruited by government agents to help stop it.

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REVIEW: Get in the theater for ‘In the Heights’

“In the Heights” is an appropriate name for this film and the stage production its based on.

Not only because it takes place in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, but also because it’s an experience that earns high scores.

The film is set in a Latin community and follows several characters, but the main focus is on Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who dreams of reopening his late father’s beachside business in the Dominican Republic. One of the regular customers to Usnavi’s shop is Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), a young woman working at a salon who wants to pursue a career in fashion.

Early in the film, Usnavi and Vanessa meet up with Nina (Leslie Grace), a Stanford University student whose father owns a taxi company. That company is where Benny (Corey Hawkins), who has relationship history with Nina, works. The four of them spend time with others in the neighborhood and try to navigate their futures during a heat wave across New York City.

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16 Superb Summer-Related Flicks

After a rather chilly May, a heat wave has been hitting Minnesota in the month of June.

It has been hot here. Maybe not reaching the temperatures that our neighbors in the southern states experience, but up north, anything above 80F feels like a scorcher. 

The warm weather certainly makes it feel truly like summer, though, and plenty of fine films have been set during the hottest season. This is a list including some of my favorite movies set between spring and fall.

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REVIEW: ‘Dream Horse’ won’t be in award races, but it can still please viewers

The races featured in “Dream Horse” aren’t related to the American Triple Crown competitions, but it still feels like the right time to watch this flick.

“Dream Horse” takes place in a small town in Wales and revolves around a group of residents who decide to invest in a racing thoroughbred. Mainly, the movie follows Jan (Toni Collette), the woman who comes up with the idea and convinces other community members to pitch in.

Together, they breed a horse and because it was a group of residents coming aligning for a cause, they name it Dream Alliance. The proposal initially seems like a risky gamble until Dream Alliance becomes a success on the track.

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REVIEW: The Devil went down to ‘Conjuring’ and it wasn’t a good time

The totally not con-artist Warrens are back in another movie about a demonic possession that really happened and wasn’t made up.

Yes, there was a lot of sarcasm in that lede.

The eighth film in the “Conjuring” cinematic universe takes place in 1981 with Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) assisting in an exorcism of a young boy. In the process of the exorcism, the demon possessing the boy is transferred to a man assisting in the situation, Arne (Ruairi O’Connor).

During the altercation, Ed suffers a heart attack and is taken to a hospital. When he recovers, he warns of Arne’s possible possession, but it’s too late. Arne commits murder on his landlord and is arrested by the police. Facing a potential death penalty sentence, the Warrens begin an investigation into the possession to try to prove in court that it was a demon that caused the murder.

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