Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” (R) (1) [Pervasive crude sexual content, language and some nudity.] [DVD and VOD only] — When the naïve, bucktoothed, microscopically endowed son (Nick Swardson) of porn stars (Edward Herrmann and Miriam Flynn) from Iowa heads to Hollywood to seek his destiny in this crude, painful, groan-inducing comedy, he falls for a traumatized waitress (Christina Ricci) from New Jersey, lives with a selfish roommate (Kevin Nealon), and angers an oddly jealous porn star (Stephen Dorff) after an over-the-hill director (Don Johnson) puts him in skin-flick movies.
“Catching Spirits” (NR) (3.5) [Currently available.] — Vanessa Beletic’s mesmerizing, award-winning, captivating, moving, unusual, 12-minute film in which a mysterious, seizure-prone, Black woman (Destiny Freidin), who is of Haitian descent and is drawn to dance, enters a dance class in Los Angeles where talented dancers (Brian Drake, Justin Porter, Enock Kalubi Kadima, Jimmy Le, Desi Derio, Jean Joshua Lumbab, Rob Shortsticuit Wilson, Zuce Morales, Damon Tae Hack, Alex Richard, Alexis Hurtado, and Montana Sholars) are taught by an instructor (LaTonya Swann) and a stunning physical transformation occurs when she begins to move her lithe body.
“Contagion” (PG-13) (3.5) [Disturbing content and some language.] [DVD and VOD only]— After a Minnesota businesswoman (Gwyneth Paltrow) contracts a highly contagious, deadly virus in Hong Kong and infects her young son (Griffin Kane) in this captivating, intense, star-dotted (John Hawkes, Bryan Cranston, and Sanaa Lathan) thriller, her worried husband (Matt Damon) tries to protect himself and his daughter (Anna Jacoby-Heron) while disease specialists (Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Elliott Gould, Jennifer Ehle, and Chin Han) from around the world search for a cure and a self-serving blogger (Jude Law) contributes to the misinformation and adds to the global hysteria.
“Creature” (R) (2) [Bloody violence and grisly images, some sexual content, graphic nudity, language, and brief drug use.] [DVD and VOD only]— An eerie, dark, skin-crawling thriller in which six friends (Mehcad Brooks, Amanda Fuller, Dillon Casey, Aaron Hill, Lauren Schneider, and Serinda Swan) make a fateful decision to stop at a legendary backwoods cabin in the Louisiana bayou and find themselves attacked by a menacing, mutant, alligator swamp creature (Daniel Bernhardt) and inbred hillbillies (Sid Haig, D’Arcy Allen, David Jensen, Pruitt Taylor Vince, et al.).
“Drive” (R) (3.5) [Strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity.] [DVD and VOD only]— After a steely, soft-spoken, low-key, lonely, for-hire getaway stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) foolishly decides to help an attractive neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son (Kaden Leos) by being involved in a pawnshop heist in Los Angeles with her ex-con husband (Oscar Isaac) and a mysterious woman (Christina Hendricks) to help him pay off money he owes to the wrong people in this tension-filled, well-acted, well-paced, violent film, he ends up endangering not only his own life, but that of the mother and his mechanic friend (Bryan Cranston) when two gangsters (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) come after the $1 million that belongs to the East Coast Mob.
“ Elephant Refugees” (NR) (3.5) [Available Nov. 18 on various VOD platforms.] — Jerome Flynn narrates Louise Hogarth’s award-winning, eye-opening, educational, depressing, unsettling, gut-wrenching, 82-minute, 2020 documentary highlighted by gorgeous cinematography that chronicles the plight of endangered elephants in drought-stricken, poacher-free eastern Botswana at the Elephant Sands sanctuary run by well-intentioned founders Marie and Ben Moller where hundreds of elephants seek safety from poachers and much-needed drinking water (each elephant can drink 30 gal. per day) as climate change worsens and consists of commentary by veterinarian Dr. Erik Verreynne, Moller’s daughter Saskia and husband Mike, Moller’s granddaughter Tanya Toth, and guide Rynhardt Erasmus.
“The Garbage Man” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [Currently available.] — Laura Gonçalves’ artistic, award-winning, engaging, poignant, factually inspired, creative, 12-minute animated documentary in which a Portuguese family who immigrated to Paris reminisces over dinner about their hardworking, pipe-smoking uncle Botão who worked as a garbage collector for 30 years and brought various home items, such as bicycles, a guitar, a washing machine, and toys, from his job that he turned into family treasures and souvenirs.
“Hansan: Rising Dragon” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [Available Nov. 15 on DVD, Blu-ray™, and various digital platforms.] — Stunning costumes, sets, and special effects dominate Kim Han-min’s captivating, factually based, action-packed, fast-paced, well-acted, violent, 130-minute historical prequel to “The Admiral: Roaring Currents” that lacks character development and relies heavily on battle strategy as it recounts the Battle of Hansando in 1592 with formidable Korean Admiral Yi Soon Shin (Park Hae-il) leading his powerful naval fleet and turtle ships against invading Japanese Admiral Wakizaka Yasuharu (Byon Yo-han) and his warships.
“Honk” (NR) (3) [Available Nov. 15 on various VOD platforms.] — Angie Bolling narrates Cheryl Allison’s heartwarming, award-winning, inspirational, fascinating, 47-minute documentary that showcases the unusual friendship that develops between the compassionate filmmaker and Honk the goose at a local park in Dallas, Tex., during the COVID-19 pandemic, which then becomes a global sensation and leads to finding him a safe, protective sanctuary and hopefully a mate, and it consists of commentary by animal advocate Mary Beth Purdy, Rogers Wildlife founder Kathy Rogers and volunteer Rusty Gragsone, and Australian Jennifer.
“Immediate Family” (NR) (4) [Plays Nov. 15 at 9:30 p.m. at the IFC Center and Nov. 16 at 1:45 p.m. at the Cinépolis Chelsea during the DOC NYC Festival that runs Nov. 9-27; for information, log on to www.docnyc.net.] — Denny Tedesco’s entertaining, informative, insightful, behind-the-scenes, fascinating, in-depth, 102-minute documentary sequel to “The Wrecking Crew” in which musical artists Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtel, Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, and Steve Postell discuss and explore the history of rock music from the 1960s to the 1980s through archival film footage, song snippets by various musical artists (such as The Immediate Family, James Taylor, Carole King, Liberace, The Everly Brothers, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Phil Collins, Bill Withers, Jimmy Buffet, The Section, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash), animation clips, and great commentary by actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton, producers and engineers Val Garay and Niko Bolas, producer Lou Adler, composer Mike Post, musicians and record producers Peter Asher and Danny ‘Kootch’ Kortchmar, producer and songwriter Russ Titelman, producer and record executive Lenny Waronker, and singers and songwriters, including Lyle Lovett, Phil Collins, Don Henley, Neil Young, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, and Carole King.
“Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend” (R) (3) [Some language, including a sexual reference.] [Opens Nov. 18 in theaters and available on various digital and VOD platforms.] — Tremendous cinematography dominates Bobby Moresco’s compelling, factually inspired, well-acted, insightful, star-studded (Hannah van der Westhuysen, Eliana Jones, Patrick Brennan, Matteo Leoni, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta), 97-minute biographical film based on Tonino Lamborghini’s novel “Ferruccio Lamborghini: The Official Story” in which legendary, ambitious, creative, tenacious, stubborn, Italian entrepreneur and auto inventor, designer, and mechanic Ferruccio Lamborghini (Frank Grillo/Romano Reggiani), who has a wife (Mira Sorvino) and son (Fortunato Cerlino), begins his iconic career manufacturing tractors, followed by military vehicles during WWII, and then goes up against his longtime rival Enzo Ferrari (Gabriel Byrne) to build luxury, high-end Lamborghini sports cars in Sant’Agata Bolognese in the 1960s.
“The Last Manhunt” (R) (3) [Some violence and language.] [Opens Nov. 18 in theaters and available on various digital and VOD platforms.] — When a Chemehuevi shaman and tribal leader (Zahn McClarnon) is accidentally killed in Joshua Tree, Calif., in 1909 trying to stop his beautiful, rebellious daughter (Mainei Kinimaka) from running away with her love-struck boyfriend (Martin Sensmeier) in Christian Camargo’s compelling, factually inspired, stirring, heartbreaking, well-acted, “Romeo and Juliet”-esque, star-dotted (Tantoo Cardinal, Lily Gladstone, Brandon Oakes, and Amy Seimetz), 102-minute Western film highlighted by gorgeous cinematography, the by-the-book sheriff (Christian Camargo) forms a posse with a bounty hunter (Jason Momoa) and two indigenous trackers (Raoul Max Trujillo and Wade Williams) to begin searching for the couple in the sun-drenched Mohave desert during an epic 600-mile manhunt.
“The Lion King” (G) (4) [DVD and VOD only] — The stunning, family-friendly, poignant, 3D, star-studded (voiceovers by Jim Cummings, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, and Cheech Marin), whimsical, 1994 Disney animated film that is filled with haunting African chants and award-winning Elton John music about a guilt-ridden lion cub (voiceover by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) that learns that “we are all connected in the great circle of life” when he leaves home after the tragic death of his father (James Earl Jones) after his power-hungry uncle (Jeremy Irons) takes over the throne.
“Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter” (NR) (3) [Opens Nov. 18 in theaters and available on various VOD platforms.] — Rebecca Halpern’s engaging, intriguing, candid, insightful, behind-the-scenes, 97-minute, 2021 documentary that chronicles the career rise and fall of talented, perfectionist, passionate, ambitious, driven, innovative, insensitive, famous culinary genius Chef Charlie Trotter who opened his highly acclaimed restaurant Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and died way too soon of a stroke in 2013 at age 54 and consists of archival photographs and film footage and interviews snippets with restaurateurs (such as friend Emeril Lagasse, Gordon Sinclair, friend Carrie Nahabedian, and Alice Waters), first wife Lisa Ehrlich, journalist Mark Caro, former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, former executive sous chef David Lefevre, farmer Lee Jones, sommelier Larry Stone, pastry chef Michelle Gayer, mother Dona-Lee Trotter, best Trotter customer Ray Harris, sister Anne Trotter Hinkamp, and chefs Reginald Watkins, Norman Van Aken, Wolfgang Puck, Della Gossett, Art Smith, Rick Bayless, and Grant Achatz.
“The Menu” (R) (3) [Language throughout, strong violent content, and some sexual references.] [Opens Nov. 18 in theaters.] — Mark Mylod’s gripping, disturbing, dark, multifaceted, original, intense, well-acted, twist-filled, 106-minute satire with minimal, much-needed back story in which a stern restaurant manager (Hong Chau) escorts an eclectic group of affluent guests (Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Judith Light, Janet McTeer, John Leguizamo, Reed Birney, Paul Adelstein, Aimee Carrero, Rob Yang, Arturo Castro, and Mark St. Cyr) to their tables at an exclusive island restaurant in the Pacific Northwest where the pretentious, egotistical, sociopathic chef (Ralph Fiennes) prepares epicurean delights and surprises in his tasting menu where each course becomes even more unsettling and tasteless and shocking.
“The Pay Day” (NR) (2.5) [Opens Nov. 14 in select theaters and available Nov. 11 on various VOD platforms.] — After a talented, financially struggling, British IT technician (Kyla Frye), who lives with her mother (Ellen Thomas), is fired from her job in London in Sam Bradford’s wacky, low-key, sporadically funny, twist-filled, 93-minute heist thriller adapted from the 2015 8-minute “Double Cross” film, she is contacted by a mysterious, no-nonsense stranger (Simon Callow) who coerces her to take a job to steal data that is worth $500 million and a payout to her of 1%, and she then runs into a complication when a charismatic con artist (Sam Benjamin) wants in on the potential windfall.
“Potiche” (R) (3) [Some sexuality.] [Subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] — When her snobbish, chauvinistic, smothering, adulterous husband (Fabrice Luchini) is taken hostage by his striking workers (Bruno Lochet, et al.) at an umbrella factory in 1977 and subsequently suffers a mild heart attack in this amusing, engaging, well-acted, satirical, 2010 comedy, which is adapted from the popular Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy play, his fed-up, stunningly beautiful, trophy wife (Catherine Deneuve) seeks help from the communist mayor and former union leader (Gérard Depardieu), her two grown children (Judith Godrèche and Jérémie Renier), and her husband’s secretary (Karin Viard) to manage the company to some surprising and satisfying results.
“Presence” (NR) (2) [Opens Nov. 17 in select theaters and available on various VOD platforms.] — When a mentally unstable, anxiety-prone New York zipper designer (Jenna Lyng Adams) who is plagued by horrific nightmares and disturbing visions meets up with her Ambien-using business partner (Alexandria DeBerry) to board a yacht of a potential billionaire investor (Dave Vacis), who manufactures buttons, bound for Puerto Rico in Christian Schultz’s eerie, dark, tension-filled, somber, violent, unpredictable, 82-minute psychological horror thriller, she becomes more unhinged as paranoia and violent nightmares escalate and merge with reality.
“She Said” (R) (3) [Descriptions of sexual assault and language.] [Opens Nov. 18 in theaters.] — Maria Schrader’s powerful, award-winning, factually inspired, well-written, star-studded (Patricia Clarkson, Samantha Morton, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Adam Shapiro, Sean Cullen, and Jason Hewitt), 135-minute film in which tenacious, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey publish damning, eye-opening articles involving numerous actresses, including Rose McGowan (voiceover by Kelly McQuail) and Ashley Judd, in Hollywood who claimed they were sexually assaulted by producer Harvey Weinstein (Mike Houston), and their investigative reporting and 2012 novel contributed to the start of the #MeToo movement.
“Tiger 24” (NR) (3.5) [Available Nov. 15 on various digital and VOD platforms.] — Gorgeous cinematography highlights Warren Pereira’s captivating, award-winning, powerful, educational, thought-provoking, heartbreaking, 90-minute documentary that focuses on 600-pound, man-eating Bengal tiger Ustad T-24 that killed four people (Ghamandi Lal, Ashfaq Ahmed, Cheesu Singh, and Rampal Saini) in India that is threatening human life and led to discussions about conflict between wild tigers and humans, the conservation of tigers, and loss of tigers due to habitat destruction and hunting, and it consists of archival film snippets and commentary by wildlife photographer and Ranthambhore hotel owner Aditya Singh, ex-honorary wildlife warden and Ranthambhore hotel owner Balendu Singh, leading tiger expert and author Valmik Thapar, field director Yogesh K. Sahu, local villagers Mohammed Shakir and Ashfaq Ahmed, wildlife photographers and activists Archna Singh and Chandrabal Singh, T-24 activist Sarita Subramaniam, safari driver Shankar Lal, conservator of forests Rahul Bhatnagar, assistant conservator of forests Daulat Singh Shaktawat, environmental lawyer Sanjay Upadhyay, former chief wildlife warden R.N. Mehrotra, forest guards Rampal Saini and Mundar, senior forest guard Hukum, veterinarians Dr. Rajeev Garg and Arvind Mathur, Rampal Saini’s wife Dholi Bai and son Mohana, and PhD conservationist and T-24 activist Sunil Dubey.
“Who Invited Charlie?” (NR) (3) [Screened Oct. 8 and 9 at the 30th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival.] — Xavier Manrique’s quirky, offbeat, sporadically humorous, well-acted, low-key, down-to-earth, 101-minute comedy in which a stressed-out, struggling New York City hedge fund manager (Reid Scott), who is losing clients to an unscrupulous business associate, heads to the Hamptons with his wife (Jordana Brewster) and 16-year-old son (Peter Dager) during the COVID pandemic and when his jealous, weed-smoking, loose-lipped college roommate (Adam Pally), who is a middle school gym teacher, unexpectedly shows up, tensions escalate as devastating secrets are revealed and relationships are in jeopardy.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.