"King Richard"

"King Richard" 

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

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“2:22” (R) (1.5) [Violence, drug use, and sexual content.] [DVD and VOD only] After a tight-knit crew (Mick Rossi, Robert Miano, Aaron Gallagher, and Jorge A. Jimenez) robs a motley group of unsuspecting guests (Brian Foyster, Eric Shani, Jean-Marc Fontaine, et al.) at a swanky hotel in New York City of their loot, drugs, and jewelry on New Year’s Eve and uses a reclusive, mentally-unstable jeweler (Val Kilmer) to fence the collected precious jewels in this violent, predictable, gritty, 2008 film, the four thieves eventually find themselves the unwanted target of an investigation by a savvy detective (A. J. Campbell) and revenge by some of their disgruntled holiday victims.

“The Acid King” (NR) (3.5) [Available Nov. 9 on various VOD platforms.] Dan Jones and Jesse Pollack’s powerful, factually based, in-depth, thought-provoking, disturbing, behind-the-scenes, 116-minute documentary that examines the media and the community frenzy that ensued surrounding drug-using, drug-dealing teenager Ricky Kasso who brutally murdered friend 17-year-old Gary Lauwers with two other friends while high on LSD and angel dust in New York state in an alleged Satanic sacrifice during the summer of 1984 and consists of archival news and newspaper snippets, film clips, photographs, and fascinating commentary by Ricky Kasso’s friends (such as Grant Koerner, Chris Limbach, Richard Schock, Tom Sullivan, Rich Barton, Mike Menton, Mark Florimonte, and David Johnson), radio host Chris Tsakis, detective Douglas J. Varley, journalists Leslie K. Hatton and David Breskin, Gary Lauwers’ friends (such as J. P. Groeninger, Brian Higgins, Billy Leason, Scott Travia, Mike Benton, and Tom Raetz), professor and social worker Anthony Zenkus, author Nick Mamatas, defense attorney Eric Naiburg, musicians and singers (such as Corey Bing, Bahb Branca, Lori S., and Brendan B. Brown), Kasso’s student Ron Schmitt, filmmakers (such as Jim Van Bebber, Tommy Turner, and Chandler Thistle), Northport native Brian Kaufman, Northport resident Marlene Yolango, former Suffolk County D. A. Patrick Henry, and Northport police chief Robert Howard.

“Black Holler” (NR) (2) [Available Nov. 16 via digital and various VOD platforms.] When a streetwise, skateboarding, butt-kicking college student (Tamiko Robinson Steele) in 1989 joins her nerdy, horny classmates on a camping field trip lead by the clueless professor (Jesse Perry) in Jason Berg’s silly, nonsensical, award-winning, low-budget, cheesy, satirical, sporadically funny, gruesome, violent, 89-minute, 2017 horror-comedy narrated by Paul Michaels, the cheese-eating, airhead campers (Bruce Evans, Heidi Ervin, Betty Williams, Rachel Ward Heggen, Dale Rainey, Nicholas Hadden, et al.) are targeted by a murdering zombie in the lake, miscellaneous crazed killers, and the menacing Black Holler woods itself.

“Freeland” (NR) (3.5) [Available Nov. 19 on various VOD platforms.] — Gorgeous cinematography dominates Mario Furloni and Kate McLean’s compelling, award-winning, factually inspired, well-acted, superbly-written, moving, evenly paced, 80-minute film in which the longtime livelihood of more than 30 years of an elderly, tenacious, highly successful, illegal cannabis grower (Krisha Fairchild), who is comforted by a former lover (John Craven) who is leaving the pot business, and her seasonal weed harvesting employees (Frank Mosley, Lily Gladstone, and Cameron James Matthews) in Humboldt County in Northern California is in jeopardy when marijuana farming becomes legal and mounting bureaucratic government regulations, competitors’ state-of-the-art facilities, potential fines, and her paranoia become increasingly difficult to overcome.

“House of Gucci” (R) (3.5) [Language, some sexual content, and brief nudity and violence.] [Opens Nov. 24 in theaters.] When ambitious Italian secretary Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), who works for her father’s successful transportation business in Milan, marries law student Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) against the wishes of his stoic, stern father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) in Ridley Scott’s captivating, factually inspired, well-acted, star-studded (Salma Hayek, Jack Huston, Camille Cottin, and Reeve Carney), 157-minute biographical film highlighted by gorgeous designer outfits and based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed,” she begins a rift in the powerful, iconic fashion house with the partners, including uncle Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) and his eccentric son Paolo, who end up backstabbing each other to gain more control of the House of Gucci and as her volatile, tumultuous marriage slowly fractures and the custody of Patrizia’s daughter (Mia McGovern Zaini) is threatened, she seeks a radical way out of her dilemma.

“Hubble” (G) (3.5) [DVD and VOD only] Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this enthralling, educational, 45-minute IMAX documentary that shows stunning Hubble photographs from space, including the Orion Nebula, the Pillars of Creation, Andromeda, Virgo’s Cluster, and the Milky Way, and chronicles the May 2009 mission of the Atlantis space shuttle crew (Scott D. Altman, Andrew J. Feuste, Michael T. Good, John M. Grunfeld, Gregory C. Johnson, Michael J. Massimino, and Megan McArthur) to repair and enhance the Hubble telescope.

“Introducing Jodea” (NR) (2.5) [Available Nov. 16 via digital and on various VOD platforms.] After a famous, pompous, down-on-his-luck film director (Jeff Coppage), who is married to his adulterous leading lady (Yadira Pascault Orozco) and struggles with past drug addiction, hits a parked car with its unemployed, aspiring actress owner (Chloe Traicos), whose boyfriend (Miles Faber) is also cheating on her, at the wheel in Jon Cohen’s wacky, low-budget, award-winning, sporadically funny, predictable, 105-minute romantic comedy inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion,” he decides against the advice of his agent (Kent Hatch) to hire the unknown actress for his comeback action film and if he can teach her how to act in 30 days, the skeptical agent will coerce an action star (Kayd Currier) to take on the lead role.

“Julia” (NR) (3.5) [Opens Nov. 12 in theaters.] — Mouthwatering, scrumptious food and gorgeous photography highlight Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s compelling, entertaining, fascinating, informative, insightful, 95-minute documentary, which is inspired by Julia Child’s with Alex Prud’Homme book “My Life in France” and Alex Prud'Homme’s “The French Chef in America: Julia Child’s Second Act” and based on Bob Spitz’s book “Dearie: a Remarkable Life of Julia Child,” that focuses on the life and legendary culinary career of world renowned chef and television show host Julia McWilliams Child, her 12-year struggle to publish her successful cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and consists of archival photographs and film footage, “The French Chef” show snippets, excerpts from letters and journals, and commentary by cookbook author Ina Garten, chefs (such as Marcus Samuelsson, Sara Moulton, Ruth Reichl, José Andrés, Jacques Pépin, and Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch), editors Barbara Fairchild and Paul Bogaards, Julia’s sous chefs Susy Davidson and Marian Morash, friend Dorothy Zinberg, Cordon Bleu President André Cointreau, cousin Phila Cousins, cooking partner Simone Beck, former assistant Stephanie Hersh, grand nephew Alex Prud’Homme, author Anne Willan, “The French Chef” show floor manager Alex Pirie, newscaster Charlie Gibson, publisher Jane Friedman, entrepreneur Jean-François Thibault, and activist and former Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards.

“King Richard” (PG-13) (3.5) [Some violence, strong language, a sexual reference, and brief drug references.] [Opens Nov. 19 in theaters and available on HBO Max.] — Reinaldo Marcus Green’s engaging, insightful, factually based, well-acted, realistic, humor-punctuated, star-dotted (Tony Goldwyn, Dylan McDermott, Jon Bernthal, Liev Schreiber, Judith Chapman, Erin Cummings, Jimmy Walker Jr., Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, Danielle Lawson, and Noah and Andy Bean), 138-minute biographical film in which tenacious, doggedly determined, driven, controlling, security guard Richard Williams (Will Smith), who has five daughters in Compton, Calif., planned from early on with the support of his devoted wife (Aunjanue Ellis) to train his daughters Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton) to be world-class tennis champions and used quirky, unconventional tactics to promote the talent of his two rising star athletes.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (NR) (3.5) [Opens Nov. 19 in theaters and available on various VOD platforms.] — Robert B. Weide and Don Argott’s educational, compelling, in-depth, insightful, well-written, 126-minute documentary that examines the chaotic life, tumultuous marriages, and career of prolific, highly successful, mercurial, Indianapolis-born writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007) over a 39-year period and consists of film clips, archival photographs, insights into director Robert B. Weide’s struggles with making the film and its impact on his life, and interview snippets with teacher Valerie Stevenson, actor Sam Waterston, biographers Gregory Sumner and Rodney Allen, book critic David L. Ulin, professor/scholar/biographer Jerome Klintowitz, authors and friends (such as John Irving, Dan Wakefield, and Sidney Offit), journalist Morley Safer, “In These Times” magazine publisher Joel Bleifuss, brother Bernard Vonnegut, daughters Edie and Nanny Vonnegut, publisher Daniel Simon, “The Brothers Vonnegut” author Ginger Strand, son Mark Vonnegut, and nephews Jim, Kurt, and Steve Adams.

“Little Satchmo” (NR) (3) [Played Nov. 12 on AARP’s Movies for Grownups and available on various VOD platforms.] — John Alexander’s fascinating, insightful, heartbreaking, in-depth, one-hour documentary based on Sharon Louise Preston-Folta’s memoir “Little Satchmo: Living in the Shadow of My Father, Louis Daniel Armstrong” in which the secret adult daughter of Louis Armstrong, who always dreamed of having a child, uses archival film clips, photographs, private cassette recordings, and letter excerpts to candidly tell the story of her childhood living with her dancer mother Lucille “Sweets” Preston who had a 20-year affair with the legendary jazz musician who refused to acknowledge his daughter’s existence publicly.

“Megamind” (PG) (3) [Action and some language.] [DVD and VOD only] Overly dark cinematography mars this lackluster, disappointing, low-budget, 93-minute horror film in which an American photojournalist (Scoot McNairy) and an injured daughter (Whitney Able) of a wealthy publisher try to make it back to the safety of the United States after being stranded in a Central American country that was invaded and infected by monstrous, tentacle-clad aliens when a probe returned from Jupiter’s moon Europa six years earlier.

“The Rumperbutts” (NR) (1.5) [Available Nov. 19 digital and on various VOD platforms.] — When a married rocker couple (Jason Edward Hammel and Kori Gardner) who have a modestly successful indie band become unhappy starring on a popular children’s television show and then with each other and resort to affairs in Marc Brener’s disappointing, quirky, wacky, intermittently funny, 91-minute, 2015 musical comedy dotted with Mates of States songs, a mysterious promoter (Josh Brener) suddenly appears to give them a chance of revitalizing their career and their relationship.

 “Sin La Habana (aka “Without Havana”)” (NR) (3) [Adult language, adult situations, and brief nudity.] [Subtitled] [Played Nov. 11-16 during the Austin Jewish Film Festival; for information, log on to https://austinjff.org/event-list/.] — After a talented, arrogant Cuban ballet dancer (Yonah Acosta) gets fired from his dance company in Havana in Kaveh Nabatian’s engaging, award-winning, bittersweet, quirky, well-acted, unpredictable, 95-minute film highlighted by stunning cinematography, he comes up with a hasty, reckless plan with his ambitious lawyer girlfriend (Evelyn Castroda O’Farrill) to seduce a newly divorced Iranian salsa client (Aki Yaghoubi) as a way to obtain immigration papers and a ticket to Canada, but upon arriving in frigid Montreal the relationship quickly gets even more complicated as they both keep secrets and goes off the rails as he tries to make money to reunite with his true love.

“White on Rice” (PG-13) (2) [Some violent images and sex-related humor.] Partially subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] A wacky, 2009 black comedy in which a divorced, unlucky-in-love, nerdy, Japanese customer service employee (Hiroshi Watanabe), who lives with his caring sister (Nae), her fed-up husband (Mio Takada), and their precocious 10-year-old son (Justin Kwong) in California, falls for his brother-in-law’s cute niece (Lynn Chen) who unfortunately still harbors feelings for her former flame (James Kyson-Lee).

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident. 

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