Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“The Accidental Wolf” (NR) (3) [Available Nov. 26 exclusively on First Look Media’s Topic streaming service via topic.com, and Topic’s channels on Amazon Prime Video channels, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku; Topic is required for viewing and for more information, log on to topic.com.] — When a Manhattan housewife (Kelli O'Hara), who is married to a wealthy, workaholic attorney (Mike Doyle), receives an ominous, gunshot-filled phone call in which she believes the caller is murdered and his pregnant wife (Marsha Stephanie Blake) is in danger in this four, 30-minute episode, Emmy-nominated season one of this gripping, critically acclaimed, well-acted, thrilling, unpredictable, star-dotted (Laurie Metcalf, Sahr Ngaujah, Denis O’Hare, Mick Hilgers, Cassie Beck, Raúl Castillo, and Magnolia Hammel), 2017 television series, her life unravels and is turned upside down after she becomes increasingly agitated as she tries to find this mysterious women and to figure out what is happening while her estranged husband becomes fed up with her continual investigation and threatens to seek custody of their teenage daughter (Caroline Yorio) and her judgmental parents (Judith Ivey and Reed Birney) show her no emotional support.
“Afghan Star” (NR) (3.5) [Partially subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] — A fascinating, educational, award-winning, 2009 documentary that follows Afghani singers Rafi Naabzada (age 19), Lema Sahar (age 25), Hameed Sakhizada (age 20), and Setera Hussainzada (age 22), who come from different parts of Afghanistan such as Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar, to compete for fame and $5,000 in Kabul on the popular “Afghan Star” show, which is televised on Tolo TV despite opposition from Taliban leaders.
“Date Night” (PG-13) (2.5) [Sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence, and a drug reference.] — After a stuck-in-a-rut New Jersey tax attorney (Steve Carrell) and his real estate agent wife (Tina Fey) decide to leave their kids (Jonathan Morgan Heit and Savannah Paige Rae) with the babysitter (Leighton Meester) and head to a fancy Manhattan restaurant for a night out on the town in this wacky, uneven, sporadically funny, star-dotted (Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig, William Fichtner, et al.) comedy, they find themselves being chased by two thugs (Common and Jimmi Simpson), who work for a mobster (Ray Liotta), when they hijack a dinner reservation of an unscrupulous couple (James Franco and Mila Kunis).
“Letters to God” (PG) (2.5) [Thematic material.] [DVD and VOD only]— An emotional, religious, factually inspired film in which a brave 8-year-old boy (Tanner Maguire) with brain cancer, who lives with his widowed mother (Robyn Lively) and teenage brother (Michael Bolten), relays his struggles and prayers by writing a letter to God every day, which profoundly affects the lives of people around him, including a postman (Jeffrey S. S. Johnson) estranged from his family because of his alcoholism and his best friend (Bailee Madison) and her wise grandfather (Ralph Waite).
“The Sensei” (NR) (2.5) [DVD and VOD only] — While a bullied, gay teenager (Michael O'Laskey II), who lives with his concerned mother (Gina Scalzi) in Denver, copes with prejudice in the mid-1980s and takes up martial arts to defend himself after bullies (Jonathan Camp, et al.) cruelly beat him at school in this engaging, star-studded (Keith David, Tzi Ma, et al.) albeit overly preachy 2008 film, his Japanese instructor (Diana Lee Inosanto) copes with the death of her fiancée (Louis Mandylor) from AIDs and trying to reconnect with her family (Sab Shimono, Emily Kuroda, Tim Lounibos, Bryan Frank, Michael Yama, et al.).
“Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb” (TV-PG) (3.5) [Netflix Only] — A captivating, fascinating, educational, well-paced, 113-minute documentary highlighted by striking cinematography in which an all-Egyptian team of archaeologists, such as Ghareeb Ali Mohammed Abushousha, Hamada Shehata Ahmed Mansour, and Dr. Salina Ikram, and their dedicated staff made the astonishing and exciting discovery in the Bubasteion necropolis in Saqqara, Egypt, near Cairo of the well-preserved 4,400-year-old tomb from the fifth dynasty of egotistical senior official and high priest Wahtye and his family in March 2019 that included numerous mummified cats and a lion cub entombed during the Old Kingdom.
“Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?” (PG-13) (3) [Thematic material including sexuality, language, drug references, and some domestic violence.] [DVD and VOD only] — Distrust, jealousy, and anger run rampant when an intrusive ex-husband (Richard T. Jones) and four Georgia couples, including a comely lawyer (Sharon Leal) and her husband (Tyler Perry), an emotionally crippled psychologist (Janet Jackson) and her husband (Malik Yoba), a new mom (Jill Scott) and her unemployed spouse (Lamman Rucker), and a sports newscaster (Michael Jai White) and his suspicious wife (Tasha Smith), head to the Bahamas for vacation and return home to continue on the same dysfunctional course of their lives in this down-to-earth, well-acted, cameo-dotted (Porter (Lou Gossett Jr., Cicley Tyson, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) film.
“Uncle Frank” (R) (3.5) [Language, some sexual references, and drug use.] [Available Nov. 25 on Amazon Prime Video.] — When a well-respected, closeted gay NYU literature professor (Paul Brittany) in Manhattan learns that his cruel, estranged father (Stephen Root) has unexpectedly died in 1973 in this engaging, emotional, touching, well-acted, realistic, bittersweet, star-studded (Margo Martindale, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Lois Smith, Jane McNeil, Caity Brewer, Colton Ryan, Britt Rentschler, and Alan Campbell), 95-minute film inspired by Alan Ball’s semiautobiographical novel, he takes a road trip with his feisty 18-year-old niece (Sophia Lillis) to attend the funeral in Creekville, South Carolina, and is joined by his charismatic, kindhearted, longtime, Saudi Arabian immigrant lover (Peter Macdissi) while reminiscing about his first crush (Michael Perez) as a 16-year-old student (Cole Doman) that ended tragically and ultimately dealing with revealed secrets.
“The Wedding Song” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled][DVD and VOD only] — While a Muslim teenager (Olympe Borval) is anxious to marry her unemployed fiancée (Najib Oudghiri) in German-occupied Tunisia in this compelling, bittersweet, 2008 French film, her Jewish best friend (Lizzie Brocheré) is forced by her mother (Karin Albou) to marry a much-older doctor (Simon Abkarian) in an attempt to save her family from the Nazis in 1942.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.