Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“The Capote Tapes” (NR) (3) [Played Oct. 8 on AARP’s Movies for Grownups and available on various VOD platforms.] — Ebs Burnough’s fascinating, insightful, informative, colorful, 98-minute, 2019 documentary that explores the career and life of world-famous, legendary gay writer Truman Capote through archival film footage and photographs, excerpts from his writings (such as “Other Voices, Other Rooms,” “A Gathering of Swans,” and “In Cold Blood”), titillating speculations of unfinished novel “Answered Prayers,” audio recording snippets (such as partner Jack Dunphy, actresses Lauren Bacall and Candace Bergen, writer Norman Mailer, designer Donald Brooks, Babe’s daughter Kate Paley, commentator William Buckley Jr., and friends, including Gavin Lambert, Slim Keith, Judy Greene, Barbara Lawrence, Loel Guinness, Leneore Hornblow, CZ Guest, and Margaret Agnelli), and commentary by writer and critic Sadie Stein, writers Jay McInerney and Colm Toibin, journalists George Plimpton and Sally Quinn, adopted daughter Kate Harrington, editor Lewis Lapham, friends and writers Dotson Rader and Phoebe Pierce, art historian John Richardson, former “Vogue” editor André Leon Tally, and talk show host Dick Cavett.
“Dino Dana: The Movie” (PG) (3) [Some creature action and thematic elements.] [Plays Oct. 20-31 at the William L. McKnight 3M Omnitheater at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omni Theater; for more information, log on to smm.org or call 651/221-9444.] — When a prehistoric dinosaur comes to life and threatens their playground and surrounding neighborhood in J. J. Johnson’s entertaining, family-friendly, colorful, informative, 25-minute IMAX film, a 10-year-old, aspiring paleontologist (Michela Luci), her stepsister (Saara Chaudry), friends (Evan Whitten, Richie Lawrence, et al.), and a friendly T-Rex come together to save the day.
“Escape from Mogadishu” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [Available Oct. 19 on various VOD platforms.] — When civil war escalates and riots rage in the bullet-riddled streets and Korean bigwigs become trapped in increasingly dangerous Somalia without government assistance, communications, or protection in 1991 in Seung-wan’s compelling, critically acclaimed, award-winning, factually based, intense, violent, action-packed, star-studded (Jung Man-sik, Kim Jae-hwa, and Park Kyung-hye), 121-minute film, South Korean diplomats, including South Korean Ambassador to Somalia Han Sin-seong (Kim Yoon-seok), who has a wife (Kim So-jin), and ANSP Counselor/intelligence officer Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), join forces with rival Somalia’s North Korean Ambassador Rim Yong-su (Heo Joon-ho), MSS Counselor/intelligence officer Tae Joon-ki (Koo Kyo-hwan), and their families to get them all out of Mogadishu.
“Freakonomics” (PG-13) (3) [Elements of violence, sexuality/nudity, drugs, and brief strong language.] [DVD and VOD only] — Filmmakers Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, Eugene Jarecki, and the team of Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing examine a myriad of topics in this fascinating, educational, 93-minute, documentary, which is based the bestselling book by journalist Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt, that is divided into four parts: 1) Parenting: “A Rosehanda by Any Other Name,” discusses how a name affects a person and may influence their life later on; 2) Cheating: “Pure Corruption,” which discusses cheating by examining the corruption in the world of Japanese Sumo wrestling; 3) Cause & Effect: “It’s Not a Wonderful Life,” examines how legalizing abortion affects the crime rate 20 years later; and 4) Incentives: “Can a Ninth Grader Be Bribed to Succeed?,” shows economist Sally Sadoff from Chicago University conducting an experiment to see whether offering money to ninth-grade students will motivate them to improve their grades.
“The Graves” (R) (.5) [Bloody Violence.] [DVD and VOD only] — A bloody, violent, nonsensical horror film in which two sisters (Clare Grant and Jillian Murray) heading to New York stumble on sinister, murdering brothers (Bill Moseley and Shane Stevens) near a roadside attraction in a desolate Arizona mining town of Unity and then quickly learn that the creepy residents (Tony Todd, Barbara Glover, et al.) are not who they appear to be.
“Haynesville: A Nation's Hunt for Energy” (NR) (3.5) [DVD and VOD only] — An eye-opening, educational, 74-minute documentary that discusses the discovery of the natural gas field, known as the “Haynesville Shale” in northwestern Louisiana that has the potential of yielding 230 trillion cubic feet of natural gas; future energy and renewable energy resouces relating to wind, solar, oil, coal, and natural gas; and the effects of the Haynesville Shale on townspeople (such as Pastor Reegis O. Richards, Mike Smith, and Kassi Fitzgerald) through interviews with geoengineering professor Dr. Tad Patzek, economic professor Dr. David Hoaas, renewable energy consultants Mike Sloan and Michael Skelly, renewable energy entrepreneur Andy Bowman, President of Pelican Lake Land Association Charlie Rich, natural energy expert Charlie Bryce (wrote “Gusher of Lies”), alternative energy journalist Joel Greenberg, environmentalists Bill McGibbin (wrote “The End of Nature”) and Mike Tidwell (wrote “The Ravaging Tide”), and organic geochemist Dan Jarvie.
“Howl” (NR) (3) [DVD and VOD only] — While gay, nonconformist, colorful, cigarette-smoking, 29-year-old poet Allen Ginsberg (James Franco) discusses his writing process and reads excerpts from his erotic, profanity-laden poetry from “Howl and Other Poems,” in 1957 in this arty, fascinating, factually inspired film interspersed with hallucinogenic animation and scenes depicting his love life with various lovers (Aaron Tveit, Jon Prescott, et al.), two San Francisco attorneys, Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn) and Jake Ehrlich (Jon Hamm), cross-examine literary experts (Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, and Alessandro Nivola) before conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban) during an obscenity trial after publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Andrew Rogers) published Ginberg’s controversial work.
“Life As We Know It” (PG-13) (2.5) [Sexual material, language, and some drug content.] [DVD and VOD only] — After their best friends (Hayes MacArthur and Christina Hendricks) are tragically killed in a car accident in this sad, funny, down-to-earth, predictable, romantic comedy, an Atlanta bakery shop owner (Katherine Heigl) and a hunky sports cameraman (Josh Duhamel) learn that they have been named as guardians for their baby girl and get much need support from the neighbors (Melissa McCarthy, et al.) and the family pediatrician (Josh Lucas).
“Madres” (NR) (2.5) [Available Oct. 8 on Amazon Prime Video.] — When a tenacious, pregnant Mexican-American woman (Ariana Guerra) and her husband (Tenoch Huerta) move to a California to run a farm during the 1970s in Ryan Zaragoza’s compelling, chilling, factually inspired, tense, unpredictable, 83-minute Welcome to Blumhouse horror film, she starts to have frightening hallucinations and odd symptoms such as bodily rashes and desperately tries to determine whether they are related to a legendary curse, the pesticides used on the crops that seems to affect only pregnant women in the migrant farming community, or something more disturbing.
“The Manor” (NR) (2.5) [Available Oct. 1 on Amazon Prime Video.] — After a feisty, 70-year-old, former ballet dancer (Barbara Hershey) suffers a mild stroke and voluntarily moves into an eerie, gothic assisted-living residence to recover so as not to burden her widowed daughter (Katie Amanda Keane) and teenage grandson (Nicholas Alexander) in Axelle Carolyn’s intriguing, creepy, intense, unpredictable, 74-minute Welcome to Blumhouse horror film, she begins to experience terrifying nightmares, uncovers longtime conspiracies, and tries to convince some clueless, skeptical staff (Shelley Robertson, Ciera Payton, and Stacey Travis) and other patients (Bruce Davison, Nancy Linehan Charles, Jill Larson, Fran Bennett, et al.) that evil, supernatural entities are terrorizing and preying upon the residences.
“My Name Is Kahn” (PG-13) (4) [Some violence, sexual content, and language.] [DVD and VOD only] — After the death of his mother and joining his brother (Jimmy Sehgill) and sister-in-law (Sonya Jahen) in San Francisco in this uplifting, touching, inspirational, well-acted, 160-minute film, an intelligent, soft-spoken Muslim (Shahrukh Khan) afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome becomes a beauty product salesman, marries a beautiful Hindu (Kajol) with a young son, and subsequently ends up on a cross-country journey to meet the president (Christopher B. Duncan) after 9/11 and a family tragedy.
“My Soul to Take” (R) (1) [Strong bloody violence, and pervasive language, including sexual references.] [DVD and VOD only] — After a deranged serial killer (Raúl Esparza) murders a bunch of people, kills his wife (Alexandra Wilson), and injures two cops (Frank Grillio and Danai Gurira) in a small Massachusetts town in this tepid, disappointing, albeit creepy, 3D Wes Craven horror film, seven high school students (Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Jeremy Chu, Denzel Whitaker, and Paulina Olszynski) who were born on that night find themselves terrorized by a mysterious killer 16 years later.
“Nowhere Boy” (R) (3.5) [Language and a scene of sexuality.] [DVD and VOD only] — A captivating, fascinating, well-acted, factually inspired film that chronicles the rebellious, teenage years of legendary musician John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) and the beginnings of his career as a musician and songwriter in the 1950s while living with his dowdy, strict aunt (Kristin Scott Thomas) in Liverpool and his yearning to know the troubled, musically gifted mother (Anne-Marie Duff) who abandoned him as a 5-year-old boy (Alex Ambrose).
“Red” (PG-13) (3.5) [Intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language.] [DVD and VOD only] — When a retired black ops agent (Bruce Willis), who is considered “retired and extremely dangerous” in Cleveland finds himself attracted to a romance-book-loving government employee (Mary-Louise Parker) in Kansas City and the target of CIA assassins (Karl Urban, et al.) in this smartly written, wit-filled, fun, action-packed, star-studded (Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine, Julian McMahon, and James Remar), highly entertaining comedy, he seeks the help of other retired CIA agents (John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren) to prevent further deaths and to flush out who is responsible for the string of hits.
“The Rescue” (NR) (4) [Partially subtitled] [Opens Oct. 15 in theaters.] — Striking cinematography and informative interviews with multinational experts highlight Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s riveting, tension-filled, suspenseful, in-depth, behind-the-scenes, 107-minute documentary that examines how people from all over the world, including brave, skilled divers (such as John Volanthen, Rick Stanton, and Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris) from Thailand, the United States, Britain, and Australia, join forces to perform the daring, dangerous, miraculous rescue mission of twelve young Thai Wild Boar soccer players and their coach in Northern Thailand in June 2018 after they became trapped in the flooded Tham Luang Cave in the Nang Non Mountains about 1.5 miles from the cave entrance during the monsoon season.
“The Retaliators” (NR) (3) [Opened Oct. 12 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood as part of Screamfest.] — When a teenage woman (Katie Kelly) is brutality murdered in New Jersey after witnessing a crime in Samuel Gonzalez, Jr. and Bridget Smith’s extremely violent, over-the-top gory, bloody, gritty, star-studded (Robert Knepper, Robert John Burke, Brian O’Halloran, Abbey Hafer, and Shannan Wilson), 97-minute horror thriller underscored by heavy metal music (ie., Five Finger Death Punch, Tommy Lee, Papa Roach, From Ashes to New, The Hu, Ice Nine Kills, Jacoby Shaddix, Escape the Fate, and Amanda Lyberg), a grief-stricken, revenge-fueled, well-respected, pacifist, widowed, small-town pastor (Michael Lombardi) is invited by a sadistic detective (Marc Menchaca) to retaliate against the bad guys (Joseph Gatt, Ivan L. Moody, et al.) in his secret, underground torture bunker; only for horror aficionados.
“Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat” (PG) (2) [Rude material and language.] [Available Sept. 30 on various VOD platforms.] — When a dimwitted T.W.I.T. agent (Paul Johansson) recruits a warmhearted, 10-year-old boy (Zachery Arthur), who is picked on by a bully (Hayden Crawford) and lives with his father (Kevin Sizemore) and bulldog, per the orders of his boss (Nicola Lambo) to stop the menacing clown Dr. Chuckles (Ryan O’Quinn) from using his laugh generator on the public worldwide in Billy Dickson’s colorful, silly, wacky, slapstick, intermittently funny, 89-minute comedy in which self-esteem and respect are central themes, the boy and his best friends (Siloh Nelson and Cooper J. Friedman) work together to stop the clown and his cohorts from creating global mayhem with uncontrollable laughter.
“Summer Hours” (NR) (2) [Subtitled][DVD and VOD only] — After their well-respected, widowed, and weary 75-year-old French mother (Edith Scob) unexpectedly dies in this slow, realistic, low-key film, her three grown children, including a successful designer (Juliette Binoche) in New York City, a professor/writer (Charles Berling) in Paris, and a hardworking businessman (Jérémie Renier) commuting between France and China, reminisce about their summers growing up at her picturesque country house and then must deal with selling the burdensome estate, which is filled with valuable, museum-quality antiques from their late uncle, including paintings, furniture, sculptures, and glasswork.
“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (R) (3.5) [Some language.] [DVD and VOD only] — Dreams take center stage and the placebo effect is alive and well in this poignant, funny, low-key Woody Allen comedy in which a youth-seeking retiree (Anthony Hopkins) marries a gold-digging prostitute (Lucy Punch) in London after dumping his astrology-loving wife (Gemma Jones) who seeks advice from a shady fortune teller (Amanda Lawrence) and love with an occult bookseller (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) while their stressed-out daughter (Naomi Watts), who is eager to open her own art gallery, falls for her adulterous boss (Antonio Banderas) not knowing that her wandering-eye, writer husband (Josh Brolin) has fallen for a comely musicology student (Freida Pinto) who is engaged to an artist (Neil Jackson).
Wendy Schadwald is a Burnsville resident.