Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Black Box” (NR) (3) [Available Oct. 6 on Amazon Prime Video.] — After a talented, widowed, 33-year-old photographer (Mamoudou Athie), who has a precocious young daughter (Amanda Christine) and physician brother (Tosin Morohunfola), suffers severe memory loss and amnesia due to a tragic car accident in Texas that killed his wife (Najah Bradley) in this gripping, creepy, suspenseful, twist-filled, 100-minute, psychological sci-fi thriller, he undergoes an experimental, cutting-edge hypnosis treatment developed by a desperate, duplicitous neurologist (Phylicia Rashad), and when he has a breakthrough and the blurred faces of the people (Charmaine Binges, Donald Watkins, and Troy James) become clear, he is confused and shocked.
“Cherish: A Visual Poem” (NR) (3) [Available Oct. 15 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.] — In Terrance Daye’s beautifully photographed, captivating, artistic, dialogue-free, 5-minute film, which is episode 1 of Roger Ross Williams’ monthly series “One Story Up,” the poetic journey follows an imaginative, young Black boy (Jayden Reid), who has witnessed charged and intense religious worship in his home, experiencing a highly exuberant physicality while trying to capture fireflies, observing a woman (Renee Harrison) preparing for a ceremony with a priestess (Lauren Walker), and finally achieving the magic of flight like the fireflies.
“Evil Eye” (NR) (3) [Available Oct. 13 on Amazon Prime Video.] — When her independent, 29-year-old daughter (Sunita Mani) finally begins dating a handsome, successful tech businessman (Omar Maskati) in New Orleans in this compelling, tense, colorful, evenly paced, well-acted, 90-minute thriller based on Madhuri Shekar's audio play, her astrology-obsessed, reincarnation-believing, distraught Indian mother (Sarita Choudhury), who lives with her kindhearted and worried husband (Bernard White) in New Delhi, becomes increasingly skeptical and alarmed by her daughter’s new charming beau that triggers nightmarish déjà vu visions of her stalking, abusive boyfriend from her traumatic past and begins to fear that her dismissive daughter has fallen for someone eerily just like him as evil rears its ugly head.
“I Am Woman” (NR) (3) [Available Oct. 16 on various VOD platforms and played on Oct. 9 as part of AARP’s “Movies for Grownups”.] — Nostalgic music takes center stage in this compelling, entertaining, factually inspired, well-acted, inspirational, timely, star-dotted (Chris Parnell, Chelsea Cullen, Rita Rani Abuja, and Marty Cardarople), 116-minute, 2019 biographical film based on Helen Reddy’s 2005 autobiography “The Woman I Am: A Memoir” that chronicles the tumultuous life and legendary career of ambitious, tenacious, talented, divorced Australian singer Helen Reddy (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) and her quick rise to stardom after arriving in New York City with her 3-year-old daughter (Molly Broadstock) in 1966, her breakthrough of the male glass ceiling with the help of her asthmatic Aussie rock journalist and best friend Lillian Roxon (Danielle Macdonald), the move to Los Angeles with her aspiring talent manager boyfriend Jeff Wald (Evan Peters) who becomes her coke-addicted husband and then bankrupts his family, the co-writing with Ray Burton “I Am Woman,” which became the women’s movement anthem in the 1970s, and finally becoming a music superstar with a television show and numerous hit songs, such as “Delta Dawn,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Leave Me Alone,” “You and Me Against the World,” “Angie Baby,” “Candle on the Water,” and “I Am Woman”.
“The Lie” (R) (3) [Language throughout, some violence, and brief sexuality.] [Available Oct. 6 on Amazon Prime Video.] — When the 15-year-old, bratty, dysfunctional, asthmatic student (Joey King) claims to have pushed her best friend (Devery Jacobs) off a bridge on their way to dance camp in New York in this suspenseful, tense, well-acted, love-it-or-hate-it, 97-minute, 2018 psychological thriller remake of the 2015 German film “We Monsters” and punctuated by a shocking, climatic ending, her protective, divorced, rock musician father (Peter Sarsgaard) and frantic corporate lawyer mother (Mireille Enos) try to cover up the murder as lies pile up and things go from bad to worse when the missing girl’s Pakistani father (Case Anvar) and detectives (Patti Kim and Nicholas Lee) start asking questions.
“Nocturne” (NR) (2.5) [Available Oct. 13 on Amazon Prime Video.] — After a traumatized, jealous, virginal, shy pianist (Sydney Sweeney), whose oblivious parents (Julie Benz and Brandon Keener) are vacationing in Europe, at a prestigious art academy for classical musicians comes into possession of a mysterious and ultimately prophetic notebook that belonged to a gifted student (Ji Eun Hwang) who committed suicide in this dark, convoluted, somber, taut, well-acted, 90-minute psychological thriller, she finds herself strangely hallucinating and outshining her more talented, competitive, popular, fraternal twin sister (Madison Iseman), who is dating a fellow classmate (Jacques Colimon), to the surprise of her instructors (Ivan Shaw, Asia Jackson, and John Rothman) and ultimately with dire consequences.
“She’s Out of My League “(R) (2.5) [Language and sexual content.] [DVD only] — When a good hearted, average-looking TSA agent (Jay Baruchel) with low self-esteem in Pittsburgh begins dating a knock-out gorgeous, former lawyer (Alice Eve) who started an event planning business with her bitchy girlfriend (Krysten Ritter) after dumping her hunky, adulterous, pilot boyfriend (Geoff Stults) in this silly, relatable, surprisingly funny, buddy comedy reminiscent of “Knocked Up” and “Superbad,” he finds his tenuous relationship threatened by his well-meaning friends (T.J. Miller, Nate Torrence, and Mike Vogel), his parents (Debra Jo Rupp and Adam LeFevre), and his self-absorbed ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane).
“Wonderful World” (R) (1.5) [Language, some drug use, and sexual content.] [DVD only] — After his Senegalese, chess-loving roommate (Michael K. Williams) lands in a Baltimore hospital in this downbeat, uninspired film, a pessimistic, divorced proofreader (Matthew Broderick) finds himself without a job and falling for his roommate’s sister (Sanaa Lathan) who has come from Dakar to visit while trying to reconnect with his daughter (Jodelle Ferland) who lives with his ex-wife (Ally Walker).
The following films are available to watch between Oct. 16 at 12 a.m. and Oct. 22 at 11:59 p.m. as part of the 8th annual Cine Latino at Home festival at the MSP Film Society at the St. Anthony on Main Theater; for information, log on to mspfilm.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.:
“Ara Malikian: A Life Among Strings” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] — Memorable, vibrant violin music dominates Nata Moreno’s engaging, entertaining, critically acclaimed, colorful, arty, 89-minute, 2019 documentary that examines the struggles and career of talented, eccentric, flamboyant, smoky-eyed, classically trained, Armenia-born violinist Ara Malikian who lost much of his family during the Armenian genocide in 1915, grew up in Lebanon, moved to Germany to train at Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media at 15 years of age, has made more than 25 albums, and has performed worldwide at sold-out venues.
“Cachada: The Opportunity” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] — A compelling, gut-wrenching, powerful, gripping, 81-minute, 2019 documentary that showcases five street vendors, including Evelyn Chileno, Ruth H. Vega, Magdalena Henriquez, Wendy Henriquez, and Magaly Lemus, in El Salvador who decide to form a theater group with the help of teacher Egly Larreynaga in their poverty-stricken neighborhood, and while creating their play from their own lives and rehearsing during the workshops, they undergo a healing, cathartic experience as they relive traumatic memories of troubled pasts dealing with sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and struggling with hunger, anger, and everyday life.
“Once Upon a Time in Venezuela” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] — Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’ award-winning, depressing, powerful, down-to-earth, heartbreaking, 98-minute documentary that follows amidst political turmoil and unrest and government corruption in 2015 Chávez-loving, swine-owning Communist Mrs. Tamara who has political ambitions and vocal opponent and critic schoolteacher Natalie, who teaches in a decrepit one-room school, while living in extreme poverty in rundown shacks on stilts in the neglected fishing village of Congo Mirador in northern Venezuela that desperately needs Lake Maracaibo to be dredged of sedimentation that is choking the life of out of villagers who are barely existing.
“Valentina” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] — When a strong-willed, transgendered, 17-year-old high school student (Thiessa Woinbackk) finds herself bullied at her former school in Brazil and moves with her protective mother (Guta Stresser), who works as a nurse and is separated from her husband (Rômulo Braga), to another town with the hopes of getting a fresh start and registering with the school administrator (Maria de Maria) at a new school in this award-winning, poignant, well-acted, realistic, inspirational, coming-of-age, 95-minute film, she finds herself supported by a lonely, gay student (Ronaldo Bonafro) and a pregnant teenager (Letícia Franco) especially after a classmate (Pedro Diniz) and his brother (João Gott) expose her secret.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.