Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“(Untitled)” (R) (2.5) [Language and nude images.] [DVD and VOD only] — A quirky, brooding, unusual, 2009 satire that focuses on the contemporary art and music scene in New York City in which an avante garde composer (Adam Goldberg) and his commercially successful artist brother (Eion Bailey) are both involved with a pretentious art gallery owner (Marley Shelton), who also showcases other weird artists (Vinnie Jones, Ptolemy Slocum, et al.), in Chelsea.
“Case 39” (R) (3.5) [Violence and terror, including disturbing images.] [DVD and VOD only] — After a kindhearted Oregon social worker (Renée Zellweger) reluctantly accepts a case from her boss (Adrian Lester) in which she must evaluate whether a 10-year-old girl (Jodelle Ferland) is being abused by her parents (Callum Keith Rennie and Kerry O’Malley) in this intense, gut-wrenching, scary thriller, she seeks help from a psychologist (Bradley Cooper) and a detective (Ian McShane) when she realizes that the girl is not as innocent as she claims to be.
“Demonlover” (NR) (2) [Strong violence, sexual content, and some language.] [DVD and VOD only] — A convoluted, 2002 film about a French businesswoman (Connie Nielsen) who sabotages contract negotiations with her company and a Japanese firm that develops 3D pornographic anime to favor a rival competitor and then learns that her associates (Chloë Sevigny and Charles Berling) are also involved with a seedy, highly secretive web site specializing in live torture.
“Falling for Figaro” (NR) (3) [Opened Oct. 1 in theaters, played Sept. 30 on AARP’s Movies for Grownups, and available on various VOD platforms.] — Classic arias and gorgeous scenery highlight Gary Lewin’s captivating, charming, bittersweet, well-acted, predictable, 115-minute, 2020 romantic comedy in which a talented, smart, unfulfilled, American fund manager (Danielle Macdonald) quits her lucrative job in London and leaves her longtime boyfriend (Shazad Latif) to take singing lessons in the Scottish Highlands from a no-nonsense, curmudgeonly, underachieving opera coach (Joanna Lumley) in the hopes of winning a prestigious Singer of Renown contest to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a successful opera singer and ends up falling for a jealous, handsome, competitive rival (Hugh Skinner) while staying at a quaint hotel run by its supportive owner (Gary Lewis).
“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” (PG-13) (2.5) [Mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material, and language.] [DVD and VOD only] — An engaging, uneven, quirky, bittersweet comedy in which a smart, imaginative, depressed, high school student (Keir Gilchrist) with suicidal thoughts admits himself to the psych ward of a New York City hospital to the concern of his parents (Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan) and the surprise of his best friends (Thomas Mann and Zoë Kravitz) and then finds himself coming to terms with his feelings when he connects to the eclectic group of mentally disturbed patients (Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Daniel London, Matthew Maher, Bernard White, Adrian Martinez, et al.) and caring staff (Viola Davis, Jeremy Davis, Aasif Mandvi, et al.).
“Justin Bieber: Our World” (PG) (2.5) [Some language.] [Available Oct. 8 on Amazon Prime Video.] — Justin Bieber’s music highlights Michael D. Ratner’s entertaining, behind-the-scenes, insightful, 94-minute documentary that gives snippets into Justin Bieber’s personal life and showcases the talented, tattooed, 27-year-old pop star, who is a reformed Christian, as he rehearses songs and dance moves with band members (Zac Brunson, DJ Tay James, Julian McGuire, and Devon Taylor) for one month in preparation to give a New Year’s Eve rooftop concert in January 2020 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles for 240 guests while streaming live after a three-year absence from the stage and consists of fascinating commentary by executive producer Scooter Braun, videographer Cory Kramer, designer and producer Chris Gratton, wife Hailey, co-executive producers (such as Jules Ferree, Nick DeMoura, and Rory Kramer), dancers Jared Smith and Johnny Erasme, and musical director Bernard Harvey.
“Manuela and Manuel” (PG-13) (3) [Thematic elements involving sexuality, and language.] [Subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] — When his best friend (Elana Iguina) learns that she is pregnant after a one-night stand with a married man (Johnny Lozada) in this over-the-top, funny, quirky, 2007 comedy, a flamboyant drag queen Manuela (Humberto Busto), who has a peppery relationship with his religious landlord (Luz María Rondón) and nightclub boss (Israel Lugo), in Latin America agrees to pose as her solider boyfriend and to meet her contentious parents (Sunshine Logroño and Ineabelle Colón).
“The Many Saints of Newark” (R) (3) [Strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content, and some nudity.] [Opens Oct. 1 in theaters and available on HBO Max.] — Michael Imperioli narrates Alan Taylor’s intense, violent, superbly acted, bullet-riddled, well-written, star-studded (Leslie Odom Jr., Billy Magnussen, Michela De Rossi, John Magaro, Gabriella Piazza, David Chase, Alexandra Intrator, Lesli Margherita, and Joey Diaz), 2-hour prequel to “The Sopranos” television show that focuses on 11-year-old Anthony Soprano (William Ludwig) who lives with his mentally unstable mother (Vera Farmiga) and father (Jon Bernthal) in 1967 in Newark, N.J., and as a teenager (Michael Gandolfini) idolizes his murdering gangster uncle (Alessandro Nivola) and grows up with streetwise, notorious, crime family members (Ray Liotta, Corey Stoll, Nick Vallelonga, et al.) who negatively shape his life as he becomes a powerful Mafia boss.
“No Time to Die” (PG-13.5) (3.5) [Sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language, and some suggestive material.] [Opens Oct. 8 in theaters.] — When a dangerous scientist (David Dencik) is kidnapped along with a psychiatrist (Léa Seydoux) and her five-year-old daughter in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s action-packed, fast-paced, convoluted, well-written, star-studded (Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Waltz, Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dali Benssalah, and Billy Magnussen), 163-minute thriller that has terrific cinematography and a surprise ending, MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) comes out of retirement and joins up with two CIA agents (Jeffrey Wright and Ana de Armas) and an MI6 agent (Lashana Lynch) to stop a revenge-fueled madman (Rami Malek) from unleashing a DNA-specific biological weapon that has the potential of decimating mankind.
“Secretariat” (PG) (3.5) [Brief mild language.] [DVD and VOD only] — A highly entertaining, inspirational, thrilling, family-oriented, factually based, star-dotted (Margo Martindale, Dylan Baker, Fred Dalton Thompson, Kevin Connolly, et al.), Walt Disney film that chronicles the determination of Denver housewife Penny Tweedy/Chenery (Diane Lane), who is married to a supportive lawyer (Dylan Walsh) and has four children (Carissa Capobianco, Amanda Michalka, Sean Michael Cunningham, and Jacob Rhodes), to save the Virginia horse stables of her family after her father (Scott Glenn) becomes ill and hires flamboyant horse trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich) and talented jockey Ron Turcotte (Otto Thorwarth) to guide an unproven colt she won in a coin toss with a wealthy businessman (James Cromwell) toward victory in horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes) during a 5-week period in 1973.
“The Social Network” (PG-13) (3.5) [Sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and language.] [DVD and VOD only] — An intriguing, well-acted, well-written, factually inspired, star-dotted (Man Minghella, Don Johnson, Joseph Mazzello, and Bill Gates) film, which is based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires,” that chronicles Harvard computer whiz Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) who was inspired to create the social network Facebook in 2003 with the help of a $1,000 investment from his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and intense Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) after being approached by wealthy twin brothers and Harvard rowers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Arnie Hammer and Josh Pence) to program a Harvard Connection dating web site and later finds himself embroiled in several lawsuits when Facebook becomes an overnight phenomenon.
“Waiting for ‘Superman’” (PG) (4) [Some thematic material, mild language, and incidental smoking.] [DVD and VOD only] — A controversial, eye-opening, ire-inducing, thought-provoking documentary that examines the appalling, shameful, outdated educational system in the United States where some underprivileged children must take their chances with the lottery in the hopes getting a better education by being accepted into a charter school (e.g., Harlem Success Academy in New York City, Seed School in Washington, D.C., Kipp LA in Los Angeles, and Summit Prep in Redwood City) and tenured, underperforming teachers are almost impossible to fire and uses irrefutable statistics, news footage, and interviews with students and guardians (including Anthony [grandmother Gloria] in Washington, D.C., Daisy [parents Jose and Judith] in Los Angeles, Francisco [mom Maria] in the Bronx, Emily in Redwood City, and Bianca [mom Nakia] in Harlem), teachers (such as Geoffrey Canada, Celeste Bell, and Lester Garcia), unpopular Washington D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee, senior “Newsweek” editor Jonathan Atler, former Milwaukee superintendent Howard Fuller, Pittsburgh education reformer Bill Strickland, charter school educator Todd Dickson, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Seed School Director Charles Adams, and educational reporter Jay Mathews to drive the point home.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.