Rating system: (4=Don't miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“All In: Fight for Democracy” (PG-13) (4) [Some disturbing violent images, thematic material, and strong language—all involving racism.] [Opens Sept. 9 in theaters and on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 18.] — A captivating, ire-inducing, candid, educational, factually based, moving, timely, 102-minute documentary that focuses on the Georgia House of Representatives minority leader Stacey Abrams who runs against the Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the 2018 gubernatorial election and chronicles the shocking and disturbing history of the weaponization of voter suppression tactics that began with the drafting of the Constitution (which allowed for only 6% of the U.S. population to vote) while examining the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments to the Constitution that tried to stop the suppression and consists of archival films clips and photographs and insightful commentary by “One Person, One Vote” author/historian Carol Anderson, “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877” historian Eric Foner, Rev. Robert and Carolyn Abrams, civil rights leader Andrew Young, civil rights lawyer Debo Adegbile, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, “Give Us the Ballot” author Ari Berman, Florida Civil Rights Restoration Coalition members Desmond Meade and Neil Volz, Luci Haines Johnson, former Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arapio in Arizona, former Attorney General Eric Holder, “Why Americans Don’t Vote” author Frances Fox Piven, Alabama Selby county attorney Bert Rein, Abrams campaign chairwoman Lauren Groh-Wargo, Georgia state representative Nikema Williams, Brennan Center for Justice Michael Waldman, Heritage Foundation Hans Van Spakovsky, voting rights activists Michael Parsons and Jayla Allen, Ohio congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and ACLU representative Sean J. Young.
“Cold Souls” (PG-13) (2) [Nudity and brief strong language.] [DVD only] — After stressed out, neurotic actor Paul Giamatti takes the advice of a self-serving, high-tech doctor (David Strathairn) in New York and puts his chickpea soul in cold storage in an attempt to alleviate his anxiety over his role in “Uncle Vanya” and then decides that he wants his soul returned when he notices a negative impact on his acting and his worried wife (Emily Watson) becomes concerned due to his personality changes in this tepid, biting, satirical, surreal, metaphysical, black comedy reminiscent of Charlie Kaufman’s “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Eternal Mind,” he ends up in Russia when he learns that a sexy, blonde soul trafficker (Dina Korzun) has his soul on hold for an untalented Russian actress who stars in a tacky soap opera.
“Dance Cuba: Dreams of Flight” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] ]DVD only] — Vibrant music of jazz musician Chucho Valdes encompasses Cynthia Newport’s stunning, moving, insightful, informative, uplifting, colorful, 95-minute documentary that focuses on the career of talented principal Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta of the Cuban National Ballet in Havana turned international star, the enormous contributions of legendary dancers Alicia and Alberto Alonso to the excellence of the Cuban ballet and their founding of the National Ballet of Cuba in 1948, and showcases the artistic commonality in the language of dance across cultures through archival film footage and photographs, clips from ballets such as “Swan Lake” and “Tocororo,” and interview snippets with Washington Ballet Company artistic director Septimi Webre, choreographer Trey McIntyre, dancers (Laura Urgelles, Victor Gil, and Lorna Feijoo), dance instructor Silvia Rodriguez, New York Ballet Theater founder Donald Saddler, dance historian Miguel Cabrera, and Acosta’s father Pedro and sister Marilyn).
“My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done” (NR) (1)[DVD only] — When a disturbed man (Michael Shannon) kills his jello-loving mother (Grace Zabriskie) with a sword and takes flamingos hostage after returning from a traumatic rafting trip in Peru a year earlier in this unsurprisingly offbeat, strange, factually based film in which directors Werner Herzog and David Lynch collaborate, two San Diego detectives (Willem Dafoe and Michael Peña) interview the killer’s fiancée (Chloë Sevigny), a stage director (Udo Kier), and two neighbors (Loretta Devine and Irma P. Hall) in an attempt to figure out his motivation and to safely handle the hostage situation.
“Our Time Machine” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [Opens Sept. 11 in Virtual Cinema sponsored by MSP Film Society; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org.] — When creative, talented, contemporary, 43-year-old Chinese artist Ma Liang (aka Maleonn) realizes that his proud Alzheimer's-afflicted father Ma Ke, who directed more than eighty Peking operas in Shanghai, is gradually slipping away from reality in this touching, inspirational, poignant, thought-provoking, imaginative, arty, autobiographical, 86-minute, 2019 documentary highlighted by wonderful, intricate artwork and puppets and amazing cinematography, he decides to write and direct a deeply moving play and meticulously to build magical, mechanical, life-size puppets in a visually-striking, memorable production called “Papa’s Time Machine” in an attempt to collaborate with his father to trigger and save precious memories.
“Sibyl” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [Opens Sept. 11 in Virtual Cinema sponsored by MSP Film Society; for more information, log on to mspfilm.org.] — A risqué, melancholy, disappointing, low-key, but well-acted, 110-minute, 2019 film in which a recovering alcoholic, French psychotherapist (Virginie Efira), who lives in Paris with her new boyfriend (Paul Hamy), her two children, and her sister (Laure Calamy) after breaking up with her ex-lover (Niels Schneider), decides to reduce her therapist workload to write a novel, but her life goes off the rails when she agrees to counsel a pregnant, troubled actress (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who has fallen for her costar (Gaspard Ulliel) while filming “Never Talk to Strangers” with his German director wife (Sandra Hüller) and ends up using her troubled patient as inspiration for her book.
“Shutter Island” (R) (3.5) [Disturbing violent content, language, and some nudity.] [DVD only] — A haunting musical score and a dastardly storm set the tone for Martin Scorsese’s riveting, well-acted, twist-filled, thought-provoking, star-studded (Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Elias Koteas, Jackie Earle Haley, and Ted Levine) psychological thriller in which a war-scarred, widowed, federal marshal (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner (Mark Ruffalo) head to an isolated mental institution for the criminally insane off of Massachusetts in 1954 to interview its staff (Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Nellie Sciutto, et al.) about the mysterious disappearance of a patient (Patricia Clarkson) who murdered her children.
“The Sun” (NR) (3)[Partially subtitled] [DVD only] — Intriguing cinematography highlights this unusual, slow-moving, but fascinating and informative third installment of Aleksandr Sokurov’s trilogy, which follows “Moloch” (1999) and “Taurus” 2001, that examines Japanese Emperor Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito (Issey Ogata) as he writes a letter to his eldest son, meets with his cabinet ministers, continues his marine biology research by examining a hermit crab, and reviews family photographs in the bunker beneath the imperial palace in the hours prior to his surrender of his god-like persona to become more human to his devoted Japanese subjects and to his surrender to respectful supreme allied commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Robert Dawson) in Tokyo at the end of WWII.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.