Rating system: (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
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“Angel by Thursday” (NR) (2.5) [Currently available on various VOD platforms, including Amazon Prime Video and Tubi.] — Jeff Wallace’s odd, award-winning, original, convoluted, well-paced, unpredictable, 108-minute film in which a Berlin-based, international lawyer (Olga Kalashnikova), whose cheating partner (Jock Armour) broke up with her and as a 10-year-old child (Lila Quitt) she was separated from her drug-dealing mother (Jennifer Kinsey) after she was involved with an abusive, cop-killing drug lord (Branscombe Richmond), travels to Honolulu upon receiving a mysterious postcard and after receiving a fateful speeding ticket by a local cop (Kenneth Matepi), who lost his parents (Arlene Newman-Van Asperen and Kekoa Olmos) during a tragic accident as a young boy (Sebastian Casady), she ends up meeting his mentally challenged brother (Russell Subiono) and an estranged person from her past due to his special powers with which he is gifted that lets him connect with other people and animals around him.
“Blue Valentine” (R) (3) [Strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating.] [DVD and VOD only] — A somber, realistic, critically acclaimed, well-acted film, which is told in flashbacks, that chronicles the budding, bittersweet love between a nursing student (Michelle Williams) and a blue collar worker (Ryan Gosling) in Pennsylvania and the eventual dissolution of their marriage after a young daughter (Faith Wladyka) and a former lover (Mike Vogel) come into their lives.
“Dog” (PG-13) (3) [Language, thematic elements, drug content, and some suggestive material.] [Opens Feb. 18 in theaters.] — When a seizure-prone, heavy-drinking, cynical U. S. Army Ranger (Channing Tatum) is assigned by his commanding officer (Luke Forbes) to escort an anxious, traumatized, heroic military Belgian Malinois named Lulu that served seven tours of duty from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord military installation in Washington in order to attend the funeral of her deceased, longtime handler (Eric Urbiztondo) in Nogales, Ariz., in Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum’s heartwarming, compelling, moving, humor-dotted, well-paced, star-studded (Q’orianka Kilcher, Ethan Suplee, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Darren Keilan, Amanda Booth, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Cayden Boyd, Bill Burr, and Nicole LaLiberté), 101-minute film, they try to build a mutual connection and friendship as they encounter several obstacles along their journey on the Pacific Coast, including being drugged by a wacky couple (Kevin Nash and Jane Adams) when he stumbles on their weed-growing business, imprisoned after the dog erroneously attacked a Taliban-looking hotel guest (Junes Zahdi) and pretended to be blind to obtain free hotel amenities, and searched for his belongings stolen by a homeless man.
“Equiano.Stories” (NR) (4) [Available Feb. 16 exclusively on Instagram in the form of 400 individual Instagram stories at @Equiano.Stories.] — A powerful, poignant, factually inspired, well-written, 78-minute film based on Olaudah Equiano’s 1789 memoir “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; or, Gustavus Vassa, the African” that reenacts the idyllic life of free-spirited, 11-year-old African Equiano (c. 1745–1797) as he grows up in his village with his parents and siblings in Nigeria and then follows his harrowing, gut-wrenching experience when kidnappers take him and his sister and place them onboard a slave ship in 1756 headed to the America and ends up being repeatedly sold, but eventually he winds up in England where he buys his freedom at age 20, writes the story of his life, and helps abolish the slave trade in Britain in 1807, which occurred ten years after his death.
“Gridlocked: On Tour with the Briggs” (NR) (3) [Available Feb. 15 on various VOD platforms.] — Kevin James Barry’s refreshing, entertaining, low-key, insightful, down-to-earth, 80-minute documentary that follows the mature, wholesome, tattooed, family-oriented, punk rock Briggs band in 2015 as its frontman Joey LaRocca and other members Jason La Rocca, bass guitarist Derik Envy, guitarist Trevor Jackson, and drummer Jake Margolis rehearse and commiserate while on their ten-day tour on the West coast playing in cities such as San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Portland, and Seattle and includes archival film clips, concert footage, and photographs.
“Heaven Knows What” (R) (3) [Drug use throughout, pervasive language, disturbing and violent images, sexuality, and graphic nudity.] [Available Feb. 18 via streaming on MUBI.] — Terrific acting highlights Benny and Josh Safdie’s gripping, gritty, factually inspired, depressing, realistic, low-budget, 97-minute, 2014 film based on Arielle Holmes’ unpublished memoir “Mad Love in New York City” in which a suicidal, homeless heroin addict (Arielle Holmes) hangs out on the New York City streets begging for money to buy drugs with her junkie, jealous boyfriend (Caleb Landry Jones), and when they break up due to infidelity, she hangs out with a drug dealer (Buddy Duress) for her fixes until she eventually reunites with her boyfriend after saving him from an overdose and then they head to Miami until they get separated again when he gets off the bus.
“Help” (NR) (3.5) [Available Feb. 15 via various digital platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Google Play, YouTube, and VUDU.] — After an Englishwoman (Emily Redpath) finds herself no longer in a long-distance relationship when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her and decides to visit her unstable, high-strung friend (Sarah Alexandra Marks) and her cigar-smoking, lawyer boyfriend (Louis James), who has a mentally challenged, socially-inept, voyeuristic neighbor (Blake Ridder), in a home in the remote English countryside in Blake Ridder’s gripping, award-winning, taut, well-written, suspenseful, twist-filled, multilayered, violent, 96-minute psychological thriller with a surprise ending, the weekend quickly starts to unravel as long-kept secrets are revealed and revenge ensues.
“Incident by a Bank” (NR) (2.5) [Available Feb. 17 via streaming on MUBI.] — Ruben Östlund’s award-winning, factually inspired, intriguing, realistic,12-minute, 2009 film that recreates an attempted bank heist in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 26, 2006, in which two incompetent robbers (Bahador Foladi and Ramtin Parvaneh) on a moped acting suspiciously enter a bank and begin shooting, and two observant eyewitnesses (Lars Melin and Henrik Vikman) on the street try to determine exactly what is taking place and recording the incident on their cellphone while other bystanders (Per Olof Albrektsson, et al.) hang around to watch two security guards (Leif Edlund and Rasmus Lindgren) capture one thief who pleads his innocence.
“Jack Goes Boating” (R) (3) [Language, drug use, and some sexual content.] [DVD and VOD only] — While a shy, overweight, Manhattan limo driver (Philip Seymour Hoffman) with low self-esteem tries to better himself to attract and impress a funeral parlor phone solicitor (Amy Ryan) in this touching, realistic, low-key film, his best friend (John Ortiz) acts as his mentor despite his crumbling marriage to his adulterous wife (Daphne Rubin-Vega).
“Licorice Pizza” (R) (2.5) [Language, sexual material, and some drug use.] [Available currently in theaters.] — Paul Thomas Anderson’s award-winning, Oscar-nominated, factually inspired, strange, coming-of-age, unevenly paced, star-studded (Maya Rudolph, Tom Waits, John C. Reilly, Christine Ebersole, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, George DiCaprio, and Joseph Cross), 131-minute comedy in which a surprising, on again and off again friendship develops between an ambitious, self-confident, hustling, 15-year-old high school student (Cooper Hoffman), who lives in the San Fernando Valley and has some success as a child actor, and a 10-years-older, feisty, cynical photographer’s assistant (Alana Haim), who is frustrated with her Jewish parents (Moti and Donna Haim) and sisters (Danielle and Este Haim), becomes his unlikely chaperone on his auditions in 1973, and later he starts a waterbed company and then opens a pinball arcade while they end up encountering a series of various people, including a weird Japanese restaurateur (John Michael Higgins), a high-strung film producer (Bradley Cooper), an actor (Sean Penn), and a gay mayoral candidate (Benny Safdie), as their rollercoaster relationship continues.
“Mademoiselle Chambon” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] — A somber, slow-paced, well-acted, 2009 film about a sensitive French construction worker (Vincent Lindon) who is drawn to a lonely, violin-playing substitute grade schoolteacher (Sandrine Kiberlain) despite having a pregnant wife (Aure Atika) and young son (Arthur Le Houérou) at home.
“Ms. 45” (R) (3) [Available Feb. 19 via streaming on MUBI.] — After a shy, beautiful, mute seamstress (Zoë Tamerlis), who works in the Manhattan garment district with her boss (Albert Sinkys) and coworkers (Darlene Stuto, Helen McGara, and Nike Zachmanoglou) at a clothing firm, is sexually assaulted in the 1980s by two rapists (Abel Ferrara and Peter Yellen) and robbed all in one day in Abel Ferrara’s dark, tension-filled, well-acted, unpredictable, 80-minute, 1981 film, her lonely life unravels when she mentally snaps and takes revenge by retaliating against a series of random men, including a sleazy photographer (S. Edward Singer), a flirtatious heckler (Vincent Gruppi), gang members, an abusive pimp, an Arab sheik, and a bodyguard/chauffeur, by shooting them with a 45-caliber pistol she got from the robber while she becomes increasingly irritated by her meddling landlady (Editta Sherman) and her barking dog.
“Out of the Blue” (R) (3) [Language throughout, violence, and drug use.] [Currently playing in select theaters in major cities across the U.S. in celebration of its 40th anniversary.] — After a drunk, alcoholic semi-truck driver (Dennis Hopper) serves time in the state penitentiary for driving his 18-wheel vehicle into a school bus and then tries to reconnect with his dysfunctional family in Dennis Hopper’s gritty, compelling, well-acted, disturbing, bleak, down-to-earth, low-budget, love-it-or-detest-it, 94-minute, 1980 film sequel to “Easy Rider” punctuated by a shocking ending, his feisty, rebellious, Elvis-loving, punk-rock-obsessed, thumb-sucking, 15-year-old daughter (Linda Manz), who is under the care of a court-ordered psychiatrist (Raymond Burr), hangs out with the wrong crowd in Vancouver and looks for trouble while her heroin-addicted mother (Sharon Farrell) works as a waitress and spends her time shooting up and having cavorting with random men, including her hubby’s best friend (Don Gordon).
“A Peloton of One” (NR) (3.5) [Available Feb. 18 via limited virtual theatrical release at the Laemmle’s Royal Theater and March 11 via various digital and VOD platforms.] — John Bernardo and Steven E. Mallorca’s stirring, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, anger-inducing, inspirational, thought-provoking, 99-minute documentary film that chronicles sexual abuse survivor Dave Ohlmuller healing journey as he rides his bicycle from Chicago to New York in 2018 to raise awareness of the legal and political roadblocks, to seek justice not only for himself but other victims, and to come to grips with the sexual abuse he experienced as a 12-year-old child by a priest and consists of archival film footage and photographs and candid commentary by mother Ginna Ohlmuller, sexual abuse survivors (such as Joe Capozzi, Robert Hoatson, Tommy Williams, Mary McHale, Kathryn Robb, Bridie Farrell, Patrice Griffin, Sam Rivera, and Danielle Polemeni), attorney Marc Pearlman, college friend Betsy Blankenship, former police officer Art Baselice whose son committed suicide due to sexual trauma, representative Christina Hale, platform tennis partner Chris Gambino, platform team professional Dave Broderick, leading legal advocate and CEO of Child USA Marci Hamilton, Tommy’s mother and advocate Kelly Williams, senator Joe Vitale, survivor Joe Capozzi’s wife Angelique Capozzi, and yoga instructor Kelsey Stoll.
“Remembrance: A Portrait Study” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [Available Feb. 21 via streaming on MUBI.] — Edward Owens’ touching, arty, dialogue-free, intriguing, 6-minute, 1967 film that showcases the talented 18-year-old, African-American filmmaker’s mother Mildred Owens, who cleaned homes for a living, and her friends Nettie Thomas and Irene Collins while out for an evening of drinks and listening to music in the 1960s.
“Sanctum” (R) (2.5) [Language, some violence, and disturbing images.] [DVD and VOD only] — Two-dimensional, melodramatic characters and dazzling cinematography highlight this suspenseful, action-packed, factually inspired, 3-D thriller in which gutsy Australian cave divers (Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie, Cramer Cain, Nicole Downs, and Allison Cratchley) explore the unchartered Esa-Ala Cave and find themselves trapped in the world’s largest cave system in Papua New Guinea when the country is hit by a massive cyclone.
“Saw 3D: The Final Chapter” (R) (1) [Sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language.] [DVD and VOD only] — While two detectives (Chad Donella and Laurence Anthony) investigate a series of grisly murders committed by a deranged, psychotic former detective (Costas Mandylor) and try to protect the frightened widow (Betsy Russell) of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) when she decides to testify in this gruesome, gory, graphically violent sequel, a foolish man (Sean Patrick Henry) who falsely claimed to be a Jigsaw survivor must now try to save his wife (Gina Holden), his publicist, his lawyer, and his best friend (Dean Armstrong) from horrific deaths when they are all taken captive.
“Seobok: Project Clone” (TV-MA) (3) [Subtitled] [Available Feb. 15 on Blu-ray™, DVD, and various VOD platforms.] — Lee Yong Zoo’s original, creative, poignant, fast-paced, action-packed, wit-dotted, thought-provoking, violent, 114-minute sci-fi thriller highlighted by striking special effects in which a former Korean intelligence officer (Gong Yoo) afflicted with a terminal brain tumor is hired to safeguard a valuable human clone (Park Bo Gum), who was created by his widowed scientist mother (Jang Young-Nam), has special telekinetic powers, and whose stem cells have the potential to cure all diseases and extend human life, and when they hit the road, they are attacked by mainly gun-toting American mercenaries (Daniel Joey Albright, Andreas Fronk, Maurice Turner Jr., Jung Mi-Nam, Kim Lee-Woo, et al.) and quickly must determine who are the potential villains (Woo-jin Jo, Kim Jae-Gun, Kim Kyu-Do, Cha Ji-Won, Yoon Sang-Hoon, Kim Hong-Fa, et al.) and whether to return to the safety of the lab.
“Taste” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [Available Feb. 16 via streaming on MUBI.] — Overly dark atmosphere pervades Lê Bảo’s award-winning, highly unusual, visually creative, slow-paced, avant-garde, 97-minute, 2021 film with sparse dialogue, austere sets, scrumptious food, and copious nudity in which a Nigerian football player (Olegunleko Ezekiel Gbenga), who has a young son in Africa and was fired from the team after he breaks his right leg, is forced into the slums of Saigon where he works at a barbershop and joins a household of four middle-aged Vietnamese women (Khuong Thi Minh Nga, Le Thi Dung, Nguyen Thi Cam Xuan, and Vu Thi Tham Thin) who accept their losses, lack of hope for the future, and their fate, which are all symbolized by the dispensing of their clothes while at home, but they are able to successfully go through the daily motions of trying to survive; most Westerners will not easily identify with this film.
“Uncharted” (PG-13) (3) [Violence/action and language.] [Opens Feb. 18 in theaters.] — After a lighter-carrying, pickpocketing, streetwise bartender (Tom Holland), who was separated as a child (Tiernan Jones) from his postcard-writing brother (Rudy Pankow) fifteen years earlier at an orphanage, teams up with a tenacious, globe-trotting, seasoned treasure hunter (Mark Wahlberg) to search for billions in gold hidden by Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago and also find his brother in Ruben Fleischer’s entertaining, thrilling, enjoyable, action-packed, fast-paced, humor-dotted, 116-minute film adapted from “Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection – PlayStation 5” video game, they go up against a ruthless Spanish descendant (Antonio Banderas) who believes he is the rightful heir and double-crossing mercenaries (Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, et al.) as they try to locate the gold-laden ships in the Philippines.
Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.