In the new romantic comedy “The High Note” Dakota Johnson portrays the hardworking assistant of a famous and demanding pop star. Tracee Ellis Ross plays the music diva in a role that might -or might not- be inspired by her famous mom, Diana Ross. Ice Cube is the hard-as-nails manager. “The High Note” is a lighthearted bit of froth that bears little resemblance to reality, but is a painless fantasy peppered with catchy pop tunes.
The sci-fi thriller “The Vast of Night” is so wildly imaginative and cleverly directed that it mostly transcends its overly wordy script. The dialogue is so dense, in fact, that it could have been a radio drama. In a small New Mexico town in the late 1950s, a couple of teens try to identify mysterious, otherworldly sounds in the phone lines. Even though it never quite delivers on its promise, “The Vast of Night” shows that imagination can prevail over a low budget and heralds the arrival of an impressive new talent, director Andrew Patterson.
“I’m No Longer Here” is a realistic and profoundly sad Mexican social drama involving Ulises, a member of a teen street gang in Monterrey that dances to cumbia music. Ulises is forced to flee to the US when he inadvertently crosses a drug gang and experiences a profound sense of culture shock while trying to survive the mean streets of New York. While its dramatic structure has flaws, “I’m No Longer Here” succeeds in transporting us to a world we would never otherwise encounter.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.