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With traditional release patterns still in turmoil as Hollywood and the world adjust to the pandemic, it can be intimidating to keep up with when and where new films are being released — but the truth is, there are more movies coming out each week now than ever before. It’s just a question of where to look.

Let Variety help you find that next well-earned bit of escapism, whether it’s a long-awaited big-screen musical (like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights”) or a reunion with a family-friendly animated character (such as “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”). Here’s a rundown of the films opening this week that Variety has covered, along with information on where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.

New Releases for the Week of June 11

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

In the Heights (Jon M. Chu) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Where to Find It: In theaters and HBO Max
“Crazy Rich Asians” director Chu helms this eye-popping big-screen adaptation of the revolutionary Tony-winning hip-hop musical that put Lin-Manuel Miranda on the map. “In the Heights” was always an upbeat and joyful show, as well as an inspiration in the representation department: It featured Latinos playing Latinos, singing in intricate, rapid-fire rhymes peppered with Spanish expressions and references to Caribbean culture — the food, the fashion and above all, the music. Like its source, the movie is a blast, one that benefits enormously from being shot on the streets of Washington Heights, from the bodega belonging to Dominican American narrator Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) to parks, pools and other public spaces. — Peter Debruge
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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway Peter Rabbit 2

Only in Theaters

Asia (Ruthy Pribar)
Distributor:
Menemsha Films
Where to Find It:
In select theaters
“Arthouse ‘Gilmore Girls’ meets ‘The Fault in Our Stars’” would be one way to describe the array of familiar elements in “Asia,” while erasing any hint of the rare delicacy and emotional acuity with which Israeli writer-director Pribar assembles them. In her unassumingly lovely debut feature, Pribar tackles thorny mother-daughter relations, terminal disease anguish and two generations of frustrated sexual yearning in a trim 85 minutes, without once shortcutting to easy sentimentality or high-pitched melodrama. She’s not alone on that balance beam, of course: A pair of exquisitely pitched, mutually reflective performances by Alena Yiv and Shira Haas help this low-key, grownup family drama stick fast in the head and heart. — Guy Lodge
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Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond)
Distributor: 
Magnet Releasing
Where to Find It: In theaters, followed by on demand on June 18
The premise of “Censor” is so strong that it’s little wonder the film can’t quite live up — or perhaps down — to it: In a Thatcher’s Britain riven by tabloid-fueled “video nasty” hysteria, a young woman working for the national censorship board is assessing a horror flick, when it triggers sudden flashbacks to a traumatic, amnesiac episode in her own life. Given the ongoing debates around censorship and the relationship between screen violence and its real-life counterpart, not to mention the grungy exploitation aesthetic of the no-budget films it references, “Censor” dangles the prospect of topical, ticklish provocation that will prove offensive to some sensibilities. — Jessica Kiang
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The Misfits (Renny Harlin)
Distributor:
The Avenue
Where to Find It:
In theaters, followed by on demand and digital on June 15
Had “The Misfits” been made 22 years earlier — say, in the sweet spot between James Bond globe-trotter “The World Is Not Enough” and the release of Guy Ritchie’s “Snatch” — chances are, audiences would’ve had a pretty good time watching “Die Hard 2” director Harlin’s idea of a cutting-edge heist movie. “The Misfits” stars Pierce Brosnan as one of half a dozen not-so-petty criminals who team up to knock off a for-profit prison in Abu Dhabi, where the guy who built it (Tim Roth) has been stockpiling blood money for terrorists in the form of well-secured gold bars. But this is 2021, and Harlin is still making movies for ’90s sensibilities. — Peter Debruge
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Peter Pan 2: The Runaway (Will Gluck)
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Where to Find It: In theaters
Beatrix Potter’s beloved literary character Peter Rabbit suffered from a bit of an identity crisis in his contemporized big-screen debut. In 2018’s “Peter Rabbit,” his headstrong, mischievous spirit didn’t bear more than a passing resemblance to the fundamental virtues the author had fused into her expansive children’s book series. The sequel reunites with a far more remorseful, practically rehabilitated rabble-rouser, who’s struggling to rectify how the world sees him versus how he sees himself. How fitting. His journey from selfish to selfless will lead him into interesting introspection, but also redemption in the eyes of those who didn’t take a shine to the earlier film. — Courtney Howard
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Sublet (Eytan Fox)
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters
A middle-aged gay American travel writer rents an apartment in Tel Aviv from a laid-back film student in Fox’s formulaic audience-pleaser. Venturing ever so discreetly into the kind of darker ruminations that marked his best-known films (“Yossi & Jagger,” “Walk on Water”), Fox offers no surprises in this too-neatly packaged midlife-crisis story carefully designed to cater to an older gay demographic. Newcomer Niv Nissem provides a freshness that papers over the conventionality of it all. John Benjamin Hickey rarely gets the chance to head a film’s cast, which is a shame as he’s a subtle actor who fills in Michael’s troubled melancholy with deeper shades than the script accords. — Jay Weissberg
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Holler Courtesy of Deauville Film Festival

On Demand and in Select Theaters

Holler (Nicole Riegel)
Distributor:
IFC Films
Where to Find It: In select theater, on demand and digital
There’s a distracting practice in American cinema of casting actors who are already well into their 20s to play teens, although “Holler” contains one of the few examples in recent memory where an age difference of nearly a decade, while noticeable, works to the film’s advantage. Ruth, the resourceful Ohio high school student at the heart of Riegel’s open-wound debut, has been forced to grow up too soon. Life isn’t fair, and it shows on the face of British actor Jessica Barden, whose remarkable performance illuminates this unvarnished dive into tough, small-town survival … and escape. Ruth represents a huge swath of the American public rarely seen on-screen: young people without iPhones and Instagram accounts, just struggling to get by. — Peter Debruge
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La Dosis (Michael Haussman)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
The line between mercy killing and plain old murder is uncomfortably drawn in Argentine “La Dosis.” Writer-director Martin Kraut’s debut feature sets up an intriguing cat-and-mouse conflict between one male hospital nurse whose early-terminus interventions are of the compassionate kind, while a new staffer’s seem motivated by pure malice. Not quite as suspenseful or twisty as that premise might lead one to expect, this ends up falling somewhere between thriller and character-study terrain. Nonetheless, it occupies that not-entirely-satisfying middle ground capably enough to keep viewers interested, and to suggest its maker has the chops for less-modestly-scaled future projects. — Dennis Harvey
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Awake Peter H. Stranks/NETFLIX

Exclusive to Netflix

Awake (Mark Raso)
Where to Find It: Netflix
With second-rate “Bird Box” knock-off “Awake,” Netflix just may have found the cure for insomnia. In this occasionally engaging but mostly frustrating sci-fi thriller, an unexplained event causes a massive electromagnetic pulse that fries most electronics and leaves nearly all of humanity incapable of sleep. From the mysterious incident onward, the characters slowly slide toward insanity as fatigue takes its toll, although it’s not clear how everyone on earth immediately recognizes (or believes) that the resulting restlessness is permanent. If the recent real-world pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that early in a health crisis, nobody knows anything, and the resulting confusion tends to be more exhausting than engaging. — Peter Debruge
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Skater Girl (Manjari Makijany)
Where to Find It: Netflix
First-time director Makijany intentionally built a set that would live after she called cut: the first skatepark in Rajasthan, India, where rural children can find freedom and confidence on four wheels, and even mingle beyond their caste. Her gentle drama is a promotional piece for the project from need to execution to totally tubular climactic skateboarding championship, timed, of course, to coincide with the day her teenage heroine Prerna (Rachel Saanchita Gupta) is to be married. There will be no kick-flipping of clichés here. What’s novel are simply her images of Prerna zipping through her village’s curved alleyways and dusty marketplace.— Amy Nicholson
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Tragic Jungle (Yulene Olaizola)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Under the rhythmic hacking of machetes, the zig-zag gashes in the trees look like wounds, exposing the bark’s red flesh and the raw, bone-white wood within. The men clinging to the trunks with rope slings and crude crampons are chicleros, collecting the bright white sap that oozes from the trees to boil into chicle, a rubbery substance that, back in 1920 when Olaizola’s bewitching “Tragic Jungle” is set, was used to make chewing gum. As far in the past as those events may be, the strange, slow currents of this darkly lyrical drama seem older still — as ancient as the jungle itself, which acts, more than any of the human characters, as the film’s impervious, omniscient protagonist. — Jessica Kiang
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Wish Dragon (Chris Appelhans)
Where to Find It: Netflix

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Infinite Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Exclusive to Paramount Plus

Infinite (Antoine Fuqua)
Where to Find It: Paramount Plus
Derivative as they come, this “The Matrix”-meets-“The Old Guard” wannabe mind-blower offers such a familiar premise — that one man’s neurodiversity may actually be a window into the species’ untapped potential — as to be almost banal. That doesn’t stop excess expert Fuqua from packing a fair amount of big-screen spectacle into its relatively tight running time. “Infinite” kicks off with a chase scene and blazes its way toward a final showdown between two rival groups of hasta-la-vista souls who’ve been waging war across the centuries. These lucky souls could be writing symphonies or curing cancer, but it’s more exciting to watch Mark Wahlberg ride a motorcycle off a cliff and land on the wing of a low-flying cargo plane. — Peter Debruge
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The Amusement Park Courtesy of Shudder

The Amusement Park (George A. Romero)
Where to Find It: Shudder
It’s only fitting that George A. Romero, who created the zombie movie as we know it, would release a film from beyond the grave. Nearly 50 years after it was completed, shelved and thought to be lost, “The Amusement Park” has returned to the land of the living — and, just as important, proven worth the wait. The project was commissioned as a kind of anti-ageist PSA by the Lutheran Society, who were so displeased with the dizzying final result that they shelved it. Shot on delightfully grainy 16mm and featuring a cast of nonprofessional actors, the film is so alluringly disorienting that, by its end, some viewers will find themselves struggling to remember how this fever dream started. — Michael Nordine
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New Releases for the Week of June 4

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Michael Chaves)
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Where to Find It: In theaters and HBO Max
It’s 1981, and Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are taking part in an exorcism intended to purge the body and soul of David (Julian Hilliard), a mild bespectacled 8-year-old boy. They’ve been through this before. The first “Conjuring” film was set in 1971, the second in 1977, and though this is the technically the seventh film in the “Conjuring” universe (which now includes three “Annabelle” movies and “The Nun”), it’s the third to center directly on the Warrens, the real-life Christian paranormal investigators who were instrumental, in the ’60s and ’70s, in lending the spooky legends of the Amityville era their aura of tabloid credibility. — Owen Gleiberman
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Spirit Untamed Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Only in Theaters

All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony)
Distributor:
Super LTD
Where to Find It: In select theaters
A highly persuasive film about how we should be wary of film’s power to persuade, “All Light, Everywhere” is a superb if sinister example of how the outwardly modest essay format can deploy arguments that challenge us to unpick our most basic assumptions. Here, it’s the idea that a thing and its recorded image can never have a 1:1 relationship: It’s not just that our eyes deceive us, it’s that we’re conditioned to accept the representations of those deceptions as the truth. It’s a rewarding if slightly frustrating project, but then it would be a betrayal of the premise if it supplied us with anything more than a tiny, ephemeral, vertiginous glimpse of all the things we cannot see. — Jessica Kiang
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Bad Tales (Favolacce) (D’Innocenzo Brothers)
Distributor:
Strand Releasing
Where to Find It:
In select theaters, followed by virtual cinemas and PVOD on June 11
Innocence is not a concept to be found in the D’Innocenzo Brothers’ cinematic oeuvre, which consists of two films so far: “Boys Cry” and “Bad Tales,” both of which forgo the notion of childhood as a state of uncorrupted naivete. Rather, in the Italian siblings’ deeply cynically, Todd Solondz-ian worldview, humans are animals — an untamed snarl of impulses, emotions and predatory self-interest — and children are perhaps the least predictable of all, lacking an innate moral center and therefore susceptible to the influence of others. It’s a grim view that’s passed like a case of head lice to the white-picket sanctuary in their sun-crisped sophomore feature. — Peter Debruge
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Gully (Nabil Elderkin)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters, followed by on demand and digital on June 8
“Gully” is the first dramatic feature directed by Elderkin, the Australian-American director — usually credited simply as “Nabil” — who has made videos for Kanye West, Dua Lipa, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, Diddy, Shrillex, and Antony and the Johnsons. You can glimpse his talent in “Gully” — not because it’s a film of showoff imagery (it’s actually got a rather unvarnished low-budget aesthetic), but because the movie looks, for a while, like it’s trying to be “Boyz n the Hood” meets “A Clockwork Orange,” and you get curious to follow that down. The movie is set in South Central L.A. and features a trio of very good young actors. — Owen Gleiberman
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Hero Mode (A.J. Tesler)
Distributor: Blue Fox Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters, followed by VOD on June 11
No one says “teamwork makes the dream work” in “Hero Mode,” but that maxim’s corny sentiment nonetheless aptly applies to A.J. Tesler’s video game-themed teen comedy, which follows a formula that dates back to at least the era of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. A lively saga about a young coding wizard who’s charged with saving his family’s gaming business, this celebration of old- and new-school creativity doesn’t break novel ground in any respect. Fortunately, though, its good humor, spry pacing and likable performances should appeal to its pre-high-school target audience. — Nick Schager
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Spirit Untamed (Elaine Bogan)
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Where to Find It: In theaters
A kid named Lucky loses her mother, moves to the frontier with her father and befriends a wild mustang in “Spirit Untamed.” While experienced professionals fail to break the strong-willed stallion, Lucky (who has never ridden a horse) feeds it a few apples, and before long, the youngster has tamed the obstinate animal — which is inconsistent with this cheap and all-around lazy animated movie’s title, but chalk that up to marketing. It’s not clear whether this latest — and least appealing — incarnation of DreamWorks’ “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” is a reboot, a remake or just a running-on-fumes grab at some easy cash, but this benign (read: bland) movie exists, and kids know the property, so it will get seen. — Peter Debruge
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Tove (Zaida Bergroth)
Distributor: Juno Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters
The Moomins, with their hippo-like silhouettes, are beloved cartoon characters familiar to readers around the globe. But less is known about their creator, the bisexual, Swedish-speaking, Finnish visual artist and author Tove Jansson and her surprisingly unconventional life. The engaging biopic goes a long way toward remedying that knowledge gap. Featuring a mesmerizing lead performance by Alma Pöysti, the sensuously textured film, shot on 16mm, concentrates on a formative decade in Tove’s life (from the mid-1940s to mid-’50s) and explores her artistic and personal passions, and the challenges they entail. With multiple hooks, sales and festival interest should be strong. — Alissa Simon
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

The Carnivores (Caleb Michael Johnson)
Distributor: Dark Sky Films
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
Dim echoes of David Lynch and early Roman Polanski abound throughout “The Carnivores,” a fitfully fascinating mix of teasing narrative opacity and stylized psycho-thriller atmospherics. Director Johnson walks a tricky tightrope here, and occasionally seems perilously close to toppling into absurdity. Indeed, there are moments when he inadvertently cues memories of the hilarious remark by Janeane Garofalo’s veterinarian talk show host in “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”: “You can love your dog. Just don’t love your dog.” And it doesn’t help much that Tallie Medel, one of his two lead players, actually bears a slight physical resemblance to Garofalo. — Joe Leydon
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Edge of the World (Michael Haussman)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
With its winsome narration, frequent cutaways to nature and focus on discovery, “Edge of the World” resembles nothing so much as Terrence Malick’s similarly titled “The New World.” In yet another similarity, “Edge of the World” follows an English explorer who finds more than he was expecting upon arriving in a foreign land. Here it’s Sir James Brooke (Johnathan Rhys Meyers), who arrives in Borneo in 1839 and quickly meets two princes vying for power; that they’re cousins only adds to the intrigue — and tension. This kind of adventurer is a well-worn archetype, but Meyers plays him well. The script isn’t always on the same level as his performance, however.  — Michael Nordine
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Grace and Grit (Sebastian Siegel)
Distributor: Quiver Distribution
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
For a metaphysical love-conquers-all tale, “Grace and Grit” offers very little substance around such lofty concepts as existence, spirituality and romantic harmony. An adaptation of famous philosopher Ken Wilber’s much admired book, the film unfortunately anchors itself in an exploitative mode, insincerely using terminal illness as inspirational fodder. The real-life saga of a doting couple and their demanding, gradually more harrowing experience with cancer, “Grace and Grit” isn’t the viscerally rousing picture that it thinks it is. Through an overstretched running time, this amateurish exercise falls short of even selling the essentials of the immensely accessible melodrama at its heart. — Tomris Laffly
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Monuments (Jack C. Newell)
Distributor:
Row House Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters and virtual cinemas
It’s oddly appropriate that grief-stricken widower Ted (David Sullivan) spends most of “Monuments” schlepping his wife’s ashes around the geographical midpoint of the continental U.S.A. This dippily surreal existential comedy — imagine Quentin Dupieux engineering a head-on collision between “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” and “Little Miss Sunshine” — feels like it’s born of the exact middle ground between the big-budget escapist mainstream and the hardcore arthouse “coasts” of American cinematic output. It’s in a flyover state of mind. — Jessica Kiang
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My Tender Matador (Rodrigo Sepúlveda)
Distributor:
Freestyle Digital Media
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
Among the many praiseworthy qualities of “My Tender Matador,” the most notable is its honesty. It would have been so easy for the film, about a transgender woman in Pinochet’s Chile and her relationship with a straight political activist, to have overplayed its hand with ill-judged sentiment or sensationalism, but instead director Rodrigo Sepúlveda Urzúa guides everything just right, from the refusal to treat anyone with less than full respect to the superb ensemble, and from Sergio Armstrong’s carefully calibrated camerawork to the thoughtful understanding of how daylight changes a person who’s lived fullest under the protection of the night. — Jay Weissberg
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Super Frenchie (Chase Ogden)
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
“Super Frenchie” shares some DNA with Oscar-winner “Free Solo.” The documentary isn’t as elegant or as fraught as that spectacular look-ma-no-tethers tale, but it’s nervous-making enough to impress. There’s reckoning about risk and reward, compulsion and choice, pleasure and loss. But Ogden wanted to augment a story of physical pyrotechnics with one of familial insight. A feat he often, gently achieves with the help of his ridiculously upbeat, uniquely wired subject who drudges up mountains — Mt. Hood, the Matterhorn, the Eiger — and floats down from their ledges. — Lisa Kennedy
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Under the Stadium Lights (Todd Randall)
Distributor: Saban Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
The road to hell is paved with movies like “Under the Stadium Lights,” a well-intentioned but wearyingly ponderous and curiously disjointed faith-based drama about football players and their dedicated chaplain at a high school in Abilene, Texas. It doesn’t help much that, with its bumpy pacing, gaping plot holes, and supporting characters who grab attention and then inexplicably disappear, the movie plays like a miniseries that has been ruthlessly cut down to feature length. And it helps even less that the sluggish narrative is repeatedly and interminably padded with local TV footage of actual 2009 football games emblazoned with on-screen signage for local advertisers. — Joe Leydon
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Undine (Christian Petzold)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It:
In select theaters, on demand and digital
Christian Petzold’s “Undine” begins with a breakup. Framed tightly on the face of lead actor Paula Beer, we absorb the news as she does. But this is no ordinary separation, and as jilted lovers go, Undine’s far from typical. Her name betrays what sets her apart, although in the vast realm of mythological entities, undines are hardly the well-understood creatures that Petzold’s revisionist contemporary fable assumes (not in America, at least). As a result, this overripe romantic tragedy won’t have the same impact abroad as the three critical darlings that preceded it, “Barbara,” “Phoenix” and “Transit.” — Peter Debruge
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Exclusive to Hulu

Changing the Game (Michael Barnett)
Where to Find It: Hulu
Mack is a practically undefeated transgender wrestler who won the girls’ title in the state of Texas even though he wanted to contest in the boys division as per the gender he identifies with. He is the first subject we meet in “Changing the Game,” a compassionate documentary that follows three teenage transgender athletes as they brave numerous societal biases to practice their chosen field of sports with the respect they deserve. Unadventurous in its design, the film admittedly benefits from a traditional approach that slowly familiarizes the audience both with the subjects and the layers of an ongoing discriminatory debate around fairness. — Tomris Laffly
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Carnaval Courtesy of Netflix

Exclusive to Netflix

Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet (Jon Clay)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Carnaval (Leandro Neri)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Netflix’s party-minded “Carnaval” has a lot on its plate, tackling everything from influencers, the toxic nature of their business and the complexities of making and maintaining female friendships in that industry. Set against the revelry and pageantry of Brazil’s Carnival celebration, the lighthearted romantic comedy delivers hijinks and a few sweet sentiments about having the courage to embrace destiny. Nevertheless, its broad comedy and thoughtful themes aren’t completely cogent, due to a lack of properly motivated character developments and questionable scenarios. With its glaring faults, “Carnaval” hews closer to the abysmal annoyances prevalent in “Desperados” than the remarkable wit of “Ibiza. ”— Courtney Howard
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Dancing Queens (Helena Bergström)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Actor-turned-filmmaker Bergström brings sequined cheer and free-to-be-you-and-me spirit to this story of a young, cisgender female dancer who gets an unlikely break by concealing her gender identity to perform in an ailing Gothenburg drag club, and it should duly find a sizable global audience when it premieres on Netflix at the outset of Pride month. In its eagerness to please, however, the film winds up pushing its own queer characters and narratives to the sidelines — a paradox that it never quite resolves. The director’s daughter Molly Nutley assumes leading lady duties here, and her fresh, quietly controlled screen presence saves many a scene from outright schmaltz. — Guy Lodge
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Xtreme (Daniel Benmayor)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Exclusive to Shudder

Caveat (Damian Mc Carthy)
Where to Find It: Shudder
Mc Carthy serves up a generically foreboding premise and pulls off several efficiently traditional jump scares in this variation on a haunted-house formula, but it’s the shape-shifting mind games of his own narrative that most unnerve the viewer, as seemingly fixed plot points of who is under threat — and when, and why, and so on — keep darting out of sight. The result is finally more intriguing than it is rewarding: It’s hard to keep an audience invested in your story as you steadily strip them of their bearings. If all this snaky evasion and elaboration does eventually eat away at the film’s anxious tension, the scuzzy niftiness of its construction continues to impress. — Guy Lodge
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Cruella Courtesy of Disney

New Releases for the Week of May 28

Available in Theaters and on Disney Plus

Cruella (Taylor Sheridan) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and Disney Plus
Starring Oscar winner Emma Stone as the monochrome-coiffed fashionista with a soft spot for puppy fur, “Cruella” takes its cues from the “Wicked” playbook — or more recently, Warner Bros.’ “Joker” — to deliver a dark yet sympathetic portrait of a cult-favorite character whom audiences only thought they knew. That character, of course, is “101 Dalmatians” dognapper Cruella de Vil (previously embodied by Glenn Close for one of the studio’s first live-action adaptations), who turns out to be more fierce than cruel in a franchise offering with an identity of its own. What “Cruella” is not — to the immense relief of many — is another “Maleficent.” — Peter Debruge
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A Quiet Place Part II Photo Credit: Jonny Cournoyer

Only in Theaters

A Quiet Place Part II (John Krasinski)
Distributor: Paramount
Where to Find It: In theaters
If you’re vaccinated and feeling safe enough to step foot outside your home, Krasinski has crafted a follow-up that justifies the trip. It can be hard to believe that both the sequel and the instant-classic 2018 original were produced by Michael Bay, a filmmaker who has pushed the moviegoing experience to ear-splitting extremes, since Krasinski so effectively embraces the opposite strategy: Less is more, suggestion can be scarier than showing everything, and few things are more unnerving than silence. … Instead of addressing the gaping plot holes, the new film wagers if you’re on board for the ride, logic shouldn’t matter. — Peter Debruge
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Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog (Lynn Roth)
Distributor: Glass Half Full Media
Where to Find It: In limited theaters
Writer-director Roth instinctively knows how to pluck the heartstrings with her heartrending historical drama, “Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog.” Her adaptation retains the wit and wisdom found within the pages of Asher Kravitz’s novel “The Jewish Dog,” whose unconventional conceit chronicling the Holocaust through the perspective of a German Shepherd lends itself to plenty of poetic and fantastical realism on screen. Yet the family-friendly feature all too frequently falls into conventional trappings that it unwittingly sets up for itself, particularly when it strays from the pup’s point of view. — Courtney Howard
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Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue (Jia Zhang-ke)
Distributor: Cinema Guild
Where to Find It: In New York and Los Angeles theaters
Following his films “Dong” (2006) and “Useless” (2007) — studies of painter Liu Xiaodong and fashion designer Ma Ke, respectively — Jia’s latest belatedly completes a loose nonfiction trilogy on Chinese artists, this one taking four authors as its focus as a number of them congregate at a Shanxi literary festival. “Dong” and “Useless” were short, illuminating works; the two-hour “Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue,” as signified by its lolling, poetic title, is rather more of a sprawl, seeking to address a hefty chunk of modern Chinese cultural history through the lives and legacies of its chosen quartet of writers. — Guy Lodge
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Moby Doc Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment ? 2021

On Demand and in Select Theaters

American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally (Michael Polish)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment, Redbox Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
Clumsy, campy and kitsch, but also deadeningly dull for long stretches, “American Traitor” is based on the true story of radio star Mildred Gillars (Meadow Williams), aka Axis Sally, an American wannabe actress who found notoriety as the English-language voice of the Third Reich’s propaganda machine. It’s a portrait that aims for movingly enigmatic but ends up mystifyingly immobile. Williams is so carefully primped, so artfully posed in shafts of slatted light and so gauzily fawned over by Jayson Crothers’ scrupulously steam-ironed digital photography, that she ends up more costumed mannequin than conflicted heroine. — Jessica Kiang
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Endangered Species (MJ Bassett)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital, then home video June 1
The other family-imperiled-by-rampaging-beasts movie this weekend, “Endangered Species” is different from “A Quiet Place Part II” in many ways, particularly in that its characters cannot stop yakking — with corresponding diminished viewer concern for their survival under extreme duress. The thriller has a vacationing American clan doing all the wrong things in a Kenyan wildlife preserve. Needless to say, the local fauna quickly notice there are some fresh snacks on the savanna, to our protagonists’ grief. The squabbling human dynamics make this outdoor suspense exercise one in which too soon we start rooting for the four-legged cast members. — Dennis Harvey
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Moby Doc (Rob Gordon Bralver)
Distributor:
Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: In theaters and on digital platforms
Moby co-wrote this documentary which is like a self-portrait, an acid flashback, a therapy session, a rumination, and a surrealist music-video package all rolled into one. In the opening moments, we see Moby, the avatar of hooky rhapsodic EDM, still quizzical and lean in his mid-50s, wearing black glasses, a brown-and-white beard, and a red flannel shirt as he sits in his rather modest-looking home studio and speaks into the camera. He says he’s had a “strange life” that could have resulted in “just another biopic about a weird musician.” But he says that “what’s more interesting, at least to me, is the why of it. The why of everything.” — Owen Gleiberman
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Port Authority (Danielle Lessowitz)
Distributor: Momentum Pictures
Where to Find It: In theaters now, then on demand and digital June 1
Selling realness. That’s the essence of Harlem’s tight-knit drag ball scene, where dazzling kiki competitions celebrate the art of passing as something other than whatever labels society has given you: man as woman, gay as straight, street kid as supermodel. This likable debut arrives decades late to the party, spinning a simple but effective romance in which that same goal of self-transformation is what separates two star-crossed lovers whose worlds collide on the steps of New York’s busiest bus terminal. While it may feel too obvious for some, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” serves as a clever model for a movie set in the world of ballroom “houses.” — Peter Debruge
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Exclusive to HBO and HBO Max

Oslo (Barlett Sher)
Where to Find It: HBO
Perhaps it’s time for another meeting between officials from Israel and Palestine, like the series of off-the-books negotiations that took place in Oslo, Norway, back in 1993. The discussions were brokered by a non-partisan Norwegian couple, which provides a uniquely neutral framing device for an in-depth look at the issues concerning both sides. Now, as a recent outbreak of violence in the region reminds how precarious any peace agreement has been, it’s no wonder that HBO has scheduled its made-for-TV adaptation to air sooner than later, when its historical perspective might prove most relevant. — Peter Debruge
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Plan B Courtesy of Brett Roedel/Hulu

Exclusive to Hulu

Plan B (Natalie Morales)
Where to Find It: Hulu
“Plan B” is a girls-behaving-badly all-night-long road-trip comedy that’s built on a formula chassis, but it’s fast and funny, with a scandalous spirit, and it’s got a couple of lead performances that, if there’s any justice, should have the town talking. The film made me realize that almost every time a movie like this one comes along that has young women at the center of it, it’s been an independent film. In the randy teens + binge party = escalating trainwreck genre of high delinquent comedy, that’s a crucial distinction, because it means that the films bypass a certain mainstream blandification. — Owen Gleiberman
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Exclusive to Netflix

Blue Miracle (Julio Quintana)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Many a chef will tell you that fish and cheese don’t go together, but “Blue Miracle” says otherwise. Based on the true story of an amateur Mexican team who won the world’s richest fishing tournament in 2014, this likable family film misses nary a cornball trick in Hollywood’s underdog-drama playbook. Viewers can see precisely where Quintana and co-writer Chris Dowling have embellished the saga of a Cabo orphanage proprietor (Jimmy Gonzales) who led a handful of his teenage wards to that unlikely victory: “Blue Miracle” is awash with eleventh-hour peril and contrivance, reducing characters to stock figures to make plain sailing of its crowd-pleasing narrative. — Guy Lodge
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Dog Gone Trouble (Kevin Johnson)
Where to Find It: Netflix

New Releases for the Week of May 21

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Army of the Dead Courtesy of Netflix/Everett Collection

Exclusive to Netflix

Army of the Dead (Zack Snyder)
Where to Find It:
Netflix
If you go to see just one movie this year, Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” might be the ticket because it’s a stylishly grandiose, muscular but conventional popcorn pageant that’s got something for just about everyone. It’s a zombie movie. It’s a heist thriller. It’s a sentimental father-daughter reconciliation story. It’s set in Las Vegas (albeit it the bombed-out dystopian ruins of Vegas). It’s got a gifted cast of diverse actors playing plucky renegades. It’s got a spectacular climax featuring a dropped nuclear bomb. It’s two hours and 28 minutes of packed-to-the-gills fun, all staged by Snyder with a jaunty spirit of gung-ho classicism. A viewer might be tempted to ask: What’s not to like? — Owen Gleiberman
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Exclusive to Amazon Prime

P!NK: All I Know So Far (Michael Gracey)
Where to Find It: Amazon Prime
Offstage, Gracey’s concert doc reveals Pink to be just about the most grounded rock star you have ever seen. The film was shot during three weeks of her Beautiful Trauma World Tour, when she was traveling through Europe, and she’s got her husband of 15 years with her, the former freestyle motocross champion Carey Hart, along with their daughter, Willow, who’s eight, and their son, Jameson, who’s two. A behind-the-music doc will occasionally introduce us to a pop star’s children, but in this one they’re the main event. “All I Know So Far” is a singular portrait of the larger-than-life rock rebel as life-size mom. — Owen Gleiberman
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Only in Theaters

Dream Horse (Euros Lyn)
Distributor:
Bleecker Street, Topic Studios
Where to Find It:
In theaters
Louise Osmond’s 2015 Sundance audience winner “Dark Horse” was one of those documentaries that played like a crowdpleasing fiction, its real-life tale of underdog triumph had such a conventionally satisfying narrative arc. And indeed, the new “Dream Horse” proves that same material is indeed ready-made for dramatization. Likely to have broad appeal, Lyn’s feature springs few true surprises within its familiar genre, one that U.K. filmmakers have specialized in at least since “The Full Monty.” Still, this is a well-cast, artfully handled effort that exercises sufficient restraint to really earn its requisite laughter and tears. — Dennis Harvey
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Final Account (Luke Holland)
Distributor:
Focus Features
Where to Find It: In select theaters
“Final Account” is the first product of an ambitious undertaking to interview the now elderly helpers and handmaidens whose tacit acceptance of the Nazi regime enabled the Final Solution. The film is a distillation of roughly 300 interviews with men and women, some of whom were literally cogs in the machine, like the governess of a Nazi family, while others, such as SS men, were directly involved. Their willingness to appear before the camera is surprising, but not the range of responses, varying from unconvincing ignorance to pride and, just occasionally, a recognition that atrocities took place literally under their noses. — Jay Weissberg
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New Order (Michel Franco)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: In select theaters
In Franco’s sixth feature, the director demands the public’s attention, launching a full-on assault on our collective comfort zone while doubling down on the very thing that makes his films unwatchable for so many. Moviegoing is, by its nature, an act of empathy, as we invest in the lives of fictional strangers, trusting the narrative to repay our emotional commitment — and yet, in film after film, Franco challenges that assumption. Perversely, for those who’ve now come to expect that from him, “New Order” doesn’t disappoint. Inspired by waves of civil unrest sweeping the globe, this ambitious exercise imagines how such a people’s revolution might manifest if it hit Mexico City. — Peter Debruge
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When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Caroline Link)
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters
Judith Kerr wrote her semi-autobiographical children’s novel as a response to her own son’s misconception of her childhood. After watching “The Sound of Music,” he observed that her own escape must have been similar; amused, she proceeded to pen perhaps the most piercing child’s-eye view of Hitler’s rise to power and the Jewish refugee experience ever published. In adapting Kerr’s novel for the screen, writer-director Caroline Link splits the difference somewhat: In this bright, engaging film, Kerr’s story is faithfully and lovingly preserved, though its tougher, quirkier details are mollified by a layer of palatable movie gloss. — Guy Lodge
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

Blast Beat (Esteban Arango)
Distributor:
Vertical Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Where to Find It:
In select theaters and on demand and digital
This earnest dual coming-of-age drama monitors two teen brothers’ misfit adventures when their upper-middle-class family is forced to move from Colombia to the outskirts of Atlanta. Arango, a Colombian himself, emigrated to the states in the late ’90s, when the film is less-than-convincingly set. The film’s sincerity nearly balances its wonky plotting. Arango observes that America divides people into stereotypes of “good” and “bad” immigrants. Good immigrants, like Carly, are bright scholars who can contribute to the country. (Carly dreams of becoming a NASA engineer.) Bad immigrants, like aimless, artistic Mateo, are less welcome. — Amy Nicholson
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Seance (Simon Barrett)
Distributor: Grindstone
Where to Find It: In theaters and on demand and digital
You might expect Barrett’s own belated feature directorial debut to expand upon the clever, blackly humorous genre mayhem of his best Wingard projects like “The Guest” and “You’re Next.” But “Seance” proves a disappointingly boilerplate retro slasher that’s pedestrian on every level from concept to execution. It’s not terrible, only so devoid of imagination, wit or novelty (as well as scares) that it seems a perversely generic choice with which to launch a new career phase. RLJE Films is releasing to U.S. and Canadian theaters, VOD and digital May 21, with co-distributor Shudder expected to add it to its own streaming platform sometime later in the year. — Dennis Harvey
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Sequin in a Blue Room (Samuel Van Grinsven)
Distributor:
Pecadillo Pictures
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
A redheaded twink (newcomer Conor Leach) who meets his trysts in a sparkling silver club top, Sequin is just 16, but he knows what he wants — or at least he thinks he does. Such confidence can be disarming, since most kids haven’t figured themselves out yet at that age, which makes them easy prey for more experienced partners. Van Grinsven opts not to dwell on the cautionary side of his striking 21st-century coming-out/coming-of-age fable. The risks are self-evident, but there’s no room for judgment in a film that nimbly blends elements of fantasy and thriller, delivered with the heightened attitude of New Queer Cinema auteur Gregg Araki. — Peter Debruge
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Sound of Violence (Alex Noyer)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
With its themes of creative obsession and trauma recycled as psychopathy, not to mention Alexis’ synesthesia giving license for lurid, semi-abstract, technicolor visual sequences, “Sound of Violence” boasts perhaps the greatest giallo premise that Dario Argento never dreamed up. It’s just a shame that Noyer decides that it isn’t enough. The spectacularly gruesome and grotesquely elaborate murder scenes do ample justice to even the most revered of its slasher forebears, but the procedural elements feel stilted, and despite a lead performance that oozes empathy as much as her hapless victims ooze blood, the emotional impact is barely discernible: an ebbing heartbeat. — Jessica Kiang
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Two Gods (Zeshawn Ali)
Distributor: 8 Above
Where to Find It: In select theaters and virtual cinemas
Islam and Christianity are the dual faiths referred to in the title of “Two Gods,” but they aren’t pitted against each other, or even compared at all. Ali’s quiet, sternly compassionate documentary may be centered on a hard-up Black Muslim community in Newark, but it presents a tough, adaptable world in which people will take whatever fragments of faith and grace they can find. Hanif works as a menial employee at a Muslim funeral home, but it’s the ebb and flow of his influence on, and connection with, these kids that gives Ali’s artful doc — shot over the course of several years, but concentrated to a tight 82 minutes — its subtle narrative thrust. — Guy Lodge
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New Releases for the Week of May 14

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

Those Who Wish Me Dead (Taylor Sheridan)
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and HBO Max
A pair of killers hunt 12-year-old Connor, and they’re ruthless enough to start a forest fire to cover their tracks. Playing mama bear to Connor’s endangered cub, Angelina Jolie is as committed to keeping Connor alive as those two hired guns are to wishing him dead. The heated survival extravaganza offers a much bigger sandbox for gifted actor-turned-action maven Taylor Sheridan, whose scripts for “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” have launched him to the front of a genre dominated by CG robots and superheroes once associated with Saturday-morning cartoons. This one marks a welcome departure without shortchanging audiences when it comes to spectacle or sound. — Peter Debruge
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Spiral: From the Book of Saw Courtesy of Lionsgate

Only in Theaters

Finding You (Brian Baugh)
Distributor:
Roadside Attractions
Where to Find It:
In theaters
Don’t be fooled by the empowerment-sounding title of “Finding You”: The romantic comedy’s engine isn’t driven by the woman herself, but by the men who are continually placed in power positions that directly inform her arc. Where it would have been nice to see the heroine unlocking her own potential, the film instead focuses on her finding an intercontinental romance with a dashing young man, life coaching from an unlikely male ally and a mysterious message from her deceased older brother. Even so, effervescent performances from an ebullient ensemble make “Finding You” a palatable and compelling female coming-of-age tale. — Courtney Howard
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Georgetown (C. Waltz)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters
Written by “Proof” playwright David Auburn, “Georgetown” was based on a juicy 2012 New York Times story about a D.C. social climber (Christoph Waltz) arrested for strangling his 91-year-old wife (Vanessa Redgrave), through whom he had gained access to many powerful people, hosting soirees for journalists, ambassadors, and such political heavy-hitters as Antonin Scalia and Dick Cheney. A disingenuous end-credits disclaimer suggests that Waltz’s character, Ulrich Mott, is “not to be confused with” Albrecht Muth — who had affairs with men throughout their marriage — though the feint is clearly intended to underscore the connection. — Peter Debruge
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The Perfect Candidate (Haifaa Al Mansour)
Distributor: Music Box Films
Where to Find It: In theaters
Even more than in her debut hit “Wadjda”, Saudi director Al Mansour’s latest is clearly designed to demythologize the Kingdom, taking a host of cultural signifiers and parading them out in the cinematic equivalent of billboard-sized letters to show that Saudi society is heterogeneous and mutable. The script is so simplistic in how it runs through a checklist of cultural practices — women’s dress, gendered spaces, the role of music — that it reduces the people themselves to unsophisticated representatives of change, and yet its welcome message of female empowerment will be embraced by Western audiences. — Jay Weissberg
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Profile (Timur Bekmambetov)
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It: In theaters
Unlike the Bekmambetov-produced tension exercises “Unfriended” and “Search,” this fast, lurid online-terror thriller (presented all in one computer screen) aims for ripped-from-the-headlines social import, as it follows an intrepid but increasingly ill-advised London journalist in her quest to bait and expose an ISIS recruiter through Skype and social media. Loosely drawn from the experiences of French reporter Anna Erelle, this is an undeniably engrossing but almost entirely specious affair: Any factual grounding gives way beneath the film as it devolves into shrill heart-versus-head melodrama. — Guy Lodge
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Riders of Justice (Anders Thomas Jensen) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Magnet
Where to Find It: In select theaters, expanding to on demand May 21
Deliriously wry and so perfectly balanced it should become a case study in script classes, “Riders of Justice” may be the film that finally gives Anders Thomas Jensen international recognition beyond his usual spotlight as a sought-after screenwriter. Comparisons with the Coen brothers will be inevitable given oddball characters whose fixations and genuine heart contrast with moments of extreme violence, yet the roots of this black revenge comedy go back even further, bringing an asocial spin to classic screwballers where a group of quirky misfits are balanced out by a lone woman who’s the most put-together and in touch of the bunch. — Jay Weissberg
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Spiral: From the Book of Saw (Darren Lynn Bousman)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: In theaters
In its “How can we make the old sick trash new again?” way, the ninth film in the series isn’t just another attempt to squeeze this bloody lemon dry. It takes an actual stab at reimagining the “Saw” franchise. The movie features a new faceless torture maniac — though he’s really just a Jigsaw copycat. The big change is that while “Spiral” features a handful of the series’ dungeon-nightmare set pieces, the movie is framed as a conventional police-corruption thriller. With his seething, embattled performance as Zeke Banks, Chris Rock completes his transformation from comedian to actor who lacks even a whisper of his former cheeky ebullience. — Owen Gleiberman
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

The Djinn (David Charbonier, Justin Powell)
Distributor:
IFC Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Woe betide the grade-school-age lad who finds himself in a movie by writing-directing duo Charbonier and Powell: He may survive their plotlines, but it won’t be pretty. Their official first feature, “The Boy Behind the Door,” found two such kids fighting for their lives after being abducted by a stranger. In “The Djinn,” they’ve crafted another effective suspense exercise from the same basic premise, trapping a juvenile protagonist in a home with a malevolent nemesis. With even less dialogue than “Door,” in an even more constricted space, this lean thriller doesn’t provide much food for thought, but it delivers a compact dose of extreme jeopardy. — Dennis Harvey
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The Killing of Two Lovers (Robert Machoian) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: 
Neon
Where to Find it: In select theaters and on demand
Opening on what appears to be the verge of its titular act, “The Killing of Two Lovers” then steadily pulls back from what sounds like a noirish potboiler of marital infidelity and rage. Instead, his economical drama is really about the pain of marital separation, particularly when one party is pulling toward divorce and the other toward reconciliation, as is so often the case. Stark as the surrounding Western Utah landscapes its characters seem dwarfed by, this first solo feature (Machoian co-directed three prior ones with Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck) is an arresting auteurist miniature. — Dennis Harvey
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RK/RKAY (Rajat Kapoor)
Distributor: Outsider Pictures
Where to Find It: In theaters and virtual cinemas
Pirandello definitely would have approved of the spirit behind this small-scale identity comedy set in the film world about a writer-director-actor, embodied by Kapoor, whose lead character walks out of his new picture and into the real world. Complicating matters is that the character is also personified by the director, leading to a pleasing play on selfhood that ever-so-lightly toys with notions of free will and agency. More modestly budgeted than most of Kapoor’s other works (“Mithya,” “Kadakh”), this crowdfunded labor of love is unlikely to generate much buzz but will be appreciated by audiences looking for congenial entertainment. — Jay Weissberg
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There Is No Evil (Mohammad Rasoulof) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand via Kino Marquee
When Rasoulof returned from Cannes in 2017, he was banned from filmmaking for life and sentenced to a year in prison. But the director could not stop. His latest film premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, where instead of being silenced, Rasoulof launched his most openly critical statement yet, a series of Kafkaesque moral parables about Iran’s death penalty and its perpetrators. The resulting feat of artistic dissidence … comes across as four films for the price of one, none of its segments anemic, and each contributing fresh insights to the paradoxes of capital punishment in Iran. — Peter Debruge
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The Woman in the Window Screenshot/Disney

Exclusive to Netflix

Ahaan (Nikhil Pherwani)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Dance of the 41 (David Pablos)
Where to Find It:
Netflix
November 1901. Mexico City. A police raid on a high-society private party leads to the arrest of 42 men. Nineteen are found wearing lavish ball gowns that matched the opulence of the (very much illicit) affair. Pablos’ handsome period film traces the real-life story of the one whose presence is promptly erased from the record: the then-son-in-law of Mexican president Porfirio Díaz. Monika Revilla’s screenplay doesn’t begin with the political scandal that gives the film its title. Instead, it uses it as its climax, an impactful punctuation mark on a tender love story played against the backdrop of the patriarchal power structures of Mexico’s turn-of-the-century gentry. — Manuel Betancourt
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Ferry (Cecilia Verheyden)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Oxygen (Alexandre Aja)
Where to Find It: Netflix
A clever example of creativity thriving within the strict protocols of the coronavirus pandemic, tense confinement thriller “Oxygen” plays like “Buried” in outer space: a ticking-clock sci-fi survival drama centered on a single character (“Inglourious Basterds” star Mélanie Laurent) trapped in a spiffy, coffin-like cryochamber with critically low reserves of breathable air. The blank-brained “bioform” awakens ahead of schedule, sealed in some kind of futuristic membrane, with only a helpful HAL 9000-like talking computer called MILO (short for Medical Interface Liaison Operator, voiced by Mathieu Amalric) to assist her. — Peter Debruge
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The Woman in the Window (Joe Wright)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Real-estate porn can work for a thriller — or against it. Sometimes, it’s part of a movie’s mystery and allure: the luxe nooks and crannies where bad vibes can hide. (See “Rosemary’s Baby” or “What Lies Beneath.”) But in “The Woman in the Window,” a movie that takes place entirely in one old dark house, the stately Harlem brownstone in which Anna Fox (Amy Adams) resides is a movie set of such gloomy palatial grandeur that the place threatens to overwhelm everything that happens inside it. — Owen Gleiberman
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New Releases for the Week of May 7

Only in Theaters

Benny Loves You (Karl Holt)
Distributor: Dread
Where to Find It: In select theaters, followed by on demand May 11
Whether it be actual toys or movies about them coming to life and killing people, they don’t make ’em like they used to. While the “Child’s Play” and “Puppet Master” franchises aren’t exactly rife with masterpieces, their pleasures are less guilty than those afforded by the genre’s latest installment: “Benny Loves You,” an English horror comedy liable to make audiences laugh far more than it scares them. Mostly, though, it just borders on boring. Aside from the murderous Benny himself, the film doesn’t add much to its gory genre. — Michael Nordine
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Equal Standard (Brendan Kyle Cochrane)
Distributor:
Mutiny Pictures
Where to Find It:
In more than 75 theaters
Aiming to be “The Wire” of the Black Lives Matter era with a multi-pronged yarn penned by first-time feature writer Taheim Bryan, “Equal Standard” sadly exhibits a consistent lack of restraint while the story widens its scope and stakes, falling notably short of its well-intentioned ambitions to honor multiple viewpoints amid rising racial tensions. A considerable part of the problem is Bryan’s on-the-nose writing that over-explains the film’s ideas at every turn. In his overcrowded ecosystem, there isn’t really much new to harvest other than the most obvious fact: Racism is an evil vicious circle. — Tomris Laffly
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Fatima (Marco Pontecorvo)
Distributor:
Picturehouse
Where to Find It:
Re-released exclusively in AMC theaters
Director Pontecorvo revisits the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, wherein three Portuguese shepherd children experienced several visits by the Virgin Mary, in this superficially suspicious, yet ultimately accepting historical drama which arrives at a moment when faith and facts find themselves in direct opposition, when claims of “fake news” render the very notion of “a true story” all but meaningless. While not especially artful, “Fatima” honors those who stand by their convictions. That its role models are children makes the message all the more remarkable. — Peter Debruge
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Here Today (Billy Crystal)
Distributor: Stage 6 Films
Where to Find It: In theaters
“Here Today,” starring Billy Crystal as a venerable TV comedy writer and Tiffany Haddish as the saintly, rough-around-the-edges street singer who becomes his unlikely pal, is a movie that feels like it could have been made 30 years ago: a friendly, adult-skewing, tart-witted but never nasty character study that’s just ’90s enough to be comfortably old-fashioned, like an old pair of tasseled loafers. What’s good about the movie is that Crystal, who co-wrote and directed it, has an inside knowledge of the showbiz comedy world, and the prickly vivacity with which he portrays it roots the movie in something real. — Owen Gleiberman
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The Water Man (David Oyelowo)
Distributor:
RLJE Films
Where to Find It:
In theaters
An engaging for-kids ghost story whose fantasy elements are thoughtfully grounded by real-world concerns, “The Water Man” ends with a blazing wildfire that is far scarier than the supernatural elements that precede it — especially now, as so much of the Pacific Northwest burns. Fans of David Oyelowo’s acting work might be surprised he chose such a “Goosebumps”-y project as his directorial debut, although it’s pretty cool for younger audiences that the “Selma” star put his clout (with a boost from exec producer Oprah Winfrey) behind a family film. — Peter Debruge
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Wrath of Man (Guy Ritchie)
Distributor: Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Where to Find It: In theaters
Ritchie’s RocknRolla-coaster style has plenty of imitators, but here, it’s refreshing to see him calm down and deliver something that’s intricate without being addled. Settling into the tense but relatively restrained mode of Christopher Nolan, the production adopts an elegant, almost monochromatic color palette, while the double-bassy score steadily saws away at our nerves, keeping audiences just this side of a heart attack for the better part of two hours. Like Jason Statham’s character, “Wrath of Man” walks into the room confident and secure in its abilities, professional, efficient and potentially lethal. — Peter Debruge
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Exclusive to Amazon Prime

The Boy From Médellin (Matthew Heineman)
Where to Find It: Amazon Prime
Last November, a personally triumphant hometown stadium show happened to coincide with Latin superstar J Balvin’s native Colombia reaching a flashpoint of historic turmoil. “The Boy From Médellin” shows the reggaeton singer being forced to develop a political conscience, whether he wants one or not. The problem is that, if Balvin actually has a conversion experience, we never see it, so it remains uncertain at the end whether he’s really experienced any kind of enlightenment about the need to address what’s going on in his country or finally does so because it’s actually the career path of least resistance.— Chris Willman
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Exclusive to Netflix

And Tomorrow the Entire World (Julia von Heinz)
Where to Find It:
Netflix
“And Tomorrow the Entire World” is a taut, headlong dive into a student Antifa commune in Mannheim, Germany, whose residents gradually splinter over how to fight a rising tide of white supremacy. It finds room for the perspective of both fervent Generation Z activists and their jaded elders, who may support the cause but are aggrieved that the fight hasn’t changed since their day, and fear it never will. Politically resonant but also solidly effective as straightforward youth-in-revolt drama, this Venice competition entry could make the international impression that von Heinz’s previous features have not. — Guy Lodge
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Monster (Anthony Mandler)
Where to Find It: Netflix
The New York City courtroom in which, 17-year-old honors student Steve Harmon stands accused of felony murder, isn’t the customary dark wood and tan walls affair. “Monster” there’s a reason beyond stylish production design for the palette of grays. For the involving, nuanced drama — a Sundance 2018 competition title starring Kelvin Harrison Jr. — explores the gray areas of guilt, innocence and criminal justice, especially as they pertain to young Black men, who are too often seen as guilty till proven not guilty. Innocent is likely too much to ask of a system in which young men like Steve are seen as the beasts, as the monsters of the movie’s title. — Lisa Kennedy
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

Above Suspicion (Phillip Noyce)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: In theaters, on demand and digital
The 1989 murder of Susan Smith is a despairingly grim Southern Gothic story, shot through with reckless sex, institutional corruption and Kentucky-fried local scandal. At least “Above Suspicion,” a steamed-up, sweat-soaked film adaptation of the material, mercifully rakes over its unsavory details in two hours rather than several. It’s quick, dirty and perhaps more tawdry than it needs to be. Chris Gerolmo’s script isn’t at great pains to find the human factor here, and Phillip Noyce’s direction coats the whole unhappy affair in cold blue steel. — Guy Lodge
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Locked In (Carlos V. Gutierrez)
Distributor: Saban Films
Where to Find It: In theaters and on demand
A thriller about a woman’s efforts to thwart a pair of criminals who come looking for their loot, it’s a rote and chintzy affair undone by clunky writing and inane character behavior that prolongs what should have been a relatively brief incident.
Save for a few brief scenes, almost all of “Locked In” takes place in a steely, nondescript storage facility run by Lee (Bruno Bichir) and his sole employee Maggie (Mena Suvari). Gutierrez repeatedly gives his heroine a chance for escape, only to then sabotage it by having her (or Tarin) behave in a monumentally knuckleheaded manner. — Nick Schager
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Mainstream (Gia Coppola)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Seven years after “Palo Alto,” Coppola returns with “Mainstream,” packing a far smaller store of compassion and a lot less insight into the next micro-life-stage of telegenic wasted youth. A brittle, exasperated satire on social media celebrity, her sophomore film, like the tacky messiah it creates in Andrew Garfield’s YouTube sensation, soon becomes the very thing it sets out to expose: a glittery, jangly image machine that manufactures little of actual substance, except the conclusion that social media = bad. Sure, it’s a platitude [shrug emoticon] but hey, it’s delivered with attitude. — Jessica Kiang
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The Paper Tigers (Tran Quoc Bao)
Distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment
Where to Find It: In theaters and on demand
With only a couple of clicks of the dial and a little dash of hybrid vigor, the hackneyed can be made fresh again, a point proven by Tran Quoc Bao’s silly and special little kung fu comedy. Balancing the naive structure of an old Shaw Brothers movie (a vengeance mission with an escalating series of fights en route to the Big Boss showdown) with the kind of male-midlife-comedy schtick that bought Judd Apatow a house or six, Tran’s irresistibly good-humored debut is a diverting blend of Hong Kong and Hollywood that delivers, on a slender, Kickstarter-enhanced budget, a rousing roundhouse hug to both traditions. — Jessica Kiang
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Queen Marie (Alexis Sweet Cahill)
Distributor:
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It:
On demand and digital
Queen Marie of Romania expresses her frustration that the press coverage is focused not on her efforts at diplomacy, but her extravagant wardrobe and packed social diary. “I suppose if I wish to be heard, I must first allow myself to be seen,” she sighs. This carefully ironed biopic fancies itself a corrective to such misogyny, offering the British-born monarch belated recognition of her contributions towards the eventual unification of Romania. Played with exacting decorum but little mirth or fervor by Roxana Lupu, she’s never quite a character, but a critical figure in a well-constructed historical diorama. — Guy Lodge
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Stealing Chaplin (Paul Tanter)
Distributor: High Octane Pictures
Where to Find It: On demand and DVD
In this parallel universe, the Little Tramp was buried not in Switzerland but in an undistinguished plot in a Las Vegas cemetery. His body is taken, meanwhile, not in the 1970s but in the present day — by a bumbling fraternal duo of British conmen. What Tranter’s cheap and cheerful film does have going for it is some genuinely sparky comic chemistry between stars Simon Phillips and Doug Phillips — not related, yet well-matched as a hopeless pair of Tweedledum-and-Tweedledumber siblings whose banter is quicker than their combined wits. — Guy Lodge
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The Unthinkable (Crazy Pictures)
Distributor: Magnet
Where to Find It: In theaters and on demand
If there were Oscars for chutzpah, “The Unthinkable” would be a cinch: The first feature for a Swedish collective who’ve been making short films together since childhood, Crazy Pictures’ disaster movie/thriller/romance/dysfunctional family drama is more laudable for its ambitious resourcefulness on limited means than for actual achievement or impact. Despite some strikingly accomplished elements, the awkward whole never quite gels, sewn-together parts from “Red Dawn,” “Independence Day,” et al., failing to cohere amid major logic gaps. — Dennis Harvey
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Coming to MTV

Pink Skies Ahead (Kelly Oxford) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor:
MTV Entertainment Studios
Where to Find It:
Premieres May 8 on MTV with a simulcast on Pop TV
With her radioactive coif and precocious repartee, Winona (Jessica Barden) quit her college writing program not because she couldn’t hack it, but because the whole thing felt like a waste of time to her. Now her doctor (Henry Winkler) worries that she might have an anxiety disorder. In adapting her personal essay, “No Real Danger,” Oxford is not overly precious in adapting her essay, and for all we know, there’s actually more of the author in this stylized retelling. “Pink Skies Ahead” aims to destigmatize Winona’s diagnosis, while giving audiences living with anxiety issues a positive point of reference. — Peter Debruge
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New Releases for the Week of April 30

Only in Theaters

Four Good Days (Rodrigo García)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters
A Sundance drama of addiction that’s sensitively written and staged (by Garcia) and performed with lacerating honesty by its two leads, Glenn Close and Mila Kunis, “Four Good Days” tells the story of an addict, Molly (Kunis), who shows no signs of recovering. She’s been in and out of detox 14 times, but she always goes back to getting high. What’s going to make this time different? It’s a question at once valid and vaguely annoying, since the only answer is that what’s going to be different this time is that the movie needs a different outcome. Or we wouldn’t have a movie. — Owen Gleiberman
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Limbo (Ben Sharrock)
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It: In theaters
The Uist Islands would be a disorienting place for most outsiders to find themselves stranded for an indefinite amount of time — and that’s without the additional, time-stretching uncertainty of a pending application for political asylum. For the Syrian protagonist of “Limbo,” a refugee stationed in a bleak safe house on the island while he awaits the mercy of the British government, it amounts to a kind of physical and spiritual quarantine in Scottish director Sharrock’s thoughtful, gentle-natured sophomore film, which dramatizes the refugees’ plight through deadpan comedy rather than issue-movie hand-wringing. — Guy Lodge
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Separation (William Brent Bell)
Distributor: Open Road Films, Briarcliff Entertainment
Where to Find It: In theaters
Arriving on the heels of his “The Boy” and “Brahms: The Boy II,” Bell’s “Separation” reconfirms the director’s belief that nothing is scarier than creepy killer dolls. His latest, alas, fails to successfully prove that case, and worse, its story about a recently widowed single father struggling with supernatural phenomena is a dull and misogynistic affair that imagines multiple types of women as malevolent fiends who terrorize supposedly sympathetic men. “Separation” lacks both basic logic and formal polish, with certain sequences looking as chintzy and graceless as they are nonsensical. — Nick Schager
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Exclusive to Amazon Prime

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (Stefano Sollima)
Where to Find It: Amazon Prime
“Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” is a lively formulaic action-hero origin story, dunked in combat grunge, that demonstrates how a resourceful lead actor (in this case, Michael B. Jordan) can bend and heighten the meaning of a commercial thriller. The plot is sometimes murky, but more than that the Cold War tension is now a nostalgic shadow of its former self. Compared to a good “Bourne” film, “Without Remorse” feels generic; compared to the best of the Jack Ryan films, like “Patriot Games,” it will look right at home on the streaming venue of Amazon. — Owen Gleiberman
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Exclusive to Netflix

The Disciple (Chaitanya Tamhane) CRITIC’S PICK
Where to Find It:
Netflix
After Tamhane’s extraordinary debut “Court,” his second feature is more ambitious in scope and also more personal, though the Indian director’s approach, abounding in establishing shots, could distance viewers intimidated by their unfamiliarity with north Indian classical music. For those able to set aside potentially daunting feelings of ignorance, this rich, multi-layered story of a young man’s dedication to mastering the spiritual and technical elements of “raga” singing offers much to ponder on teacher-pupil relations, the nature of performance and the consuming character of an artistic calling. — Jay Weissberg
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The Mitchells vs. the Machines (Michael Rianda) CRITIC’S PICK
Where to Find It: In select theaters, followed by Netflix on April 30
Writing partners Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe are children of the pre-iPhone era, and together — aided by a small army of animators at Sony Pictures Animation — they’ve hatched a subversive delight that should appeal to Gen Y adults and tech-savvy kiddos alike. That’s because the tongue-in-cheek, “Terminator”-esque machine uprising isn’t really the hook here. If the sky-is-falling zaniness that surrounds the Mitchells’ road trip feels slightly familiar, that’s almost certainly because the movie was produced by “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. — Peter Debruge
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Things Heard & Seen (Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini)
Where to Find It: Netflix
[The “American Splendor” directors’] latest offers their usual tease of look-we’re-honest-commercial-filmmakers-trying-to-aim-high. It’s a ghost story, set in 1980, starring Amanda Seyfried and James Norton as Catherine and George Claire, a couple with a young daughter who move from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where George has just gotten his Ph.D in art history from Columbia, to the Hudson Valley, where he lands a job as a professor at a small private college. The film’s most interesting aspect is its scenes from a marriage that’s falling apart in slow motion. — Owen Gleiberman
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

About Endlessness (Roy Andersson)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
Whether by accident or design, it is most characteristically droll of Swedish auteur Andersson to title his sixth fiction feature “About Endlessness,” only to have it clock in at just 76 minutes. Barely have you settled into its cockeyed cosmic view of human existence in all its infinite, cyclical tragicomedy than the credits are already rolling. With Andersson appearing to view our societal foibles as simple, consistent and doomed (or perhaps blessed) to eternal repetition, what might seem a vast topic ends up with rather a succinct essay from the 76-year-old veteran. — Guy Lodge
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Berlin Alexanderplatz (Burhan Qurbani)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: In virtual cinemas via Kino Marquee
The twin pillars of Alfred Döblin’s 1929 novel and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 15-hour miniseries together create an overarching shadow from which Qurbani’s relatively svelte three-hour contemporary reworking of “Berlin Alexanderplatz” struggles to escape. Although promising a deep-cut dash of contemporary topicality by reimagining the main character as an undocumented African immigrant, there is the sense that the unimpeachable craft and performances — especially from rivetingly charismatic lead Welket Bungué — ultimately add up to just too slick a package. — Jessica Kiang
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Best Summer Ever (Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli)
Distributor: Freestyle Digital Media
Where to Find It: Available on demand and DVD
A smart and sweet riff through “Grease,” “Footloose,” “High School Musical” and scads of other upbeat, teen-skewing entertainments, “Best Summer Ever” greatly impress with its deft balance of affectionate homage and exuberant inclusivity. The co-directors keep the mood so beguilingly light and bright, even during brief romantic setbacks, that it’s remarkably easy to suspend disbelief and gratefully delight in a world where racial divides and ableist prejudices are nonexistent, and just about the only negative stereotype on view is a mean-girl cheerleader. — Joe Leydon
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The County (Grímur Hákonarson)
Distributor: Dekanalog
Where to Find It: In theaters and virtual cinemas
After the death of her dairy farmer husband, a middle-aged woman courageously sacrifices her livelihood to speak out against the corruption and injustice at work in her community in this audience-pleasing, humanist drama. Like Hákonarson’s previous film “Rams,” it probes a deeply rooted rural culture that is closely connected to the Icelandic national spirit, while championing traditional Icelandic values over the exploitive underside of capitalism. The yin to that film’s yang, “The County” is full of feisty female energy and imagery, and sprinkled with rousing “you go girl!” comic moments. — Alissa Simon
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Eat Wheaties! (Scott Abramovitch)
Distributor: Screen Media
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
More like a mayonnaise sandwich on Wonder Bread than the at-least-mildly-crunchy breakfast cereal of its title, “Eat Wheaties!” is a movie whose blandness ultimately triumphs over its annoyance — but only by a hair. This is the kind of underdog comedy in which you soon want to kick the dog. Starring Tony Hale as a middle-aged dweeb whose claim of a past celebrity friendship improbably snowballs to ruin his life, Abramovitch’s debut aims for the tenor of something like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” minus the raunch. — Dennis Harvey
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Marighella (Wagner Moura)
Distributor: Artmattan Prods.
Where to Find It:
In virtual cinemas
Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of the film’s merits as an adrenaline-filled shoot-‘em-up hagiographic biopic of a resistance-fighter/terrorist, the penultimate scene, in which a woman picks up a machine gun and looks directly at the camera, is unambiguous in its deeply troubling message. — Jay Weissberg
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The Outside Story (Casimir Koznowski)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
An actor who can magic personality and purpose from the most inconsequential of bit parts, Brian Tyree Henry s given welcome room to play in a film for once built entirely around his spry, thoughtful presence. Without his sly line readings and knack for shambling physical comedy, “The Outside Story” wouldn’t be nearly so watchable. Even with them, it plays as an agreeably extended sitcom pilot, with a slender premise — cranky homebody gets locked out of his apartment, hijinks ensue — that never leans into its most farcical possibilities. For Henry, though, you’d tune in again. — Guy Lodge
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Percy vs Goliath (Clark Johnson)
Distributor: Paramount Pictures, Saban Films
Where to Find It: In theaters, on demand and digital
While well cast and plenty compelling (including feisty turns from Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci), this reductive farmer drama deals in emotions more than explanations as it seeks to convey what it means for a little-guy grower like Percy Schmeiser to go up against Big Agro. Director Clark Johnson clearly had such stirring anti-corporate environmental crusades as “Erin Brockovich” and “Promised Land” in mind, portraying Monsanto as a greedy near-monopoly (which isn’t necessarily false) without properly explaining what Percy is being accused of. — Peter Debruge
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The Virtuoso (Nick Stagliano)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: In theaters, on demand and digital
Fresh off his second Oscar win, Anthony Hopkins isn’t awful in “The Virtuoso,” but the movie that surrounds him is. It’s a cut-rate thriller about a nameless hit man (Anson Mount) so busy telling audiences how professional he is — via such affirmational observations as, “You’re a professional, an expert dedicated to timing and precision” — that he doesn’t seem to notice his latest assignment is a setup. The one glimmer of originality in James C. Wolf’s script comes from the idea that the virtuoso’s mentor (Hopkins) sees this suicide mission as an act of mercy. — Peter Debruge
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New Releases for the Week of April 23

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

Mortal Kombat (Simon McQuoid)
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema
Where to Find It: In select theaters and HBO Max
Now, “Mortal Kombat” gets the R-rated reboot its fans feel the property deserves, which entails being as graphic as the game was when it comes time for the pugilists to eliminate their opponents, whether that means ripping out their hearts or buzz-sawing them in twain with a razor-sharp hat. Such ruthless finishing moves may be the selling point here, but it’s the more nuts-and-bolts backstory that matters if the studio hopes to build a fresh film franchise around the property. True to the game, the violence is both ghoulishly creative and gratuitously extreme. — Peter Debruge
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Only in Theaters

Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train (Haruo Sotozaki)
Distributor: Aniplex of America, Funimation
Where to Find It: In theaters
You’re either already on the “Demon Slayer” train or you’re not, and the hit Japanese feature — arriving stateside having surpassed “Spirited Away” as the highest-grossing anime movie of all time — is hardly the vehicle for the popular franchise to pick up new passengers. That doesn’t mean the action-packed toon won’t appeal to those curious to check out the sensation that has earned more than $415 million internationally. But it will be hard for newbies to follow a fan-service sequel that relies heavily on the complex mythology established by the 26-episode show. — Peter Debruge
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My Wonderful Wanda (Bettina Oberli)
Distributor: Zeitgeist Films, Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: In select theaters
Money can buy outside help, opportunity and material possessions, but not happiness in this punchy satire from “Late Bloomers” director Oberli. Taking a wry but empathetic approach to the phenomenon of care migration, Oberli and her co-writer Cooky Ziesche focus on the changing relationship between one privileged Swiss family and their financially fragile Polish home-care worker over nine months. Naturalistically shot and structured as three chapters and an epilogue, it’s an engaging, mostly well-acted tale, full of surprising twists, even if some seem a bit too on the nose. — Alissa Simon
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Paris Calligrammes (Ulrike Ottinger)
Distributor: Icarus Films
Where to Find It: In Film Forum virtual cinema, then wide on April 30
It would be a great mistake, sight unseen, to pigeonhole “Paris Calligrammes” as just another nostalgia-filled personal documentary about how amazing life was in Paris in the 1960s. Ottinger takes us through this formative time of her life in a way that deftly balances past and present to paint a picture of a threshold era of both positives and negatives. Largely composed of found footage, film clips and home movies, the film reflects the director’s generosity of spirit as well as the period’s bubbling cauldron of syncretic and opposing movements. — Jay Weissberg
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Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (Marilyn Agrelo)
Distributor: Screen Media
Where to Find It:
In theaters now, then on demand on May 7
“Street Gang” has the good fortune to be arriving with about a hundred more built-in advantages than most documentaries. Offering up vintage backstage footage of Jim Henson and Frank Oz operating the Muppets feels a little like Henry Houdini coming back to reveal all his secrets. For parts of a nostalgically inclined audience, almost everything beyond that might be gravy. Yet that’s almost the least of the pleasures in a highly satisfying documentary that wisely places roughly equal emphasis on how the sausage was made and how the culture was changed. — Chris Willman
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Tiny Tim: King for a Day (Johan von Sydow) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Juno Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters
This enticing documentary captures the delightful insanity of how Tiny Tim, the kind of elfin novelty act you could imagine getting booed off the stage at an open-mic night, became, for a while, the biggest star on the planet. Was he a fluke? In a way. Yet he didn’t happen out of nowhere. As the documentary captures … he possessed a singular charisma. Watching him now, 50 years later, you can scarcely take your eyes off him. One of the strange things the documentary captures is that Tiny Tim was one of those people who always knew he was going to be a star. — Owen Gleiberman
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Together Together (Nikole Beckwith)
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Where to Find it: In theaters, followed by digital on May 11
What if, Beckwith’s delightful if imperfect film asks, all this fuss about a biological clock isn’t exclusive to women? What if a single, aging heterosexual male can realize he has an internal timer of sorts, too? An awkwardly endearing tech developer, Matt (Ed Helms) has decided not to wait for the right partner to come along, but to make his fatherhood dreams come true via surrogate pregnancy instead. Enter the poker-faced Anna (Patti Harrison), a lonesome, cynical 20-something in need of the surrogacy funds to get her life back on track by pursuing an accelerated college degree. — Tomris Laffly
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Wet Season (Anthony Chen)
Distributor: Strand Releasing
Where to Find It: Opening in New York, then expanding to other theaters, virtual cinemas and PVOD on April 30th
Singapore writer-director Chen again proves himself a perceptive observer of life and social class in his tropical nation-state and a sensitive chronicler of issues confronting women. Set during monsoon season, Chen’s delicate, nuanced portrait of the heartbreaks afflicting a dedicated schoolteacher and dutiful wife is suffused with love and humor, and directed with striking maturity and restraint. Like his 2013 debut, “Ilo Ilo,” this bittersweet sophomore feature draws on details from his personal life and further benefits from the casting of two of that film’s leading players. — Alissa Simon
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

Bloodthirsty (Amelia Moses)
Distributor: Brainstorm Media
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
After putting a youthful, female-centric spin on vampiredom in “Bleed With Me,” Canadian director Moses does the same favor for werewolves. The script is by producer Wendy Hill-Tout and her daughter, singer-songwriter Lowell, who make the pressures of the music industry integral to the story. To a degree, that emphasis may disappoint horror fans who want more of the fanged action that takes its time arriving here. But within its modest boundaries, “Bloodthirsty” does a creditable enough job balancing supernatural suspense with the drama of a young artist’s insecurities at a key early career juncture. — Dennis Harvey
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The Dry (Robert Connolly)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: In theaters and on demand
The barren earth surrounding a drought-stricken Aussie town provides fertile ground for mystery, suspense and punchy emotional drama in “The Dry.” This enthralling adaptation of Jane Harper’s international bestseller stars a spot-on Eric Bana as a city detective whose investigation of an apparent murder-suicide in his hometown triggers renewed suspicion about his involvement in a mysterious death that’s haunted the community for two decades. Expertly directed, “The Dry” has all the character intrigue, clever plot twists and red herrings to keep viewers guessing. — Richard Kuipers
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I’m Going to Break Your Heart (Annie Bradley, Jim Morrison)
Distributor: Crave
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
Songwriting collaborations are so often portrayed as mystical unions that those of us who aren’t in the room where it happens have to wonder if there aren’t just as many instances where oil and water refuse to mesh. At last, the testiness that can result when writing sessions go south is portrayed on screen in this documentary about Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk, who comprise the duo Moon Vs Sun. The two escape from L.A. for a songwriting retreat on the French island of Saint Pierre, only to be constantly rubbing each other the wrong way in the collaborative process. — Chris Willman
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The Marijuana Conspiracy (Craig Pryce)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: On demand and digital
For moviegoers accustomed to stoner-dude protagonists, “The Marijuana Conspiracy” offers a nice change. The Canadian drama, set in 1972, is full of Mary Janes. Okay, really just one Mary and one Jane. But they’re joined by other young women who answer a call to participate in a research project. For 98 days, Mary, Janice, Jane, Mourinda and Marissa will be able — more like required — to smoke dope. And they get to imbibe without fear of the fuzz. The movie also tussles with research malfeasance, the stuff of “The Experimenter” and “The Stanford Prison Project.” — Lisa Kennedy
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Exclusive to Netflix

Stowaway (Joe Penna)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Director Joe Penna is a natural. “Stowaway” is only his second feature, and like the first, “Arctic” (2018), which starred Mads Mikkelsen as an explorer stranded in the frozen wilderness, it’s a tale of survival in extreme circumstances. This one is an outer-space adventure, which these days makes you think that it must be a spectacle film. But Penna takes a mission to Mars and unfurls it on a direct and intimate emotional level. He avoids the traps of making a fanciful piece of gleaming sci-fi like “Ad Astra” or the recent “Voyagers.” “Stowaway” is a modest genre film that stays tethered to flesh-and-blood concerns. — Owen Gleiberman
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New Releases for the Week of April 16

Only in Theaters

Beast Beast (Danny Madden)
Distributor:
Vanishing Angle
Where to Find It: In theaters and Alamo On Demand
“Beast Beast” clatters to life with organic percussion: a stick rat-a-tatting against an iron fence, a skateboard scraping on concrete, a rifle pinging bullets against a defenseless tin plate. Together, these sounds combine into jazz, despite the discordance of the three teens making such a ruckus: Krista (Shirley Chen), Nito (Jose Angeles) and recently graduated gun-nut Adam (Will Madden). When the trio eventually – finally – intersect, it’s a fluke. “Beast Beast’s” plot twist is a swing at gravitas that disrupts the balance of Madden’s naturalistic character study. Suddenly the film accelerates from reality to sensationalism, and trades humanity for pulp. — Amy Nicholson
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Gunda (Victor Kossakovsky)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: In theaters
What we didn’t know on Oscar night was how neatly Joaquin Phoenix’s speech would dovetail into his next screen credit: as an executive producer on Kossakovsky’s simple but entirely astonishing documentary “Gunda.” It’s not hard to imagine his words as the unspoken subtext to this wholly dialogue-free animal character study, in which an enormous sow on a Norwegian farmyard embarks on an emotive arc of motherhood without any need for human voiceover or twee anthropomorphism: just the still, searching power of an attentive camera. — Guy Lodge
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In the Earth (Ben Wheatley)
Distributor:
Neon
Where to Find It: In theaters
Wheatley started off making micro-budget short-film goofs, and that can-do attitude — to rattle us without resources — compelled him to get creative amid the constraints. This quickie was conceived, shot, cut and now delivered during the same viral outbreak that has ground so many other productions to a halt, as Wheatley finds a way to fold the anxieties of the moment into deeper, more primitive fears of nature turning on humankind. Many a horror movie has taken place in the wake of a pandemic, but this is one of the first to fold a real-world outbreak into its own near-future vision of a world where no one talks about a return to normal. — Peter Debruge
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We Broke Up (Jeff Rosenberg)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters, followed by VOD release on April 23
“We Broke Up” catches a rom-com ripple and rides it toward sweet laughs and some authentic insights. It even surprises — an increasingly hard thing to pull off in the genre. Plying emotionally attuned dialogue and deft delivery, director Jeff Rosenberg and co-writer Laura Jacqmin know their way around a laugh or two. He spent time on “The Good Place” and “Veep”; she wrote for “Get Shorty” and “Grace and Frankie.” The movie is one of those rare outings that really does prick any smugness about its characters, but also has zero interest in creating baddies in order to keep a couple apart. — Lisa Kenendy
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Exclusive to Netflix

Arlo the Alligator Boy (Ryan Crego)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Ride or Die (Aly Hardt)
Where to Find It: Netflix
In the spirit of “Thelma and Louise,” a lesbian fugitive and the woman she’d kill for hit the road with three stilettos and a blood-red BMW in “Ride or Die.” A glammed up, erotically-charged cocktail of amour fou and true romance, the Netflix production gives agency to full-blooded female protagonists. That’s a rarity in Japan’s studio-dominated, cookie-cutter entertainment industry, which explains its liberating, inexhaustible energy. Based on the adult-skewing manga “Gunjo” (Ultramarine), the film stars actor-model Kiko Mizuhara and actor-musician Honami Sato, whose graphic sex scenes and full-frontal nudity are bound to be a talking point in Japan. — Maggie Lee
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Why Did You Kill Me? (Fredrick Munk)
Where to Find It: Netflix

On Demand and in Select Theaters

Hope (Maria Sødahl) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor:
KimStim
Where to Find It: 
In select theaters and virtual cinemas
Believe the accolades: Maria Sødahl’s perceptive, heartfelt “Hope” richly deserves all the attention it’s gotten at festivals and award ceremonies since premiering in Toronto in 2019. Naturally, any movie with such a title dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis will have some kind of sting, but “Limbo” director Sødahl, who mined her own brush with cancer when writing the film, teases out the unexpected byways where hope is not just crushed but nurtured. The rewards here are great, not just for the multi-layered screenplay but the impeccable performances by Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård. — Jay Weissberg
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Jakob’s Wife (Travis Stevens)
Distributor:
RLJE Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
Low-budget necessity is often the mother of low-budget invention, but sadly not so much in “Jakob’s Wife,” a thin, half-hearted reworking of the vampire mythos that can’t quite decide if it’s spoofy or serious, and doesn’t have the smarts to be both. While it’s theoretically promising to attempt a hybrid tone in which schlocky effects and spurting necks are offset by genuine psychological insight into the discontented life of a long-married small-town pastor’s wife, in practice, the impulses just cancel each other out, whittling down the movie’s stakes long before they’re plunged into anyone’s chest. — Jessica Kiang
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Monday (Argyris Papadimitropoulos)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
For a while, “Monday” gives you the fizzy sensation that it’s just what an indie romantic comedy should be: buoyant and real, full of the sexiness of smashed boundaries, with two alluring free spirits at its center. In “Monday,” the free-spiritedness of it all keeps getting out of hand, as these two attempt to keep the romantic party going, drink for drink. Yet the real problem is that as soon as they move in together, the director starts to the overload the screen with red flags. “Monday,” shot with a mostly Greek crew, has been made with a certain degree of lively flair, and the two actors have moments where they really fuse. — Owen Gleiberman
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Reefa (Jessica Kavana Dornbusch)
Distributor:
Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available on demand
There is an eternal problem with this type of film, which tries to create satisfying drama out of senseless tragedy: There is no sense to be made, out of a day that would not have been so very different from any other in Reefa’s young life, had it not been distinguished by being his last. Like in Ryan Coogler’s more dynamic but no less manipulated “Fruitvale Station,” “Reefa” is flummoxed by what to do with a hero whose story is mostly about all the things he never got to do, and so the understandable but fundamentally unreliable decision is made to treat everything as if it were moving toward that fateful night. — Jessica Kiang
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The Rookies (Alan Yuen)
Distributor: Shout! Studios
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Lame humor and incoherent plotting are among the shortcomings of “The Rookies,” an initially engaging but increasingly tedious Chinese action-comedy-thriller that not even kick-ass movie queen Milla Jovovich can breathe much life into. Undemanding genre fans might go for this Budapest-set hodge-podge about rookie secret agents tackling a deranged billionaire, but there’s not much here for anyone else. If played with a smart sense of humor and crisp comic timing, these colorful ingredients might have produced a zippy tongue-in-cheek action-adventure. Instead, “The Rookies” opts for puerile dialogue and dumb physical comedy. — Richard Kuipers
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Vanquish (George Gallo)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: In select theaters, followed by digital and VOD on April 20
“Vanquish” isn’t bad so much as inert — nothing here is convincing, tense, kinetic, outrageous, or silly enough to give the movie even fleeting life. The script is so by-the-numbers, the performers can hardly hide their disinterest, a feeling soon to be shared by viewers lured by the promise of these stars in a violent revenge tale. Just as Vicky (Ruby Rose) has discovered her daughter requires expensive medical treatments, her employer (Morgan Freeman) announces he’ll pay for them — if she uses “some of your old skills” to collect and/or steal money. Should she refuse, he says she’ll never see her daughter again. — Dennis Harvey
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New Releases for the Week of April 9

Only in Theaters

Voyagers (Neil Burger)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: In select theaters
“Voyagers” isn’t badly made, and a handful of the actors have some flair, yet there’s something rote, schematic, and a bit monotonous about it. With everyone in the cast wearing black T-shirts, the movie suggests Ridley Scott shooting the world’s most expensive and visionary Gap commercial. “Voyagers” is a dutiful thriller about the beast within, but there’s not a lot of surprise to it. Even when the characters let themselves go, the drama remains mostly in lockdown. “Voyagers” hums along, but without much excitement. There are too many tropes you’ve seen too often, like a spacewalk shot through with an undercurrent of doom. — Owen Gleiberman
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Exclusive to Netflix

Thunder Force (Ben Falcone)
Where to Find It: Netflix
“Thunder Force” would like to skewer the genre, but it’s basically a whiffleball action comedy studded with middle-drawer Melissa McCarthy gags. The movie teams McCarthy and Octavia Spencer as estranged high-school pals who get back together after a reunion and turn themselves into a superhero team called Thunder Force. Lydia (McCarthy) has super-strength; Emily (Spencer) can turn invisible. “Thunder Force” is the fifth McCarthy movie that her husband, Ben Falcone, has directed, and it will come as no surprise to consumers of their previous collaborations (“Tammy,” “The Boss,” etc.) that this one, too, is slapped together. — Owen Gleiberman
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

Giants Being Lonely (Grear Patterson)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: On DVD, Blu-ray and on demand
It’s a drama in the unlikely form of a 73-minute slice-of-life tone poem focused on the interior world of teenage jocks. It’s set in the woodsy enclave of an unnamed town in North Carolina, and the two main characters are high-school baseball players — Bobby and Adam, played by Jack Irving and Ben Irving, who are brothers, and who look just enough alike that it takes a few scenes to sort out which one you’re watching. The film gives you a sensation I’ve scarcely encountered outside of a Richard Linklater film — that jocks, even the ones who rule over high-school society, can be pensive and soulful and lost. — Owen Gleiberman
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Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache (Khyentse Norbu)
Distributor: Abramorama
Where to Find It: In virtual cinemas
Told he’s been cursed and will die within a week, a Kathmandu man desperately seeks the elusive spirit that might save him. Though playing upon Tibetan Buddhist concepts, this latest film from Bhutan-born writer-director Norbu doesn’t use traditional religious mythology as a springboard for horror. Instead, his beguiling and visually beautiful Nepalese feature offers a droll, leisurely, if cryptic journey toward individual enlightenment. As in his prior features, religious teachings are seldom spelled out, but gently sublimated in an anecdotal progress of ingratiating, whimsical appeal. Once again he’s also used nonprofessional actors to good effect. — Dennis Harvey
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Moffie (Oliver Hermanus) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor:
IFC Films
Where to Find It:
In select theaters and on demand
Following three fine features of steadily increasing ambition, “Moffie” is Hermanus’ masterpiece in the true sense of the term: the film that consolidates all the promise and preoccupations of his previous work into one quite stunning feat of formal and narrative artistry, establishing him quite plainly as South Africa’s most vital contemporary filmmaker. A piercing, perfectly formed film, “Moffie” examines prejudice from the stunned, stifled perspective of an English-descended soldier as a closeted, terrified teenager is conscripted and sent to war on the Angolan border in 1981. — Guy Lodge
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Slalom (Charlène Favier)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: In select theaters and virtual cinemas
There is a moment when the uneasy, sinking feeling that Favier’s debut has created to that point becomes an abrupt, stomach-dropping plunge. It’s when you realize that of course this was the story it was going to tell, and almost feel foolish for holding out the hope that its wildly imbalanced central relationship might play out any other way. After that glance, “Slalom” has fewer surprises to pull than fears to confirm, which is not a criticism — that the film remains compelling despite the depressing familiarity of its beats is impressive. It’s also part of the point: We know how this story goes; doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be told. — Jessica Kiang
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The Tunnel (Pål Øie)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters and on demand
Solidly crafted if a bit uninspired, Pål Øie’s thriller is like a horizontal, colder, sootier “Towering Inferno” minus the all-star-cast, though their soap-operatics are intact. While decently paced (frequent Øie collaborator Sjur Aarthun is both editor and cinematographer here), the film also settles into an inevitable eventual rut when there is little real action, just searching and waiting. We’re all too aware, once a late additional peril arrives to endanger nearly-rescued protagonists, that it’s been grafted on to yank the slackened narrative tension taut again. — Dennis Harvey
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New Releases for the Week of April 2

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

Godzilla vs. Kong (Adam Wingard)
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and HBO Max
The director intends for you to be impressed, but also to care about these non-speaking characters (but especially Kong, the obvious underdog here). Meanwhile, the human ensemble is made up mostly of conspiracy quacks and pseudo-science hacks. Eyes wide, brains off, ears bleeding — that’s how Wingard wants his audience. Whether it’s staging a rumpus on the high seas or a donnybrook in downtown Hong Kong, Wingard has the vision to deliver iconic fight scenes in a movie with multiple surprises up its sleeve (including another classic opponent to unite the rivals), while mercifully clocking in at under two hours. — Peter Debruge
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Only in Theaters

The Unholy (Evan Spiliotopoulos) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Screen Gems
Where to Find It: In select theaters
“The Unholy” is a good tight scary commercial theological horror film. Its spooks and demons unfurl within a pop version of Christianity, which makes it sound no more exotic than last week’s “Exorcist” knockoff or last year’s helping of the “Conjuring” franchise. But “The Unholy” has a religious plot that actually works for it. It stars an unheralded actress named Cricket Brown, who plays a deaf-mute young woman named Alice, who has visions of what she thinks is the Virgin Mary. Absorbing Mary’s spirit, Alice can suddenly hear and speak, and she can heal the sick, which attracts crowds of people to her rural town of Banfield, Mass. — Owen Gleiberman
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

2021 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Animation (various)
Distributor: ShortsTV
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Those who typically scope the Academy Award-nominated shorts programs hoping to win the Oscar pool will have a particularly tough time of it with this year’s animated roster, as the options are wide-ranging but lack a clear frontrunner. A few of the talents have ties to Pixar, though only one short was actually developed at a studio, while the other four are far more personal, independent expressions with little in common, least of all technique. Compared to past editions, this is a relatively weak year, though it’s always a treat to survey the range of offerings, released in theaters and on demand by ShortsTV. — Peter Debruge
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2021 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Live Action (various)
Distributor: ShortsTV
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Law and order, and the lack thereof, were impossible to ignore amid last year’s “defund the police” protests, and the same tensions are reflected in the Oscar-nominated live-action shorts lineup. Some of the entries predate the George Floyd killing, while another was shot in direct reaction to that tragedy last summer; two more were made abroad, touching on themes that transcend borders. It’s not unusual for finalists in this category to come pushing a political agenda, and yet, this crop doesn’t feel like agitprop, but sincere, activist storytelling, well worth seeking out. — Peter Debruge
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Every Breath You Take (Vaughn Stein)
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and premium VOD
In “Every Breath You Take,” Casey Affleck plays a psychiatrist — or more to the point, he plays a movie psychiatrist, the sort of character who’s been around since Ingrid Bergman peered through wire-rimmed spectacles, offering repressed pensées about repression in Hitchcock’s “Spellbound” (1945). He convinces us that Dr. Philip Clark isn’t a bad guy, but that he has messed up his life just enough to deserve a comeuppance. The movie carries you along, and it’s got some high-tension moments, but there are one too many coincidental running-into-each-other-in-town close encounters. — Owen Gleiberman
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Funny Face (Tim Sutton)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Available on Amazon, iTunes and digital platforms
As two young outsiders — a Muslim woman shaking off the oppressive minding of her elders, and an unhinged, mask-wearing victim of property redevelopment — meet, fall in love, and rage against the capitalist machine, “Funny Face” goes in for blunt social metaphor, heightened Brechtian allegory and neon-lit nightmare visions: a stew of approaches that is sometimes seductive and often gratingly affected. The script’s banal, minimalist dialogue does little to fuel the flickering chemistry between leads Cosmo Jarvis (“Lady Macbeth”) and appealing newcomer Dela Meskienyar as best it could. — Guy Lodge
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Roe v. Wade (Cathy Allyn, Nick Loeb)
Distributor: Vendian Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available on Amazon, iTunes and premium VOD
Targeting politically simpatico viewers and anyone they can convert on the other side of the aisle — while perhaps taking a page out of the former administration’s playbook — Allyn and Loeb present their own “alternative facts” as a definitive account of the famous court case, asserting that what we have been told about Roe v. Wade is a big lie. Far from impartial, their revisionist telling amounts to a sometimes sexist smear campaign, executed with roughly the competence of a cheaply assembled infomercial as it exploits religious guilt to disgrace a legal medical procedure. — Tomris Laffly
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Shiva Baby (Emma Seligman)
Distributor: Utopia
Where to Find It: In virtual cinemas
In writer-director Seligman’s hilarious, sneakily eruptive debut feature “Shiva Baby,” the acerbic Danielle is many things: an East Coast college senior majoring in gender studies; a young, bisexual Jewish woman; a sugar baby testing out the transactional powers of her sexuality. Think of this late-coming-of-age farce as a funny “Krisha” or the indoor apocalypse that takes place in “Mother!” — but with broken glass objects, a deafeningly screaming baby, a relentlessly suspicious wife and prying relatives instead of blood and guts — and you’ll get some sense of its edge-of-your-seat character. — Tomris Laffly
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This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)
Distributor: Dekanalog
Where to Find It: In virtual cinemas
A haunted, unsentimental paean to land and its physical containment of community and ancestry — all endangered by nominally progressive infrastructure — this arresting third feature from Lesotho-born writer-director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is as classical in theme as it is adventurous in presentation. Toggling between earthy naturalism and suspended dream atmospherics as fluently as its life-weary 80-year-old protagonist (the superb Mary Twala Mhlongo) skims the real and spiritual realms, it’s the kind of myth-rooted, avant-garde Southern African storytelling that rarely cracks the international festival circuit. — Guy Lodge
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Exclusive to Hulu

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (Jed Rothstein)
Where to Find It: Hulu
The perfect storm of massive hype, a charismatic figurehead, an attractive-sounding idea and tons of money thrown down a bottomless pit make for a definitive 21st-century high-financial cautionary tale in “WeWork.” This documentary from “The China Hustle” director Rothstein charts the heady, then deadly first decade of an office space-sharing company whose much-promoted “revolutionary” idealism imploded in an old-school morass of hypocrisy, numbers shuffling and mass job/investment losses, making for a very entertaining postmortem. — Dennis Harvey
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Exclusive to Netflix

Concrete Cowboy (Ricky Staub) CRITIC’S PICK
Where to Find It: Netflix
This is one of those rare, reframe-the-conversation films that take a very specific subculture and turn it into something universal and uplifting — only this one isn’t a documentary, despite the many real-world details that bring Staub’s exceptional father-son drama to life (among them, supporting roles for several genuine Fletcher Street cowboys and a range of North Philly locations that include the historic stables). Featuring an unforgettable performance from Idris Elba as Cole’s grizzled but caring father, Harp, this remarkable feature debut is all about giving at-risk young people a future. — Peter Debruge
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Madame Claude (Sylvie Verheyde)
Where to Find It: Netflix

New Releases for the Week of March 26

Only in Theaters

Nobody (Ilya Naishuller)
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Where to Find It: In theaters now, followed by PVOD on April 16
You might say that “Nobody” follows every rule of the genre. It’s got a hero (Bob Odenkirk) who starts off as a workaday family man, with a nice wife (Connie Nielsen) and two nice kids. Then he’s attacked by criminals in his own home. After which he starts to play dirty, give into his death wish, and walk tall. “Nobody” is a thoroughly over-the-top and, at times, loony-tunes entry in the live-and-let-die vengeance-is-mine genre. Is it a good movie? Not exactly. But its 90 minutes fly by, and it’s a canny vehicle for Odenkirk, the unlikeliest star of a righteous macho bloodbath since Dustin Hoffman got his bear trap on in “Straw Dogs.” — Owen Gleiberman
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

The Good Traitor (Christina Rosendahl)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: Available on demand
Fascinating backroom politics circa WWII are undermined by banal marital melodrama, resulting in a so-so period drama that raises more questions than it answers. The film centers on the life of diplomat-gone-rogue Henrik Kauffmann (Ulrich Thomsen), who was posted to Washington, D.C., as Danish Ambassador in 1939. Unfortunately, the details of Kauffmann’s wheeling and dealing are continually undercut by the film’s concentration on his rather unusual personal life, rendered here in trite narrative clichés. The alternation between the personal and political stories rarely allows either to build up a head of steam. — Alissa Simon
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Nina Wu (Midi Z)
Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Available in virtual cinemas, followed by theaters and VOD April 2
“Nina Wu” was written by its luminous star, inspired by her own experiences as a young actress and by the Harvey Weinstein scandal — much of which happened in plush hotel rooms not far from the Cannes theater where this fascinating, glitchy, stylish, and troublesome title had its debut. And as the first directly #MeToo-related narrative to play in this context, it is a deeply challenging one, perhaps destined to be misinterpreted in some quarters, as it resists, even contradicts the simplification of its central act of violation into an obviously empowering, triumph-over-adversity arc. — Jessica Kiang
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The Seventh Day (Justin P. Lange)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters and VOD
In “The Seventh Day,” there’s a hint of an innovation to the exorcist movie genre, even if it’s not about the devil. It’s about the figure who’s fighting him. Guy Pearce plays Father Peter, a fabled exorcist whose initiation happened on Oct. 8, 1985, the day Pope John Paul II arrived in the U.S. That day, Father Peter assisted in his first exorcism — and saw his mentor, Father Louis (Keith David), get stabbed in the neck by a flying crucifix, at which point Father Peter took over and watched his boy victim burst into flames and die. That’s about as bad as it gets in demon fighting. And Father Peter has been making up for it ever since.  — Owen Gleiberman
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Six Minutes to Midnight (Andy Goddard)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters and VOD
Inspired by the real history of Bexhill-on-Sea’s Victoria-Augusta-College, a 1930s finishing school for the daughters of the Nazi elite, “Six Minutes to Midnight,” wants to be a Hitchcockian thriller, but merely manages a familiar pastiche peopled with stock characters that should divert less-discriminating viewers. The clunky plot centers on an undercover British agent who infiltrates the school disguised as a new teacher. His assignment is to discover if Deutschland plans on repatriating their young flowers of maidenhood and whether said Mädchen might serve as captive pawns in Britain’s diplomatic chess game. — Alissa Simon
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The Vault (Andy Goddard)
Distributor: Saban Films, Paramount
Where to Find It: Available in theaters, on demand and digital
Spanish heist “The Vault” stubbornly remains one of those movies you know you’ll be forgetting almost as soon as you finish watching it. There’s nothing really wrong with this glossy tale of a “mission impossible” raid on a heavily fortified Madrid bank to retrieve treasure It’s just that a caper of this type needs tense set pieces, surprising twists, idiosyncratic characters or charismatic stars — ideally, all the above — to distinguish itself, and this one falls short in all those departments. Viewers who really love this sort of thing may get caught up in the procedural aspects of the story anyway. — Dennis Harvey
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Available on HBO and HBO Max

Tina (Dan Lindsay, TJ Martin)
Where to Find It: Releases March 27 on HBO
I went into “Tina” feeling like I knew this story in my bones, but the film kept opening my eyes — to new insights, new tremors of empathy, and a new appreciation for what a towering artist Tina Turner is. One of the things that enhances a biography like this one is simply the passage of time, and if you saw Tina Turner live, or watched clips of her in the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s, you may have thought she was awesome (I’d wonder about you if you didn’t), but she blazed trails in such an uncalculated way that you almost need a film like “Tina” to stand back and reveal, with perspective, what a gigantic influence she was. — Owen Gleiberman
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Exclusive to Netflix

Bad Trip (Kitao Sakurai)
Where to Find It: Netflix
A squirm-worthy exercise in vicarious humiliation that welds the rom-com formula to a gross-out prank show, “Bad Trip” hands lovelorn loser Chris (Eric Andre, who co-wrote the film with Sakurai and Dan Curry) a safe word (“popcorn”) and the keys to a hot pink Crown Victoria, and sets the comedian loose to terrorize unsuspecting bystanders along a northbound interstate from Florida to Manhattan, where he intends to profess his love to his middle school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin). Riding shotgun is Lil Rey Howery as Chris’ best friend Bud, and on their trail storms a terrifyingly incognito Tiffany Haddish. — Amy Nicholson
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A Week Away (Chris Smith)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Say you’re a wild, wayward but ultimately gold-hearted teen with a choice of correctional penalty: an extended spell in juvenile hall, or one summer of singing, swimming and mild soul-searching at a Christian youth camp. Which do you choose? If it seems a no-brainer, the achievement of “A Week Away” is to make us collectively wonder, after 90 minutes of aggressively wholesome hijinks, if juvie would be so bad after all. This innocuous but character-free tuner shamelessly copies and crosses the formulae of “High School Musical” and “Camp Rock” down to the last, sequel-prompting detail. — Guy Lodge
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Pagglait (Umesh Bist)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Seaspiracy (Ali Tabrizi)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Secret Magic Control Agency (Aleksey Tsitsilin)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Exclusive to Shudder

Violation (Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli) CRITIC’S PICK
Where to Find It: Shudder
A chamber piece with the existential mood of Lars von Trier, as well as a trope-defying revenge thriller with a mounting sense of terror, the dismembering, blood-draining frights of “Violation” — from tense familial grudges to an awful case of sexual assault and gaslighting that leads to brutal vengeance — aren’t easy to shake or describe. The gruesome details of the film’s deeply unsettling revenge sequence are best left unspoiled. What’s provocative about “Violation” isn’t the presence of these triggers, but the way it handles them, knowing that real-life sexual perils are as likely to crop up within one’s close, trusted circle as they are in the company of strangers. — Tomris Laffly
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