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New Movies: Release Calendar for August 7, Plus Where to Watch the Latest Films

Staying home? Good. Looking for something new to watch? Even better!

“She Dies Tomorrow”

Neon

Staying home? Good. Looking for something new to watch while you do it? Even better! As the world shifts to accommodate a wide range of in-home viewing options for movie lovers, it’s not just platforms that are expanding, it’s the very type of films they host. There’s more than ever to sift through, and IndieWire is here to help you do just that.

This week’s new releases include streaming originals, fresh VOD offerings, festival favorites, new studio releases now available in the comfort of your own home, and a variety of exciting virtual cinema picks. Browse your options below.

Week of August 3 – August 9

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And in Select Theaters)

“An American Pickle” (directed by Brandon Trost)
Distributor: HBO Max
Where to Find It: Streaming on HBO Max

Directed by the talented cinematographer Brandon Trost (“The Disaster Artist”), “An American Pickle” adapts the short story “Sell Out,” by Simon Rich, who also wrote the screenplay. And it sure does show those concise roots: The bulk of the movie’s appeal has been established within the first 10 minutes, and it mostly coasts from there, as even the zanier twists rely on Seth Rogen’s goofy turn. But those 10 minutes are so satisfying on their own terms that they help sustain the fragmented story to come. Shot in a boxy aspect ration and the delicate colors of a Terrence Malick filter, the “American Pickle” prologue encapsulates the history of Jewish immigration pre-WWII with a charming off-kilter energy that would make Sholom Aleichem proud. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Burnt Orange Heresy” (directed by Giuseppe Capotondi)
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Where to Find It: Playing in select theaters

A slinky but inert Euro-thriller that splits the difference between Abbas Kiarostami and François Ozon in a futile effort to forge both of their talents, Giuseppe Capotondi’s “The Burnt Orange Heresy” is a movie about the value of art that offers little in the way of artistic value. What it does have — in spades — is Elizabeth Debicki swanning around the well-monied banks of Lake Como as a mysterious connoisseur whose sultry exterior may (or may not!) hide another meaning under its surface. Read IndieWire’s full review.

"I Used to Go Here"

“I Used to Go Here”

Gravitas Ventures

“I Used to Go Here” (directed by Kris Rey)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on iTunes

Filmmaker Kris Rey (formerly known as Kris Swanberg) has long trafficked in stories about compelling women who temper awkward moments by bonding with inappropriate new pals. In her most widely seen feature to date, 2015 Sundance entry “Unexpected,” she matched up a pregnant high school teacher with an expecting student with illuminating results. That concept takes on more amusing results with “I Used to Go Here,” Rey’s best film, which still smacks of her usual obsessions. However, armed with her funniest material to date and a winning performance from Gillian Jacobs, the filmmaker finds new dimensions for both her work and the millennial ennui that has always inspired it. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Made in Italy” (directed by James D’Arcy)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Playing in select theaters and drive-ins, plus various VOD platforms

There’s a melancholic and very real-life current to the idea of Liam Neeson and his son Micheál Richardson starring as an estranged father and son grappling with the long-ago death of their wife and mother in actor-turned-writer/director James D’Arcy’s earnest melodrama “Made in Italy.” Unfortunately, the movie is a treacly slog with a screenplay that fails the storied talent of its elder lead, and the promising gifts of his younger counterpart. Even the shimmering Italian countryside can’t rescue “Made in Italy” from banality, and a pat premise that leaves no room for irreverence or the unexpected. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Secret Garden” (directed by Marc Munden)
Distributor: STXfilms
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms

Magic is part of author Frances Hodgson Burnett’s world, but the story’s latest big-screen adaptation stretches that concept to strange ends, and not all of them benefit the film. Marc Munden’s film, scripted by Jack Thorne (who is suddenly everywhere with “Radioactive,” “The Aeronauts,” “Dirt Music,” and the upcoming “Enola Holmes”), is vested in the idea that “The Secret Garden” could use a little imaginative freshening; it’s also interested in exploring its darker edges. Even with that in mind, the disparate tones never coalesce and the film tilts uneasily between Gothic drama and childish magic, occasionally finding delight in the process. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Secret Garden”

STXfilms

“She Dies Tomorrow” (directed by Amy Seimetz)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: Playing in select drive-in theaters, plus various VOD platforms

Amy Seimetz has directed two movies over the past decade (as well as “The Girlfriend Experience” for Starz), but few recent American directors have demonstrated a greater singularity of vision. With her 2011 debut “Sun Don’t Shine,” Seimetz hovered in the confines of lovers on the lam with the world collapsing around them, watching as they wrestled with the queasy uncertainty of accepting that inevitability and running from it at the same time. “She Dies Tomorrow” expands that notion into a gripping seriocomic apocalyptic thriller that combines classic David Cronenberg body horror and with the scathing surrealism of Luis Buñuel. Envisioning a disease where the afflicted believe they’ll die by morning, the movie taps into a timeless anxiety with hilarious and disquieting results, often delivered in the same dose. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Spinster” (directed by Andrea Dorfman)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Various VOD and digital platforms

For its first act, it appears as if Andrea Dorfman’s “Spinster” is really leaning into an anti-romcom ethos, offering up a standard “sad gal can’t find a mate!” plot with a big twist (what if said sad gal was kind of a jerk and perhaps not even deserving of love?). Such is the prickly start of this Chelsea Peretti-starring comedy, which initially unspools as a non-romantic (and also not very funny) romantic comedy, before changing course after a gruesome first act to land somewhere much more predictable — yet more satisfying as well. Read IndieWire’s full review.

"The Tax Collector"

“The Tax Collector”

RLJE Films

“The Tax Collector” (directed by David Ayer)
Distributor: RLJE Films
Where to Find It: Playing in select theaters and drive-ins, rent or buy on Amazon

Shia LaBeouf can give complex, transportive performances, with rough and edgy bursts of messy antics slathered on top of soul. Sadly, “The Tax Collector” is not “American Honey.” In writer-director David Ayer’s bland L.A. crime saga about a pair of drug lord minions caught in the crosshairs of a larger war, LaBeouf stares and struts his way through a cartoonish and culturally insensitive performance as a troublemaking thug named Creeper that most certainly did not require him to get his character’s name tattooed across his chest. Yet even when “The Tax Collector” finds a steadier purpose as a taut revenge thriller, it’s mostly just a slog of vulgar threats and violent outbursts, trading substance for anger until the credits bring some measure of peace. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Work It” (directed by Laura Terruso)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

“Work It” knows its angles: Early in Laura Terruso’s fun-but-forgettable high school dance competition movie, one of its more engaging stars makes a joke about hopping into a time machine to scoop up a young Channing Tatum. If only! Tatum, of course, got his Hollywood start in his very own high school dance competition movie, “Step Up,” which not only launched his career but also a robust, multi-platform franchise. Terruso’s film isn’t exactly trying to be the next “Step Up,” but it winks toward one of the genre’s most popular entries and works overtime to keep pace. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Paydirt” (directed by Christian Sesma)
Distributor: Uncork’d Entertainment
Where to Find It: Various VOD and digital platforms

“Senior Love Triangle” (directed by Kelly Blatz)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Various VOD and digital platforms

Films Available Via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Psychomagic, A Healing Art” (directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Where to Find It: Alamo On Demand

With the psychedelic zaniness of “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain,” Chilean-born director Alejandro Jodorowsky invented the concept of the midnight movie, but even the filmmaker’s most outrageous gambles weren’t weird-for-weirdness’ sake. His filmmaking matches its trippier elements with sensitive, even sensual, qualities, so it’s unsurprising that a director keen on burrowing inside his audience’s mind also fancies himself a therapist. “Psychomagic, A Healing Art” is a wandering non-fiction collage of the shamanic service Jodorowsky has offered tortured souls for decades and allows the 91-year-old to make the case for his strange services. The result is a messy but mesmerizing summation of his unusual career ambition, a dreamlike chronicle of human suffering for which Jodorowsky offers a wild solution on par with his craziest filmmaking conceits. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Psychomagic, a Healing Art

“Psychomagic, a Healing Art”

ABKCO Films/screenshot

Also available this week:

“A Thousand Cuts” (directed by Ramona S. Diaz)
Distributor: PBS Distribution, Frontline|PBS, and Concordia Studio
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“River City Drumbeat” (directed by Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté​)
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Check out more information about the rest of August’s (and the rest of the year’s!) newest releases on the next page.

Week of July 27 – August 2

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And in Select Theaters)

“Black Is King” (directed by Emmanuel Adjei, Blitz Bazawule, and Beyoncé)
Distributor: Disney+
Where to Find It: Streaming on Disney+

“Black Is King” is not simply another visual album by Beyoncé, it is a bold re-imagining of “The Lion King” from a Black American perspective, and in constant conversation and collaboration with African artists and traditions. Overflowing with stunning visuals, “Black Is King” blends imagery from the Pan-African movement, African art and Western portraiture of African bodies, as well as Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s shared vision of Black excellence within Western culture. The film is steeped in Christian iconography, from the ascension to Black baby Moses placed lovingly in a basket, to multiple paintings of Beyoncé as Madonna with child. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Fight” (directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures and Topic Studio
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms, plus select theaters and virtual cinema options

On its face, “The Fight” is built around four different cases the ACLU has taken on since Trump assumed office in January 2017 — the film’s opening voiceover follows Trump’s inauguration, setting him up as the film’s primary antagonist with the minimum of fuss. The cases all exemplify some of the more wrenching injustices inflicted on American citizens and hopeful immigrants since early 2017. The concept sounds solid in concept, but its execution leaves much to be imagined — or does it? Rigid structures don’t suit uneasy times, and while even three years ago a film that divided its stories was an illustrative way of telling a larger story, “The Fight” grapples with a narrative collapse that says almost as much about the current state of the world than the subjects it follows. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Los Lobos” (directed by Samuel Kishi)
Distributor: HBO
Where to Find It: Streaming on HBO Max

“The Florida Project” excelled at showing how a child’s imagination can provide the mental armor necessary to endure impoverished circumstances, but it never had a monopoly on the concept. “Los Lobos,” the bittersweet new feature from director Samuel Kishi, plays like a thematic variation on the same beguiling premise in the context of the American immigrant experience. The result is an absorbing coming-of-age story about migrant life through the prism of its most innocent figures. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Rebuilding Paradise” (directed by Ron Howard)
Distributor: National Geographic Films
Where to Find It: Select theaters, plus virtual cinema options

The rest of Howard’s documentary — a largely observational piece that’s punctuated with a handful of talking head testimonials, but never sees or hears from its celebrity director — offers an uneasy portrait of what “rebuilding paradise” really means for the people who lived there. Howard burns through the newsiness of it as fast as he can (remember when Trump donkeyed in and referred to the town as “Pleasure” on national TV?) in order to shift attention away from the spectacle of it all and focus instead on what happens to places like this once the spotlight gets pointed at some other tragedy somewhere else. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Shadow of Violence” (FKA “Calm with Horses”) (directed by Nick Rowland)
Distributor: Saban Films
Where to Find It: Select theaters

Despite the claustrophobic entrapment in a violent and hyper-masculine world, “The Shadow of Violence” is an ultimately moving morality tale announcing a confident new voice in international cinema. Not to mention a powerful vehicle for its two leads, Cosmo Jarvis and Barry Keoghan. “The Shadow of Violence” was previously titled “Calm with Horses,” in reference to Arm’s equine-whispering abilities, which also point to his sensitive soul. That original title is far better than the unsubtle and literal new designation, but it certainly captures the movie’s theme, chiefly concerned with perpetual cycles of violence and their trickling effects on the next of kin. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“She Dies Tomorrow” (directed by Amy Seimetz)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: Select drive-in theaters, arrives on VOD next week

Amy Seimetz has directed two movies over the past decade (as well as “The Girlfriend Experience” for Starz), but few recent American directors have demonstrated a greater singularity of vision. With her 2011 debut “Sun Don’t Shine,” Seimetz hovered in the confines of lovers on the lam with the world collapsing around them, watching as they wrestled with the queasy uncertainty of accepting that inevitability and running from it at the same time. “She Dies Tomorrow” expands that notion into a gripping seriocomic apocalyptic thriller that combines classic David Cronenberg body horror and with the scathing surrealism of Luis Buñuel. Envisioning a disease where the afflicted believe they’ll die by morning, the movie taps into a timeless anxiety with hilarious and disquieting results, often delivered in the same dose. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Sibyl” (directed by Justine Triet)
Distributor: Music Box Films
Where to Find It: Select theaters

Ultimately, “Sibyl” becomes a brighter, sillier, film-within-a-film spoof of the Woody Allen variety, and sends Sibyl careening further into a black hole of drunken resentment and self-destruction that underserves her character. Still, the movie remains a spirited look at how tension can run high on troubled sets, and gives the ever-talented Hüller the opportunity to elevate the material with her portrayal of the ultimate reckless auteur. There’s much to appreciate about the meta-commentary at the center of this lively work, but “Sibyl” ultimately becomes a victim of the same pressure to deliver a big, showy narrative that its troubled protagonist so desperately wishes she could tell. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Seriously Single” (directed by Katleho and Rethabile Ramaphakela)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Yet even as Dineo and Noni stumble (adorably, of course) through a series of romantic travails, Lwazi Mvusi’s script angles it away from traditional plotting. At some point between the pair discovering the bachelor party of Dineo’s latest paramour (Bohang Moeko) and Noni ticking off her rules for living (all oriented around sex), “Seriously Single” transforms from a shallow exploration of modern love to a much deeper story about the power of female friendship. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Summerland” (directed by Jessica Swale)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms, plus select theaters

Jessica Swale’s intricate plotting obscures some of the film’s twists (which are some of those aforementioned risks), but all credit to her direction and Gemma Arterton’s grounded performance for selling them and keeping them from slipping into pure soap. (Fans of the film should also seek out Lone Scherfig’s “Their Finest,” another Arterton-starrer that focuses on an often-forgotten element of WWII-era survival, which treads a similar line.) While much of what Swale has crafted here is familiar, the film’s loving tone and Arterton’s compelling performance recommend it, and the result is a warm drama never afraid of a little magic. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“The Hater” (directed by Jan Komasa)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

“Marley” (directed by Kevin Macdonald)
Distributor: Blue Fox Entertainment
Where to Find It: Select theaters, plus virtual cinema options

“The Secret: Dare to Dream” (directed by Andy Tennant)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: Various PVOD platforms, including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and VUDU and cable providers

“Shine Your Eyes” (directed by Matias Mariani)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Films Available Via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“A Girl Missing” (directed by Fukada Kōji)
Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Various virtual cinema options

The knotted plotting of “A Girl Missing” helps fragment Ichiko/Risa on a fundamental level, and it also helps Fukada hide any number of illogical plot developments. You’ll be so busy trying to piece the plot together that you won’t have time to question how little sense some of it makes (a problem that also afflicted “Harmonium,” if to a lesser degree). There’s also a nagging sense that a more straightforward approach might have better articulated the lack of control that Ichiko has over her own fate, as it would have emphasized the choices that she does get to make. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Week of July 20 – July 26

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“Amulet” (directed by Romola Garai)
Distributor: Magnet Releasing
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms, plus select theaters

Nothing ever good was hidden up in an attic, and kudos to first-time director Romola Garai for cheekily making mention of the woman who lives on “the top floor” (no attics here!) before unspooling the terror of her “Amulet.” At once a haunted-house thriller and an examination of the cost of trauma, the actress-turned-filmmaker approaches her debut with both a clear understanding of genre tropes and an ability to use them for satisfying dramatic ends. It’s an impressive first feature, and while fans of zippy midnight movies might balk at its slow-burn opening act, the film eventually builds to some nutso body horror and a strong sense of mythology that announces Garai’s arrival as a filmmaker to watch, no matter the genre. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Animal Crackers” (directed by Tony Bancroft and Scott Christian Sava)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

But if “Animal Crackers” is another hideous reminder of how aesthetically catastrophic the rise of computer-generated animation has been for low-budget kids fare (underfunded CGI animation tends to erase the artistry behind it, in the same way that cheap hand-drawn animation tends to reveal it), Sava’s debut is also proof that a decent script, some delightful voicework, and a few choice “Lord of the Rings” references can blend into the kind of charm that money can’t buy. For all of its limitations, the movie is good. Ish. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Kissing Booth 2” (directed by Vince Marcello)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

While the first film was rife with sexist rhetoric, casual slut-shaming, and a “bad boy” lead who never met a put-down (or a punch) he didn’t like, its sequel tones down the offensive BS, finding something sweeter and far more enjoyable in the process. Even for audiences not turned off by the regressive attitudes of the original, its oddly aggressive tone was never, well, romantic, a misstep that Vince Marcello now attempts to rectify. And yet the greatest strength of “The Kissing Booth 2,” an overstuffed (clocking in at a whopping 132 minutes) mishmash of genre tropes and tricks, isn’t its many romances; it’s Joey King, who finally gets to spread her wings and her comedic chops. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Radioactive” (directed by Marjane Satrapi)
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Where to Find It: Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

“Radioactive” sets out to achieve many things at once. It begins as a stodgy period piece, tracking Polish immigrant Maria Sklodowska (Rosamund Pike) to Paris in the 1890s, where the medical student is evicted from her lab for using its instruments for eccentric experiments with uranium. However, once she finds an essential partner in crime with Pierre Curie (an understated Sam Riley), she begins to cultivate groundbreaking research that culminates with the discovery of radium and polonium. That’s when Satrapi, whose animated version of her graphic novel “Persepolis” kicked off an idiosyncratic filmmaking career, begins to transcend the familiar biopic beats. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Rental” (directed by Dave Franco)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms, plus select theaters

A nasty slow-burn of a slasher movie that aspires to do for Airbnbs what “Psycho” did for motels, Dave Franco’s “The Rental” serves up a thin slice of millennial folk horror that renders the modern anxieties of the gig economy with the grindhouse sadism they demand. Even in spite of its obvious nowness, this thing is such a lean, mean, and utterly merciless old school programmer that it might seem anachronistic if not for the fact that it’s being released onto many of the same drive-in screens that would have shown it 35 years ago. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Room” (directed by Christian Volckman)
Distributor: RLJE Films
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms, streaming on Shudder

The pleasure of those careful-what-you-wish-for “Twilight Zone” episodes and the riffs that followed is in watching the protagonists react realistically to an impossible situation. That’s not the case for the two leads of French director Christian Volckman’s English-language debut “The Room,” where Olga Kurylenko and Kevin Janssens defy all rational human behavior after discovering a room in their house can offer them any material thing they ask for. Including a human child. While the film suffers from a screenplay as delusional as its characters, this thriller serves up some potent images and a juicy premise, part Richard Kelly’s “The Box,” and part Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice,” in cautioning against playing god to fill the void. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Yes, God, Yes” (directed by Karen Maine)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Select drive-ins, plus various virtual cinemas; arrives on digital and VOD next week

First-time filmmaker Karen Maine (who previously co-wrote the Sundance hit “Obvious Child”) undoubtedly experienced just such a teenage rite of passage, the conceit framing her “Yes, God, Yes” with humor broad enough to appeal to even the most secular of viewers, and a specificity so rich that this former Catholic schoolgirl frequently gasped in recognition. No, in retrospect, a weekend retreat held in the fall of my senior year was not the most important thing to happen to me, but it sure as hell felt that way at the time, and it’s with that kind of respect and good humor that Maine translates some of her own youth into her feature directorial debut. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“A Deadly Legend” (directed by Pamela Moriarty)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms

“Fisherman’s Friends” (directed by Chris Foggin)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms

“Most Wanted” (directed by Daniel Roby)
Distributor: Saban Films
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms, plus select theaters

“Retaliation” (directed by Ludwig Shammasian and Paul Shammasian)
Distributor: Saban Films
Where to Find It: Various VOD platforms

Films Available Via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful” (directed by Gero von Boehm)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Gero von Boehm’s film plays it straight, and doesn’t break the mold in terms of crafting a documentary that examines an artist’s life. With such a rich catalogue of daring, boundary-pushing work, the filmmakers might have had the chance to assemble a more cinematic portrait of Newton in the style of his photos. But “The Bad and the Beautiful” is mainly a talking-heads affair, an exploration of his career through the eyes and stories of those who lived it. While the film is hardly as transgressive as its subject, it manages to be unexpectedly moving, and a nostalgic time capsule of an art-world rebel whose unorthodox methods and decidedly politically incorrect vision couldn’t exist today. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Week of July 13 – July 19

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“Dirt Music” (directed by Gregor Jordan)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: For rent on iTunes, Vudu, and FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Based on Tim Winton’s novel of the same name, the Jack Thorne-penned adaptation winnows down the lyrical love story into a gritty romance that only translates some of the source material’s poetic bent to the big screen. At least Kelly Macdonald and Garrett Hedlund are up to the task, transforming potentially one-dimensional lonely hearts into a pair of fated lovers who are just as compelling together as they are apart. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Fatal Affair” (directed by Peter Sullivan)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Too chaste to be a “Fatal Attraction” ripoff and far too dull to approach the hammy charms of “Obsessed,” the greatest assets of Peter Sullivan’s “Fatal Affair” are stars Nia Long and Omar Epps. At least they keep the feature from just looking and feeling like a limp Lifetime movie knockoff, though Sullivan himself hails from the wide world of Lifetime and Hallmark moviemaking (including no less than a dozen directorial efforts with the word “Christmas” in their titles). And yet, armed with the freedom that Netflix backing should bring — aka not needing to worry about keeping things broadcast-friendly — Sullivan and co-writer Rasheeda Garner don’t so much as bust out of the genre box as dig into it. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“A Nice Girl Like You” (directed by Chris and Nick Riedell)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: For rent on all major VOD platforms, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Filmmaking brothers Chris and Nick Riedell might not be breaking any new ground with their “A Nice Girl Like You,” but the duo at least had the foresight to cast Lucy Hale as author Ayn Carrillo-Gailey’s movie stand-in, a straight-laced classical violinist who isn’t so much afraid of sex as she is unsure of how to make it work for her. Just like in Carrillo-Gailey’s book (adapted here by screenwriter Andrea Marcellus in her feature debut), Lucy’s life is upended by the revelation that her somewhat skeezy boyfriend (Stephen Friedrich) thinks that Lucy’s disdain for porn is actually indicative of her tense relationship with sex as a whole. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Painted Bird” (directed by Václav Marhoul)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: For rent on iTunes, Prime Video, and satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms, plus select theaters and drive-ins

Much has been made of the extreme and unrelenting violence that penetrates almost every scene of Václav Marhoul’s 169-minute “The Painted Bird,” a gruesome parade of inhumanity in the grand tradition of “Come and See,” “The Tin Drum,” and “The Wrong Missy.” Following a young boy as he silently bears witness to a series of unspeakable horrors while drifting through the Slavic world at the height of World War II, this steely adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński’s allegorical horror novel (née memoir) of the same name opens with a warning shot to anyone who hit the wrong button on their way to rent “Palm Springs.” Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Sunlit Night” (directed by David Wnendt)
Distributor: Quiver
Where to Find It: For rent or purchase on iTunes and satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Mostly a story of twentysomething angst (Frances’ is less stinging, but more relatable; Yasha has been wounded by real hurt), “The Sunlit Night” attempts to force a romance between the pair. However, Rebecca Dinerstein’s script never gives that bond the room to grow. This whimsical, weird story certainly seems like it’s better suited to the page, where it can breathe a little more. Uncategorizable in the worst ways, at least the film’s literary bonafides are intact. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“We Are Freestyle Love Supreme” (directed by Andrew Fried)
Distributor: Hulu
Where to Find It: Streaming on Hulu

If the film never aspires to be any heavier than one of FLS’ unscripted comedy shows, it would be wrong to write it off as a fans-only proposition — not when Andrew Fried so palpably captures the universal thrill of going out into the world and finding the people who give rhyme to your reason, and reason to your rhyme. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“The Cuban” (directed by Sergio Navarretta)
Distributor: Brainstorm Media
Where to Find It: Select drive-ins and theaters

“Easy Does It” (directed by Will Addison)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: For rent on satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms, plus select theaters

“Father Soldier Son” (directed by Leslye Davis & Catrin Einhorn)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

“Ghosts of War” (directed by Eric Bress)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: For rent on satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Films Available Via Virtual Cinema

Also available this week:

“Carmilla” (directed by Emily Harris)
Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Flannery” (directed by Elizabeth Coffman & Mark Bosco, S.J.)
Distributor: Long Distance Productions
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Week of July 6 – July 12

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“First Cow” (directed by Kelly Reichardt)
Distributor: A24
Where to Find It: For rent on Amazon, Google, iTunes, and more

Once again, Reichardt has crafted a wondrous little story about two friends roaming the natural splendors of the Pacific Northwest, searching for their place in the world. The appeal of this hypnotic, unpredictable movie comes from how they find that place through mutual failure, and the nature of that outcome in the context of an early, untamed America has rich implications that gradually seep into the frame. Reichardt excels at communing with natural beauty and humankind’s complex relationship to it, but “First Cow” pushes that motif into timeless resonance. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Greyhound” (directed by Aaron Schneider)
Distributor: Apple
Where to Find It: Streaming on Apple TV+

A terse and streamlined dad movie that’s shorter than a Sunday afternoon nap and just as exciting, “Greyhound” bobs across the screen like a nuanced character study that’s been entombed in a 2,000-ton iron casket and set adrift over the Atlantic. The film offers a handful of brief hints at the tortured hero who Forester invented for his book — an ambitious but self-doubting career sailor who feared that he was only promoted because of the war, and worried that he might be unfit to lead an armada of young men who all had more combat experience than he did — but the whole thing is far too preoccupied with staying afloat to profile the guy at the helm in any meaningful way. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Mucho Mucho Amor”
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

The late Puerto Rican actor and dancer [Walter Mercado] was the first and most widely televised astrologer in the world, gracing TV screens and radio stations in every Spanish-speaking market for nearly four decades beginning in the 1970s. He disappeared from public view amidst an arduous legal battle over the rights to his name and previous work, retreating to a fortress-like villa in San Juan. His outsized personality, dazzling capes, and uplifting message of love earned him the arduous devotion of millions of fans the world over. Mercado passed away in 2019, but his spirit endures, and will now reach even more followers thanks to an entertaining and uplifting new documentary with an apt title: “Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado.” Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Old Guard” (directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood)
Distributor:
Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

What the film ignores in terms of propulsive plotting — again, you likely know where this is going — introspection and intelligence more than make up for it. It’s a movie that wants its audience to think and if that sounds like a weird fit for the genre, you’ve surely never pondered what it would mean to be all-powerful in a world that only wants to see things go boom. That said, “The Old Guard” also takes the time to kick some serious ass. Andy and her pals have spent centuries trying to make the world better, but that has also required them to learn how to really fuck up someone along the way. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Palm Springs” (directed by Max Barbakow)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: Streaming on Hulu

And yet, despite “Groundhog Day” becoming a genre unto itself, Max Barbakow’s witty and wise “Palm Springs” is the first movie that doesn’t just apply that old formula to a new problem, but also fundamentally alters the basics of the equation. It’s a simple adjustment, and yet the difference feels as radical and transformative as pouring milk into a bowl of cereal, or adding Waluigi to “Mario Tennis” (there had been plenty of tennis games before, but holy shit). What if, instead of relegating one person to a cyclical purgatory they’re forced to repeat over and over until they learn the error of their ways, you relegated two people to the same pocket of the Twilight Zone? Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Relic” (directed by Natalie Erika James)
Distributor:
IFC Midnight
Where to Find It: Available on VOD platforms

“Relic” exists firmly in the realm of allegory, and if you’re looking for answers to the film’s spooky ambiguities and uncanny set pieces, you won’t find them. James is more concerned with creating an atmospheric rumination on intergenerational trauma, death, and dying that also happens to be a striking horror movie. In that sense, “Relic” belongs on the shelf next to “The Babadook” and “Hereditary” as highbrow, female-led horror movies that dwell in the slow burn. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Archive” (directed by Gavin Rothery)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available on VOD platforms

Films Available Via Virtual Cinema

“Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” (directed by the Ross brothers)
Distributor: Utopia
Where to Find It: Available on virtual cinema via Film at Lincoln Center

The result is both a grand cinematic deception and a bold filmmaking experimentation from two of the most intriguing directors working in non-fiction today. This has been the Ross brothers’ motif since their earliest work, the expressionistic midwestern snapshot “45365” and “Tchoupitoulas,” which followed three prepubescent kids across a single meandering New Orleans night. “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” sits on the same continuum, ignoring any obligation to explain its conditions and eschewing traditional documentary parameters even as it borrows much about them. The movie pretends to be a fly-on-the-wall observational tale, but in the process of assembling its remarkable homegrown universe, becomes a legitimate one anyway. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Guest of Honour” (directed by Atom Egoyan)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

A riveting but utterly ridiculous melodrama about the burden of guilt and the value of bunny shit, Atom Egoyan’s “Guest of Honour” layers one absurd turn on top of another with the confidence of a veteran architect, and yet — even at its most perversely entertaining — this very unpredictable movie only feels as if it’s working in spite of itself. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Tobacconist” (directed by Nikolaus Leytner)
Distributor: Meneshma Films
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Finally, a movie that has the courage to ask: “Was it okay to be horny during the Holocaust?” While Nikolaus Leytner’s “The Tobacconist” poses several other provocative questions along the way, this stiff and milquetoast coming-of-age drama — the kind of thing that might have baited Manhattan’s bluehairs to arthouse theaters all summer long in a less disastrous year — fails to ask any of them with the same clarity, and probably would have fared much better had it stuck to the subject at hand rather than try and leverage it toward some kind of deeper meaning. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“We Are Little Zombies” (directed by Makoto Nagahisa)
Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Does the thought of “House” director Obayashi Nobuhiko adapting “Scott Pilgrim” sound appealing to you? If so, pull up a seat at the phantom piano because you’re in the right place. Does the idea of “A chiptune ‘All About Lily Chou-Chou’” make even the slightest bit of sense? Start working on your cosplay. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Widow of Silence” (directed by Praveen Morchhale)
Distributor: Oration Films
Where to Find It: Available on virtual cinema via Laemmle Theatres

Week of June 29 – July 5

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“Family Romance, LLC” (directed by Werner Herzog)
Distributor: MUBI
Where to Find It: Streaming on MUBI

A scrappy drama shot on the fly during a stopover in Japan, Werner Herzog’s minor-key story revolves around Japan’s bizarre rent-a-family business, a concept so Herzogian it’s a wonder the filmmaker didn’t dream it up on his own. While the movie’s rough production values and meandering plot never quite gel, “Family Romance, LLC” is a fascinating convergence of filmmaker and subject, providing the rare opportunity for Herzog to bury his observations in the material at hand. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Hamilton” (directed by Thomas Kail)
Distributor: Disney
Where to Find It: Streaming on Disney+

After spending more cash than Alexander Hamilton himself would know what to do with, Disney planned on releasing the “Hamilton” video in theaters next fall. But pandemics — like wars — have a funny way of creating new opportunities to compensate for their collateral damage, and the company had no intention of throwing away its shot. Seizing on “these uncertain times” in order to bring the show straight to its still-embryonic streaming platform (where it will be the biggest marquee draw since “The Mandalorian”), Disney has traded the Fathom Event of the century for a revolutionary moment in online distribution. Watching “Hamilton” on Disney+, it’s clear that even for a king’s ransom the Mouse House got its money’s worth. And so have we. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Desperados” (directed by LP)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Now there’s “Desperados,” which plays out like a needlessly gross-out version of the incredibly similarly themed “Ibiza,” an overlooked Netflix rom-com that is as close as the platform has ever come to making its own “Girls Trip” or “Bridesmaids.” Resembling a one-season network TV series in both look and ambition (that director LP, previously known as Lauren Palmigiano, has a deep background in TV won’t surprise; that it was shot by “All the Real Girls” and “Snow Angels” DP Tim Orr might), the film follows a trio of BFFs as they embark on an ill-conceived and ill-executed trip to Mexico to stop the seemingly inevitable discovery that its central heroine is basically insane. It could have been fun. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“John Lewis: Good Trouble” (directed by Dawn Porter)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Where to Find It: For rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, GooglePlay, and FandangoNow, satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms, plus virtual cinema options

If America had its own path to sainthood, John Lewis would have made it there long ago. The 80-year-old Civil Rights icon and congressman has navigated decisive American moments with superhuman finesse, making him a natural cinematic character. Dawn Porter’s absorbing documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble” doesn’t try any fancy trickery to energize that saga, instead deriving its appeal from the sheer resilience of the change agent at its center. As with 2018’s Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary “RGB,” Porter offers a closeup look at a historic figure somehow still in the game decades down the line, and seemingly too good for this world. “As long as I have breath in my body,” Lewis says to the camera, “I’ll do what I can.” Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Outpost” (directed by Rod Lurie)
Distributor: Screen Media
Where to Find It: For rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, GooglePlay, Vudu, and FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Another guns and glory war movie about young American soldiers having to shoot their way out of some rats nest they should never have been sent to in the first place, Rod Lurie’s “The Outpost” is a familiar but uncommonly visceral reminder of what it really means to “support the troops.” Set during America’s War in Afghanistan — which technically means that it could take place anytime between 2001 and God knows when — Lurie’s film dramatizes the bloodiest and most disastrous engagement our military has been involved in since deploying to Afghanistan almost two decades ago. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Skyman” (directed by Daniel Myrick)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Available at various drive-ins, coming to VOD next week

Jittery camerawork and faux documentary footage depict the quixotic efforts to record otherworldly events in the middle of nowhere (in this case, the California desert). In its final moments, the drama builds to the usual blurry chaos and jump scares, as if the material caved to those expectations on default. Before then, however, Myrick develops intrigue around the nature of the quest, using the format to explore the alienated life of a man trapped by a desire to escape the fact-based reality surrounding him. It’s less invested in “The X-Files” ethos of “I want to believe” than the toll that can take on an innocent mind. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Truth” (directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: For rent or purchase on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

The first movie the Japanese writer-director has made since winning the film world’s most prestigious award is also the first that he’s ever shot in another tongue or country, and that fact alone is enough to make Kore-eda Hirokazu’s latest feel like an outlier in any number of obvious ways; a foreign organ transplanted into an otherwise cohesive body of work. On the other hand, this wise and diaphanous little drama finds Kore-eda once again exploring his usual obsessions, as the man behind the likes of “Still Walking” and “After the Storm” offers yet another insightful look at the underlying fabric of a modern family. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Welcome to Chechnya” (directed by David France)
Distributor: HBO Documentary Films
Where to Find It: Broadcast on HBO, plus all HBO streaming platforms

Over the course of his filmmaking career, David France has made urgent political documentaries about LGBTQ rights, first with the AIDS pandemic and the founders of ACT UP (the Oscar-nominated “How to Survive a Plague”), then the first transgender rights activists (“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”). His third film, “Welcome to Chechnya,” completes what he dubs in a director’s statement his “outsider activism” trilogy. Using guerrilla filmmaking tactics to shoot inside the heavily policed region, “Welcome to Chechnya” uncovers the horrific state-sanctioned detainment, torture, and execution of LGBTQ Chechens, humanizing the victims while protecting their identities with groundbreaking VFX technology. It’s France’s bravest film yet, and a noble conclusion to his trilogy. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Viena and the Fantomes” (directed by Gerardo Naranjo)
Distributor: Lola Pictures
Where to Find It: For rent or purchase on Google Play and Amazon Prime Video

Films Available via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Denise Ho: Becoming the Song” (directed by Sue Williams)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Denise Ho: Becoming the Song” shrewdly draws parallels between Ho’s own political awakening with Hong Kong’s evolving battle over democratic freedoms. The film charts the rise of her career, from a transformative adolescence in Canada that helped her find her creative voice to a meaningful (but at times restrictive) mentorship with original Cantopop diva Anita Mui. Williams weaves into the film recent footage from Hong Kong protests, which resonates deeply as an obvious companion to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations currently erupting around the country and the globe. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Elliott Erwitt: Silence Sounds Good” (directed by Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu, screening with short “JR’s One Thousand Stories: The Making of a Mural”)
Distributor: Cargo Film and Releasing
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Check out information about the rest of 2020’s newest home releases on the next page.

Week of June 22 – June 28

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“Athlete A” (directed by Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

“Athlete A” works as both a meticulous unpacking of the case against Larry Nassar, as kicked off by the reporting of the IndyStar journalists who investigated it, and an emotional unburdening for his many victims. By its end, however, its revelations demand nothing short of the full-scale dismantling of every facet of USA Gymnastics. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (directed by David Dobkin)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

A Will Ferrell vehicle produced by a global entertainment powerhouse that has a vested interest in exposing Americans to “foreign” content, this overlong but fitfully amusing three-way between “Blades of Glory,” “Pitch Perfect,” and “D2: The Mighty Ducks” may not do much to teach the history of Eurovision or sell neophytes on its flamboyant allure, but at the very least the movie will put the competition on their radars. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Ghost of Peter Sellers” (directed by Peter Medak)
Distributor: 1091 Media
Where to Find It: For rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, GooglePlay, Microsoft, Vudu, and FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

In the grand tradition of “Jodoworsky’s Dune” and “Lost in La Mancha,” the lighthearted behind-the-scenes documentary “The Ghost of Peter Sellers” recounts a tortuous production and the fascinating ways in which it went awry from every possible direction. More than 40 years later, the Hungarian-born director Peter Medak, best known for “The Ruling Class” and “The Changeling,” is still reeling from the trauma of his showdown with Sellers, and that personal angle gives this scattershot overview a wistful, elegiac tone, as Medak revisits the sun-soaked Mediterranean scenery where everything went wrong. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Irresistible” (directed by Jon Stewart)
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It: For rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, GooglePlay, Microsoft, Vudu, Alamo On Demand, and FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

A Capra-esque moral comedy that unfolds with all the subtlety of sky writing and none of the same panache, “Irresistible” is a perverse bid for clarity that feels like it was left behind like a relic from some long-distant past. Not the 1939 of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but perhaps from that narrow sliver of time between Jon Stewart leaving “The Daily Show” in 2015 and the presidential election that was inflicted upon us the following year; that last pocket of history when the media was still as much of a threat as the monsters it empowered, and the American people weren’t quite as complicit in the animosity that keeps them at each other’s’ throats. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“My Spy” (directed by Peter Segal)
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Where to Find It: Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista has already proven his straight-faced comedy chops in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the amusing but forgettable “Stuber,” which paired him alongside fellow funny guy Kumail Nanjiani. Something like Peter Segal’s “My Spy” feels inevitable as the performer expands his cinematic repertoire, but even Bautista and a genuinely cute kid co-star can’t enliven this predictable and humorless entry into a micro-genre long due for a refresher. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Nobody Knows I’m Here” (directed by Gaspar Antillo)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Ten years have passed since Jorge Garcia wrapped his breakthrough role as the scene-stealing goofball on ABC’s “Lost,” and the world hasn’t seen much of him since then. The same can be said for Memo Garrido, the soft-spoken recluse portrayed by Garcia in what amounts to his first lead role with the Chilean drama “Nobody Knows I’m Here,” which makes up for missed time. Gaspar Antillo’s directorial debut is a curious and intriguing mixed bag that meshes “A Star Is Born” with “Searching for Sugarman” to craft the sullen backwoods story of a talented singer hiding from the world that rejected his talent long ago. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Daddy Issues” (directed by Laura Holliday)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: For rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft, YouTube, Vimeo, and more, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

“No Small Matter” (directed by Daniel Alpert, Greg Jacobs, and Jon Siskel)
Distributor: Abramorama
Where to Find It: For rent or purchase on iTunes or Amazon Prime Video

“Run with the Hunted” (directed by John Swab)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Films Available via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Beats” (directed by Brian Welsh)
Distributor: Music Box Films
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Beats” alternately plays out like a thumping character study and a bittersweet mood piece. The drab, angry, morning-after aesthetic proves transportive as Brian Welsh adds such a visceral new dimension to the “I was there” power of the film’s source material that it’s hard to believe this all came out of a one-man play (by co-writer Kieran Hurley). But the story is only so transportive because of the ultra-believable friendship between Johnno and Spanner, a friendship which — like the music scene that defines it — is fighting an unwinnable war of attrition against “social responsibility.” Read IndieWire’s full review.

“House of Hummingbird” (directed by Kim Bora)
Distributor: Well Go USA
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Kim Bora’s semi-autobiographical (or at least age-aligned) debut is set in Seoul circa 1994. A tightly coiled 14-year-old girl named Eun-hee (Park Ji-hoo) looks for solid ground while her anxious middle class family strives for a higher foothold, as their nation embraces a democratic future and the social mobility that it promises. Heady as that may sound, Bora’s long and delicate film is tapped into its heroine’s sense of becoming in such a way that it feels more diaristic than historical, even when the final act hinges on a real tragedy that affected Seoul in October 1994. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“The Audition” (directed by Ina Weisse)
Distributor: Strand Releasing
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“The Last Tree” (directed by Shola Amoo)
Distributor: BAM
Where to Find It: Available through BAM’s virtual cinema

Week of June 15 – June 21

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“7500” (directed by Patrick Vollrath)
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Where to Find It: Streaming on Prime Video

No matter its narrative shortcomings, “7500” delivers the most exciting cinematic ride of the year so far, a Hitchcockian gamble so committed to maintaining suspense at every turn that each scene teeters on the edge of an anxiety attack. While that might not sound like the most inviting experience, “7500” takes a gradual approach that acclimates viewers to its setting before jolting them into the center of a conflict that doesn’t relent until the closing moments. By then, it’s too absorbing to look away. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“A Whisker Away” (directed by Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayam)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Lushly animated in an unfussy style that defaults to summery realism but still allows for pockets of magic, “A Whisker Away” keeps things light and (older) kid-friendly even as it touches on the kind of raw emotional wounds that can lead both Miyo and Kento to confuse vulnerability for weakness. Viewers shouldn’t expect the acute emotional punch that might be packed inside a Shinkai Makoto film like “Your Name” — this movie is more interested in splitting the difference between Miyazaki Hayao and classic Disney, with the latter influence becoming especially clear after Kaoru’s housecat dons Miyo’s human mask and begins masquerading as a paw-licking person — but even at its most playful and scattered, the story is still more emotionally crystalline than its plot might suggest. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Babyteeth” (directed by Shannon Murphy)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms, plus select theaters

“Babyteeth” is the kind of soft-hearted tearjerker that does everything in its power to rescue beauty from pain; the kind that feels like it would lose its balance and tip right off the screen if it stopped being able to walk the line between the two. And yet, despite a handful of shaky moments and a story that sounds like a supercut of all the worst tropes in contemporary independent cinema, Shannon Murphy’s primal and surefooted debut never falls into either mawkishness or sadism. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn” (directed by Ivy Meeropol)
Distributor: HBO Documentary Films
Where to Find It: Debuts Thursday, June 18 on HBO, plus streaming on HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max

At once both heartfelt and exasperatingly broad, “Bully. Coward. Victim.” provides as fair and prismatic a character study as Cohn’s thin character might possibly allow. In addition to a scattershot biography that traces Cohn’s life from his formative days as a Columbia Law student to his infamous nights at Studio 54 and all points in between, the film complements its vast array of archival footage with a diverse smattering of talking heads that range from Cohn’s most basic flunkies (like his former driver, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his ex-employer) to his most savage critics (“Angels in America” playwright Tony Kushner, who wrote Cohn into his Pulitzer Prize-winning epic). Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Disclosure” (directed by Sam Feder)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

There are countless troubling examples of trans characters being portrayed as evil and duplicitous or sad and pathetic, far more than the average cinephile realizes. Most of the time, trans characters die before the end of a movie or TV episode. They’re all discussed in “Disclosure: Trans Lives Onscreen,” a new documentary from executive producer Laverne Cox that surveys the history of trans representation onscreen. When viewed all at once, this history is as surprising as it is troubling. From D.W. Griffith to “Law and Order: SVU,” “Disclosure” offers an accessible, moving, and in-depth account of trans representation in media. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“(In)Visible Portraits” (directed by Oge Egbuonu)
Distributor: Change the Narrative, LLC
Where to Find It: Buy on Vimeo, with a wider digital release on iTunes, Amazon, and Roku to follow

It’s that open-heartedness that makes “(In)Visible Portraits” such a wonder, because as Oge Egbuonu and her participants are illuminating an often terrible history, they are also sharing themselves on increasingly personal terms. It’s difficult not to feel as if Egbuonu and her subjects aren’t talking directly to each viewer, teaching them through history and personal experience, and that level of trust and respect demands reciprocal action. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Miss Juneteenth” (directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Rent on iTunes, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Rife with vivid details, Channing Godfrey Peoples crafts an entire world for Turquoise, Kai, and their Ft. Worth community to inhabit, from the pair’s clean but lacking house to the scrappy BBQ joint where Turq works at just one of her jobs (the other is at a family-run mortuary, and that’s got drama to spare). Many of Peoples’ shots are gorgeously composed, from the pageant and the accompanying parade to one of many rowdy nights at the BBQ joint, bringing to loving life the kind of world not often brought to the big screen. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“You Should Have Left” (directed by David Koepp)
Distributor: Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Entertainment
Where to Find It: Rent on iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, GooglePlay, FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Based on Daniel Kehlmann’s popular 2017 novella of the same name, David Koepp (who also adapted the script) has taken a few liberties with the original vision, some seemingly small (i.e., Kevin Bacon’s character is no longer a struggling screenwriter, but a wealthy banker) and others are far too large to mention without verging into spoiler territory. But the soul of Kehlmann’s creepy little work remains in place: Theo is already at loose ends, and the house is hellbent on exploiting that into horrifying new shapes. (Kehlmann’s novel also built in an ambitious backstory for the house itself, which is limply mentioned in the film and then dropped; rest assured, however, this house is bad news.) Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Followed” (directed by Antoine Le)
Distributor: Global View Entertainment
Where to Find It: Select drive-ins

“Scare Package” (directed by Emily Hagins, Noah Segan, Aaron B. Koontz, Baron Vaughn, Chris Mclnroy, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, and Anthony Cousins)
Distributor: Shudder
Where to Find It: Streaming on Shudder

Films Available via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy” (directed by Rauzar Alexander)
Distributor: First Run Features
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“My Darling Vivian” (directed by Matt Riddlehover)
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Picture of His Life” (directed by Yonatan Nir and Dani Menkin)
Distributor: Oded Horowitz and Panorama Film
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Runner” (directed by Bill Gallagher)
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Woman on the Beach” (directed by Hong Sangsoo)
Distributor: Grasshopper Film
Where to Find It: Available exclusively through Film at Lincoln Center’s virtual cinema

Week of June 8 – June 14

New Films on VOD and Streaming (And Select Drive-Ins)

“Artemis Fowl” (directed by Kenneth Branagh)
Distributor: Disney
Where to Find It: Streaming on Disney+

Taking serious liberties from the first two books in the series — all the better to slim down a packed plot, one of the few good creative choices that went into the film’s making — Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl’s screenplay eventually thins down a convoluted story to near-nothingness. There’s a special kid, a magical world, a priceless artifact with great powers, a motley crew of unexpected pals, and a faceless villain, all the broad strokes of many fantastical kids stories. But it’s as if the pair forgot to fill in the actual details. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Da 5 Bloods” (directed by Spike Lee)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Spike Lee fans, get ready: “Da 5 Bloods” takes the filmmaker’s familiar obsessions to an extreme, douses them in wartime grief and bloody jungle showdowns, all without an iota of compromise. In Lee’s lively, discursive look at a quartet of black Vietnam vets searching for their old squad leader’s remains (and the gold that was lost with him), the filmmaker’s voice permeates each scene with such mighty force it’s a wonder he never pulls a Porky Pig and bursts into the center of the frame. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Infamous” (directed by Joshua Caldwell)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on Prime Video, Vudu, satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms, rent via virtual cinema, plus select drive-ins

Joshua Caldwell’s “Infamous,” at turns nihilistic and uncomfortably believable, may be built on a thin premise — what if its star-crossed pair of criminal lovers was, as the kids say, doing it for the ‘gram? — but an appropriately nutso performance from its star and some sharp writing keep it from feeling as disposable as its worldview. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The King of Staten Island” (directed by Judd Apatow)
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Where to Find It: Rent on iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, GooglePlay, FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

And yet “The King of Staten Island” isn’t quite as obvious as it sounds on paper (even if it’s occasionally also more so). Teetering between self-parody and something truly beautiful, Apatow’s latest offers yet another shaggy portrait of permanent adolescence, but this one — his best film since 2009’s “Funny People” — helps make sense of why he always keeps going back to the same archetype. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Short History of the Long Road” (directed by Ani Simon-Kennedy)
Distributor: FilmRise
Where to Find It: Select drive-in theaters, plus VOD and digital on Tuesday, June 16

A meandering coming of age tale that quite literally pushes off into unexpected diversions, “The Short History of the Long Road” doesn’t blaze new trails, but it does provide a platform for Carpenter’s evolving performance and Simon-Kennedy’s skilled eye. While Simon-Kennedy’s characters occasionally avoids the cliches of similar movies, nothing about the film’s plotting surprises, as Nola aimlessly drives in search of what eventually amounts to a found family. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“You Don’t Nomi” (directed by Jeffrey McHale)
Distributor: RLJE Films
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, GooglePlay, rent on FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

It’s a shame that “You Don’t Nomi,” a new documentary about the failure and reevaluation of Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 pulp film “Showgirls,” doesn’t live up to its truly inspired title. A play on the movie’s enigmatic, beguiling, and totally unhinged protagonist Nomi Malone, played by Elizabeth Berkeley in a career-defining (and -ending) role, the title calls to mind Lesley Gore’s 1963 classic “You Don’t Own Me” — a connection that amuses at first glance, but becomes quite tenuous once you think about it. The same could be said for “You Don’t Nomi.” Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Exit Plan” (directed by Jonas Alexander Arnby)
Distributor: Screen Media
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on iTunes, Prime Video, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

“Here Awhile” (directed by Tim True)
Distributor: 1091 Media
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

Films Available via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Aviva” (directed by Boaz Yakin)
Distributor: Outsider Pictures and Strand Releasing
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

The script falters under the weight of its grand vision, however, when the two characters talk to the other parts of themselves. As Eden yells angrily at his inner woman, it’s the first time a man’s internalized misogyny has been so starkly shown onscreen here. Unfortunately, that glimmer of freshness can’t overcome an overall doleful tone. It’s an ambitious piece, but in the dance between experimental ideas and grounded storytelling, “Aviva” should have listened to her body. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“For They Know Not What They Do” (directed by Daniel Karslake)
Distributor: First Run Features
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“For They Know Not What They Do” revisits Christianity’s evolution on the subject of homosexuality, focusing on the parents whose queer children helped them embrace a more loving interpretation of scripture. It is a stirring call to action, and an urgent warning to those who place religion above their child’s survival. Most importantly, however, the film does not judge or speak down to those who most need to hear its message. The carefully chosen subjects in the film came to their newfound acceptance through often painful reconciliations between their so-called faith and a love for their children. By the film’s end, it’s incredibly moving to see they ways they’ve each experienced a deeper and far more profound love — both for God and for their fellow humans. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Surrogate” (directed by Jeremy Hersh)
Distributor: Monument Releasing
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

In Jeremy Hersh’s smart moral drama “The Surrogate,” Jess’s bent towards accommodating others is pushed into extreme perimeters, but the microbudget feature never wavers from lived-in believability. As Jess, Jasmine Batchelor (the film marks her first starring role in a film, the actress also produced it) turns in one of the year’s best performances, profound work that twists an already propulsive concept into a riveting character study. While Hersh’s film, only his first feature, doesn’t quite stick the landing, its path through thorny questions and seemingly unanswerable dilemmas makes for a thought-provoking, well-crafted watch. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Sometimes Always Never” (directed by Carl Hunter)
Distributor: Blue Fox Entertainment
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Not to be confused with Eliza Hittman’s extraordinary abortion drama “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Carl Hunter’s bittersweet quirkfest “Sometimes Always Never” boasts three quarters of that other film’s title and a much smaller fraction of its value. Of course, this strange overlap is really only worth mentioning because Hunter’s cock-eyed comedy — the fable-esque tale of a sarky, widowed Scrabble obsessive who’s determined to find the teenage son who stormed out of the house and disappeared forever during a heated game several decades earlier — is so preoccupied with the power of words. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Hill of Freedom” (directed by Jayuui Eondeok)
Distributor: Grasshopper Film
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Marona’s Fantastic Tale” (directed by Anca Damian)
Distributor: GKIDS
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

Week of June 1 – June 7

New Films on VOD and Streaming

“Becky” (directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion)
Distributor: Quiver Distribution and Redbox Entertainment
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on iTunes and Prime Video, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

What if Kevin James was cast as a neo-Nazi? That’s one of the many uninspired questions that Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s gruesome “Becky” answers in a movie driven by an increasingly boring set of narrative dares. Others include: What if the protagonist was a teenage girl so angry she could actually kill? What if there was a MacGuffin that was literally a key that didn’t open anything? Even as the movie stumbles into a few compelling moments, it’s far too concerned with shoveling on empty shocks. The pair’s earlier film, “Cooties,” suffered from similar issues, attempting to build a thin idea (what if a zombie pandemic only turned little kids into monsters?) but at least it yielded more entertaining results. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Judy and Punch” (directed by Mirrah Foulkes)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: Rent or buy on iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, and Prime Video, rent on FandangoNow, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms

The fun of Mirrah Foulkes’ Python-esque “Judy and Punch” is that her film doesn’t “cancel” the history behind it, or righteously try to rewrite the misogynistic story that its characters have been used to pass along for so many generations. On the contrary — and as its title suggests — this dark and bawdy divertissement just changes the emphasis of its telling. For all of its low-key revisionism and post-modern flourish (most explicit during a kung-fu style training montage set to Leonard Cohen and a funny “Gladiator” reference that lands at a pivotal moment), Foulkes’ confident and kooky feature debut is less interested in subverting its source material than in continuing the puppet show’s long tradition of keeping with the times. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Last Days of American Crime” (directed by Olivier Megaton)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Here’s the thing about “The Last Days of American Crime” — you don’t have time for this shit. None of us do. And that’s not just because Olivier Megaton’s agonizingly dull Netflix feature is 149 minutes long (a crime unto itself). While there’s never really a good moment to introduce a bad movie into the world, this hollow and artless dystopian heist dreck is also a victim of its own relevance. We’re all for escapism where you can get it — this critic has streamed an ungodly amount of post-curfew “Terrace House” — but watching such a deeply stupid fantasy about the future of American fascism almost feels like a dereliction of duty when the country is on the verge of becoming a police state in real life. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Shirley” (directed by Josephine Decker)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: Streaming on Hulu, rent or buy on iTunes and Prime Video, plus satellite and cable On-Demand and other streaming platforms, available at participating drive-in theaters

The best elements of “Shirley” — its poisoned eros, its secrets in shallow focus, its steadfast determination to distill the “thrillingly horrible” process of a young woman’s self-awakening — conspire to embarrass the idea that Josephine Decker wouldn’t be able to explore her truth in someone else’s fiction. This is a film about the beating heart of friendship; about the seductive nature of exploitation; about the aesthetics of female visibility and the way that lost girls are liable to “lose their minds” in a man’s world where normalcy is its own kind of madness. By the time “Shirley” arrives at its tortured smile of an ending, it seems less a departure from “Madeline’s Madeline” than it does a spiritual prequel, or maybe a buttoned-up aunt. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Spelling the Dream” (directed by Sam Rega)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

While “Spelling the Dream” attempts to address the question of why Indian American kids are such spelling stars, it also gracefully moves away from that sort of monolithic thinking by introducing its four central subjects, plus various talking heads, on their own terms. Yes, Indian American kids are spelling champs, and yes, this documentary is focused on that supposed phenomenon, but “Spelling the Dream” is perhaps most successful at showing how each speller is very different. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Films Available via Virtual Cinema

Learn more about virtual cinemas offerings right here.

“Tommaso” (directed by Abel Fererra)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: Exclusive engagement at FLC, followed by other local cinemas next week (choose through the film’s virtual cinema page)

Fatherhood and midlife doldrums are not the usual terrain for director Abel Ferrara, whose dark tales of angry urbanites have coalesced into a striking vision of despair across several decades, but everyone grows up sometime. In the scrappy and often endearing drama “Tommaso,” Ferrara casts regular muse Willem Dafoe as a fictionalized version of the filmmaker himself, a broken man still picking up the pieces from his prior misdeeds to find some measure of stability. Having found a new life in Italy with a much younger wife and child — both played by the real ones in Ferrara’s life — the eponymous Tommaso struggles to reconcile a new beginning with the stumbles of the past. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Yourself and Yours” (directed by Hong Sang-Soo)
Distributor: Cinema Guild
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

“Yourself and Yours” isn’t a mystery so much as it is a bottomless rabbit hole — Hong borrowing the central gimmick of Buñuel’s “That Obscure Object of Desire” in order to make his own riff on Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy.” As always, he uses a lo-fi narrative device to complicate romantic entanglements so that they unfold on screen in the same jumble as they do in our own twisted minds, the filmmaker taking a kaleidoscopic approach in order to refract Minjung through a singularly male prism of neurosis and desire. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“2040” (directed by Damon Gameau)
Distributor: Together Films
Where to Find It: Choose your local cinema through the film’s virtual cinema page

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