New Movies: Release Calendar for October 21 and Where to Watch
Reviews

New Movies: Release Calendar for October 21 and Where to Watch

“Black Adam” may disappoint, but never fear: this week’s new releases also include no less than four of the year’s best films.

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First, we encourage you to take a deep breath before diving into this week’s new releases, because there are a lot of them. We’re not just talking about the big guns, like “Black Adam” or “Ticket to Paradise,” or even the big disappointments like, well, “Black Adam” and “My Policeman,” we’re talking about a staggering array of new movies available in theaters, at home, and beyond.

Second, in the interest of cutting through this stacked lineup, we also hope to offer some keen guidance, in the form of four (count ’em, four) official IndieWire Critic’s Picks from this week’s newest features. Those titles include offerings like Charlotte Wells’ staggering feature debut “Aftersun” and Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” (perhaps his best film yet, and major catnip for fans that loved his “In Bruges), plus Margaret Brown’s imperative documentary “Descendant,” and Henry Selick’s delightfully dark return to stop-motion animation with “Wendell & Wild.” Those four alone should keep you busy, but after you wrap on those picks, we’ve got plenty more to watch.

Each film is now available in a theater near you or in the comfort of your own home (or, in some cases, both, the convenience of it all). Browse your options below.

Week of October 17 – October 23

New Films in Theaters

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

Aftersun

“Aftersun”

Courtesy of A24

“Aftersun” (directed by Charlotte Wells) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: A24
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters

A stunning debut that develops with the gradual poignancy of a Polaroid, Charlotte Wells’ “Aftersun” isn’t just an honest movie about the way that we remember the people we’ve lost — fragmented, elusive, nowhere and everywhere all at once — it’s also a heart-stopping act of remembering unto itself. Here, in the span of an oblique but tender story that feels small enough to fit on an instant photo (or squeeze into the LCD screen of an old camcorder), Wells creates a film that gradually echoes far beyond its frames. By the time it reaches fever pitch with the greatest Freddie Mercury needle drop this side of “Wayne’s World,” “Aftersun” has begun to shudder with the crushing weight of all that we can’t leave behind, and all that we may not have known to take with us in the first place. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“All That Breathes” (directed by Shaunak Sen)
Distributor: Submarine and Sideshow
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

Often more than 10 times worse than in any other city on Earth, the air in Delhi is so toxic and inhospitable to life itself that birds regularly fall from the sky like feathered rain. The creatures have done their best to compensate for other symptoms of pollution — one species began singing to each other at a higher pitch in order to pierce through the industrial noise, while another started using discarded cigarette butts as parasite repellent — but there’s no substitute or silver lining for the absence of breathable oxygen.

If the people of Delhi are naturally confronted with the same crisis, they are even less equipped to live with it. Unlike the city’s teeming wildlife, the human population is rendered helpless by its ability (or its need) to assign blame. As a disembodied voice puts it towards the end of Shaunak Sen’s “All That Breathes,” a vital and transfixing work of urban ecology about two Muslim brothers who share an uncommonly holistic perspective of the world around them: “You don’t care for things because they share the same country, religion, or politics. Life is kinship. We’re all a community of air.” In Delhi, every part of that community — from the flies in the gutter puddles to the black kites that swim through the skies above without struggles — is choking to death as one. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” (directed by Martin McDonagh) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Searchlight Pictures
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

And so, not six minutes into Martin McDonagh’s deliciously mordant “The Banshees of Inisherin,” the seeds of a new enmity are sown — not a metaphor for the Irish Civil War so much as an absurd kind of microcosm for it. The result is (by far) the writer-director’s best film since his similarly haunted “In Bruges,” which also found the same lead actors trading sublime jabs of existential despair with all the bruised grace of a heavyweight bout. It’s a stirring tragicomedy in which one man’s sympathetic but uncompromising lust for freedom sparks an escalating series of reprisals that can only end in a stalemate or self-immolation. Or both. Or worse. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "Black Adam"

“Black Adam”

Warner Bros.

“Black Adam” (directed by Jaume Collet-Serra)
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

The question that “Black Adam” poses is a simple one: What happens when Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie star collides with Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie genre? The answer provided by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s depressingly inevitable (and inevitably depressing) foray into the superhero-industrial complex is, of course, even simpler: Exactly what you’d expect. Only worse.

All due respect to whatever unique and illustrious history Black Adam may have developed since his DC Comics debut in 1945, but the lifeless spectacle that director Jaume Collet-Serra — who made some nifty thrillers before “Jungle Cruise” reduced him to the John Ford of Rawson Marshall Thurbers — has cobbled together for the character’s big screen origin story is so exhaustingly derivative of other superhero movies that the ancient Egyptian antihero might as well not have any history at all. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power” (directed by Nina Menkes)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters

Nothing less than, well, just about everything cinematic is on the table in Nina Menkes’ eye-opening, if occasionally half-baked documentary “Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power”; look no further than its wordy full title for proof of its big-time ambition. The film might only be indie filmmaking pioneer Menkes’ second documentary, but it’s inspired by her “cinematic experience” lecture “Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Oppression,” which Menkes has taken around the world for years.

A longtime filmmaker who has consistently bucked the status quo to make films her way, Menkes long ago hit upon some uncomfortable truths, the kind that impacted her both as a woman and a director. Per its own synopsis, “Brainwashed” attempts “to show how the visual grammar of cinema contributes to conditions that create discriminatory hiring practice, pay inequity and a pervasive environment of sexual harassment in the film industry and beyond.” In short, Menkes aims to walk her audience through a bevy of film clips to illustrate how the very language of films is gendered, much to the detriment of women both on- and off-screen. The results are startling, destined to forever change how its audience watches films. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Descendent” (directed by Margaret Brown) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters, plus streaming on Netflix

How best should we remember the dead? The critical African American history retold in Margaret Brown’s imperative film, “Descendant,” an unblinking investigation combining local stories with “Erin Brockovich” flair, seeks to answer that question. Because for the many Black folks living in Africatown, Alabama, where the last slave ship made landfall, remembering is what they do best.

See, in 1860, long after the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves was signed in 1808, two wealthy white men from Mobile, Alabama made a bet. Despite the law, they believe they could sail to Africa, capture Africans, and bring them back as slaves without anyone finding out. Within months they returned with 100 captive Black people. The two men burned and sank the ship, named the Clotilda, erasing all traces of the grave crime they committed. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Emmett Lewis appears in Untitlted Clotilda Doc by Margaret Brown, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Descendant”

Sundance

“Eternal Spring” (directed by Jason Loftus)
Distributor: Loft Sky Pictures
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters

IndieWire review to come.

“The Good Nurse” (directed by Tobias Lindholm)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters, streaming on Netflix on Wednesday, October 26

In the fall of 2003, a new nurse arrived at a quiet hospital in the middle of New Jersey. He was mild-mannered and affable, with an impressive resume of former gigs. His name was Charles Cullen. Call him Charlie. He quickly became friends with fellow nurse Amy Loughren, who was also good at her job and kind to those who came into her orbit. Both were hiding secrets: Amy had recently learned she had a disease that required a heart transplant, one she could not afford until she had finished up six months at her new-ish gig at the hospital (that’s, of course, when her medical benefits kicked in); Charlie was a serial killer.

What happened when Amy met Charlie, and then discovered his horrifying secret and helped bring him to justice, is well-dramatized in Tobias Lindholm’s appropriately chilly “The Good Nurse.” Based on Charles Graeber’s book “The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder” and exactingly adapted by “1917” screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Lindholm’s version of a serial killer procedural drama keeps everyone, from its twisted murderer to the woman who finally stopped him and even the audience itself, at a remove. It’s a nifty fit for the Danish filmmaker behind similarly cold-blooded dramas like “A War” and “A Highjacking,” who establishes a sense of unease from the film’s opening moments and never quite relents. Read IndieWire’s full review.

My Policeman, Harry Styles, Emma Corrin

“My Policeman”

Amazon

“My Policeman” (directed by Michael Grandage)
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters, streaming on Prime Video on Friday, November 4

Like it or not, fall 2022 appears to be the season of Harry Styles. He’s been discussed ad infinitum in the most overexposed film in memory and also this one, “My Policeman,” helmed by English theater director Michael Grandage. On the press trail, Styles informed us that this film about the decades-spanning relationship between Tom, a closeted cop (Styles); art curator Patrick (David Dawson, a revelation, but more on that later); and Emma Corrin as Tom’s long-suffering wife Marion, is not “a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”

If you say so, but the way he seems to read his own movie suggests he didn’t understand the assignment. That’s reflected in a performance that registers as a blank beyond inscrutable gazes and sappy breakdowns. “My Policeman” is often very good, but the best scenes involve Dawson’s rapier-witted and dandyish Patrick or Corrin’s Marion, whom the actress makes more than a beard. She deeply loves Tom, and in his own way, she is loved by him in return. Together, they make up three points of a wobbly love triangle in which two of the actors run circles around the other. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Ticket to Paradise” (directed by Ol Parker)
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

Plenty of people have argued that romantic comedies hinge entirely on the chemistry of their central couples, and “Ticket to Paradise” is certainly blessed with that kind of pair, as Julia Roberts plays high-flying art expert Georgia, alongside the actress’ longtime friend and co-star George Clooney as her ex-husband, the stubbornly enigmatic David. (It’s a bit of a joke at this point to say that Roberts and Clooney are still some of the best actors of their generation, but it’s just nice to confirm that it’s true in a way that really can only be understood by that strange alchemic feeling that suddenly comes over your tear-ducts, against all odds.)

But such blinding star power is often wielded misguidedly, feeding into winking nostalgia and self-referential ego stroking as a triumph in itself, opposed to letting these fine actors simply do the work that got them to this point. And Ol Parker, as the filmmaker’s magnum opus “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” proved, is the one of the few working filmmakers today capable of doing that. Read IndieWire’s full review.

WENDELL & WILD - (L-R) Wendell (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key), Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) and Wild (voiced by Jordan Peele). Cr: Netflix © 2022

“Wendell & Wild”

Courtesy of Netflix

“Wendell & Wild” (directed by Henry Selick) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters, streaming on Netflix on Friday, October 28

Henry Selick, whose last feature was 2009’s masterpiece “Coraline,” is back at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival with “Wendell & Wild.” It’s a delightful return to form for the man who put stop-motion back on the map, and a charmingly devious collaboration with comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, reunited after their groundbreaking comedy series ended.

After watching her parents die in a tragic car accident, troubled teen Kat (Lyric Ross) spent her adolescence shunted from juvy home to juvy home, getting in trouble, and hating the world. When she returns to her childhood hometown of Rust Bank to join a local Catholic school’s teen rehabilitation program, she finds a ghost town where there was once a thriving community. Wealthy bureaucrats have overrun the town and now hope to bulldoze the last of the community’s resources to build a private prison. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“The Fire That Took Her” (directed by Patricia E. Gillespie)
Distributor: MTV Documentaries
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters

“The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile” (directed by Kathlyn Horan)
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters

“Slayers” (directed by K. Asher Levin)
Distributor: The Avenue
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters, plus various VOD and digital platforms

“Slash/Back” (directed by Nyla Innuksuk)
Distributor: RLJE Films, Shudder 
Where to Find It:
 Select theaters, plus various VOD and digital platforms

New Films on VOD and Streaming, Including Premium Platforms and Virtual Cinema

“The School for Good and Evil” (directed by Paul Feig)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Netflix

Fairy tales are typically simple and evocative pieces of folklore that tend to communicate lucid moral lessons through the power of story. Paul Feig’s star-studded “The School for Good and Evil” — which is pretty much just “Harry Potter” recast with princesses, fairies, and a random assortment of literary characters from the public domain — might be the most aggressively convoluted YA movie I’ve ever seen. In the world of “Miss Peregrine” and “Mortal Instruments,” this thing is practically “The Big Sleep.”

Where that noir classic teased timeless electricity from confusion as Bogie and Bacall smoldered across mid-century Los Angeles in luminous black-and-white, this Netflix boondoggle conjures an 148-minute migraine out of blood magic as a pair of teenage besties wince their way through an epic YA novel’s worth of flat lighting, arcane plot twists, and cheesy set pieces soundtracked to the likes of Olivia Rodrigo (it’s “Brutal” indeed). Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Stranger”

Courtesy of Netflix

“The Stranger” (directed by Thomas M. Wright)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Netflix

Joel Edgerton’s drawling voice instructs us to “breathe out the dark black air” over an image of police officers combring long grass in search of something. Or someone. This is how “The Stranger” opens, posing the question of how much darkness we will need to breathe out in the course of the film. Thomas M. Wright— best known for playing Elisabeth Moss’s sexy, traumatized love interest in Jane Campion’s “Top of the Lake” — offers a sophomore directorial outing that fits right in with the wave of early Australian directors who emerged with a crime drama pivoting around the bleakest of human deeds.

Compared with David Michôd’s dread-fueled “Animal Kingdom,” Justin Kurzel’s sadistic “Snowtown,” and Mirrah Faulkes’s vaudevillian “Judy & Punch,” this is a relatively straight and somber affair. Across locations that hop between Queensland and an anonymous Southern Australian sprawl, Wright draws a tasteful veil over macabre details that some of the above would have marinated in. Instead, the filmmaker focuses on setting up one kind of story before pulling the rug out to reveal something altogether, well, stranger. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“V/H/S/99” (directed by various)
Distributor: Shudder
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Shudder

You don’t have to be a jaded Hollywood cynic to understand why the “V/H/S” franchise isn’t going anywhere. As any studio executive worth their salt would be quick to point out, a recognizable horror brand built around deliberately cheap production value with enough elasticity to accommodate new trends is a terrible thing to waste. That, combined with a direct-to-streaming release strategy that frees it from box office expectations, gives the long-running horror anthology series little incentive to improve.

You’re gonna get a new “V/H/S” movie just about every Halloween until the end of time, and you’re gonna like it. Then again, there are worse fates in life. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Hunting the Essex Lorry Killers” (directed by Niamh Kennedy)
Distributor: Topic
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Topic

“Mama’s Boy” (directed by Laurent Bouzereau)
Distributor: HBO
Where to Find It: 
HBO and streaming on HBO Max

“Moment of Contact” (directed by James Fox)
Distributor: 1091 Pictures
Where to Find It: 
Various digital platforms

Check out more films to watch on the next page.

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