With more than two dozen movies releasing a week — the vast majority of them still straight to streaming — we’re narrowing the focus of our curation somewhat, spotlighting those of sufficiently high profile or merit.

Audiences could hardly hope for a more exciting or timely option than “The Trial of the Chicago 7” from “The West Wing’s” Aaron Sorkin, who’s taken audiences to court before (he wrote “A Few Good Men”). The trial may have been a case of late-’60s political theater, as the U.S. Attorney General prosecuted eight activists who’d organized outside the 1968 Republican National Convention, but it directly speaks to the mood of protest gripping the country in advance of the 2020 election. The defendants might still be known as the “Chicago 8,” had Bobby Seale been given a fair trial — although Sorkin doesn’t shy away from that mishandling, presenting the treatment of Seale’s as emblematic of the greater injustice. This must-see Netflix offering is available to those in selected markets where theaters are operating, and will find its way to the streaming service in three weeks.

In the meantime, Netflix subscribers can watch “Enola Holmes,” a bigscreen-worthy Victorian adventure featuring Sherlock’s younger sister, who’s a pretty capable sleuth herself.

As coincidence would have it, two Sundance movies featuring Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”) are opening exclusively in theaters this week. In “The Last Shift,” he plays a man who’s spent the better part of his life working in a fast-food joint — which is sorta-kinda the movie you expect to come out of Sundance every year. Far more surprising is Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire,” in which Jenkins and Debra Winger are a Los Angeles couple who get by orchestrating what they see as victimless crimes. July focuses on their grown daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), who’s never known any other kind of life, but begins to challenge her parents’ authority when she meets someone special. If you don’t feel safe catching “Kajillionaire” in theaters, make a note to see it when it reaches streaming.

Here’s a rundown of those films opening this week that Variety has covered, along with links to where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.

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Kajillionaire Matt Kennedy/Focus Features

New Releases in Theaters

Kajillionaire (Miranda July) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It: In select theaters now
With “Kajillionaire,” July devises a fresh strategy to offer an outsider’s perspective, focusing on 26-years-young Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), the oddly named daughter in a family of scammers — a dysfunctional “scamily,” if ever there was one. A metaphor for homeschooling gone horribly wrong, Old Dolio has been raised so far outside the acceptable mold of American parenting that it was all bound to backfire one day. Now, over the course of two eventful weeks, Old Dolio slow-motion short-circuits, finally expressing the desire to experience all that she’s been denied. — Peter Debruge
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The Last Shift (Andrew Cohn)
Distributor: Stage 6
Where to Find It: In select theaters
This fast-food tragedy written and directed by Andrew Cohn is a gut punch with a side of anguish. In this wonderfully sad small-town drama, the ever-empathetic Richard Jenkins plays Stan, a former high school athlete who took the graveyard shift at local chain Oscar’s Chicken and Fish in 1971 and never left. He’s given them four decades of his life; they’ve raised his hourly wage from $3.10 to just over $13. He considers that a fair trade. Jenkins brings a painful humanity to the role. He captures Stan’s complicated, conflicting layers, and never lets the part tip too far into pathos without reeling it back. — Amy Nicholson
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Shortcut (Alessio Liguori)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: In more than 200 theaters, including drive-ins
All paths lead to an unavoidable outcome, at least that’s the conclusion demonstrated by the teenage motley crew facing a nightmarish problem in “Shortcut.” If only someone had course-corrected the filmmakers on their own route to making this letdown of a horror road-movie, which gets off to a good start before losing its way. With lackluster character development, a few ill-conceived situations in the second half and dialogue that sounds like it’s been run through Google Translate, there’s only a modest amount of entertainment value found therein. — Courtney Howard
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The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: In select theaters now, with streaming release to follow on Oct. 16.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” is the rare drama about the 1960s that’s powerful and authentic and moving enough to feel as if it were taking place today. Sorkin doesn’t just re-stage the infamous trial, in which a motley crew of anti-war leaders were charged with plotting to stir up violence at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. He jumps into the trial, goes outside the trial, cuts back to the demonstrations, and leads us into the combustible clash of personalities that was going on behind the scenes. He wants to hash it all out, to let the animating passions of the ’60s make their case … and it adds up to something that could scarcely be more relevant. — Owen Gleiberman
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Photo courtesy of YouTube

New Releases on Demand and in Select Theaters

The Artist’s Wife (Tom Dolby)
Distributor: Strand Releasing
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters, virtual cinemas and on demand
By now, there have been enough movies and TV dramas focused on the fraying ties between individuals gradually diminished by Alzheimer’s disease and their supportive but increasingly stressed loved ones to constitute an entire subgenre. If “The Artist’s Wife” stands apart from the pack, it’s largely because this familiar but affecting drama spends less time on depicting the systematic lessening of an exceptional intellect — though, rest assured, that tragedy is not at all minimized — and focuses more on the psychic toll taken on a loyal life partner whose selflessness is running on empty. — Joe Leydon
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The Artist's Wife (Tate Taylor)
Distributor: Voltage Pictures
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters and on demand
Tate Taylor’s female-starring shoot-’em-up “Ava” is the third film bearing that title to crop up in as many years. It, too, has the air of something that may once have been unusual in conception only to emerge as rather generic. Built around Jessica Chastain as an ice-cool, globe-trotting assassin facing a tangle of personal and professional challenges when she returns home to Boston, the film provides an adequate showcase for its producer-star’s unexpected prowess as an action hero — yet Matthew Newton’s skimpy, dial-a-cliché script makes the whole enterprise feel more like a mid-range series pilot than a major star vehicle. — Guy Lodge
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Last Call (Gavin Booth)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: Select a Laemmle virtual cinema to support
Booth films both sides of this high-stakes phone conversation simultaneously, then crowds them into the same frame, so audiences can watch this miserable melodrama play out in real time. Ironically, what’s wrong with “Last Call” isn’t the fact that it’s calculated, but that it’s not calculated enough. If you’re going to make an ultra-low-budget movie that takes place in real time, everything really ought to be planned out meticulously, but there’s so much dead space here: The two characters wander in and out of the frame, and DP Seth Wessel-Estes’ cameras have not been choreographed to do anything in their absence, leaving one-half of the shot “empty” at times. — Peter Debruge
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Misbehaviour (Philippa Lowthorpe)
Distributor: Shout! Factory
Where to Find It: Available in theaters and on demand, including Amazon
Revisiting the protest-blighted 1970 Miss World contest from the alternating perspective of participants and opposing activists, it’s cheery, easy comfort viewing, but for all its gaudy, kitschtastic period trappings, there’s little nostalgia underpinning it. Instead, “Misbehaviour” says good riddance to a bad era in the brightest, politest way possible. This is an unabashedly commercial crowdpleaser [although] “Misbehaviour” does point up the difficulties of being a formula film about fighting the power: Effervescent and eager to please, even when handling tricky intersectional politics of gender, race and class, the film could stand to act out just a little bit more. — Guy Lodge
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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Ric Burns)
Distributor: Kino Marquee
Where to Find It: Select a virtual cinema to support
Sacks wrote about people in extreme states — of sensory and neurological damage, of awareness and sheer being. And this is a portrait at once tender and thrilling, a movie that presents us with a man who led an eccentrically defiant, at times reckless existence that was the furthest thing from cunningly planned. He was a wanderer in the body of a clinician, like Jack Kerouac crossed with Jonas Salk. He was that rare if not unique thing, a scientific navigator of the soul. What’s most moving is that Sacks, whose extreme love of existence was there in every sentence he wrote, could embrace death because it would be the most out-there adventure of his life. — Owen Gleiberman
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Enola Holmes Courtesy of Netflix

Exclusive to Netflix

Enola Holmes (Harry Bradbeer)
Where to Find It: Netflix
The puzzles in “Enola Holmes” are not especially difficult, but they’re enough to stump the great Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). To solve this particular mystery — which involves the disappearance of the detective’s mother (Helena Bonham Carter) — will require an even sharper intellect than Sherlock’s, which we find in the form of his spunky younger sister, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown). “Enola Holmes” modernizes the Victorian world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, enlisting “Fleabag” director Harry Bradbeer to offer a different kind of feminism from that game-changing show, based in the conviction that men have bossed around long enough, and it’s time to make room for other people. — Peter Debruge
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