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While the Hollywood studios continue to keep their tentpoles locked up till most American cinemas reopen, indie distributors are releasing a handful of smaller movies with big stars in supporting roles this week.

Can’t wait to see Robert Pattinson in “Tenet”? Well, you can always catch him in the festival-anointed imperialist critique “Waiting for the Barbarians.” While the release date for “Dune” remains in question, Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård leads the well-reviewed Scandinavian drama “Out Stealing Horses,” about a widower’s return to the country. And before Liam Neeson returns to action-hero mode with “Honest Thief,” you can watch him playing opposite real-life son Micheál Richardson in “Made in Italy.”

OK, those pairings probably aren’t for the same potential audiences at all, but it’s still nice to see versatile actors’ more serious work finding its way to streaming. And not all the week’s movies are minor. Get a double-dose of Seth Rogen in “An American Pickle,” or check out the latest transformative performance from Shia LaBeouf in “Fury” director David Ayer’s L.A. gang thriller “The Tax Collector.”

In a week with nearly three dozen new movies releasing in some form, here’s a rundown of those that Variety has covered, along with links to where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.

seth rogen an american pickle

Exclusive to HBO

An American Pickle (Brandon Trost)
Where to Find It: HBO Max
“An American Pickle” is a comedy that connects you to something so old world that it seems, at times, to be an artifact of prehistory. No, I’m not talking about Herschel Greenbaum (Seth Rogen), a glumly bearded Orthodox Jewish ditch digger from 1919 who emigrates from Schlupsk to New York City, where he finds work in a pickle factory and ends up tumbling into a vat of briny cucumbers — only to wake up, 100 years later, like Rip Van Winkle crossed with Tevye. (Yes, the pickle juices preserved him.) The age-old thing I’m referring to is that once-pivotal, now-faded form, the fish-out-of-water comedy. — Owen Gleiberman
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On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries (Katie Hinman, Toby Oppenheimer)
Where to Find It: HBO Max
This documentary about embedded journalists reporting on the events of past months feels something other than urgent at this moment, because it doesn’t feel of this moment at all. What the film does well is depict the difficulty of the embed’s job, from logistical to philosophical. — Daniel D’Addario
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The Swamp (Daniel DiMauro, Morgan Pehme))
Where to Find It: HBO Max
The documentary is about the culture of money that has broken Washington, as seen through the lens of three Republican congressman who claim to abhor it … [and it’s] full of insights and tasty details about how the culture of Washington operates. — Owen Gleiberman
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STXFilms

New Releases on Demand and in Select Theaters

Black Water: Abyss (Andrew Traucki)
Distributor: Screen Media
Where to Find It: Available via Amazon and video-on-demand services
The combination of claustrophobia, darkness, murky water and one big crocodile adds up to a decently scary time in this belated followup to the abyss-less 2007 original. This time, the tasty humans are trapped in an underground cavern during a flash flood, making for a situation that’s unpleasant even before they discover they’ve got reptilian company. While perhaps not as memorable as some of the movies it might remind you of (like “The Descent” and “Pitch Black”), this is still a tense thriller that nicely exploits a formulaic nature it doesn’t quite transcend. — Dennis Harvey
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CREEM: America’s One and Only Rock Magazine (Scott Crawford)
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters, or select a virtual cinema
If Rolling Stone aspired to be the Rolls Royce of rock magazines, CREEM was by contrast the Volkwagen band-van: pungent with reefer, speed sweat, and last night’s groupie action. Crawford’s documentary is a brief, careening survey through the publication’s two-decade life and times, filled with colorful personalities and commentary. Vintage rock fans will be in (cough) high heaven. — Dennis Harvey
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I Used to Go Here (Kris Rey)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Available via Amazon and video-on-demand services
Likable enough, but a little too tame to make much of an impact, Rey’s slight — and slightly autobiographical — “you can’t go home again” comedy marks a comeback project of sorts for the “Unexpected” director. This is the kind of movie where we’re meant to squirm at uncomfortable situations, although Rey’s overall tone is entirely too perky for that. In recent years, shows such as “Fleabag” and “Girls” have broken ground with their flawed female protagonists, [whereas] Rey’s voice has more in common with Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. — Peter Debruge
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La Llorona (Jayro Bustamante)
Distributor: Shudder
Where to Find It: Watch exclusively on Shudder
Guatamalan writer-director Jayro Bustamante had a dream debut with “Ixcanul” in 2015. His swift, thrilling, genre-expanding follow-up is a nervy alternative horror film in which political ghosts of the past mingle with more uncanny phantoms. Not to be confused with “The Curse of La Llorona,” Bustamante’s film shares the mythological root of that cheapjack “Conjuring” spinoff. Both are variations on the Latin American oral folk legend of La Llorona: the grief-stricken ghost of an abandoned mother who drowned her children, doomed to haunt the earth for all eternity as punishment for her actions. — Guy Lodge
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Made in Italy (James D’Arcy)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters and via video-on-demand services
Early in “Made in Italy,” a cringingly syrupy tale of overdue bonding between an estranged father and his only offspring, someone describes Liam Neeson’s character as “a selfish prick.” Thus we learn, even before Neeson has made his entrance, that the Irish star will be playing the polar opposite of the all-caring and ultra-capable dad of his hit “Taken” franchise. Then again, no one would mistake first-time writer-director James D’Arcy’s cliché-filled family melodrama as an extension of Neeson’s late-career reinvention as a badass action hero. — Tomris Laffly
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Out Stealing Horses (Hans Petter Moland)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters and via video-on-demand services
At several points in “Out Stealing Horses,” a seemingly bland observation turns out to carry far more cutting emotional weight. “Fathers are great,” says one old man to another, shortly before an enfolded series of revelations that suggests both men can hardly believe such a thing. Norwegian novelist Per Petterson’s international bestseller made a bittersweet virtue of such plain language, evoking the inner lives of men not much good at articulating themselves; Moland’s loving film adaptation, meanwhile, effectively plays lush visual storytelling against its characters’ desolate interiors. — Guy Lodge
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Paydirt (Christian Sesma)
Distributor: Uncork’d Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available via Amazon and video-on-demand services
A thoroughly mediocre but sporadically diverting mashup of elements cribbed from the cinemas of Guy Ritchie, Steven Soderbergh and, yes, Quentin Tarantino, “Paydirt” is a crime drama with darkly comical touches that possibly will be enjoyed best while you’re periodically distracted by other things and are unable to constantly focus on arrant contrivances and gaping plot holes. Top-billed Goss saunters through the proceedings with all the self-confidence you’d expect from a character who brazenly plots double- and triple-crosses. Kilmer gives “Paydirt” much more than it ever gives him. — Joe Leydon
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Red Penguins (Christian Sesma)
Distributor: Universal
Where to Find It: Available via Amazon and video-on-demand services
“Red Penguins” is a cautionary tale with particular resonance in the context of our current bizarre intertwining with Russia. This wild tale of attempted transnational commerce just after the demise of the USSR in the 1990s chronicles the short-lived ownership of the East’s greatest hockey team by an American consortium. Gabe Polsky’s very entertaining feature is a sports documentary with little game footage, or even interviews with players. Nonetheless, “Red Penguins” has the kind of stranger-than-fiction appeal that could lure both hockey fans and the puckless. — Dennis Harvey
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The Secret Garden (Marc Munden)
Distributor: STX Films
Where to Find It: Available to rent for $19.99 on video-on-demand services
In the new version of “The Secret Garden,” the Victorian setting has been jumped ahead about 40 years (the story now begins in 1947), and the atmosphere edges forward even more than that. When Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx), the snappishly unhappy 10-year-old British orphan who’s the central character, is brought to live with her uncle, Lord Craven (Colin Firth), in his mansion on the Yorkshire Moors, the garden she discovers behind a towering stone wall overgrown with vines may be a secret, but it looks more like an awesomely vast and sunny national park designed by 1950s Disney animators. — Owen Gleiberman
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Spinster (Andrea Dorfman)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available via Amazon and video-on-demand services
Among the oldest stories in the romantic comedy playbook is that of the bright, brashly independent heroine who claims she doesn’t need a man, only for the perfect one to waltz into her life at that very moment. “Spinster” rather admirably challenges this formula. A romantic comedy that sympathetically shares its unattached female protagonist’s conflicting impulses to couple up or to stand her single ground, Dorfman’s thoughtful little film arrives at a compromise that feels honest and hard-won — helped along by the infectious, defiantly offbeat presence of erstwhile “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Chelsea Peretti. — Guy Lodge
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Song Without a Name (Melina León)
Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Select a virtual cinema to support
In a dingy clinic, a newborn child is whisked away from her exhausted mother, supposedly for routine health checks, and is never returned; in short order, the clinic vanishes into thin air too, leaving the stolen baby’s bewildered, impoverished parents with no recourse. The premise is at once fact-based and the stuff of shadowed, surreal nightmares, and Peruvian writer-director León’s artfully affecting debut feature splits the difference: Earthy with social detail from a despairing period of Peru’s recent history, it’s also shot, scored and styled like the most beautiful of bad dreams. — Guy Lodge
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Sunless Shadows (Mehrdad Oskouei)
Distributor: Cinema Guild
Where to Find It: Select a virtual cinema to support
In this direct follow-up Oskouei’s superb 2016 documentary “Starless Dreams,” Oskouei extends his investigation of a Tehran juvenile correctional facility. The film narrows the study a little further, focusing specifically on girls serving time for the murder of a male relative. In the process, it quietly but pointedly interrogates the notion of victimhood, while tacitly letting a damning essay on Iranian gender politics and hierarchies emerge through the words of his subjects. — Guy Lodge
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The Tax Collector (David Ayer)
Distributor: RLJE Films
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters, via Amazon and video-on-demand services
You wouldn’t know it from the marketing campaign, but Shia LaBeouf is not the star of the latest South Los Angeles crime saga from writer-director Ayer, which is bloody, barely coherent and about as fun as having your face dragged across asphalt from a moving SUV. The real star is relative newcomer Bobby Soto, who collects protection money from all the Latino street gangs in South Central, delegating the more unpleasant enforcement duties to his cold-blooded lieutenant Creeper (LaBeouf). When they decline a new crime boss’ offer to switch sides just before a deadly coup, the consequences get ugly in every way imaginable. — Peter Debruge
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A Thousand Cuts (Ramona S. Diaz)
Distributor: PBS Distribution
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters, or select a virtual cinema
This pacy, engrossing, galvanizing documentary feels more like a political thriller than an off-the-cuff investigation into embattled journalism in the Philippines, but Filipino journalist/crusader Maria Ressa’s seemingly boundless energy, good humor and intelligence make her basically a power plant for the manufacture of inspiration in embattled times. You come out more profoundly aware than ever of the gathering darkness of our current geopolitical moment, and more fervently grateful that there are torchbearers like Ressa to lead us to the light. — Jessica Kiang
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Waiting for the Barbarians (Jessica Swale)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: Available via video-on-demand services
Nearly 40 years after its publication, J.M. Coetzee’s’s slim but scorching allegory for imperialist denial and defeat feels grimly pertinent to a current political milieu marked by the hubris of white supremacy. Colombian director Guerra (“Embrace of the Serpent”) is a canny choice of filmmaker to take on the project, scripted by Coetzee himself in the Nobel laureate’s first stab at screenwriting. If the across-continents meeting of these two artists doesn’t quite bring out the best in either man, that’s not entirely surprising: Coetzee’s novel, with its measured, interiorized voice and sparse, incrementally devastating narrative, was never an obvious fit for film treatment. — Guy Lodge
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Work It Courtesy of Brendan Adam-Zwelling/Netflix

Exclusive to Netflix

Work It (Laura Terruso)
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix
Once in a weird while, a movie mimics the flaws — and charms — of its protagonist’s journey to an uncanny degree. Like high schooler Quinn Ackermann, a two-left-footer who does a crash course in dancing in order to get into her first-choice college, “Work It” often feels like it too crammed in hopes of becoming a hit. Disney Channel-crafted pop star Sabrina Carpenter leads a cast packed with amiable lovelies, many of whom have fans and social media followings made up of folks who won’t suffer genre fatigue after years of movies that have done this song-and-dance better. — Lisa Kennedy
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Howard Courtesy of Disney Plus

Exclusive to Disney Plus

Howard (Don Hahn)
Where to Find It: Streaming on Disney Plus
Telling the story of Howard Ashman — the lyricist whose words played a crucial role in some of the key films of the late 1980s-early 1990s “Disney Renaissance” — Disney makes both a stirring, if not unexpected, case for his, and its own, legacy. It also introduces viewers, more fully than skeptics of the studiously family-friendly corporation might expect, to Ashman. At 94 minutes, “Howard” is not and does not try to be a plumbing search through the generation of talent lost to HIV and AIDS; what it is trying to do, appealingly narrowly, is illuminate one life and the work done therein. — Daniel D’Addario
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