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This time last year, audiences were buying tickets to see “Avengers: Endgame.” Now, pretty much the biggest new release — bypassing theaters and going straight to streaming, amid the turmoil caused by the coronavirus — is a movie called “Butt Boy.”

But don’t worry. Governmental leaders are starting to share plans about a reopening of movie theaters, and there are still lots of quality new releases making themselves available by streaming. So, while no new studio movies bowed this week, you can find treasures from festivals such as Sundance and Cannes, plus fresh fare for Amazon Prime and Netflix subscribers.

Here are all the new releases, with excerpts from reviews and links to where you can watch them.

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Ingvar Sigurdsson smolders in Icelandic thriller ‘A White, White Day’ Courtesy of New Europe Film Sales

Independent films, directly on demand:

A White, White Day (Hlynur Palmason) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Choose a virtual cinema to support
A muscular study of toxic masculinity set in one of the world’s more remote locations, “A White, White Day” debuted in Critics’ Week at Cannes, where Ingvar Sigurdsson won the best actor prize. He delivers an astonishing performance here, a display of locomotive determination and exasperated futility transformed into dangerous, unpredictable anger. I’m convinced that “A White, White Day” is the work of one of the most important voices of this emerging generation, arriving at a stage where we have yet to learn his language. — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

Abe (Fernando Grostein Andrade)
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Where to Find It: Rent on Amazon or iTunes
The home life depicted in “Abe,” whose Big Apple-based 12-year-old title character (played by “Stranger Things” trouper Noah Schnapp) is the product of a Palestinian father and an Israeli mother, skews awfully far from the ordinary. Family dinners, which bring together grandparents from both sides to rehash the religious and political disputes of their respective faiths and countries, are never less than awkward. But Abe has an idea, and an obsession. Abe loves to cook. He’s like Julia Child’s “inner child,” and has more “spirit” than Rocco DiSpirito. His dream is to use cooking to unite the two sides of the family, Jewish and Muslim (his parents consider themselves agnostic atheists, but their son wants to attend mosque and have a bar mitzvah, and he dreams of dishes that will combine the two sides of his heritage). — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

Popular on Variety

Butt Boy (Tyler Cornack)
Distributor: Epic Pictures
Where to Find It: Rent on Amazon, Google Play and other on-demand platforms
Nobody is going to watch a movie called “Butt Boy” in pursuit of sophisticated wit. That said, this feature spinoff from a prior sketch by the collaborative comedy-video team known as Tiny Cinema does manage to be just about the drollest execution possible of the most juvenile concept imaginable. Those inclined to be tickled by a one-joke bad-taste premise treated with an incongruous poker face will give this perversely well-crafted goof a leg-up toward immediate moderate cult status. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

Endings, Beginnings (Drake Doremus)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: Rent on Amazon, iTunes or other on-demand platforms
Daphne, who is played by Shailene Woodley in what is simultaneously her most realistic and least accessible performance yet, recently broke up with her boyfriend, moving back into her sister’s pool house. That split had something to do with a drunken one-night stand. And now, though she’s sworn herself to six months of sobriety and celibacy, Daphne can’t deny her attraction to two totally different guys, played by Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan. This result is like the mumblecore version of “The Philadelphia Story.” — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

The Quarry (Scott Teems)
Distributor: Lionsgate, Grindstone
Where to Find It: Rent on Amazon and other on-demand platforms
This Southern-set thriller from the director of “That Evening Sun” was set to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, but pivoted to streaming instead.

The Sharks (Lucía Garibaldi)
Distributor: Quiver Disribution
Where to Find It: Rent on iTunes and other on-demand platforms
In its portrayal of a 14-year-old girl’s disturbing sexual awakening in a sleepy seaside town, Uruguayan writer-director Lucia Garibaldi’s debut feature suggests luridly violent dangers in tranquil waters — both figuratively and, per its title, literally — whilst sketching Rosina, its introverted heroine, in light, fragile strokes. The result is intermittently striking before settling into an overly familiar drift: The film’s icy-humid atmospherics trouble the memory for longer than its remote protagonist and stagnant storytelling, just enough to pique interest in Garibaldi’s future work. — Guy Lodge
Read the full review

Bad Therapy (Bill Teitler)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Rent on Amazon and other on-demand platforms
Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry play a married couple working with a counselor to repair their marriage in this straight-to-VOD relationship drama.

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Walter Murra and Ana de Armas in ‘Sergio Courtesy of Netflix / Karima Shehata

New to Netflix

Sergio (Greg Barker)
Where to Find It: Netflix
There is a Robert Frost poem called “Escapist – Never” which provides a frequent refrain in Greg Barker’s deeply admiring but drawn-out biopic of Brazilian diplomat and U.N. leading light Sergio Vieira de Mello. “It is the future that creates his present,” runs the penultimate line, and de Mello (played with persuasive charm by Wagner Moura) certainly does seem like a man whose present was shaped by the future. The man’s impact on world affairs does render understandable Barker’s rather starry-eyed approach, but in its unnecessary length and sentimental emphasis on the man’s romantic life, “Sergio” more often, intentionally and otherwise, evokes the “interminable chain of longing” of the poem’s celebrated last line. — Jessica Kiang
Read the full review

Rising High (Cüneyt Kaya)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Fact-based “The Wolf of Wall Street” won criticism from some quarters for seeming to revel in its protagonist’s sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, while barely chiding him for the predatory, large-scale financial fraud that funded it. Cüneyt Kaya’s new “Rising High” offers a similar disconnect in its fictive tale of bold chicanery in the realm of high-end real estate, treating its heroes’ climb to ill-gotten wealth as a vicarious thrill ride, with scant attention paid to the victims they presumably bankrupt.
— Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

 

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Lovie Simone stars in ‘Selah and the Spades Courtesy, Sundance Film Festival

Only on Amazon Prime

Selah and the Spades (Tayarisha Poe)
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Where to Find It: Amazon Prime
Students from Haldwell prep school graduate prepared for any career, particularly the Mafia. This exclusive boarding prep school is controlled by five factions, and senior spirit captain Selah (Lovie Simone) commands the Spades, the most criminal of the clubs that distributes kush, acid, cocaine, Adderall and tequila around campus. Writer-director Tayarisha Poe’s cold and stylish debut, commands attention. More specifically, Simone’s Selah seizes it. The film has more style than plot, but that style is terrific.
— Amy Nicholson
Read the full review

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‘The Booksellers’ examines the world of New York bibliophiles. Courtesy of NYFF

Documentaries

The Booksellers (D.W. Young)
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: Choose a virtual cinema to support
This lovely and wistful documentary invites us to dote on the tactile mystery of old books — the elegance of the print, the pages that may be fragmenting, the colorful latticework bindings, the back-breaking size of certain old volumes. Young is a veteran film editor who leads us into grand and cozy old bookstores like the mysterious museums they are. “The Booksellers” is a documentary for anyone who can still look at a book and see a dream, a magic teleportation device, an object that contains the world.
— Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

Beyond the Visible – Hilma Af Klint (Halina Dyrschka)
Distributor:
Zeitgeist Films, in association with Kino Lorber
Where to Find It: Choose a virtual cinema to support
Recently featured at the Guggenheim Museum, Klint was nearly forgotten by time. This documentary explores what was almost lost.

Bias (Robin Hauser)
Distributor:
1091 Media
Where to Find It: Rent it on Amazon, Google Play and other on-demand platforms
A deep dive into the subject of implicit bias and how it impacts human behavior.

Earth (Nikolaus Geyrhalter)
Distributor:
KimStim
Where to Find It: Virtual screenings tied to Earth Day
The director of “Our Daily Bread” takes a satellite view of how homo sapiens are transforming their planet.