Movies

New Movies to Watch This Week: ‘Antebellum,’ ‘The Nest,’ ‘The Devil All the Time’

Distributors keep changing their minds right up until the day before their movies are supposed to open in one of the wildest release eras in memory, making it nearly impossible for moviegoers to keep track of what’s opening when, and where, and how.

This week’s biggest theatrical opening is a Jim Caviezel movie called “Infidel,” although the distribution company Cloudburst Entertainment never responded to requests for review, so we couldn’t do our jobs on that one without driving to the nearest city where theaters are open, so investigate at your own risk.

Audiences willing to brave cinemas will find some reliable options in more limited theatrical release, including “Martha Marcy May Marlene” director Sean Durkin’s latest, “The Nest,” which is the sort of slow-burn psychological drama that benefits from your undivided attention. Meanwhile, for those seeking from-the-nest streaming options, Durkin’s longtime partner in crime, fellow Borderline filmmaker Antonio Campos, releases his latest, “The Devil All the Time,” starring Batman (Rob Pattinson) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in a violent noir-styled thriller.

In anticipation of the upcoming election, Focus releases “The Way We See It,” a look at the legacy of former White House photographer Pete Souza, who served under Barack Obama. Souza has become something of an Instagram star since that gig ended, firing back at Trump’s offenses with images from his archive representing how a president should behave. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, Souza’s photos put Trump’s tweets to shame.

But the movie of the week, as far as this critic is concerned, is Bush and Renz’s “Antebellum,” which Lionsgate had planned to release theatrically back in March, but has instead made available via streaming for $19.99. A social horror movie in the vein of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” the film turns the legacy of “Gone With the Wind” on its head, reexamining the legacy of racism from the point of view of a successful modern Black woman (Janelle Monaé).

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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The Nest
FilmNation Entertainment

New Releases in Theaters

The Nest (Sean Durkin)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Available exclusively in theaters
All work and no play makes Rory O’Hara a dull boy — which is to say, one can scarcely overlook the connections between Sean Durkin’s subtly unsettling second feature, “The Nest,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” even if this is by far the more tedious of the two movies. While the obsessive dad Jude Law plays here doesn’t fly off the handle quite so spectacularly as Jack Nicholson did, the horror hits closer to home, since what’s haunting the O’Haras isn’t supernatural. Rather, this family’s unraveling, which likewise follows a big move to a spooky new abode, has more to do with all the baggage they’ve brought with them. — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

The Secrets We Keep (Yuval Adler)
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Where to Find It: In theaters now, with VOD release to follow on Oct. 16
Noomi Rapace stars as a European refugee appalled to realize her former uniformed persecutor now lives in the same American small town as she does. This “Death and the Maiden”-like suspense drama is neither fully convincing nor particularly original, its narrative running a course that feels somewhat predictable from the outset. But it’s still strong enough to be effective, particularly as a vehicle for Rapace and Joel Kinnaman (together again after “Child 44”). Adler, who co-scripted with Ryan Covington, lends sufficient fluidity to keep what’s essentially a three-character chamber piece from growing stagey, while evading the bombast that might have rendered this morality tale too heavy-handed. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

The Way I See It (Dawn Porter)
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It: In select theaters now, with MSNBC premiere to follow on Oct. 9
Saving its political agenda for the end, this warm, softball profile of Pete Souza — who had the unusual honor of serving as official White House photographer for two presidents of opposite parties, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama —  is told through a mix of voiceover, video footage and iconic stills from Souza’s copious photo archives. Souza trolls Trump so Obama doesn’t have to, and “The Way I See It” will get to that dimension of his personality in due time, but most of the documentary chooses to be less overtly partisan, celebrating the career of a photographer who played eyewitness to history, twice. — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

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Antebellum
Matt Kennedy

New Releases on Demand and in Select Theaters

Alone (John Hyams)
Distributor: Magnet
Where to Find It: Available in theaters and on demand
Unpleasantly effective “Alone” centers on a heroine who wishes she were just that; instead, she’s got insistent, unwanted company in the form of a probable serial killer. Hyams’ U.S. remake of a not-particularly-well-regarded 2011 Swedish thriller is an apparent improvement in all departments, with the original’s reported plausibility issues and other flaws subsumed in what emerges a tense, muscular suspense exercise. With its compellingly simple narrative of automotive pursuit and wilderness survival, this is a scary movie especially suited to the surprise resurgence of drive-ins. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

Antebellum (Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It: Rent for $19.99 from all major digital and cable providers
It’s been said about the Civil War that the South lost the war but won the narrative, rewriting history to soften the Confederacy’s motives while enacting laws to uphold a uniquely American form of apartheid. In the face of more than a century and a half of such malignant propaganda, terrifying social thriller “Antebellum” lands like an explosive mortar — a potent, politically charged cross between “The Handmaid’s Tale” and an M. Night Shyamalan movie, wherein a successful Black woman (Janelle Monáe) is punished for challenging authority.  — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

Blackbird (Roger Michell)
Distributor: Screen Media Films
Where to Find It: Available in theaters and on demand, including Amazon
Michell is one of the most reliably graceful directors of English-language screen drama, rising to the occasion of fine but challenging scripts, that deft touch elevating material that’s more conventional or less than inspired. His good taste certainly makes a class act of “Blackbird,” Christian Torpe’s Americanization of 2014’s Danish “Silent Heart.” In other hands, this story about a bumpy weekend’s family gathering for a terminally ill matriarch’s planned euthanasia might’ve turned into an overly manipulative tearjerker. But thanks to Michell and a fine cast, it works admirably well. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

Lost Girls & Love Hotels (William Olsson)
Distributor: Astrakan Releasing
Where to Find It: Available on demand, including Amazon and iTunes
This adaptation of a 2010 semi-autobiographical novel by Canadian Catherine Hanrahan stars Alexandra Daddario as a North American expat in Japan, escaping murky demons via endless partying and anonymous sexual encounters. Hitting notes variably redolent of “Fifty Shades” and “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” with the added element of cultural dislocation, Olsson’s film works as an atmospheric mood piece and sometime erotic drama. It’s less successful as a character study. That creates a certain hollowness at the core of a movie that never fully earns our sympathy or interest. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

Somebody Up There Likes Me (Mike Figgis)
Distributor: Eagle Rock Films
Where to Find It: Select a virtual cinema to support
Ronnie Wood has always seemed like he’d be nothing if not an enjoyable hang. That proves to be very much the case in this documentary about the Rolling Stones guitarist from Figgis, who has clearly been hitting it off for quite a while with the musician … although Wood is so hail-fellow-well-met, you suspect he might have a good rapport with anybody. A surfeit of conviviality and a storied 60-year career do not always add up to a great story, though, and so “Somebody” will be liked by hardcore Stones fans down here more than raved about by anyone hoping Figgis has sussed out a narrative worthy of one of his fictional projects. — Chris Willman
Read the full review

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The Devil All the Time
Glen Wilson/Netflix

Exclusive to Netflix

The Devil All the Time (Antonio Campos)
Where to Find It: Netflix
The hero, Arvin Russell, is played by Tom Holland, who has made a smart move in taking on the role of someone who can kick the s—t out of people and blast bullets through them without a twinge. The violent kinkiness is everywhere, yet in another way it’s just window dressing. Arvin, a young man who’s good inside, shows each of the sinners what’s what. Yet you never feel much investment in his odyssey of salvation. “The Devil All the Time” shows us a lot of bad behavior, but the movie isn’t really interested in what makes the sinners tick. And without that lurid curiosity, it’s just a series of Sunday School lessons: a noir that wants to scrub away the darkness. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

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