New Movies to Watch This Week: ‘Redemption Day,’ ‘If Not Now, When?’

Distributor: Saban Films
Stuck Apart (AKA Azizler) (Durul Taylan, Yagmur Taylan)
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Herself (Kornél Mundruczó) CRITIC'S PICK
Where to Find It: Choose a virtual cinema to support
After “Hamilton” made a global phenomenon from the life story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, no chapter of history can be declared too dour for spangly, heart-on-sleeve musical treatment — though the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is still a pretty unlikely candidate. Earnest and plainly felt, this grafting of a cross-cultural romance onto the story of a critical turning point in Canadian workers’ rights doesn’t want for incident and emotional commitment, but Robert Adetuyi’s film does fall a little short on showmanship. Based on 2005 Canadian musical, the film adaptation has the air of a patient, resourceful labor of love. — Guy Lodge
Where to Find It: Prime Video
New Releases on Demand and in Select Theaters
Actors Meagan Good and Tamara Bass make their directorial debut with “If Not Now, When?” while James Maslow and Ciara Hanna play a Hollywood agent and the actor he convinces to pose as his girlfriend at a high school reunion in “Stars Fell on Alabama.”
Where to Find It: In theaters, on demand and digital
Pieces of a Woman (Maïwenn) CRITIC'S PICK
The Reason I Jump (Jerry Rothwell)
(Robert Adetuyi) Stand!
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.
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
And if you look hard enough (the release is so small, it nearly slipped through the cracks), you might enjoy Canadian musical “Stand!” There are a few other interesting films available on streaming this week, including the inventive Sundance doc “The Reason I Jump,” which does a remarkable job of shifting audiences’ perspectives of autism. As one of the film’s subjects puts it, “I think we can change the conversation about autism by being part of the conversation,” and the movie attempts to find ways to put neurotypical viewers in the minds of those with autism.
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New Releases in Theaters
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Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Netflix” />
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Distributor: Kino Lorber
Exclusive to Amazon Prime
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Available on Netflix
Redemption Day (Hicham Hajji)
If Not Now, When? (Meaghan Good, Tamara Bass)
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Otherwise, the release calendar reflects the usual January doldrums, made all the more tepid by the lack of schlock horror movies and YA romantic weepies (Don’t worry, those are coming later this month). By all reports, you don’t need to see this one to guess how it goes. It won't surprise many to learn that theatrical releases are slim, although those willing to risk it can watch “CSI” veteran Gary Dourdan play an American war hero tasked with rescuing his pregnant wife from terrorists.
The best thing to say to say about it is, it’s certainly no worse than most other run-of-the-mill, run-and-gun action-adventures that used to proliferate on Blockbuster store shelves and which now feed the seemingly insatiable demand for VOD fare. If “Redemption Day” were any more generic, the first thing you’d see on screen would be a bar code in place of the opening credits. Trouble is, it’s no better, either. — Joe Leydon A conspicuously large number of scenes are interiors, allowing for recognizable co-stars such as Andy Garcia, Martin Donovan and Ernie Hudson to periodically appear in undemanding cameos and pick up easy paychecks.
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A naïve teenager comes of age amid the carnage of World War I’s Eastern Front in this propulsive adaptation of Aleksandrs Grins’ 1934 patriotic classic. With its muscular direction, atmospheric cinematography and careful attention to period detail, this account of a troop of Latvian Riflemen fighting first for the Russian Imperial Army against invading German forces and then for an independent Latvia should appeal to WWI buffs and fans of Sam Mendes’ “1917.” Latvia’s Oscar submission contains a strong message about the futility of war. — Alissa Simon
In this engaging debut, actor-directors Good and Bass and their appealing ensemble aim for something gentler and truer to the ins and outs of day-to-day, year-to-year, joy-and-heartbreak sisterhood. — Lisa Kennedy That’s a good thing, as well as intentional on the part of its first-time feature directors. In Perry’s lessons in female fortitude and resilience — a successful brand of melodrama, or melotrauma — the heroine often tangles with a violent, even malevolent love interest. This drama owes more to “Waiting to Exhale” than to the women-centric films of Tyler Perry.
Where to Find It: Watch via Laemmle virtual cinema
Where to Find It: Choose a virtual cinema to support
But instead of focusing on the trial, Mundruczó concentrates our attention on the couple, both of whom are shattered by the experience — but especially on the wife, who has more to rebuild than just her relationship in this mature, masterfully acted human drama. One can imagine such respected studio directors as Norman Jewison or Sidney Lumet making a film about the legal battle at the heart of “Pieces of a Woman”: A terrible tragedy has occurred, and an expectant young Boston couple (played by Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf) have taken their midwife to court. — Peter Debruge
— Guy Lodge Written when Naoki Hagashida was just 13 years old, the title tome is a unique account of autistic spectrum disorder from the inside. Translating that perspective-shifting achievement to the screen is a tall order, but Jerry Rothwell’s documentary of the same title does so with imagination and grace: Not so much a direct adaptation of Higashida’s book as an application of its insights to the lives of five other young people diagnosed with ASD, it finds supple visual and sonic language to bring sensory dimension to their experience.
Where to Find It: Netflix
Where to Find It: In theaters, followed by on demand release Jan. 12
… But “Herself” believes in fundamental human goodness. Sandra (co-writer Clare Dunne) has two radiant daughters and a controlling husband who mistakes possession for affection, using force to keep his family together. Many filmmakers mistakenly think that exploiting tragedy is the way to jerk tears from their audience, when in fact, gestures of spontaneous kindness shown by near-strangers can be most moving. Men like Gary are a cliché — which isn’t a slight against the screenplay but an acknowledgment that abusive personalities are nothing if not predictable. — Peter Debruge
Early January is rarely a time for exciting new releases, although this year is slightly different, as the Oscar window has shifted and streaming services offer up their awards contenders. And over at Film Movement, Latvian foreign language submission “Blizzard of Souls” kicks off a weekly series of movies competing for the international feature Oscar. This week, “Herself” and “Pieces of a Woman” make their way from limited theatrical runs to Amazon and Netflix, respectively.
Distributor: Imagination Worldwide
Blizzard of Souls (Dzintars Dreibergs)

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