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New movies to stream this week: ‘Navalny,’ ‘Boston Strangler’ and more


The film “Navalny” just won the Oscar for best documentary feature, but its subject, Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the leading opposition voice to President Vladimir Putin, couldn’t make the ceremony since he is in solitary confinement, serving a sentence of 11½ years for fraud in his home country. (Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, appearing onstage with their son and daughter when the statuette was handed out, spoke on his behalf.) How did it all come to this, after Navalny was famously poisoned in 2020? Daniel Roher’s excellent film walks us back to before the attack, following its subject’s public campaign against Putin in Russia, his recovery from the nerve agent Novichok while in exile in Germany and his (most inscrutable of all, to many observers) decision to return to Russia in January 2021. Roher’s film seeks — and finds — deep insights into Navalvy’s thinking, but one of the most fascinating things in this thriller-like nonfiction film is the section in which Navalny, aided by investigator Christo Grozev of the organization Bellingcat, coaxes what amounts to a public confession to the poisoning out of a Russian chemist — all recorded over the phone. It’s gripping, edge-of-the-seat stuff, and also a deeply inspirational story. R. Available on HBO Max; also at the Angelika Pop-Up and the Angelika Film Center Mosaic. In Russian and English with subtitles. 98 minutes. — M.O.

Opinion: An Oscar win reignites the dream for Russia to be free

In the fact-based crime drama “Boston Strangler,” Keira Knightley steps into another period piece, sporting an “Atonement”-esque bob and with a cigarette dangling from her lips as Loretta McLaughlin, the ambitious newspaper reporter who, in 1960s Boston, broke the story of the serial killer who would come to be known as the Boston Strangler. After noticing similarities in the crimes, Loretta — corralled in the lifestyle section, but with a nose for hard news — profiles the victims on her own time. But ambition only goes so far, and as the murders continue, Loretta’s editors decide she’s in over her head, calling in veteran reporter Jean Cole (Carrie Coon) to help. The two women are tokenized, referred to as “the girls,” but the setup for a catty rivalry fizzles as Jean begins to mentor Loretta. Their relationship is the strongest and most developed in the film, with the men in Loretta’s orbit providing anachronistic support but not understanding her unrelenting drive the way Jean does. Knightley gives an inherently feminist and enthralling performance, convincing us that her character was indeed a woman ahead of her time — and she does so without the support of a well-developed ensemble. In an era of “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” the film’s refreshing focus on victims and the women searching for justice breathes new life into the true-crime genre. R. Available on Hulu. Contains violence and strong language. 112 minutes. — O.M.

Filmmaker Ryan Lacen and Young Women United — a New Mexico-based reproductive justice nonprofit that has since changed its name to Bold Futures NM — collected the stories of real women of color struggling with addiction to create the fictionalized plot of “All the World Is Sleeping,” a drama that centers on a composite character played by Melissa Barrera (“Scream VI”). Film Threat describes it as a “genuine ethnographic study in the oral tradition as much as a dramatic feature,” characterizing the resulting story as “one of the most honest and harrowing studies of addiction since ‘Requiem for a Dream.’” Unrated. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 110 minutes.

Nominated for a Caméra d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” is a Chinese neo-noir thriller surrounding a hit-and-run car accident in which an air conditioning repairman (Eddie Peng) kills a pedestrian — whose body later is discovered to be riddled with bullet holes. According to Screen Daily, the suspense is hardly “sweat-inducing,” yet the film’s main pleasures are its “visual style and incidental elements.” Unrated. Available on multiple streaming platforms. In Chinese with subtitles. 95 minutes.

The documentary “Back to the Drive-In” visits 11 family-owned drive-in movie theaters across the country, including Baltimore County’s beloved Bengies — billed as home to the largest screen in the country — and featuring Bengies’s idiosyncratic owner D. Edward Vogel. Unrated. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 105 minutes.

Mike Faist (“West Side Story”) stars in the fact-based drama “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game” as Roger Sharpe, a writer for GQ magazine and pinball aficionado who, in the 1970s, helped overturn a 35-year ban on the game in New York City, which once considered the machines to be illegal gambling devices. Unrated. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 94 minutes.

Alec Baldwin, Anne Heche, Skeet Ulrich and Daniel Diemer star in “Supercell,” a disaster thriller about storm chasers. PG-13. Available on multiple streaming platforms. Contain strong language, some peril and smoking. 100 minutes.

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