The title of the documentary “The Social Dilemma” captures a conundrum: It’s great that we can order a car using a ride booking app and make it appear, like magic. But technology also has a dark side.
The film explores the personal and political dangers of social media – as addictive and tedious activities and as platforms that have been militarized for disinformation and division. It does so with a standard documentary hybrid – talking head interviews with Silicon Valley insiders who have grown alarmed at what they helped create – and somewhat wacky dramatizations featuring actors playing a family. multiethnic of five people. Whether these interstitial scenes – several of which show Vincent Kartheiser playing three versions of a humanoid “Artificial Intelligence” purported to represent how, say, Facebook’s “persuasive tech” algorithms work to encourage engagement – are really necessary is questionable. . The interviews are the red meat of the film and include subjects as fascinating as former Google Design ethicist Tristan Harris, now founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology. What Harris and the other subjects of the film have to say is worth listening to – and quite mind-blowing. PG-13. Available on Netflix. Contains mature thematic elements, disturbing and violent imagery, suggestive material and a brief strong language. 93 minutes.
A record number of women ran for office in 2018 – a fact evidenced by the proliferation of documentaries that have sprung up like mushrooms on the phenomenon, including “Knock Down the House”, “Represent” and now , more recently, “Surge. Like those previous films, this one follows a group of contestants (albeit without the retrospective recognition of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s then unknown name from ‘Knock Down the House’). Jana Lynne Sanchez of Texas, Lauren Underwood of the Illinois and Liz Watson of Indiana – all Democrats running for the 2018 midterm Congress – are equally charismatic, however. (They better do that, as the film spends a lot of time with them, knocking on doors, getting into cars for campaign events, talking in town halls etc) It might not be the most sparkling storytelling in the world, but for politics junkies – or any woman who dreams of herself – even throwing your hat in the ring – that’s an inspiring thing. TV-14. Available on Showtime Anytime. Contains short, strong language. 90 minutes.
Director McG (“Terminator Salvation”) is back with “The Babysitter: Killer Queen”, a sequel to his 2017 horror comedy about a teenage boy (Judah Lewis) being attacked by a demonic guardian. Now in high school, the surviving teenager from the original film is revisited by some of the demonic entities that tormented him before. TV-MA. Available on Netflix. Contains violent and disturbing content. 102 minutes.
The documentary “Black Boys” examines the intersection of education, criminal justice, and sports to explore the emotional landscape of racism against black boys and men in America. Not evaluated. Available on Peacock. 94 minutes.
Produced by actor Jason Momoa, the documentary “Gather” examines the struggle of Native Americans to reclaim their sovereignty over their ancestral food systems. Not evaluated. Available on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. 74 minutes.
The drama “Huracn” tells the story of an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter (played by writer-director Cassius Corrigan) who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. Not evaluated. Available on HBO and HBO Max. 113 minutes.
Tilda Cobham-Hervey (outstanding in “Hotel Mumbai”) delivers a breakthrough performance as singer Helen Reddy in the “I Am Woman” biopic, according to the Hollywood Reporter, who calls the film “entertaining and well-packaged,” despite a story that is sometimes too familiar. Not evaluated. Available on various streaming platforms. 116 minutes.
Filmmaker and diver Craig Foster develops a sort of friendship with an octopus during daily visits to a South African kelp forest in “My Octopus Teacher”, a documentary exploring the life lessons one can learn from a member of another species. TV-G. Available on Netflix. 85 minutes.