"Surge" (not rated, 1 hour, 45 minutes, in select theaters now and on demand Oct. 25) A challenging and increasingly tense viewing experience in which Joseph (Ben Whishaw, who won the Special Jury award for his performance here at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival), who works in a frustratingly repetitive airport security job, suffers from wretched and uncaring parents, eats frozen meals in front of a TV showing sitcoms, and leads a going-nowhere life, reaches the point where he just can't take it anymore. With Ellie Haddington; directed by Aneil Karia.
"Adventures of a Mathematician" (not rated, 1 hour, 42 minutes, on digital and VOD platforms) An ambitious if uneven bio-pic -- based upon the autobiography of the same name by Stanislaw (Stan) Ulam -- this is a thought-provoking account of a 30-year-old Polish Jewish mathematician who fled Europe in the 1930s to accept a job in Los Alamos, N.M., working on a secret mission known as the Manhattan Project. With Joel Basman, Sam Keeley, Esther Garrel; written and directed by Thorsten Klein. In English and Polish with English subtitles.
"Convergence: Courage in a Crisis" (R, 1 hour, 53 minutes, Netflix) Beginning at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, this compassionate documentary follows ordinary citizens from all over the world as they rise to challenges in extraordinary ways while emphasizing how meaningful change can emerge from chaos. Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, Hassan Akkad, Lieven Corthouts.
"Good Grief" (Sundance Now) An eccentric six-episode New Zealand comedy series from sisters Eve and Grace Palmer who, as sisters Ellie and Gwen Goode, aren't sure what to do with the funeral home they inherit from their grandfather. So they take on crash courses in embalming, emceeing, and embarrassment -- actions embraced by Ellie, recently fired from her teaching job, but not so much by Gwen, who wants to become a DJ in Bali. With Vinnie Bennett; directed by Kiel McNaughton.
"Falling for Figaro" (not rated, 1 hour, 44 minutes, on demand) Featured at the recent Bentonville Film Festival, this breezy romantic comedy follows Millie (Danielle Macdonald, the fortune teller in "French Exit"), who leaves her lucrative job as a fund manager to chase her admittedly bizarre dream of becoming a competitor in the Singer of Renown competition by training with famous, fearsome former opera diva Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop (Joanna Lumley, so memorable as Patsy in "Absolutely Fabulous"). So where's the romance? It shows up with Max (Hugh Skinner, "Fleabag"), a fellow competitor. Their initial animosity gives way to something else when they start practicing together. Directed and co-written by Ben Lewin.
"Dating & New York" (PG-13, 1 hour, 32 minutes, on demand) A modern approach to romantic comedy, enhanced with periodic wit, concerns how social media-based dating for millennials has changed from the baby-boomer days of picking up a partner in a bar. Here we have a couple who find each other via a dating app, meet for coffee, and negotiate a friends-with-benefits agreement, with mixed results. With Francesca Reale, Jaboukie Young-White, Catherine Cohen; directed by Johah Feingold.
"Implanted" (not rated, 1 hour, 33 minutes on demand) A sci-fi thriller in which Sarah (Michelle Girolami), suffering from financial troubles in Brooklyn, needs to make some money. So she volunteers to be a test subject for a pharmaceutical company, which requires that a nanochip is implanted in her cerebral cortex, that will take control of her body at the inception of any disease or illness. As you might expect, the implant, which seems to have a mind of its own, doesn't stop there. With Edouard Montoute, Ivo Velon, Martin Ewens; directed by Fabien Dufils.