Another week in October—but you won’t find scary movies here. For that, head to our list of what to watch on Shudder or revisit Ari Aster or Stephen King’s favorites in the horror genre. Instead, we’re offering up everything from a (super) timely doc to a Broadway revival. Take a look.
Week of October 12
Totally Under Control
Alex Gibney’s new documentary—put together over these last turbulent months—explores how the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in the U.S. Along with co-directors Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, Gibney worked fast, incorporating news and headlines as they broke, and coming out on the other side with a two-hour film that showcases institutional failings of the last 10 months. Shooting involved using a “Covid Cam,” a camera that allowed subjects to be interviewed and recorded safely—and a phrase we could only ever imagine in 2020. Totally Under Control is available on VOD starting Oct. 13.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 tells the infamous true story of seven defendants put on trial for various charges (including conspiracy) surrounding counterculture protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne and Yahya Abdul-Mateen, the film debuts on Netflix Oct. 16.
David Byrne’s American Utopia
David Byrne’s American Utopia, directed by Spike Lee, showcases a live performance of Byrne’s acclaimed Broadway show of the same name. It begins with a barefoot, suited Byrne on stage. He’s soon joined by singers and dancers (also barefoot, also suited) for a performance of about 20 songs, ranging from the Talking Heads to Byrne’s more recent work. Enter Byrne’s (and Lee’s) utopia on HBO Max, starting Oct. 18. And since Broadway has extended its closure, there’s no better way to experience theater up close.
Dolapo is Fine
In Ethosheia Hylton’s short film Dolapo is Fine, a young Black girl who is about to graduate from boarding school feels pressure to fit in—by changing her hair and her name—for a finance job in the city. Ethosheia is the 2018 recipient of the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women, a global effort designed to create opportunities for female filmmakers and celebrate inclusion. Watch for free on BFI Player through Oct. 17. (Currently available in the UK only.)
Pietro Marcello’s sweeping historical epic, shot in grainy 16 mm, is adapted from Jack London’s 1909 novel of the same name. But the director here has swapped early 20th century Northern California for midcentury Italy (around Naples, to be specific). The film recounts the story of an impossible love between Martin Eden and Elena, and of Martin’s self-education in order to find himself a place among the literary elite. In some theaters and virtual cinemas Oct. 16.