— Michael O'Sullivan
In “Spoor,” a fable-like murder mystery about our mistreatment of animals from filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, Janina Duszejko (Agnieszka Mandat-Grabka) is considered to be something of an eccentric in her Polish village on the Czech border. A retired construction engineer who works part-time as an English teacher, she insists on being called by her last name, dabbles in astrology and doesn’t eat meat, in a town where many, if not most, are hunters. After her two beloved dogs disappear and a neighbor — a poacher — is found dead two months later, surrounded by the hoofprints of roe deer, other corpses, all hunters, start turning up with regularity, also near hoofprints. (Duszejko’s theory is that they’re being killed by vengeful animals.) The suspense-goosing score is all staccato strings, but there’s never that much uncertainty about what’s going on. Best known for the Oscar-nominated “Europa, Europa,” about a Jewish boy in Nazi Germany who conceals his Jewishness, Holland adapted the screenplay for “Spoor” from a book by Olga Tokarczuk (who shares a screenwriting credit). There’s mention here of a “holocaust” too, but in the context of animals. “Spoor” doesn’t make much of a secret about its politics, or the whodunit. Its pleasures lie not in the unknown, but in style, mood, atmosphere. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. Contains violence, bloody images, coarse language, sexuality, brief nudity and drug use. In Polish and some English with subtitles. 128 minutes.
Lebanon’s official Oscar submission, “1982” was inspired by the director Oualid Mouaness’s boyhood memories of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Set in an elite private school in Beirut, the film “builds no significant sense of peril,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, “even as the bombing becomes closer and more frequent; all it does, really, is to serve notice as to what we know is coming, as well as to spotlight a privileged lifestyle that one infers will not last long in such a setting.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. In Arabic and English with subtitles. 100 minutes.
Actor Michael Dorn, best known for creating the character of Worf in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” stars in “Agent: Revelation,” a sci-fi thriller about a man with super powers (writer-director Derek Ting) who is taken under the wing of a secret operative (Dorn) to train to fight aliens. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 87 minutes.
“Born a Champion” is a martial arts action film starring Sean Patrick Flanery and Dennis Quaid in the story of a Marine-turned-jujitsu fighter (Flanery) seeking revenge for a loss in an old fight. R. Available on various streaming platforms. Contains strong language throughout. 112 minutes.
Joel Kinnaman and Matthias Schoenaerts play cousins struggling with the legacy of a criminal past in “Brothers by Blood.” R. Available on various streaming platforms. Contains pervasive coarse language, some violence, sexual references and brief drug use. 89 minutes.
Justin McConnell documents his struggles as an aspiring movie maker in “Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business,” a documentary that Ready Steady Cut calls a “case study” supplemented by advice and insight from directors Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Schrader, George A. Romero and others. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 98 minutes.
The thriller “A Cold, Hard Truth” stars husband-and-wife Dorian and Simone Missick in a tale of a disgraced journalist seeking vengeance for the death of his cousin. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 105 minutes.
In the thriller “Identifying Features,” a worried Mexican mother (Mercedes Hernandez) seeks information about her son, who hasn’t been heard from since he left to find work in the U.S. Variety calls the film by Fernanda Valadez “compelling” but also “frustratingly cryptic.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com, virtualavalon.org and sunscinema.com. In Spanish with subtitles. 95 minutes.
In the documentary “My Rembrandt,” director Oeke Hoogendijk (“The New Rijksmuseum”) assembles a group of obsessive art collectors and experts, all united by their love of the Dutch master. According to the New York Times, “While ‘My Rembrandt’ poses heady questions about the difference between acquisitiveness and appreciation, it mostly plays like a straight art-world documentary that itself would have benefited from a more vertiginous, obsessive approach.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com and themiracletheatre.com. In English, Dutch and French with subtitles. 97 minutes.
In “Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time,” a Hungarian neurosurgeon (Natasa Stork) returns to Budapest after 20 years in the U.S. for a romantic rendezvous with a colleague she met at a conference in New Jersey, only to find that the man claims never to have met her. IndieWire calls it “a kind of amnesiac love story crossed with the gloomiest of Krzysztof Kieślowski movies, and bordering on existential science fiction.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com and virtualavalon.org. In English and Hungarian with subtitles. 95 minutes.
A man (Logann Antuofermo) falls for a different woman in each of three chapters of the French romantic drama “The Salt of Tears.” The protagonist of this black-and-white “meditation on love” is, according to the Hollywood Reporter, a “complex, not necessarily immediately likable character.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com, virtualavalon.org and angelikaanywhere.com. In French with subtitles. 100 minutes.
The documentary “Stallone: Frank, That Is” is a portrait of Frank Stallone, brother of movie star Sylvester Stallone and actor, singer-songwriter and film composer in his own right. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the bittersweet film “strives valiantly and in some cases almost desperately to make the case the 70-year-old Stallone had the musical chops and the raw acting talent to become a major star like his big brother, but never quite got that shot.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 73 minutes.
Sudan’s official Oscar submission, “You Will Die at Twenty” tells the story of a young Sudanese villager (Mustafa Shehata) who has grown up under the shadow of a curse: that he will die before his 21st birthday. Variety calls the film, by Amjad Abu Alala, “an affecting work and an impressive first feature thanks in great part to its splendid visual design.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com; available Feb. 5 at angelikaanywhere.com. In Arabic with subtitles. 102 minutes.