On June 28 at 7 p.m., there will be a free live conversation with the film’s producer and several of its participants at
— Michael O'Sullivan
It takes 15 minutes or so for “No Small Matter” to get going. In that time, the documentary about the importance of early-childhood education issues an ominous warning about “an enemy that most of us don’t know to fight,” while making us wait to find out who or what that enemy is. But when the film’s core message finally kicks in — that investment in high-quality child care, good, well-paid teachers and the strong social support systems needed to help parents start their kids off on the right foot — it comes across loud, clear and convincing. Lucid, well-argued and urgent, this is a film that everyone who cares about the future of our country should consider seeing, especially people with kids or those who are thinking about having them. “No Small Matter” earns its title: If we want to transform future generations of Americans, we have to start with today’s moms and dads, and give them tools they need to build a better baby. Unrated. Contains nothing objectionable. Available June 26 on various streaming platforms. 74 minutes.
In the noirish Italian thriller “The Invisible Witness,” a man wakes up with a cut on his forehead and his mistress lying dead in a pile of scattered cash. According to the Chicago Reader, “The best parts occur when you think you’ve clinched the plot, only to have it go one — or two or three — steps further.” Unrated. Available June 26 at cinemaartstheatre.com. In Italian with subtitles. 102 minutes.
The documentary “Athlete A” centers on Larry Nassar and the serial sexual abuse perpetrated by the osteopathic physician who, for 29 years, was the doctor for the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics women’s team. The film, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”), is more than a testament to the perseverance of Nassar’s victims, according to Variety. It’s also “a testament to the obsession that gave cover to their abuse — to a culture that wanted winners at any cost.” PG-13. Available on Netflix. Contains mature thematic material, including detailed descriptions of sexual abuse of minors. 104 minutes.
In “Atypical Wednesday,” writer/director J Lee (“The Orville”) plays a man who is led on a comedic adventure when his effort to be a good Samaritan — giving a young boy a ride home from the therapist’s office — goes awry. Unrated. Available June 26 on iTunes. 91 minutes.
A struggling British standup comedian (Kimberley Datnow) inherits her late father’s Los Angeles business in the comedy “Daddy Issues.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 90 minutes.
In the documentary “Disarm Hate,” nine diverse members of the LGBTQ community travel to prominent sites of gun violence that have affected LGBTQ people, prompting discussion among themselves and the people they encounter. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 85 minutes.
Jorge Garcia of “Lost’” plays a former child singing star who has become a recluse in the Chilean drama “Nobody Knows I’m Here.” TV-MA. Available on Netflix. In Spanish with subtitles. 91 minutes.
In “The 11th Green,” by filmmaker Christopher Munch (“The Hours and Times”), Campbell Scott plays an investigative journalist who stumbles upon documents and other clues suggesting a government coverup involving UFOs, dating from World War II. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film “builds a convincing case for that hunch.” Unrated. Available June 26 on jomafilms.com. 109 minutes.
In “The Audition,” Nina Hoss plays Anna, a violin teacher at a Berlin music school whose attention to a young student becomes unhealthy. According to Variety, “The taut human time bomb [Hoss] makes of Anna is what makes the film consistently, anxiously engrossing even as the script goes through some soapier motions.” Unrated. Available June 26 at afisilver.afi.com. In German with subtitles. 99 minutes.
Raised by his foster mother in the English countryside, a boy of Nigerian ancestry struggles to adjust when his birth mother moves him into her small London flat in “The Last Tree.” According to the Guardian, “Powerful performances, tactile visuals and an elegantly fluid score add to the impact of this impressively understated yet profoundly moving tale.” Unrated. Available June 26 at afisilver.afi.com and themiracletheatre.com. 98 minutes.
In “Two Heads Creek,” a timid butcher and his twin sister travel from England to Australia in search of their birth mother, only to encounter townspeople who are hiding a dark secret. Ready Steady Cut calls the film, with a story that looks askance at anti-immigrant sentiment, “an anti-bigot satire in the guise of a blood-and-action horror-comedy.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 116 minutes.
In “My Spy,” Dave Bautista plays a hard-boiled CIA agent who, while conducting surveillance on the ex-wife of a suspected terrorist, is exposed — and then befriended — by her young daughter (Chloe Coleman). PG-13. Available June 26 on Amazon Prime Video. Contains action, violence and strong language. 101 minutes.
“Four Kids and It” is a fantasy adventure based on Jacqueline Wilson’s 2012 children’s book “Four Children and It” — which was in turn based on the 1902 novel “Five Children and It” by E. Nesbit — about several siblings who discover a magical, wish-granting creature called a Psammead. PG. Available June 30 on various streaming platforms. Contains mature thematic elements, some rude and suggestive comments, fantasy violence and strong language. 110 minutes.
“Beats” is a dramedy about ’90s rave culture in Scotland. Unrated. Available June 26 at afisilver.afi.com and cinemaartstheatre.com. Contains strong language, drug and alcohol use and some violence. 101 minutes. See Common Sense Media’s review on Page 12. All ticket holders can also view a virtual Q&A, presented by Slamdance, between the film’s executive producer Steven Soderbergh and filmmaker Brian Welsh.