The title of the documentary “The Social Dilemma” captures a conundrum: It’s great that we can order up a car using a ride-booking app and have it appear, like magic. But tech also has a dark side. The film explores the personal and political dangers of social media — as addictive, time-sucking activities and as platforms that have been weaponized for disinformation and division. It does so with a hybrid of standard documentary — talking-head interviews with Silicon Valley insiders who have become alarmed by what they helped create — and somewhat goofy dramatizations featuring actors playing a multiethnic family of five. Whether these interstitial scenes — several of which show Vincent Kartheiser playing three versions of a humanoid “Artificial Intelligence” meant to represent the way, say, Facebook’s
“persuasive-technology” algorithms work to encourage engagement — are really necessary is debatable. The interviews are the red meat of the film, and include such compelling subjects as former Google Design Ethicist Tristan Harris, now founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology. What Harris and the film’s other subjects have to say is well worth listening to — and hair-raising enough. PG-13. Available on Netflix. Contains some mature thematic elements, disturbing, violent images, suggestive material and brief strong language. 93 minutes.

— Michael O'Sullivan

A record number of women ran for office in 2018 — a fact evidenced by the proliferation of documentaries that have sprung up, like mushrooms, about the phenomenon, including “Knock Down the House,” “Represent” and now, most recently, “Surge.” Like those earlier films, this one follows a group of female candidates (but without the hindsight name recognition of “Knock Down the House’s” then-unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). Jana Lynne Sanchez of Texas, Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Liz Watson of Indiana — all Democrats running for Congress in the 2018 midterms — are just as charismatic, however. (They better be, since the film spends a lot of time with them, knocking on doors, riding in cars to campaign events, speaking at town halls, etc.) Maybe it’s not the most scintillating storytelling in the world, but for political junkies — or any woman who is herself thinking of throwing her hat in the ring — it’s inspiring stuff. TV-14. Available on Showtime Anytime. Contains brief strong language. 90 minutes.

— M.O.

Also streaming

Director McG (“Terminator Salvation”) is back with “The Babysitter: Killer Queen,” a sequel to his 2017 horror-comedy about a teenager (Judah Lewis) under attack by a demonic child-care provider. Now in high school, the adolescent survivor of the original film is revisited by some of the demonic entities who tormented him before. TV-MA. Available on Netflix. Contains some disturbing violent content and terror. 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. Unrated. Available on Peacock. 94 minutes.

Taking its subject from the real-life problem of people forced into slavery on Thai fishing boats — documented in the film “Ghost Fleet” — “Buoyancy” is a drama about a Cambodian teenager (Sarm Heng) who is sold into forced labor on a Thai vessel. Variety calls it a “taut and urgent message movie that tracks with pounding single-mindedness the horror of human trafficking.” Unrated. Available at
afisilver.afi.com
. In Khmer and Thai with subtitles. 92 minutes.

Like the documentary “Made You Look: A True Story about Fake Art,” “Driven to Abstraction” takes another nonfiction look at the $80 million forgery scandal that brought down the New York gallery Knoedler & Co. in 2011, It’s fascinating tale, but the new film, according to ARTnews, is “marred by various poor directorial choices that ultimately make for a frustrating viewing experience, including awkward zooms and canned noirish music repeated throughout.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. 84 minutes.

Executive-produced by actor Jason Momoa, the documentary “Gather” looks at the struggle of Native Americans to reclaim sovereignty over their ancestral food systems. Unrated. Available on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. 74 minutes.

The drama “Huracán” tells the story of an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter (played by writer-director Cassius Corrigan) who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. Unrated. Available on HBO and HBO Max. 113 minutes.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey (outstanding in “Hotel Mumbai”) delivers a breakout performance as singer Helen Reddy in the biopic “I Am Woman,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, which calls the film “entertaining and sharply packaged,” despite a story that is at times overly familiar. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 116 minutes.

The documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President” tells the little-known story of Carter’s bond with such musicians as Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others. IndieWire calls the film a “charming, lightweight celebration” of Carter’s good taste. Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com, theavalon.org and
themiracletheatre.com
.
96 minutes.

Meeting the Beatles in India” takes documentary look at the rock group’s 1968 trip to India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Unrated. Available at
afisilver.afi.com
. 82 minutes.

Filmmaker and diver Craig Foster develops a friendship of sorts 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.

A psychotherapist and author with writer’s block (Virginie Efira) begins using details from the life of a patient (Adèle Exarchopoulos) for her writing in the French film “Sibyl,” a “muddled, silly comedy-drama,” according to the Guardian. Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com and
theavalon.org
. Also opening theatrically at the Cinema Arts Theatre. In French with subtitles.
101 minutes.