In 2009, when Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Barack Obama noted, “It’s been said that Sidney Poitier does not make movies; he makes milestones.” And so the Oprah Winfrey-produced, Reginald Hudlin-directed documentary “Sidney” ticks off litanies of both aesthetic and cultural achievements, without ever feeling obligatory. That’s certainly due in part to Poitier’s remarkable life, which began in 1927, when he was born to Bahamian tomato farmers. His formal education stopped at third grade, and he had no knowledge of electricity, indoor plumbing or the existence of mirrors. The latter revelation occurred only after he moved, at age 15, to Miami, and coincided with the discovery that he looked different from many Americans — a revelation that would shape him, both as a Black man involved in the civil rights movement and as an actor, whose roles stood out for their groundbreaking frankness about race. “Sidney,” which includes narration by and interviews with Poitier — as well as appearances by talking heads including Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Barbra Streisand, Halle Berry, cultural critic Nelson George and a host of others, both celebrities and intellectuals — really tells two stories. The first is the tale of a life of purpose and principle. The other charts an inspiring filmography, which began in 1950 with “No Way Out,” in which Poitier played a Black doctor treating a racist White prisoner, and culminated with the 1967 trifecta of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “To Sir, With Love” — three of the 15 top-grossing films of that year. (Poitier won two Oscars: the 1964 best actor prize for “Lilies of the Field” — the first for a Black man — as well as a lifetime achievement award in 2002.) If news of the actor’s death in January didn’t already impel you to head straight for your favorite streaming service so that you could put together your own Poitier film retrospective, “Sidney” will certainly make you want to do so now. PG-13. Available on Apple TV Plus. Contains some coarse language, including racial slurs, and some smoking. 106 minutes.
Josh Duhamel stars in “Bandit,” a thriller about a career criminal who falls in love with a social worker (Elisha Cuthbert), but whose intercity bank-robbing rampage leads him to seek bigger opportunities from a loan shark (Mel Gibson), ultimately drawing the attention of a dogged detective (Nestor Carbonell). R. Available on demand. Contains strong language throughout, some sexual scenes and nudity. 126 minutes.
The documentary “Bitterbrush” follows Hollyn Patterson and Colie Moline, two female range riders who are spending their last summer herding cattle off the grid in remote Idaho. According to the New York Times, which designated the film a Critic’s Pick, “One of the most emotional moments occurs at the campfire when Colie recalls the hands of her deceased mother — an achingly beautiful scene that almost takes the film by surprise (and has echoes in the close-ups on both women’s hands as they wrangle wire, a scene or two later).” Unrated. Available on Apple TV Plus, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, DirecTV and other on-demand platform. 91 minutes.
Set in Malta in the 1980s, “Carmen” stars Natascha McElhone as the title character: the sister of the local priest (Henry Zammit Cordina), for whom, in accordance with Maltese tradition, Carmen has worked most of her life as an unpaid servant. When the brother dies, and as Carmen’s community awaits the arrival of a new priest, heralded by the arrival of his own sister (Michaela Farrugia), Carmen begins to pass herself off as the new priest — at least in the confession booth, where her appearance is hidden and she can disguise her voice. Unrated. Available on Apple TV Plus, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Xfinity cable and other on-demand platforms. In English and Maltese with subtitles. 88 minutes.
In the thriller “Dig,” Thomas Jane plays Scott, a man traumatized by the violent death of his wife — for which his daughter, played by Jane’s real-life daughter Harlow Jane, rightly blames him. When Scott, a salvage specialist, is hired by a mysterious man (Emile Hirsch) offering cash to strip a remote home of its fixtures, Scott and his daughter head to the vacant property, hoping for some healing. But they discover that their employer has secret designs on what lies beneath the home, and doesn’t intend to let father and daughter walk away alive. According to the AV Club, “The entire production feels like one of convenience, in which a desert parcel of land with a run-down house on it happened to be available, and a script got written to take advantage of that fact.” R. Available on demand. Contains pervasive coarse language, violence, some sexual scenes and brief drug use. 90 minutes.
Antonio Banderas plays the title role in “The Enforcer”: a violent mob goon who turns against his employer (Kate Bosworth) when he discovers she is putting the life of a teenage runaway at risk. R. Available on demand. Contains strong, bloody violence, coarse language throughout, sexuality, nudity and drug use. 90 minutes.
Guy Pearce stars in “The Infernal Machine” as Bruce Cogburn, the reclusive author of a popular book about a mass shooting that may have inspired copycat crimes. When Bruce finds himself stalked by what appears to be an obsessive fan of his work, he must come out of hiding to identify his tormentor and confront his own dark past. R. Available on demand. Contains coarse language and some violence. 111 minutes.
Directed by Tyler Perry, based on a script he wrote 27 years ago, “A Jazzman’s Blues” is a period coming-of-age drama about forbidden love in the late 1930s and 1940s South. Variety calls the film — a tonal change of pace for the filmmaker, whose last movie was the comedy “A Madea Homecoming” — accomplished, noting that it proves why Perry “should get serious more often.” R. Available on Netflix. Contains some drug use, violent images, rape, brief sexuality and strong language. 127 minutes.
When a young girl is abducted during a storm in the thriller “Lou,” the child’s mother (Jurnee Smollett) seeks the assistance of a mysterious loner (Allison Janney) in tracking down the kidnapper. R. Available on Netflix. Contains violence and coarse language. 107 minutes.
“The Story of Film: A New Generation” is a follow-up to “The Story of Film: An Odyssey,” a 2011 docuseries exploring the history of 20th-century film by critic Mark Cousins, based on his 2004 book “The Story of Film.” Structured as a highly personal essay, “A New Generation” looks at world cinema from 2010 to 2021, examining such mainstream and esoteric works as “Frozen,” “The Babadook” and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Cemetery of Splendor.” According to the New York Times, “Cousins’s assessments offer plenty to argue with, but it’s possible to enjoy ‘A New Generation’ without agreeing that ‘Booksmart’ ‘extends the world of film comedy,’ as he claims, or that a shot in ‘It Follows’ merits comparison to the camerawork in Michael Snow’s landmark experimental film ‘La Région Centrale.’ ” Unrated. Available on demand. 167 minutes.
“The Swearing Jar” follows Carey (Adelaide Clemens), a happily married woman who finds herself torn between her husband (Patrick J. Adams) and a charming new friend (Douglas Smith). According to Film Threat, the drama — which also features Kathleen Turner as Carey’s mother-in law — defies expectations. “So many cinematic romances, both comedic and dramatic, can feel formulaic even when their narrative beats and the chemistry between characters work as they’re supposed to. This is something more complicated and, because of that, more fulfilling, and its leads definitely don’t lack for chemistry.” Unrated. Available on demand. 111 minutes.