Latest Features

New to Streaming: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Boy Meets Girl,’ ‘The Frame,’ ‘The Sleepwalker,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, November 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Boy Meets Girl (Leos Carax) and Mr. X (Tessa Louise-Salomé)

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After years and years of being relegated to the torrent networks, Leos Carax‘s debut is now available to millions in HD. Though seemingly as inscrutable as all the rest, Boy Meets Girl is actually the most accessible for its depiction of thwarted, confused, emotionally chaotic love. Let this be the start of your journey down the rabbit hole of his work — it’s not like Mauvais Sang and Holy Motors aren’t right there, anyway. Also newly available is a documentary on the director’s work, Mr. X. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: Netflix and Netflix

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene)

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While there’s a handful of horror films now in theaters, we can’t imagine a better use of one’s time than revisiting (or discovering) one of the genre’s first, and best, entries. Robert Wiene‘s seminal German Expressionist feature The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari recently underwent a digital restoration which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and now it’s available to stream on Netflix. For fans of the film, we’re also giving away the Blu-ray this week. - Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Frame (Jamin Winans)

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Released in 2009, Jamin Winans‘ sci-fi fantasy feature Ink was a testament to what filmmakers can pull off in a do-it-yourself, low-budget arena. Made for $250,000, it followed a creature that would steal children’s souls, and after touring the festival circuit, Winans and his producer (and wife) Kiowa K. Winans decided to self-distribute the project and even embraced the attention due to piracy. Five years later, they’ve now returned for a new, mysterious project titled The Frame, and it’s now available to stream. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: iTunes

Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn)

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The opening scene of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is decidedly Earth-bound; a young boy sits in the waiting room of a late 90’s hospital, listening to 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love.” A few emotional moments later—after the whole world has changed for the lad—he runs outside and is caught in the blinding spotlight of a gargantuan spacecraft that hovers above him, breaking the calm of an otherwise silent summer night. It’s an image more fitting of an old pulp magazine or Golden Age sci-fi novel than a modern comic book, and it’s an inviting peek into the headspace of James Gunn’s take on the wilder side of the Marvel Universe. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: AmazoniTunes, Google

Happy Valley (Amir Bar-Lev)

Far too sloppy a film considering the touchy subject matter, Happy Valley gets lost in dissecting the slipshod media coverage that occurred as the Jerry Sandusky Scandal was unfolding, instead of offering anything new in the way of evidence or documentation. This is subpar work coming from accomplished documentarian Amir Bar-Lev. If you watch the news, Happy Valley isn’t worth your time. – Dan M.

Where to Stream: AmazoniTunes, Google

The Mule (Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson)

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Directors Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson‘s The Mule is not at all what one might expect. The marketing materials draw it up as a B-movie romp, something the involvement of Sampson and Saw co-creator Leigh Whannell (they co-wrote this one together from a story by Jaime Browne) helps corroborate. Besides a couple gross-out moments due to the excremental nature of the plot, however, the film proves differently. It’s instead a rather slowly paced true-life thriller spanning two weeks while the authorities wait on their captive Ray Jenkins (Sampson) to relieve himself of the twenty condoms full of heroin he swallowed in Thailand. The intricacies of the yarn they’ve woven increase as new revelations about who’s involved and role reversals concerning who’s on the take are exposed to ultimately prove the journey rather engrossing as a result. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: AmazoniTunes, Google

See more new streaming titles >>

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: Hayao Miyazaki, ‘Dr. Caligari,’ Leos Carax, and More

Written by TFS Staff, November 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

22 Jump Street (Chris Lord and Phil Miller)

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There’s not a single frame of Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 22 Jump Street that isn’t acutely aware of its own status as a lazy, cash-grabbing sequel, but after about a half hour of this pleasingly genial and generously silly comedy, such attempts at self-deprecation just look phony. Despite the excessive references to awkward franchise practices — “We’ve doubled the budget, as if that would double the profit” — and studio interference- — “Do the exact same thing as last time, so everybody’s happy”– the truth about 22 Jump Street is that it’s anything but lazy and it takes the time to make us smile and laugh as it retrieves that admission price from our wallets. – Nathan B. (full review)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene)

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While there’s a handful of horror films now in theaters, we can’t imagine a better use of one’s time than revisiting (or discovering) one of the genre’s first, and best, entries. Robert Wiene‘s seminal German Expressionist feature The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari recently underwent a digital restoration which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and now it’s available on a stunning Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Classics. Along with a 52-minute making of documentary, the release also includes an essay from Kristin Thompson, an alternate score, and a demonstration of the restoration. - Jordan R.

It Happened One Night (Frank Capra)

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One of Frank Capra‘s greatest films gets the Criterion treatment today. Farran Smith Nehme says in her essay for the release, “Almost eighty years ago, the Academy Awards saw a clean sweep of its top five categories—screenplay, actor, actress, director, and picture—not by a grandiose epic or searing social drama but by a romantic comedy, a sparkling, gossamer thing about the love of a pampered heiress for a just-fired, often-drunk scamp of a reporter. The film begins with the heiress already married to an obvious fortune hunter. Her father has imprisoned her on his yacht, demanding that she accept an annulment. She runs away on a Greyhound bus and finds herself mixed up with that scoop-hungry reporter. They spend one night together, then another. They fall in love. A bare plot synopsis hasn’t got much heft. And yet after all these years, It Happened One Night is almost universally acknowledged as one for the ages, its gorgeous spirit haunting all the romantic road trips, all the unlikely courtships, all the bickering, smitten couples that have come after.”

Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)

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Not only do a pair of Miyazaki classics get released on Blu-ray today, but so does his masterpiece of a swan song. Naming it one of the finest films of last year, I said, “With his final feature, The Wind Rises, the director loses the fantastical elements his career has been built upon (aside from a few dream sequences) and the result is an emotional connection I’ve rarely felt in the field of animation. Tracking the life passions of Jirō Horikoshi, a man best known for designing the Zero Fighter plane used in bombing Pearl Harbor, the film deals with obsession, guilt, and loss more effectively than any live-action film I’ve seen this year.” – Jordan R.

Mauvais Sang and Boy Meets Girl (Leos Carax)

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If you’ve seen but one of Leos Carax‘s other films — and when those options include The Lovers on the Bridge, Holy Motors, Boy Meets Girl (also available on Blu-ray today), and Pola X, let’s hope this is the case — it will be both predictable and reductive to describe his second feature, Mauvais Sang, as “strange.” Less an oddity in the sense of form or narrative — well-rounded though it also happens to be in those regards — and more confounding, I think, for its indefinably slippery quality. Binoche and Levant leave their expected mark on a minute-to-minute basis, yet the offered experience is almost akin to watching a hazy remembrance of some sci-fi story — thus, the picture should benefit well from repeat viewings one might now take advantage of. Or, if nothing else, just all those times you’ll rewind the “Modern Love” sequence. – Nick. N

Also Available This Week

20,000 Days on Earth (review)
Automata (review)
Housebound (review)
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

Top Deal: All titles in The Criterion Collection are currently 50% off.

The American (Blu-ray) – $6.75

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.74

An Education (Blu-ray) -$7.49

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $6.93

Atonement (Blu-ray) – $7.40

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.88

Bernie (Blu-ray) – $4.99

Black Swan (Blu-ray) - $9.49

Blue Ruin (Blu-ray) – $11.62

Bronson (Blu-ray) – $10.91

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.55

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Drive (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Fight Club (Blu-ray) – $5.99

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.81

Inside Llewyn Davis (Blu-ray) – $9.99

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.99

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $7.43

The Master (Blu-ray) – $9.91

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.99

Mud (Blu-ray) – $7.88

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.87

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $9.29

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Only God Forgives (Blu-ray) – $10.29

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.64

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $7.39

Seven (Blu-ray) – $6.99

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.02

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.28

The Social Network (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $9.96

Sorcerer (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.69

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Valhalla Rising (Blu-ray) – $11.27

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.57

Volver (Blu-ray) – $6.91

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $7.48

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $6.97

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $6.99

What are you picking up this week?

New to Streaming: ‘Mood Indigo,’ ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘Ida,’ ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, November 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Abuse Of Weakness (Catherine Breillat)

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The draw of Catherine Breillat‘s newest, autobiographical film, Abuse of Weakness (known as Abus de faiblesse in its native tongue), is ultimately to watch how someone so desperately in need can be preyed upon no matter their own intelligence, wealth, or stature. When tragedy strikes, unannounced, via a debilitating stroke, the fear of death and paralysis eventually leads to newfound tenacity and strength — but what no one who isn’t absolutely indebted to the help of others for even the most menial tasks (such as opening a door) can know is that the simple act of showing up may prove all-powerful. A friend with the rare quality of not tainting every kindness with a healthy dose of pity is everything. When that person is the only one taking the time to call and visit each day, you can’t really be blamed for doing whatever possible to repay the favor. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Bad Turn Worse (Simon Hawkins and Zeke Hawkins)

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Life for Sue (Mackenzie Davis) and Bobby (Jeremy Allen White) in their sleepy blue collar Texas town is at an end. They’ve been accepted to college and can’t wait for the transition in hopes it’s the first step towards never returning. But while neither is sad about leaving families behind, there is one person they can’t help feel conflicted about deserting. BJ (Logan Huffman) is her boyfriend, his best friend, and the kind of guy whose heart is always in the right place despite his head finding it hard to follow. Less mad about his inability to join them than their refusal to stay, BJ decides to throw his friends a going away party with love and a dash of bile. His acquisition of the necessary funds, however, may make it so no one ever leaves. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves)

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Like the 1968 original that started all this cinematic monkey business, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a film that surpasses the implications of its title. More smartly nuanced and visually bombastic than any entry in the series, Dawn boasts a surprisingly textured script and great performances from both the men and the apes. Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a great little genre movie—reenergizing the concept after Tim Burton’s awkward remake—but the Matt Reeves-helmed follow-up takes the franchise to the next evolutionary level. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Expendables 3 (Patrick Hughes)

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Can we all agree that three of these is enough? Granted, back in 2010, the pitch seemed entertaining. An R-rated action romp, written and directed by the “action auteur” Sylvester Stallone, called The Expendables, in which all of the roles would be played by faded, old action stars who were living in the twilight of yesteryear. And, to be sure, that first film delivered all of the tongue-in-cheek dialogue, garish violence and juicy cameos (most notably Mickey RourkeBruce Willis and then-still-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) that the original idea promised. The movie was a hit and the sequel was greenlit, as expected. Now, it is 2014, and we have The Expendables 3, starring most of the same faded, old action stars, minus one big one (Willis) and plus three big ones (Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Harrison Ford). And, of course, Kelsey Grammer, who is arguably the highlight of this film, playing an “action-star scout” of sorts. – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski)

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A black-and-white film about an orphan nun trying to find out about her family sounds like the kind of clichéd awards bait which could easily fall flat on its face. Pawel Pawlikowski manages to undermine those dire possibilities by making a subtle, affecting picture about long-buried secrets, as well as the conflicted dialogue between virtue and vice. The film is buoyed by the strong performances of its two leads, Agata Trzebuchowska and Agata Kulesza, both of whom manage to bring real humanity to characters who begin as archetypes. Add to this base the way in which Ida delves deep into horrors wrought by war and attempts to construct some greater peace, and a film that sounds like a didactic one-act play becomes a moving, resonant glimpse into a very human profound in two people’s lives. - Brian R.

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen)

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Once thought to never see a release due to rights issues, the fine folks at Cinema Guild picked up Thom Andersen‘s 2003 documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself for a release and after a Blu-ray debut, it’s now available to stream, in full, on Netflix. Tracking the history of Los Angeles entirely through films, the nearly three-hour documentary has been an underground gem in the last decade, but will hopefully rise in stature in the coming years due to the release. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry)

Whether it’s on account of the visual flair he showcases in this hyper-stylized alternative universe or, perhaps, through the frank manner some characters talk to each other, whimsical is the perfect adjective to describe Michel Gondry‘s latest film, Mood Indigo. Wild colors pepper the first half, and there’s an intense level of fun to be had throughout — but it’s not just visual flair. As we fall for our two leads, Chloe (Audrey Tatou) and Colin (Romain Duris), their profiles are intricately constructed. The latter, an extremely eligible bachelor, has a full-time lawyer who cooks for him in his wacky trailer apartment, never working because he has plenty of money. - Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

Alexander Payne’s latest feature is his best, a wonderful film that does so much right from its unique tone (shifting quietly from parody to melancholy) and its relationships. The story is centered around the life of Woody Grant (Bruce Dern, in a brilliant performance) and potentially his alternative life as he returns to rural Nebraska on his way to claim a prize. Enabling the stubborn old Woody is his son David (Will Forte), a lonely stereo salesman. June Squibb also gives a hilarious performance as Woody’s wife. Nebraska is a rough, yet lovable movie, hitting notes so rarely seen. It is one of the best road comedies ever made, embodying the old notion that road movies are about the journey, not the destination. Here is a film that reflects on journey in truly profound and often heartbreaking ways. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix, Amazon Prime

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

A Merry Friggin’ Christmas
The Giver
If I Stay
James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge
Miss Meadows
Starry Eyes

Netflix

Louder Than Words
Quartet
Still Mine

What are you streaming this weekend?

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.

Our 10 Favorite Criterion Collection Releases (and More Essentials)

Written by Nick Newman, November 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm 

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Criterion have once again launched a bi-annual sale at their finest brick-and-mortar outlet, Barnes & Noble, and we thus thought it’d be a good idea to bring you ten favorite titles in their vast, ever-growing collection. I don’t know how ten (excepting the additions that come with box sets) could be possible, even after listing and making my case for a limited set. As someone who can already hear the chorus of “what about… ?!” cries, let my quick run through entire national canons be summarized in the plainest of terms: this was terribly difficult.

And I can’t exactly pin down a logic to this listing. What you’ll find below shouldn’t strictly be seen as an assembly of the very finest films, the best overall releases, the most-underlooked pictures from established auteurs, etc., but titles that, in various ways, display what great things Criterion are capable of. (Let it be noted that these are “main” titles, meaning that some of my favorite Eclipse sets, as invaluable as they are, have been relegated below.) And, again, excising some things in favor of others was harder than you could imagine. The lack of any Welles, Ōshima, Antonioni, Dreyer, Malick, Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Tarkovsky, Yang (the sole picture of his currently in their ranks, at least), Costa, Lang, Powell & Pressburger, the BBS set… that list goes on, this one had a limit, and I’m actually a bit flustered when considering selectivity as a rule here. All the more credit to them for helping turn a rundown into a bit of soul-searching.

Check out my top ten favorites below, followed by recent releases, more essentials, and films from notable directors. One can also click any title to head over to the B&N page for their sale, which runs until December 1st.

By Brakhage (Stan Brakhage)

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Forgive a brief entry on something so monumental, for I feel my thoughts on Brakhage do sometimes only come down to “man, this is really neat.” The set almost speaks for itself, anyway. Nearly 800 minutes of experimental cinema, spanning from 1954 to 2001 and running anywhere from 8 seconds to 74 minutes — that it’s only $40 says enough, but the demand for a high-quality presentation of his material (as much as anything else listed herein) makes this a must.

Monsieur Verdoux (Charlie Chaplin)

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It’s strange to think any figure as towering as Charlie Chaplin might have made a film that’s since become overlooked. I’m not suggesting this is the case with Monsieur Verdoux, his second sound feature — or third, depending on how you want to label Modern Times — but the ratio of this film’s I-think-evident greatness to how often it’s discussed within the Chaplin canon is terribly off. (Stranger still that it has great creative input from Orson Welles, also hardly a marginalized figure in the annals of film history.) The selection of features is limited, but hardly paltry, especially when we have a film that could speak volumes with so little as a menu to accompany it. It’s a real stunner: as funny in both is scripting and visual language as anything he put his name to, but far and away the most haunted of them as well. One of the many great things about Chaplin is that you’re never quite done discovering his genius. Now I’m just waiting until Criterion finally give Limelight its due.

In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai)

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It’s somewhat amusing that this, likely the best 21st-century picture under their banner, boasts a vibrant-beyond-vibrant transfer — one with so much textural depth that I could swear my screen would start undulating whenever the camera moved — that brings us closer than ever to its period setting. (Better yet one that it’s also one to, somewhat contradictorily, highlight the expressions and gestures driving a love story I’d also consider so timeless.) Notwithstanding whatever dumb situation led the the excision of some features from its Blu-ray release, this is a strong harmony of picture, presentation, and examination. If you can’t do much better than In the Mood for Love, why go for anything but the best way to experience it?

Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)

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I’m more predisposed toward Close-Up, admittedly, but Certified Copy gets this particular advantage for two reasons: its HD transfer more clearly possesses the sort of clarity and cleanness one expects of the company — one stronger than that which is found in Kiarostami’s 1990 film, though that’s still a great cinematographic achievement — and the disc itself includes his excellent 1977 feature, The Report. Commendable in its own right and a suitable companion piece to his bewitching new classic, it’s a film any of the writer-director’s fans owe themselves to see. That Criterion made it so readily available (and at essentially no additional charge) further argue for why the company have earned their reputation.

Three Colors (Krzysztof Kieślowski)

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Two of the greatest films of the ’90s and one perfectly enjoyable Polish comedy don’t necessarily make for the most essential of collections; its bounty of features help earn that title. After you’ve recovered from the existential wreckage Kieślowski’s trilogy is likely to induce, dive into a trove worthy of its foundation — shorts films by the director, video essays by scholars, interviews, trailers, a documentary, commentary by Juliette Binoche (!), and a Criterion booklet that’s terrific even by their standards. A true run-into-your-burning-house-and-save-it title.

The Only Son / There Was a Father (Yasujiro Ozu)

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In detailing the completion of his final Sight & Sound poll, Roger Ebert offered a kernel of wisdom that suits us well: “There must be an Ozu. It could be one of several. All of his films are universal.” If choosing two is something of a cheat, I like to think that minor concessions can nevertheless be made for a director who stands among the very best we’ve ever had. Tokyo Story and Late Spring are indeed great — well, most of us think so — but the in-effect sale means that now’s a great time to suggest you seek out this pairing. Finer-than-fine pictures on their own, sure, but that’s to say nothing of the insight offered into Ozu’s two central concerns, the family and the passing of time, and how they’re here used to build one of his most purely affecting films (Father) and one of his more formally audacious (Son). And if you’ve yet to situate yourself with his work, this should give one the advantage of starting without the burden of huge expectations.

La Jetée / Sans Soleil (Chris Marker)

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A particular pairing of short film and feature that makes sense past the obvious recognition factor either has to its advantage. La Jetée and Sans Soleil, aside from being his two best-known works, are dominated by both the presence and very concept of images, a commonality that only further supports reasons for a high-definition presentation. (The feature is particularly demanding of as much; a low-resolution transfer might muddy its message as much as a bad sound mix could hurt the intent of a musician’s release.) How nice that even more work from Marker, video- and writing-wise, sneaks its way in. We’ll probably never have a fully comprehensive set celebrating such a massive catalog, but this should do a good job for neophytes and enthusiasts alike.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini)

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Perhaps no film, Criterion or otherwise, shows a better example of the preceding reputation. It speaks immensely well for Salò that this is a denigration on more than one level. Hearing about these proceedings on a purely objective level — yes, they do this, and then they’re made to do that, and then you see them engaged in such an activity, and then… — doesn’t at all prepare you for the full experience because it undermines the weight of Pasolini’s accomplishment, transforming a masterpiece about the limits of human endurance and the endless bounds of our capacity for evil into some click-baiting slideshow. If a Blu-ray presentation seems perverse, consider its critiques of Fascism’s gilded, gaudy glory a perfect fit for 1080p. Just don’t get too close to the TV.

Tess (Roman Polanski)

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You’ve seen Rosemary’s Baby, Knife in the Water isn’t really so obscure, I can’t muster much of any enthusiasm for either Macbeth or Cul-De-Sac, and thus an inclusion of Polanski comes down to the selection of Tess. Fine by me, considering how magnificently he weaves both formal logic and narrative direction over the course of three wrenching hours — this must be his most deeply empathetic film; the dedication tagged to it would support that idea — and especially in light of the transfer that’s been accomplished here. (As someone who loves to observe various elements on Blu-ray discs, this fog-heavy film offers some very distinct pleasures.) No longer any sort of “minor” entry into the great director’s canon, thanks to this compliation.

4 by Agnès Varda (Agnès Varda)

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Clèo from 5 to 7 is just as great as most will have you believe, which means it’s best to shower some praise on the lesser-seen titles. The Resnais-edited La Pointe Courte proves equally effective as both a stand-alone observation of human nature and an indication of where her career would head; the sustained effect of Le Bonheur, from first explosion of emotion-dictated color to last, made for an experience I neither could nor would want to be prepared for; and if Vagabond is not the best film in this set, it still evinces how well Varda can balance traditional narrative trappings with her more typical forms of character study. Some of her short films and brief documentaries round-out a fulfilling examination of a still-undervalued auteur.

Recent Releases

Y Tu Mamá Tambien

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

All That Jazz

Eraserhead

Macbeth

The Innocents

My Darling Clementine

jacques_tati

The Complete Jacques Tati

All that Heaven Allows

F For Fake

The Essential Jacques Demy

A Hard Day’s Night

Red River

The Long Day Closes

Thief

The Game

Other Essentials

Ace in the Hole

Babette’s Feast

The Battle of Algiers

Being John Malkovich

Blow Out

Branded to Kill

Brazil

Broadcast News

carlos

Carlos

Charade

Children of Paradise

The Complete Jean Vigo

The Cranes are Flying

Dazed and Confused

Diabolique

Do the Right Thing

Eclipse Series 11: Larisa Shepitko

Eclipse Series 33: Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr.

Eyes Without a Face

Gimme Shelter

La Haine

Harold and Maude

House

Hunger

Kes

Kiss Me Deadly

the_leopard

The Leopard

Marketa Lazarova

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

On the Waterfront

Picnic at Hanging Rock

The Qatsi Trilogy

Salesman

Shoah

Sweet Smell of Success

Stagecoach

Summer Hours

The Double Life of Veronique

The Vanishing

wages_of_fear

The Wages of Fear

White Material

Walkabout

Yi Yi

Z

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

By Director

Chantal Akerman

Eclipse Series 19: Chantal Akerman in the Seventies

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Robert Altman

nashville

Nashville

3 Women

Secret Honor

Tanner ‘88

Short Cuts

Wes Anderson

Bottle Rocket

Rushmore

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Life Aquatic

The Darjeeling Limited

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Michelangelo Antonioni

avventura

L’avventura

La notte

L’eclisse

Red Desert

Identification of a Woman

Ingmar Bergman

Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman

Summer Interlude

Sawdust and Tinsel

Summer with Monika

Smiles of a Summer Night

the_seventh_seal

The Seventh Seal

Wild Strawberries

The Magician

The Virgin Spring

A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman

Persona

Cries and Whispers

Scenes From a Marriage

The Magic Flute

Autumn Sonata

Fanny and Alexander Box Set

Robert Bresson

Les dames du Bois de Boulogne

a_man_escaped

A Man Escaped

Pickpocket

Au hasard Balthazar

Mouchette

Luis Buñuel

Viridiana

The Exterminating Angel

Simon of the Desert

Belle de jour

John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes: Five Films

love_streams

Love Streams

Jean Cocteau

Beauty and the Beast

Orpheus

Charlie Chaplin

City Lights

Modern Times

The Gold Rush

The Great Dictator

Monsieur Verdoux

David Cronenberg

Scanners

Videodrome

Naked Lunch

scanners

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

La promesse

Rosetta

The Kid With a Bike

Jules Dassin

Brute Force

The Naked City

Thieves’ Highway

Night and the City

Rififi

Vittorio De Sica

The Children Are Watching Us

Bicycle Thieves

Umberto D.

Indiscretion of an American Wife

Carl Theodor Dreyer

Master of the House

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Vampyr

Carl Theodor Dreyer Box Set

Federico Fellini

8

8 1/2

La Dolce Vita

Juliet of the Spirits

I vitelloni

Amarcord

La strada

And the Ship Sails On

Jean-Luc Godard

Breathless

Vivre sa vie

Band of Outsiders

Masculin féminin

Made in U.S.A

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

Tout va bien

weekend

Weekend

Alfred Hitchcock

The Man Who Knew Too Much

The 39 Steps

The Lady Vanishes

Foreign Correspondent

Jim Jarmusch

Stranger Than Paradise

Down By Law

Mystery Train

Night on Earth

Abbas Kiarostami

Close-Up

Taste of Cherry

Certified Copy

Like Someone In Love

Stanley Kubrick

The Killing

Paths of Glory

Spartacus

Akira Kurosawa

seven_samurai

Seven Samurai

Yojimbo and Sanjuro

Throne of Blood

Kagemusha

High & Low

The Hidden Fortress

Rashomon

Ikiru

The First Films of Akira Kurosawa

Postwar Kurosawa Box

Fritz Lang

Ministry of Fear

M

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

m

David Lean

David Lean Directs Noël Coward

Great Expectations

Oliver Twist

Hobson’s Choice

Summertime

Mike Leigh

Life is Sweet

Naked

Topsy-Turvy

Ernst Lubitsch

Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

Trouble in Paradise

Design for Living

To Be or Not to Be

Heaven Can Wait

Terrence Malick

badlands

Badlands

Days of Heaven

The Thin Red Line

Jean-Pierre Melville

Les enfants terribles

Le deuxième souffle

Le Samouraï

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Mamma Roma

Trilogy of Life

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom

Powell & Pressburger

The Thief of Bagdad

49th Parallel

blimp

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

A Canterbury Tale

I Know Where I’m Going!

Black Narcissus

The Red Shoes

Jean Renoir

Boudu Saved from Drowning

La bête humaine

The Rules of the Game

The River

The Lower Depths

Stage and Spectacle: Three Films by Jean Renoir

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Eclipse Series 39: Early Fassbinder

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

World on a Wire

ali

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Kenji Mizoguchi

Eclipse Series 13: Kenji Mizoguchi’s Fallen Women

The Life of Oharu

Ugetsu

Sansho the Bailiff

Yasujiro Ozu

Eclipse Series 10: Silent Ozu—Three Family Comedies

Late Spring

Early Summer

Tokyo Story

A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu

The Only Son/There Was a Father: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu

Eclipse Series 3: Late Ozu

Good Morning

An Autumn Afternoon

Roman Polanski

Knife in the Water

Repulsion

Cul-de-sac

Rosemary’s Baby

Macbeth

Tess

Satyajit Ray

The Music Room

The Big City

Charulata

Eclipse Series 40: Late Ray

Roberto Rossellini

War Trilogy

rossellini

3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman

The Flowers of St. Francis

The Taking of Power by Louis XIV

Eclipse Series 14: Rossellini’s History Films—Renaissance and Enlightenment

Preston Sturges

The Lady Eve

Sullivan’s Travels

Unfaithfully Yours

Andrei Tarkovsky

Ivan’s Childhood

Andrei Rublev

Solaris

Lars von Trier

The Element of Crime

Europa

Breaking the Waves

Antichrist

François Truffaut

The 400 Blows

Shoot the Piano Player

jules_and_jim

Jules and Jim

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel

The Last Metro

Wim Wenders

Paris, Texas

Wings of Desire

Pina

The Criterion Collection sale at Barnes and Noble will conclude on December 1st.

What are your favorite Criterions? Which will you pick up?

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: Monte Hellman, ‘A Serious Man,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, November 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

Abuse Of Weakness (Catherine Breillat)

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The draw of Catherine Breillat‘s newest, autobiographical film, Abuse of Weakness (known as Abus de faiblesse in its native tongue), is ultimately to watch how someone so desperately in need can be preyed upon no matter their own intelligence, wealth, or stature. When tragedy strikes, unannounced, via a debilitating stroke, the fear of death and paralysis eventually leads to newfound tenacity and strength — but what no one who isn’t absolutely indebted to the help of others for even the most menial tasks (such as opening a door) can know is that the simple act of showing up may prove all-powerful. A friend with the rare quality of not tainting every kindness with a healthy dose of pity is everything. When that person is the only one taking the time to call and visit each day, you can’t really be blamed for doing whatever possible to repay the favor. – Jared M. (full review)

The Shooting / Ride in the Whirlwind (Monte Hellman)

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Here we enter the altar space of American totemology through the side gate, when no one’s looking, after grandeur and money and heroic individualism have wafted away with the night smoke and left only questions. Monte Hellman’s mitotic microwesterns The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind don’t define their era—which barely saw them—so much as manifest a broader existential modernity rivaled only by Antonioni’s in the same decade. Famously, they were both shot in 1965. Hellman, who’d toiled intermittently in the Roger Corman–verse, had recently finished making two tiny back-to-back thrillers with Jack Nicholson in the Philippines for Robert Lippert and was scrounging for work when Corman suggested he and Nicholson drop the proposed abortion drama Nicholson had written, head out into the Utah desert, and make not one low-budget western but two. Carole Eastman wrote the first (under the pseudonym Adrien Joyce), Nicholson wrote the second, and total production time amounted to six weeks. - Michael Atkinson (Read his full Criterion essay)

Also Available This Week

Abbas Kiarostami: A Report
Coldwater (review)
Happy Christmas
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (review)
James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge
Jersey Boys (review)
Let’s Be Cops (review)
Mood Indigo (review)
Summer of Blood (review)
Tammy (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Blu-ray) – $9.95

The American (Blu-ray) – $6.25

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.74

An Education (Blu-ray) -$7.57

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $6.93

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.90

Black Swan (Blu-ray) - $9.49

Blue Ruin (Blu-ray) – $12.00

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.88

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.56

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.81

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $9.29

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.99

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $6.78

The Master (Blu-ray) – $9.91

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.99

Mud (Blu-ray) – $7.88

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.63

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $4.88

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.64

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.98

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $7.10

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.50

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.12

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.10

The Social Network (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $9.96

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $8.58

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.69

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.58

Volver (Blu-ray) – $6.91

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $7.49

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $7.00

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $6.99

What are you picking up this week?

Where to Stream the Best Films of 2014

Written by TFS Staff, November 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm 

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As 2014 winds down, like most cinephiles, we’re looking to get our hands on the titles that may have slipped under the radar or simply gone unseen. With the proliferation of streaming options, it’s thankfully easier than ever to play catch-up, and to assist with the process, we’re bringing you a rundown of the best titles of the year available to watch.

Curated from Best Films of 2014 So Far list we published for the first half of the year, it also includes films we’ve enjoyed the past few months and some we’ve recently caught up on. This is far from a be-all and end-all year-end feature (that will come at the end of the year), but rather something that will hopefully be a helpful tool for readers to have a chance to seek out notable, perhaps underseen, titles from the year.

Note that we’re going by U.S. theatrical releases and the streaming services are limited to solely to the territory as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with new titles being made available, check out our weekly column. In the meantime, see our rundown below, which will be updated as new titles hit streaming services, so make sure to bookmark. One can also click titles to see our official reviews or additional coverage.

20,000 Days on Earth (Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard) // AmazoniTunes
22 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Chris Miller) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Abuse of Weakness (Catherine Breillat) // NetflixAmazoniTunesGoogle
The Battered Bastards of Baseball (Chapman and Maclain Way) // Netflix
Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier) // NetflixAmazoniTunesGoogle
Borgman (Alex van Warmerdam) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Camp X-Ray (Peter Sattler) // Amazon - iTunes - Google
Cheap Thrills (E.L. Katz) // Amazon PrimeiTunesGoogle
Coherence (James Ward Byrkit) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Cold in July (Jim Mickle) // AmazoniTunesGoogle

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The Congress (Ari Folman) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
The Double (Richard Ayoade) // NetflixAmazon - iTunesGoogle
Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Enemy (Denis Villeneuve) // Amazon PrimeiTunesGoogle
A Field in England (Ben Wheatley) // Amazon PrimeiTunes - Google
Frank (Lenny Abrahamson) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Gloria (Sebastián Lelio) // Amazon - iTunes - Google
God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch) // Amazon - iTunesGoogle
Godzilla (Gareth Edwards) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson) // AmazoniTunes - Google
Grand Piano (Eugenio Mira) // NetflixAmazon - iTunesGoogle

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Happy Christmas (Joe Swanberg) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Hellion (Kat Candler) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Hide Your Smiling Faces (Daniel Patrick Carbone) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski) // Amazon PrimeiTunesGoogle
The Immigrant (James Gray) // Netflix
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Brian Knappenberger) // YouTube
It Felt Like Love (Eliza Hittman) // Netflix - Amazon - iTunesGoogle
Jealousy (Philippe Garrel) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavich) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Land Ho! (Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
The Lego Movie (Phil Lord and Chris Miller) // Amazon - iTunes - Google

the_immigrant
Life Itself (Steve James) // iTunes
Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Koreeda) // NetflixAmazoniTunesGoogle
Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Locke (Steven Knight) // Amazon - iTunes - Google
Manakamana (Pacho Velez and Stephanie Spray) // Netflix - iTunes - Google
The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh) // NetflixAmazoniTunes - Google
Mistaken For Strangers (Tom Berninger) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Noah (Darren Aronofsky) // Amazon - iTunes - Google
Non-Stop (Jaume Collet-Serra) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz) //  iTunesGoogle

listen_up_philip
Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier) // NetflixiTunes
Nymphomaniac: Director’s Cut (Lars von Trier) // Amazon
Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre) // Amazon - iTunes - Google
The One I Love (Charlie McDowell) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch) // Amazon - iTunesGoogle
Palo Alto (Gia Coppola) // Amazon - iTunesGoogle
The Rover (David Michôd) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Snowpiercer (Bon Joon-ho) // NetflixAmazoniTunesGoogle
Starred Up (David Mackenzie) // Amazon - iTunesGoogle
Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie) // NetflixAmazon

snowpiercer
Tim’s Vermeer (Teller) // AmazoniTunes - Google
They Came Together (David Wain) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer) // Amazon Prime - iTunes - Google
Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski) // NetflixAmazoniTunes - Google
Virunga (Orlando von Einsiedel) // Netflix
We are the Best! (Lukas Moodysson) // NetflixAmazoniTunes - Google
Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (Sion Sono) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
Young & Beautiful (Francois Ozon) // NetflixAmazoniTunesGoogle
Young Ones (Jake Paltrow) // AmazoniTunesGoogle
The Zero Theorem (Terry Gilliam) // AmazoniTunesGoogle

under_the_skin

Have any suggestions? Comment below or tweet @TheFilmStage to submit titles for consideration. See all new streaming options here.

New to Streaming: ‘Seven,’ ‘Little Odessa,’ ‘Virunga,’ ‘Good Will Hunting,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, November 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Dormant Beauty (Marco Bellocchio)

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The newest film by Marco Bellocchio, one of Italy’s most revered directors, Dormant Beauty, initially seems like a risky proposition, being that it intends to marry both the often over-stuffed ensemble drama subgenre and what’s essentially an “issue” film. The exact fear being that the narrative would strain in a series of contrivances while also mass sermonizing. And yet, while the film still treads some dangerous territory in regards to its structure and themes — the dreaded blunt ruminations on “connection” and furthermore “how we live now” — the sure hand of an intelligent writer and director is thankfully felt. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Finding Fela (Alex Gibney)

finding_fela

Shifting modes from his previous personal investigations, Alex Gibney, perhaps the second-greatest documentary filmmaker working today, is absent from his latest picture Finding Fela. Gibney, whose previous work chronicled contemporary figures and organizations including the Catholic Church, Enron, WikiLeaks, U.S. Foreign Policy, Elliot Spitzer, and Jack Abramoff, here he tells a rather reflexive story chronicling the dramaturgical work of Bill T. Jones’ off Broadway musical Fela!John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant)

good_will_hunting

Following his tragic passing earlier this year, one of the great many beloved roles from Robin Williams was in Gus Van Sant‘s Good Will Hunting. A dramatic break-out for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, one wishes Hollywood would churn out moving crowd-pleasers of this variety more often nowadays. A streaming option for the film was hard to come by around the time Williams passed, but now it’s available on Netflix Instant. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Kill Team (Dan Krauss)

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It may be solely within the wide, malleable spectrum of cinematic taste that we ever encounter this unified set: that which we enjoy, that which we do not, and that which we, regardless, must confront. To merge one into the others — by that token, combining seemingly disparate forms of personal taste and approach into a coherent unit — is a task that carries with it a degree of difficulty few bother to attempt, and one fewer succeed at when trying. Lose grip of just one edge, and the whole enterprise can collapse at any given moment. Had he only assembled these three into a functioning whole, director Dan Krauss could be said to have a certified accomplishment in his war documentary, The Kill Team, needing little else to own a title of even some merit. - Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Life Partners (Susanna Fogel)

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While it’s not the most perceptive film exploring the diversity of the lesbian experience, Life Partners has several insightful comic moments that ring true. The story follows Paige (Gillian Jacobs), a straight environmental lawyer and her BFF Sasha (Leighton Meester), a receptionist-musician who has recently gone through a breakup and finds it difficult to navigate the smallish lesbian community of the unnamed city they reside in. (Which appears from the production design to be in the Pacific Northwest, although I later learned the film was shot in Los Angeles). A sense of place and community is relatively important with regards to cultural experience and one’s ability to float; some cities are sink or swim, others have a lot of floaters like Sasha. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Little Odessa (James Gray)

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Gray’s first feature begins with the carrying out of a work task by the film’s lead, Joshua: the act of killing, rather than, for instance, driving a truck or standing behind a store counter. Working simply as a hit man for New York’s Russian mafia, his life isn’t one of the decadent gangster, but simply cold and dirty murder. As presented through the prism of Gray’s films, the job is the life, with Joshua proving overtly cold and solitary. Yet once he returns to the eponymous working-class Brooklyn neighborhood of his Russian immigrant family, everything is bound to change. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Maleficent (Robert Stromberg)

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To the extent that this is worth seeing—it’s a Netflix peek on a rainy day, at best—it’s because of Jolie, who has a great time playing this character and wearing her sexy comic-book costuming for all it’s worth. There’s such a flash of devilish glee in that one scene of villainy—the only one that’s very close to the cinematic source material—that it’s easy to wish the entire film had played in a more comedic or even satirical vein. Looking at Jolie and her stellar cheekbones and you can easily imagine the riches of a Mel Brooks, Terry Gilliam, or—gasp!—Baz Luhrmann’s Maleficent. What this film needs is someone behind the camera with a little character of their own. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Seven (David Fincher)

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If Gone Girl presents another dark offering, albeit with a good deal of pulpy comedy, for David Fincher, I’d argue Seven marks his bleakest film. Following Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as homicide detectives who investigate deeply disturbing serial killings that replicate the seven deadly sins, it’s also one of the director’s most accomplished films, captivating from the opening titles all the way through its unforgettable (and often parodied) twist. Now available on Netflix Instant, if you’re in for a not-so-uplifting weekend, look no further. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Continue >>

NYC Weekend Watch: Rossellini, Ozu, ‘Only Angels Have Wings,’ ‘Gone With the Wind,’ & More

Written by Nick Newman, November 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm 

the flowers of st. francis

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

Anthology Film Archives

Two Ozu films, a Renoir classic, and a Rossellini picture are available.

Three programs from experimental filmmaker Scott Stark (and two by Vincent Grenier) have been scheduled.

only angels have wingsFilm Forum

The Hiroshima Mon Amour restoration continues, while Only Angels Have Wings makes a 4K debut.

Prints of Why Be Good? and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure play on Sunday.

Film Society of Lincoln Center

A handful of films from Rainer Werner Fassbinder screen this weekend.

BAMCinématek

The Derek Jarman-centered “Queer Pagan Punk” brings Blue, a series of music videos, Caravaggio, and Sebastiane.

Nitehawk Cinema

Suspiria (on 35mm) and Basket Case are screening at midnight.

A Fistful of Dollars screens with brunch on Saturday and Sunday, as does Cruel Intentions.

dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-movie-poster-1931-1020206210Museum of the Moving Image

Rouben Mamoulian is celebrated in a five-film retrospective.

Museum of Modern Art

To Save and Project” continues its run.

IFC Center

Jurassic Park and Reefer Madness play at midnight.

Gone with the Wind can be seen this weekend.

Sunshine Cinema

The Room screens at midnight.

Lastly, it’s not a repertory option, but our own Jordan Raup will be moderating a Q&A for The Better Angels with director A.J. Edwards after the 7:30 PM showing on Saturday evening.

What are you watching this weekend?

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man,’ ‘The Fly,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, November 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn)

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Anton Corbijn‘s The American is a restrained, absorbing and visually staggering story of an assassin on his final mission, but the marketing sold it as star-powered, edge-of-your-seat thriller. With his follow-up, an adaptation of the John le Carré novel A Most Wanted Man, those expecting the former might be disappointed, as it sways to the latter, resulting in an above-average thriller that could have used a more unconventional visual approach. - Jordan R. (full review)

Land Ho! (Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens)

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Following his break-out performance in last year’s restrained Sundance drama This is Martin Bonner, the talented Paul Eenhoorn has returned to the festival with Land Ho!, a lovely, hilarious, and beautifully photographed road trip comedy. While Eenhoorn provides the tender, more reserved half of the duo as Colin, it’s his ex-brother-in-law, Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), who steals the show as a foul-mouthed, perpetually horny, pot-smoking, recently retired doctor. - Jordan R. (full review)

The Sopranos: The Complete Series

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Although its first season is, to the surprise of few, not a perfect match with a 1080p presentation, The Sopranos’ visual palette only grows richer as its writing runs deeper. Perhaps this correlation will enhance a viewer’s appreciation of one of the greatest series to ever air on television; better yet are the hours of extras packed throughout, offering insights from both creative forces and experts. If you’ve yet to experience all six seasons of David Chase’s benchmark masterpiece — boy, do you earn my jealousy — there’s never been a better place to start. – Nick N.

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection

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If you already own individual Blu-rays of the films of Stanley Kubrick, then this collection isn’t essential, but for those that are need to add his work to our collection, or are looking for a perfect holiday gift, it’ll do the trick. The release includes Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut, as well as a few new documentaries, notably Kubrick Remembered, which explores his archives. – Jordan R.

Also Available This Week

The Dog (review)
Hercules (review)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (review)
Maleficent (review)
The One I Love (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Blu-ray) – $8.94

The American (Blu-ray) – $6.15

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.74

An Education (Blu-ray) -$7.57

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $6.93

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.90

Black Swan (Blu-ray) - $8.99

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.88

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.56

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.17

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Heat (Blu-ray) – $8.48

High Plains Drifter (Blu-ray) – $9.95

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.77

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Knocked Up (Blu-ray) – $8.79

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.99

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $6.64

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.99

Mud (Blu-ray) – $7.88

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.50

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $4.88

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.70

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.74

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.24

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.96

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.23

Skyfall (Blu-ray) – $9.96

The Social Network (Blu-ray) – $9.99

The Spectacular Now (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $9.96

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.69

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.59

Volver (Blu-ray) – $7.57

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $7.49

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $7.01

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $6.99

What are you picking up this week?

10 Films to See In November

Written by Jordan Raup, November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm 

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As the year winds down, studios are gearing up to release their promising prestige films alongside last-ditch awards hopefuls, all while major blockbusters, now given a feasible window for release, occupy theaters. This month is no different; from some of the most-anticipated big-budget films of the year to incredibly promising debuts to must-see documentaries, there’s truly something for everyone. If the many films that didn’t quite make the top ten are any indication, it’s a packed month. One can see our picks below, then let us know what you’re looking forward to most in the comments.

Matinees to See: Big Hero 6 (11/7), The Theory of Everything (11/7), Beyond the Lights (11/14), Bad Turn Worse (11/14), Starry Eyes (11/14), The Homesman (11/14), Happy Valley (11/21), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (10/21), The Sleepwalker (11/21), Escobar: Paradise Lost (11/26), Horrible Bosses 2 (11/26), Before I Disappear (11/28)

10. Rosewater (Jon Stewart; Nov. 14th)

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Synopsis: A journalist is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison.

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Why You Should See It: In heading from a nightly news chair to behind the camera, Jon Stewart has pulled off an admirable feat with his first foray into directing. We said, in our review, “Contrary to early, perhaps reactionary, accounts, Rosewater is not entirely devoid of comedy. Of course those who think of Jon Stewart as a comedian first, journalist second will be surprised, but anyone more familiar with his work on The Daily Show will recognize that he does care deeply about the issues he raises. The comedy is how he captures the attention of the politically apathetic, and ultimately how he copes with the absurdities of what is happening in the world. And so it is with the humor in his directorial debut Rosewater – a coping mechanism for a man in a desperate situation.”

9. Actress (Robert Greene; Nov. 7th)

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Synopsis: When Brandy decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world she’s carefully created crumbles around her.

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Why You Should See It: Your list of 2014′s best documentaries will soon be disrupted by Actress. The picture uses its subject to address questions of fact and fiction in everyday life, following Brandy Burre, whose turn as Theresa D’Agostino on The Wire wound up being her biggest work by a significant margin, and whose struggle toward a renewed career captured the attention of her neighbor, Robert Greene -- he himself a documentary filmmaker. What resulted is equally raw and vibrant, juxtaposing stiflingly atmospheric depictions of the suburban homemaker’s life with the bliss a performative sort can wring from ordinary scenarios, all colored by an eye for everyday life that almost recalls Salesman. – Nick N.

8. The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum; Nov. 28th)

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Synopsis: English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.

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Why You Should See It: While we weren’t enthralled by the script, the performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley should be on your radar come the end of November. Our review says that “Alan Turing’s life comes tailor-made to fit the prestigious period drama mold that’s long been a staple of the British film and TV industries. For the most part, The Imitation Game is content to stay within the tropes of its genre. While undoubtedly nakedly manipulative, there’s the sense that this has become the formula because it can function so well in the right hands. Even the most cynical will feel some joy at the sudden breakthrough discoveries, or even tear up as Turing is persecuted for his homosexuality. However, what limits the film to effective feel-good weepie, rather than the great work it could have been, is that it never challenges the audience’s conscience.”

7. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller; Nov. 14th)

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Synopsis: Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.

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Why You Should See It: While I found the drama in Bennett Miller‘s latest feature blunt and obvious to the point of being laughable, the performances from Channing Tatum and particularly Mark Ruffalo are something to watch. Our review from Cannes was more positive, saying, “This is as classic as classic Hollywood gets, but without the banality that has invaded contemporary Hollywood cinema. That Foxcatcher thus becomes a darkened view of the American dream, using one of the country’s most effectively exported aesthetics to critique the same, is why the film will quietly disturb audiences without telling them why.”

6. The Babadook (Jennifer Kent; Nov. 28th)

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Synopsis: A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

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Why You Should See It: After earning much acclaim since its Sundance debut, Aussie horror picture The Babadook will finally be arriving at the end of this month. We said in our review, “The Babadook may utilize familiar horror iconography like dank basements and insect infestations but it’s main ghoul is a creation that directly recalls german expressionist creations like that of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This return to the more sinister and meager horrors of the past reinforces the film’s most potent theme: there are some monsters and some pains we will have to contend with for a very long time.”

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