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New to Streaming: ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Nebraska,’ ‘Somewhere,’ ‘The Great Beauty’ & More

Written by on February 21, 2014 

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we believe it’s our duty to highlight the recent, recommended 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, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage.

12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

It may have evolved into the “safe choice” for movie of the year, but 12 Years a Slave remains the one that I seem to compare all others to ever since seeing it this fall. Steve McQueen is at the top of his game getting amazing performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, and a ton of recognizable faces from start to finish; orchestrating unsettling scenes such as falsely enslaved Solomon Northrup hanging from a tree by his neck in an excruciatingly long take; and meticulously ensuring that the look and feel of the era comes through in all its brutal injustice. People say it’s excessive, but it’s merely authentic. This is the pain and suffering far too many have forgotten. This is our nation’s darkest day, uncensored and in your face, no longer ignored but seen for its blight on our history as “land of the free.” – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Bad Milo! (Jacob Vaughan)

Directed by Jacob Vaughan, who co-wrote the film with Benjamin HayesBad Milo follows a man (the always hilarious Ken Marino) who discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to a demon baby living in his colon. The concept bears some resemblance to the recent Hell Baby, but with different intentions – while Hell Baby pokes fun at films like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s BabyBad Milo borrows more from It’s Alive orThe Brood, wherein the evil spawn takes revenge on those who wronged their parents. The story also takes a more gruesome turn when the main character’s anus serves as a birthing canal. Enjoy. – Amanda W.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Cheap Thrills (E.L. Katz; Spring TBD)

Every now and then a film completely sideswipes your mental capacities and takes over. Since seeing Cheap Thrills at SXSW, I’ve hardly been able to get the film out of my head. It’s stuck there, jabbing me every dozen minutes and reminding me how much I was in its deathgrip for around 90 minutes. There is very little fat to this work, a good sign, considering I don’t know if I could have taken any more visceral punishment. The stakes, the violence and the intensity were constantly moving higher as each minute ticked away. – Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Cable VOD (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Bright House) (Note: Digital VOD coming 3/21)

The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino)

Having directed Il DivoPaolo Sorrentino is no stranger to extravagant Italian filmmaking that packs a punch of bravado and boldness. With The Great Beauty he may be channeling this aesthetic on overdrive, creating a vast tapestry of Italian elitism that is both breathtaking and audacious in its vision; featuring a vast array of characters — including politicians, artists, social climbers, aristocrats, and intellectuals — the wide variety of personalities are, on their own, as fascinating as they are overwhelming. Balancing all these elements — including high-value production design and fashion straight off the runway — and wrapping them in a virtuoso package is a daunting challenge which, for the most part, Sorrentino pulls off. With the feeling of a modern-day Fellini picture, La Grande Bellezza proves an opulent tale of life, love, and loss set against the backdrop of beautiful Rome. – Raffi A. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Jimmy P. (Arnaud Desplechin)

In Arnaud Desplechin‘s Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, the French director makes his second leap toward the English-language realm (following Esther Kahn) to varying degrees of success. Based on the true story of a Native American suffering from a series of debilitating headaches, the film is adapted from a text by the actual therapist who treated the titular Plains Indian. Much of the focus is centered on how clinical psychiatry differed in techniques towards the end of World War II. It’s a bit reminiscent of something like The King’s Speech, which also focused on the relationship of therapist and patient, albeit in completely different circumstances. The problem with Jimmy P. is that despite being intensely focused on the relationship between these two characters, the film never really amounts to much and feels meandering and dull. – Raffi A. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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