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New to Streaming: ‘Birdman,’ ‘The Voices,’ ‘The Brothers Bloom,’ ‘Stray Dogs,’ and More

Written by on February 6, 2015 

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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.

Big Hero 6 (Don Hall and Chris Williams)

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Many parents aren’t going to allow their young children to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe films—they skew older with dark underlying themes and comic book violence that (sometimes) leave certain characters dead. So while Disney’s purchase of Marvel gave them boundless raw material to use in order to capture the attention of teens and everyone older, the question remained whether Mickey and friends could find something in the extensive catalog that would be suitable for their target audience. On the surface Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle‘s Big Hero 6 isn’t the obvious property considering its canon includes Silver Surfer, a giant robot named Baymax who looks like Street Fighter’s Blanka, and a bureaucratically run troupe of secret agent superheroes, but it’s crazy how perfect for children it is with a little fairy dust magic. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)

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An energetic and invigorating exploration of the traps of art and commerce, Birdman connects in a way that Iñárritu’s previous films did not. There’s a playfulness and a passion in the one-take gimmick that draws the fraying edges of Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thompson together, and a previously absent wisdom in the way the marvelous supporting cast is used to populate the vibrating world that surrounds Birdman‘s harried actor. Much has been said about Keaton, and while it’s exciting to watch him stir to life, the film is nothing if not the sum of its parts, one of which is Emma Stone’s best performance to date. A beguiling treat that only grows with additional viewings, Birdman soars. – Nathan B.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Brothers Bloom (Rian Johnson)

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Rian Johnson‘s sophomore outing was one of the most criminally overlooked films of the year when it was released half-a-decade ago, but it’s since gained a following. Bursting with energy, as we jump from locations exotic as Johnson’s dialogue, there isn’t a dull moment in this well-crafted caper story. Now available to stream on Netflix, it should be required viewing before his Star Wars: Episode IX. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Dumb and Dumber To (Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly)

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Not even the movie that started it all can save the fledgling career of the Farrelly brothers. Despite reading an interview of them speaking about how great the sequel’s script was due to its being almost identical to the first, I entered their last film with an open mind. The same and more, they said? Come on—it’s been twenty years. They should have noticed by their diminishing box office returns this past decade that the comedy used to propel them towards A-list status in the ’90s wasn’t working anymore. We can only take so many fart jokes, manchilds, and offensive material before we begin to look elsewhere for something fresh. Dumb and Dumber was fresh in 1994, but now Dumb and Dumber To is just plain tired. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Homesman (Tommy Lee Jones)

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There is something odd about the way Hilary Swank moves in The Homesman, the second film directed by Tommy Lee Jones after The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Part of it is perhaps the actress is in period detail costumes, as the film takes place in the Nebraska territory in the mid-19th century, and may not be used to the clothes. But more than that, a lot of her gestures come off as artificial, as if the actress is mimicking the movements without actually becoming them. It’s essentially a metaphor for Jones’s approach to this hokey and disappointing Western, which will necessarily be compared to the work of Clint Eastwood. This odd tale of Women in the West includes many of the signifiers we’re used to, but lacks all the interior meaning that has defined the latter director’s work. – Peter L. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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