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New to Streaming: ‘Chungking Express,’ ‘High Flying Bird,’ ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ & More

Written by on February 8, 2019 

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’re highlighting the noteworthy titles that have recently hit platforms. Check out this week’s selections below and an archive of past round-ups here.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)

Do you have a Lee Israel work on your shelf? What should be a matter of owning one of her books or not since she was a notable author of biographies who hit the New York Times Best Sellers list, things get much more complicated when you look closer to see she wrote more than just about the likes of Dorothy Kilgallen and Estée Lauder. Israel also wrote as some of her subjects too. During the early 1990s when she was down on her luck professionally, financially, and personally, a fateful discovery occurred that would ultimately ensure her name would no longer be accompanied by “author” in the history books nor her own 2008 memoirs. From that point on her infamous occupation became simply “literary forger.” – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai)

Its use of a two-pronged narrative is not without unfortunately specious qualities; the first half always flows more concretely than a more rambling, less direct second; we could never hear “California Dreamin’” again and be just fine — all of these are true, but Chungking Express still lands so high for the purity of its emotions and wildness of its vision. The film Wong made most quickly is, fittingly, his breeziest, but that’s not to discount a finely woven tapestry of split-second chance and metropolitan suffocation, the alternately lovely and garish city of Hong Kong a precise metaphorical playground for the mixed-up lives of two cops, a criminal, and one service counter worker hoping to change their lives for the better. Does it all work out? The smash cut to yet another Chinese pop song cover should say it all. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: Criterion Channel

Custody (Xavier Legrand)

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It didn’t win the Oscar for best live action short in 2014, but Xavier Legrand’s Just Before Losing Everything was by far my favorite nominee. Discovering his debut feature Custody was constructed as an expansion of that story therefore made it a must-see. The short is soon revealed as a prequel, its look at the fallout of domestic abuse hopefully in the rearview considering Miriam Besson (Léa Drucker) readies to plead her case as to why her now ex-husband (Denis Ménochet’s Antoine) shouldn’t retain custody of their son Julien (Thomas Gioria)—his sister Joséphine (Mathilde Auneveux) recently turned eighteen and is free regardless. But while the evidence seems to prove Miriam’s case, a father’s love trumps a lack of concrete proof of his terror. The threat he poses, however, remains very real. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross)

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Structurally, Hale County This Morning, This Evening does not do much to distinguish itself from other contemporary vérité documentaries which focus on quotidian details within a certain milieu. But even so, it still finds value in the unique incidents it captures. Send a hundred different filmmakers to a hundred different places, and even if their work is aesthetically identical, they’ll each document at least a few unique moments that will make each piece worth it. Beyond that, director RaMell Ross demonstrates a talent for framing a scene in a striking manner, such as shooting a trash fire so that the rays of the sun shine through the smoke. – Dan S. (full review)

Where to Stream: iTunes

High Flying Bird (Steven Soderbergh)

It would come as some surprise if any one character actually hears, digests, and applies everything said to them through the course of High Flying Bird, a typically distanced and dense Steven Soderbergh study of institutional malfeasance . That its verbiage, courtesy Moonlight originator Tarell Alvin McCraney, is an even split between street talk and corporate speak would be dense enough were the subject not so specific: not just the NBA or a player and agent’s duties (unique and mutual both given equal ground), but how its individual, all-too-human parts work amidst a league-wide lockout putting everybody on edge. Words, chewed by a cast like a too-tough steak, flow ceaselessly until a key term or turning point–”protocol” and “lockout” to establish arguments, “you thought” as a sharpened stopper–take us back to earth, briefly, until we go again. And it all sounds like the primary recording device was an iPhone. You’ll miss some things. – Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Julien Faraut)

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From the years 1973 to 1981 the great film critic Serge Daney held the position of editor of Cahiers du cinéma, that most revered and storied of film journals. He also wrote a tennis column. That idea of a shared symbiotic passion for the worlds of cinema and sport—and how the two might be connected—provides the basis for Julien Faraut’s experimental documentary In the Realm of Perfection, a witty and contagiously impassioned ethnographical study of the game and, in particular, the 1985 finals at Roland Garros. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Let the Corpses Tan (Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani)

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With their third feature, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani tackle the poliziotteschi genre instead of the giallo (here’s hoping for the peplum next). The picture is focused on the fallout of a gold bar robbery in the Mediterranean; a gang of thieves, artists and motorcycle cops colliding to a naturally bloody end. Adapted from a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid, yet still not providing too much in the way of narrative, this writer could at least discern plot points involving a Rabid Dogs-like kidnapping, a Treasure of Sierra Madre-inspired descent into greedy violence and, of course, some psychosexual hijinks that likely invokes every genre picture of the past fifty years. If there’s a driving force one can find, perhaps it’s just the greed in a man’s eyes at the sight of gold. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Overlord (Julius Avery)

At the heart of war is horror. Vicious, random horror. The war film often toys with darker genre elements to create this affect, including the use of tension, shock, and even extreme violence. The former two elements can be found in films such as Dunkirk, while the latter sits plain as day in towering examples like Saving Private Ryan. Often, these works posit their techniques as realism, making ventures into more heightened genre play quite noteworthy. Along comes Overlord, a genre cocktail of horror and war spilling over with gnarly viscera and nerve-shredding intensity that forms a berserk and brazen union. – Mike M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Zodiac (David Fincher)

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The most ready-made accolades handed out to our greatest film artists are invocations of other art forms. An artist can be labeled “painterly,” “literary,” or perhaps one who’s “sculpting in time.” (But never “theatrical,” by God. One of the first things you learn on the IMDb Message Boards – R.I.P. – is that a movie is NOT a play.) Such is the lot in life for the vulgar medium of cinema, the runt art that in 2007 was tiptoeing into only its second century. The “architectural” art form is invoked for the most meticulous craftsmen, directors whose camera and sets worked together in sharp straight lines to create worlds that often literally loom over their characters. Usually Hollywood artists, the “architectural” filmmakers include Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, and have David Fincher as a modern spiritual heir. Fincher’s 2007 masterpiece Zodiac prominently features works of brutalist architecture inside which the hunt for the Zodiac Killer is carried out by a group of obsessives. It is about the flowering and wilting of that obsession in the face of mounting indifference, and the failure to find any closure for the hole that an obsession creates. It’s a carefully brutal film. – Nate F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

Berlin, I Love You
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (review)

Amazon Prime

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (review)
The Fits (review)
The Gift
Makala (review)
Papillon (review)
The Portrait of a Lady
What Will People Say (review)
Winter Brothers (review)

Hulu

Experimenter (review)

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Central Airport THF
Hotel Dallas
Satan in High Heels
La Libertad
Black Sun
Little Odessa
Rize

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.


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