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New to Streaming: ‘Ex Machina,’ ”71,’ ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Beyond the Lights,’ and More

Written by on June 26, 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.

’71 (Yann Demange)

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In an AFI Fest post-screening discussion of his new film ’71, director Yann Demange expressed the legitimate concern that certain audiences, specifically those of an American stripe, may not know enough about “The Troubles” to appreciate the film’s historical accuracy. While a good number of Americans can likely draw on enough existing knowledge about their national conflicts (e.g. WWII or Vietnam) to grasp the significance of films depicting such events, comprehension of the Northern Ireland conflict is seemingly surface-deep. Demange was adamant that the political elements on display in ’71 are, in fact, historically accurate. – Brian P. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Ballet 422 (Jody Lee Lipes)

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The inception and design that goes into creating any artistic work is a marvel to witness. It is this purity of concept that propels director and cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes‘ captivating documentary about a young prodigy ballet dancer, Justin Peck. The film is as much about documenting the creative process as documenting the intricacies of ballet. With its brisk pace and unique style, Ballet 422 is a cinematic delight that encapsulates the passion of two inspired artists: the one in front of the camera and the one behind it. – Raffi A. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Beyond the Lights (Gina Prince-Bythewood)

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Beyond the Lights delights in being exactly what it is — which, unfortunately, is something most will dismiss as standard date-night fare without casting a second glance. Yes, at one level, it is a very good, albeit predictable film perfect for couples looking for something both heartening but intelligent. At another, it delivers to us one of the most compelling and endearing female characters we’ve seen this year, and it turns out she’s hiding right there, beneath the girl everyone has been looking at all along. This is another minor gem in Prince-Bythewood’s directorial crown. – Nathan B.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Big Game (Jalmari Helander)

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Despite being rated PG-13 in America, Jalmari Helander‘s Big Game should target audiences between 10-15 like Dan Smith‘s Young Adult novelization of the film. Being a Finnish production—the most expensive in the country’s history—probably means it did just that abroad. Unfortunately Americans cringe at the sound of curse words reaching their children’s ears, forgetting how readily accessible they are at home on TV and otherwise depending on whether parents or siblings aren’t careful. The inclusion of this language as well as the amount of death necessary for an action film of its kind to be effective ultimately puts the studio in the tough position of pretending the final result’s palatable for older audiences hoping for a good ol’ fashioned ass-kicking. At the end of the day, however, Big Game‘s a thirteen-year old’s coming of age adventure. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Creep (Patrick Brice)

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Blumhouse Productions has become a horror powerhouse with its many popular and expansive titles, ranging from the ever-growing Paranormal Activity series to the endless sequel potential of the dystopian thriller The Purge. Fortunately, the company’s ambitions lie beyond becoming a tireless franchise machine, as evidenced by Creep, a minor curiosity that melds Blumhouse’s penchant for found footage with a free-wheeling indie spirit. – Amanda W. (full review)

Where to Stream: iTunes

Ex Machina (Alex Garland)

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Artificial intelligence is the anointed “next big thing” of our time, and so it makes sense that film would seek to address it. But whereas something like Avengers: Age of Ultron treats artificial intelligence as a way to create an “inhuman” force for evil, Ex Machina decides to use the creation of consciousness as a means of reflecting our own base humanity back at us. Smart, sleek, and spare, Ex Machina functions as a dagger elegantly carving out our own heart to show it back to us. – Brian R.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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