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New to Streaming: ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day,’ ‘Holy Hell,’ Quay Brothers, ‘Born to Be Blue,’ and More

Written by on July 29, 2016 

Its Such a Beautiful Day

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.

Born to Be Blue (Robert Budreau)

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I played jazz trumpet growing up in Oklahoma, so Chet Baker’s somber swing always brought our ensemble back to earth when Dizzy Gillespie’s flying fingers sent us noodling in quick cacophony. We thought Baker was the romantic trumpeter, the kind you’d play when you wanted to impress a date — and whose pretty-boy face on the album cover inspired many of us to play in front of mirrors — and only later learned that his muse was heroin. Robert Budreau‘s Born To Be Blue turns Baker’s darkest professional and personal period into a sepia weepy. Though Ethan Hawke aches pathetically as Baker, containing the overwhelming ego any musician cultivates beneath his whispery smirk, he’s let down by this film’s monotony. – Jacob O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunesGoogle

Holy Hell (Will Allen)

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Will Allen spent over 20 years inside a cult and was filming things the entire time. Now he wants to tell his story. It’s a good one, filled with drama and craziness and tragedy — everything one could hope for from a movie about a cult. In the same manner as the fun 2012 documentary The Source Family, he even tells this tale solely through the voices of people who were on the inside. But maybe they needed someone else to put all this together. Despite its worthy plot and the wealth of great footage with which it had to work, Holy Hell is a mess. – Dan S. (full review)

Where to Stream: iTunes

Into the Forest (Patricia Rozema)

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The farther we advance towards a world of complete convenience, the further we distance ourselves from self-sufficiency. Every new generation loses more skills and know-how of what humanity was capable of for millennia to survive. We choose careers in dance and the arts, leave books collecting dust when the internet is at our fingertips, and take comfort in the assumption we’re only minutes away from acquiring what we need so technology can continue sustaining us into the future. So what happens when the power goes out? What’s the next step when fail-safe after fail-safe fails to leave us fending for ourselves? Who survives and who doesn’t stand a chance? These are the questions posed in Into the Forest, writer/director Patricia Rozema‘s adaptation of Jean Hegland‘s near-future, post-apocalyptic novel about two sisters isolated from civilization (and its fall) in the woodland seclusion of their home. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Don Hertzfeldt)

Its Such a Beautiful Day

Note: It’s our #1 animated film of the century so far.

Animated films get called “adult-friendly” as a means of both assuring adults the movie isn’t pitched too young and to let them know that some of the jokes will be over their children’s heads. If that is “adult-friendly,” then what should someone call It’s Such A Beautiful Day? Here is an avant-garde, mix-media animation that revolves around a man who is dying from some kind of degenerative brain condition. It follows him as he realizes the mundanity of the life he will leave, remembers the facts of his tragic existence, and comes to terms with what death holds. This isn’t adult-friendly — it is decidedly adult-oriented — but still not the type of things that most adults would want to see. It’s a profound, beautiful statement on mortality, and it is not friendly. Maybe we should call it “adult-antagonizing.” I am a proud champion of this genre, as well as its finest entry. – Brian Roan

Where to Stream: MUBI (free 30-day trial)

Ma Ma (Julio Medem)

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With a gentle humor in the light of the pain it explores, Julio Medem’s Ma Ma keeps it lens squarely focused on Penélope Cruz’s Magda, a young mother diagnosed with breast cancer and various stages of coping with a new reality. Putting off going to the doctor, the news is bleak, requiring the amputation of her right breast. As she comes to terms with the implications of this new reality, both as a mother, a women, and an object of desire, she studies herself in the mirror in a few sequences of somewhat heavy-handed symbolism. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes

The Films of the Quay Brothers

Rehearsals for Extinction

“If you are a fan of traditional stop-motion animation, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some of the delightfully bizarre work of the Quay brothers. Stephen and Timothy, identical twins from Philadelphia, made their mark after directing several breathtaking animated shorts in Europe, creating disturbing worlds inhabited by decaying, hand-made puppets that often reference esoteric works of literature, music, and art. Unmistakable in their idiosyncratic visions, their unique style became a staple in art house cinema and influenced a generation of filmmakers and animators,” we noted when interviewing the brothers. Now streaming on MUBI, featuring some exclusive new HD scans, are four of their features: Anamorphosis, The Comb, In Absentia, and Rehearsals For Extinct Anatomies.

Where to Stream: MUBI (free 30-day trial)

Tallulah (Sian Heder)

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From the start, Tallulah, written and directed by Sian Heder (Orange is the New Black), boldly attempts to juggle its tone between comedy and tragedy. When we meet our titular lead (Ellen Page), she’s living in a van with her boyfriend Nico (Evan Jonigkeit), digging through empty potato chip bags for food and using stolen credit cards to pay for gas. When Nico runs off in the middle of the night with all of their cash, Tallulah – Lu for short – heads to New York City to confront him and his mother Margot (Allison Janney), half out of anger, half out of desperation. – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netlix

The Wave (Roar Uthaug)

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Over the past decade, Norway has managed to out-Hollywood the thrill-happy American film industry by producing their own big-budget spectacles. Works such as the 2010 found-footage oddity Troll Hunter, the 2009 dark horror comedy Dead Snow and its uproariously gory sequel, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, and the 2013 action-adventure film Ragnorak recall the finer qualities of big domestic blockbusters, only with the extra cinematic advantage of pristine, breathtakingly photogenic scenery. Now comes Scandinavia’s first-ever disaster movie, The Wave, which is also notable for its director, Roar Uthaug, AKA the helmer behind the forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot. Based in his past credits, including the alpine horror film Cold Prey and the period thriller Escape, Uthaug is no stranger to crowd-pleasing genre fare, and his latest showcases his knack for utilizing familiar, tried-and-true tropes. – Amanda W. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Z For Zachariah (Craig Zobel)

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At the opening of Craig Zobel’s Z For Zachariah, it’s the end of the world and there is a woman surviving on her own. That woman’s name is Ann (Margot Robbie), and she lives on what was her father’s farm in a valley that has somehow avoided the radiation that has caused this apocalypse. It’s when the men enter the picture that things start getting complicated. First we meet Dr. John Loomis, played by a brooding Chiwetel Ejiofor. Loomis is a man of science, determined to rebuild by any means necessary. And while his staunch scientific stance clashes with Ann’s deeply religious views (her farmer father was also a preacher), the two become fast friends and lingering romantic partners. After all, who else is there? – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

The Angry Birds Movie
Baba Joon
Dough (review)
Edge of Winter
Shelley (review)
Viral
Very Big Shot (review)

iTunes

How to Tell You’re a Douchebag (review)

MUBI 

Give Me the Banjo
Zatoichi

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.


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