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New to Streaming: ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night,’ ‘An Elephant Sitting Still,’ ‘Burning Cane,’ and More

Written by on November 8, 2019 

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

The Biggest Little Farm (John Chester)

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After getting evicted from their apartment in Los Angeles due to taking in a stray dog, filmmaker John Chester and food writer Molly Chester decide to try and cultivate a storybook farm in The Biggest Little Farm. The latest entry into the canon of films exploring food and ecosystems, like Aube Giroux’s Modified and Andrew Grace’s Eating Alabama, the documentary works as well as it does because of a reliance on its relatable subject and the director as its narrator. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Burning Cane (Phillip Youmans)

Helen Wayne (Karen Kaia Livers) can’t cure her dog of mange. Everyone tells her their surefire remedies and she attempts them all—one month with borax, another vegetable oil. Sometimes the dog gets better and other times he gets worse. She won’t give up on him, though. Her love for his kind soul that doesn’t deserve the pain and suffering he’s endured keeps her looking for another solution. She’ll do anything but go to the doctor because she knows he’ll simply tell her that the time has come to put him down. But that’s not true. It can’t be if God hasn’t done so already. This is therefore a test for Helen and her pet to prove their righteousness. They’ll withstand this hardship and pray for better days. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Diane (Kent Jones)

The narrative directorial debut of film scholar, curator, and documentary filmmaker Kent Jones elicits an awful lot of anticipation. Often, first features contain raw emotions and boundless pent-up ideas often toned down in future efforts. Diane, written and directed by Jones–known for his collaborations with Martin Scorsese, along with his previous theatrical feature which aimed to recapture the spirit of Hitchcock/Truffaut’s conversations by engaging with the best filmmakers working in contemporary cinema–is an observant and nuanced dramas which feels closer to the emotional truths of Kenneth Lonergan and Angus MacLachlan than the formal flair of Scorsese and Hitchcock. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)

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Though in many respects unpolished, late Chinese director Hu Bo’s first–and only–feature is a cry into the void so raw and resounding it shakes you out of a stupor you never even realized. The breathlessly long set pieces build up a sense of suffocation in real time, while the subtle music and camerawork evoke the constant, unspoken despair of a billion nobodies. This is the work of a keenly observant storyteller who bared his last outrage on screen and who probably proved too perceptive for the moral bankruptcy of this world. – Zhuo-Ning Su

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Long Day’s Journey into Night (Bi Gan)

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One of the most staggering cinematic experiences I’ve had of late was Bi Gan’s transportive, dreamlike odyssey Long Day’s into Night. While much ink has been spilled over its astounding hour-long 3D single take through multiple towns and above, the rest of the film is just as ravishing as we follow (though that word is loosely defined in meditative ways) a detective’s journey to track down a mysterious woman. While influences from Wong Kar-wai to Andrei Tarkovsky are present, this young director establishes a voice all his own, a remarkable feat just two films in. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Peanut Butter Falcon (Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz)

A triumph for diversity in casting, The Peanut Butter Falcon is an enormously endearing and often funny drama about two outlaws: Zac (Zack Gottsagen), a 22-year-old with down syndrome, and Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small-time crab fisher who sets his competition’s traps ablaze. Without family, Zac escapes from a nursing home thanks to his roommate (played by the always delightful Bruce Dern) and the head nurse Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is given her marching orders to go find him. After reviewing the evidence in his room, she deduces he’s heading to a wrestling camp in Aiken, SC headed by the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Hayden Church). – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)

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Here’s an elevator pitch: Nocturama is Robert Bresson’s The Devil, Probably in a homegrown-terrorist garb that substitutes transcendental style for the form of contemporary thrillers and music videos, all the while filtering a faux-intellectual’s anger through a consumer-culture criticism that, in its place and mood, most recalls George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. This almost sounds like an easy sell, notwithstanding the fact that this elevator ride would need to take us to a building’s higher floors. But for plumbing the depths of radicalized Parisian teens’ desires and actions less than a year after ISIL-led attacks shocked the globe, every ounce of appeal that his film might — and, I think, ultimately does — offer can’t prevent writer-director Bertrand Bonello from being a victim of poor timing. Timing is so relative, though; doubly so when his is a picture that grows (some might go the cancerous route and say metastasizes) in days and weeks after being seen, the kind that feels at once explicitly of its moment and vaguely outside of any temporal trappings. – Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

One Child Nation ( Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang)

Chinese-American expat Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang’s sobering new documentary, simply titled One Child Nation, largely eschews the kind of abstract, “objective” historical and political analysis one would expect to find in, say, a CNN production. (Amazon Studios, the film’s distributor, is evidently unconcerned with provoking the ire of state-backed Chinese investors.) No “expert” talking heads rattle off statistics or theories or digestible factoids, and in fact the particular “how”s and “why”s of the one-child policy’s design and implementation are only broadly outlined through archival news clips and Wang’s expository narration. Instead, leveraging her proximity to the subject in ways few Western-born filmmakers could easily replicate, Wang–herself a product of the first one-child generation–places personal narrative front and center, starting with a visit to her rural hometown and spiraling out to produce a deeply personal snapshot of social engineering through the eyes of those predominantly working-class people most affected by it. – Eli F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Shadow (Zhang Yimou)

With its gorgeously choreographed sword duels, sabers slicing through paddles of blood and rain, watercolor bi-chromatic palettes and sumptuous costumes, Zhang Yimou’s Shadow (Ying) is a film of visual charms. To enter into the Fifth Generation maestro’s latest period piece is to be invited to marvel at a 116-minute long dance – a stunning return to form from a director who’d previously ventured into semi-autobiographical terrain with the 2014 moving Coming Home, and later veered into the bombastic Chinese-cum-Matt Damon blockbuster epic letdown The Great Wall (2016). Shadow brings heart and spectacle together, and the result is a bombastic martial arts wuxia replete with duels of breath-taking beauty that will please longtime Zhang acolytes and newbies alike. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

Cold Brook (review)
Official Secrets (review)

The Criterion Channel

Kes
MGM Musicals from the Golden Age
Starring Judy Garland
12 Angry Men
The Arbor
Three Jacks

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Two Irenes
The Vampires of Poverty
For Ellen
The Prayer
Ugly, Dirty and Bad
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.


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