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New to Streaming: ‘Maps to the Stars,’ ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Serena,’ ‘My Life Directed,’ and More

Written by on February 27, 2015 

My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Liv Corfen)


Honesty is hard to come by in the movie industry. With millions of dollars at stake, safe repetition is often the easiest, well-treaded path. My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn, a 58-minute documentary about the making of Only God Forgives, challenges the norm and reveals a working director’s latest film and his struggle to figure out how to bring it to life. The film was shot by director Nicolas Winding Refn’s wife, Liv Corfixen, and it gives us intimate, day-by-day access to their life together during the six-month trip to Thailand with their two children and the way Refn tries to blend being an artist and having a family. Challenging and engaging, it’s a documentary that is perhaps more interesting and deep than the film it is about. – Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Open Windows (Nacho Vigalondo)


One of the many films to open with the misdirection of a movie within a movie, Open Windows actually earns it, even if the effort it expends in doing so makes no effort in really separating the layers of cinema fantasy. Because while festival programming guides will like to label it as an update of the HitchcockDe Palma voyeuristic thriller, Open Windows is, if anything, far more like a Feuillade serial: one cliff-hanger after another — which is perhaps why the film runs 100 minutes, instead of the usual gimmick film’s 80 — including criminal underworlds, wild plot twists, and shifting identities. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

RoboCop (José Padilha)


How practical, really, is a RoboCop? A rigorous machine guided by the impulses of a human brain, packed into an ass-kicking, cyborg form and loaded with weaponry and intel that make it nigh-unstoppable if it goes haywire. That’s never seemed like a sure sell, not in the original Paul Verhoeven film—where the absurdity was part of the satire—and certainly not in any of the pathetic sequels. Along comes José Padilha’s mostly irrelevant remake, offering a novel reason for its existence; it’s relentless in its effort to make us believe in a world where something like RoboCop could actually exist, and maybe even make a difference. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Serena (Susanne Bier)


To say it has been a long road for Serena to hit screens would be an understatement. With production beginning in early 2012, the film has languished in post-production and we’ve seen stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle since then. Meanwhile, director Susanne Bier has shot and completed two films in the interim — but now, finally, the film is finally available. An adaptation of Ron Rash‘s period novel, the drama also stars Rhys Ifans and Toby Jones, and follows our leads as a couple in a Depression Era-set North Carolina that attempt to build a timber empire. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Wild Canaries (Lawrence Michael Levine)


A touch of Vertigo, but with a comedic twist, Wild Canaries follows amateur sleuths that have too much time on their hands and end up in over their heads. Written, directed, and starring Lawrence Michael Levine, Canaries is a screwball comedy with a murder mystery at its core. While the central mystery isn’t airtight, it manages to intrigue one along the way. There are only a core group of players involved, which limits the possibilities less they pull a Scooby Doo and reveal the murderer to be the guy we saw for just a brief moment — instead we get multiple suspects and much hilarity in the process. – Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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