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New to Streaming: ‘Selma,’ ‘Journey to Italy,’ ‘Mr. Turner,’ ‘American Sniper,’ and More

Written by on April 24, 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.

Adult Beginners (Ross Katz)

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No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the estranged sibling relationship between he and sister Justine (Rose Byrne) is a trope used countless times each year. It’s a comedy about familial struggle with a bunch of adult “children” trying to find a balance in lives that are kicking them in the ass—plain and simple. You’ve probably already seen every situation writers Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive utilize this month alone and yet it still somehow works. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour)

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It might feature a skate-boarding, hijab-wearing bloodsucker, but A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is much more than a hipster horror film. Set in a mythical landscape that feels like Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton took a gig art-directing Iran, Girl establishes a raw and seductive edge that is also dreamy and wistful, enamored of Old Hollywood’s visual legacy, inspired by a rich independent heritage, and completely in love with its characters. Turning the tropes of Universal horror films on their head — one scene features a tawdry pimp discovering he’s the classic damsel in distress — Amirpour creates a wonderful character in Sheila Vand’s nosferatu. She’s not a monster, but a convergence of several cultural insecurities, wrapped in a feral, defiantly female shell. Crafted from the familiar, Girls’ best feature is just how fearsomely original and confident it feels. Eraserhead and Bride of Frankenstein have new, welcome company in the annals of filmdom. – Nathan B.

Where to Stream: Netflix

American Sniper (Clint Eastwood)

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Where a lot of recent Eastwood pictures (Changeling, Hereafter, even Jersey Boys) contain patches of awkwardness, American Sniper — particularly in its war sequences, which Joel Cox and Gary Roach edit with white-knuckle precision — exhibits a riveting level of control. This may just be the result of well-matched material (a character study about a born-and-bred cowboy nicknamed “the Legend” could hardly be more perfect for a myth-minded director like Eastwood); regardless, few images this year left me as pinned to my seat as the sight of a bearded Bradley Cooper situated behind his rifle, the camera pushing in on him as he grazes his cheek against the weapon. (Tom Stern‘s washed-out, overcast palette here is customarily striking.) Credit Eastwood, too, for offering a balanced portrait of Chris Kyle, wisely (and uncomfortably) pitched between patriotism and reflective critique. The movie is disturbed by Kyle’s values even as it attests to their authenticity. – Danny K.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Black Sea (Kevin Macdonald)

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After coming and going with barely a peep earlier this year, the sea-based thriller Black Sea arrives on streaming today. While Kevin Macdonald‘s story of men searching for buried Nazi gold cribs from one too many films to make it highly recommended, it’s a standard-enough thriller that goes to some appreciated dark areas. There’s also Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy, who can excel regardless of the quality of film they are taking part in. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Citizenfour (Laura Poitras)

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Perhaps the most important film of the year, Laura Poitras’ documentary captures the immediate aftermath following Edward Snowden’s leak of top-secret NSA documents to the world. For the majority of its runtime, we are placed in a Hong Kong hotel room with Poitras, reporter Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden as they sift through as much information as they can while Snowden tells you that everything you feared about our government was (and is) very much true. – Dan M.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

From What is Before (Lav Diaz)

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Depending on your attitude, the 5-hour, 38-minute length of Lav Diaz’s From What Is Before might represent a handicap in its favor, or a demerit. A certain stripe of viewer will praise the film in lieu of wearing an “I survived From What Is Before and all I got was this…” t-shirt; another will compensate for the numbness it induces with hostility. Frankly, I can’t divest myself of either feeling, and this disclosure is imperative to discussing Diaz. Because unlike Shoah, Berlin Alexanderplatz, or any number of Jacques Rivette films, From What Its Before reflects its length in almost every facet of its production value and aesthetic, and watching any given minute would provide most prospective viewers with the impression that there are around 337 more where that came from. – Sky H. (full review)

Where to Stream: Mubi

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