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New to Streaming: ‘Sicario,’ ‘The Martian,’ ‘The Walk,’ ‘Sleeping With Other People,’ and More

Written by on December 28, 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.

Everest (Baltasar Kormákur)

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Curtain raisers seldom come more bombastic than the last two films to open the Venice Film Festival, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity in 2013, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman last year. Attempting to maintain that level of volume this year on the Lido is Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest, a grand-scale, by-the-numbers 3D epic about the doomed 1996 expedition to climb the titular peak. The performers play it strong, but one feels the air is a little thin.Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Horse Money (Pedro Costa)

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Even though this film carries over some of the characters, the Fontainhas trilogy remains its own entity, as Horse Money comes as something entirely new, with all traces of the docu-fiction labels thrown toward In Vanda’s Room and Colossal Youth vanishing. Instead, Horse Money is likely the Pedro Costa film that best exemplifies the influence of classical Hollywood genre cinema on his work, with both the ghostly hospital where Ventura resides and the looming hell-tunnel he frequently travels feeling like they came straight out of a Jacques Tourneur or Fritz Lang film. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Gangs of Wasseypur (Anurag Kashyap)

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Director Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur is a five-hour, two-part, wildly blood-drenched saga. A densely plotted multigenerational gangster epic, Gangs is a stunning achievement, whether taken collectively or individually. Over the course of these five hours, we experience prison escapes, drug-addled sibling rivalries, revenge killings, tense life-or-death meetings, a Sonny-at-the-tollbooth-style esque massacre, lying politicians, “money and debauchery,” and a dash of Bollywood, with a unique use of music and lyrics to comment on the action (“This barter of bloody blows will make you cry”). Director Kashyap has succeeded in creating a gangster drama that feels fresh and realistic – no easy feat. Yes, it is unwieldy, and Part 2 lacks the visceral impact of Part 1, but there’s no doubt that Gangs of Wasseypur is an exhilarating creation and not-to-be-missed cinematic event. – Christopher S. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Martian (Ridley Scott)

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If the last few years are any indication, Hollywood has a revitalized interest in turning their head towards the vastness of space. Rather than a focus on alien-occupied science-fiction, we’ve seen a string of major-budget fall releases that question our place in the universe and the boundless exploration therein. The latest in this category, Ridley Scott‘s The Martian, lacks the wall-to-wall tension of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity or the ambition of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, but for the most part, it’s a rollicking space procedural that depends on some logic, and a great deal of luck. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Mend (John Magary)

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With its iris-in first shot, quick succession of establishing scenarios, and punk-rock opening credits, The Mend initially strikes like a lightning bolt, only to settle into a burned-out, melancholy groove so thorough — so specific in atmosphere, tempo, cinematographic sense, and the certain musicality of its editing, while also terribly relatable in its anger and sadness — that one is prompted to ask: where did this even come from? Given a summary of writer-director John Magary’s feature debut — in which two distant brothers reconnect in a New York apartment as both struggle with romantic relationships — it sounds, well, familiar. The devil is in the details: a tight-as-a-drum-snare script, filled with lines that bounce around the mind for weeks (or months) after; the balance of Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, and Lucy Owen’s performances (vicious bitterness, subdued bitterness, and a frayed sense of adulthood, respectively); numerous passages syncing sound, image, and headspace; or the shocking behavior of primary and tertiary characters, which lends it an anything-can-happen feeling. (Or something like that. Maybe you should just see the movie to figure it out for yourself.) Magary’s follow-up, whatever it may be and whenever it may come, is greatly anticipated. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry)

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To say nothing of Impolex, a creative riff on Gravity’s Rainbow, Alex Ross Perry’s The Color Wheel and Listen Up Philip, two incisive takedowns of a particular kind of self-loathing narcissist, were somewhat limited by a directorial approach that evokes the words “thesis-driven.” For all his sharp observational power and unhinged humor and all the talent on display, they suggested, respectively, a writer-director unafraid to let accusations of misanthropy interfere with character diagnoses and one unafraid of rapidly expanding his skill set and making increasing use of available tools. But it isn’t until Queen of Earth that these came together. The camera is often placed excruciatingly close to actresses Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston, providing an inescapable sense of claustrophobia, and dreams, hallucinations, and flashbacks interrupted the story with the confidence of his well-documented literary idols. At the same time, Queen of Earth makes so full a use of a learned filmic language that influences – Fassbinder, Polanski, Bergman, Altman, Allen – pile up in such numbers that they seize to be of any use. If Perry’s first three films suggested ambition and confidence, his fourth suggests the birth of a great director. – Forrest C.

Where to Stream: Netflix

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