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New to Streaming: ‘The Bicycle Thief,’ ‘Short Term 12,’ ‘Rush,’ ‘The Square’ & More

Written by on January 17, 2014 

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we believe it’s our duty to highlight the recent, recommended 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, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage.

The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)

While Hollywood attempts to conjure the latest harrowing characters and situations in their offerings, one documentary this summer proves that nothing can beat the real thing, for Joshua Oppenheimer‘s document of real-life Indonesian serial killers is perhaps the most unforgettable experience one can have at the cinema this year. It’s a true testament to not only the film’s structure, but the bond our director created with these men that, without it, this — especially a devastating third act — could have easily been a superficial look at the events. Instead, its matter-of-fact nature will get under one’s skin and never let go. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix Instant

The Attack (Ziad Doueiri)

It’s been well over a year since The Attack premiered at TIFF, marking the fourth film from cinematographer turned director Ziad Doueiri. Now that the provocative drama has finished its festival and theatrical run, it’s time to make a debut on Netflix. Based on a book by Yasmina Khadra – and adapted by Doueiri and co-writer Joelle Touma – the indie stars Ali Suliman as a respected Israeli Palestinian surgeon who has successfully settled in Tel Aviv with his wife, Siham (Reymond Amsalem). His seemingly peaceful existence is shattered, however, when he discovers that Siham may have been involved in a suicide bombing that killed nineteen people. The tragic subject matter rings all too familiar in these violent times, and should resonate with audiences here and abroad. – Amanda W.

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica)

One of the greatest films of all-time, Vittorio De Sica‘s The Bicycle Thief (or Bicycle Thieves, depending on who you ask) is an Italian neo-realist masterpiece. Tracking a father and his son and their search for a stolen bicycle through the worn-down, post-war Rome, the film is heartbreaking testament of survival. If you’ve never seen, make it a top priority. If you have, watch it again. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Big Bad Wolves (Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado)

In supposing that there’s entertainment to be found watching torture onscreen, a horror/thriller subgenre was created that emphasized it to “pornographic” heights and thus separated itself from the well-worn slasher title through how excessively the body would withstand the most gruesome of gore. Yet for every occasionally risky or at least admirably grotesque example of these films, there are just as many risible cases in which their excess is under the guise of being meaningful; as a post-9/11 cinema has produced dozens upon dozens of glib, opportunistic reactions to a confused world with filmmakers half-heartedly equating their faux-gritty grand guignol to media-spread images of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: iTunes, Google

The Crash Reel (Lucy Walker)

There was a steady welling up of tears as The Crash Reel came to its conclusion. I had shed a few earlier in the film, but now it was constantly assaulting my emotions, with a mix of joy and anger. The film follows a young snowboarder named Kevin Pearce and his rise to stardom — at one point he beat Shaun White with consistency — and his stunning and shocking injury that left him in a coma and the throes of death heading into the Olympics. I’ve never experienced the level of successes that Kevin had, but I’ve known what competition feels like in sports and the rush that you can’t replicate anywhere else. There’s an addictiveness to it that is the reason you have so many weekend warriors. Within this frame, we begin to understand why someone who has a traumatic brain injury (TBI) would be willing to risk their life in the pursuit of that thrill. – Bill G. (review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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