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New To Streaming: ‘The Truman Show,’ ‘Trance,’ Francis Ford Coppola, ‘Evil Dead,’ Douglas Sirk & More

Written by on July 4, 2013 

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 of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and more. Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage.

42 (Brian Helgeland; 2013)

With a high production value, wonderful late-40s aesthetic, and great background detail the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 does its subject justice. While the result languishes in the purgatory of well-crafted by-the-numbers biopics, I do have to single out Chadwich Boseman for trying his very best to push it beyond. Credit the filmmakers for giving this television actor a shot at embodying a legend because he has the physique, tempestuousness, humor, and determination to pull it off. Boseman brings number forty-two to life, helping us remember—and teaching those too young to know—exactly what he did for America. – Jared M.

Where to Watch: Amazon Video

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (George Clooney; 2002)

File this one under WTF: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind tells the story of Chuck Barris (flawlessly played by Sam Rockwell) who, as it turns out, was/maybe/is an international man of mystery,  a CIA hitman fronting as the host of Dating Game (and producer of the Gong Show). He’s recruited by the CIA’s Jim Byrd, (George Cloony, also the film’s director) to live a double life. Co-staring Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and even a young Michael Cera, the screenplay by Charlie Kaufman keeps the energy level up in a story that is stranger than fiction — that is, if it’s true. – John F.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Cleopatra (Joseph L. Mankiewicz; 1963)

The original Hollywood bomb. Starring the Brangelina of the ‘60s, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play the titular Last Pharoah of Egypt and the Roman general Mark Antony, respectively. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (who would take downers at night to fall asleep, then uppers in the morning to work another 20-hour day on set), the production went astronomically over-budget (it ended up costing around $50 million, nearly $350 million by today’s standard), grossing only $26 million when it finally came out, nearly forcing its studio, 20th Century Fox, to close. And though it be an insane mess of a film, every dollar is up on the screen as well as some of the most over-the-top performances in both Taylor and Burton’s storied careers. – Dan M.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Evil Dead (Fede Alvarez; 2013)

There’s nothing quite like hearing 1,600 people roar, cheer, scream, cringe and laugh for a film premiere. Evil Dead nearly blew the roof off of the Paramount when I saw it during its SXSW premiere, with fans of all ranges going bananas. That’s a roaring thumbs up for a film that was initially met with a large amount of skepticism. One thing is for sure: if you dug the tone of the red-band trailer that swayed a lot of fans’ minds, filmmaker Fede Alvarez‘s redo is going to rock your world. Everything about this film is about elevation –the gore and violence are challenging, and can quickly move from over-the-top hilarious in the extreme, to cringe-worthy and visually pungent. In 90 short minutes, Evil Dead gives you an emotional workout, and it’s a blast to experience. – Bill G.

Where to Watch: Amazon Video

The House I Live In (Eugene Jarecki; 2012)

The Grand Jury Prize winner for documentary at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Eugene Jarecki‘s look at American drug policy culls together a series of intimate vignettes depicting the men and women caught within the stifling system behind America’s War on Drugs. Whether it’s Maurice Haltiwanger facing a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years despite a judge who would love to reduce the punishment to ten, twenty-eight year old Anthony Johnson staring at a five to ten stint after doing the only thing he’s ever known, or Kevin Ott and the life sentence he received for possessing three ounces of meth on a prior offense, it’s not hard to see the disparity between crime and punishment. Jarecki can throw statistics at us all day about the number of non-violent drug offenders incarcerated alongside rapists and murderers, but actually seeing them will always hit hardest. With talking heads spanning doctors, judges, activists, and investigative reporters—including The Wire creator David Simon—we begin to understand the genesis of where everything went wrong and The House I Live In proves to be an important tool for educating the country on just how bad things have become. – Jared M.

Where to Watch: Netflix

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