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New to Streaming: ‘Wildlife,’ ‘The Old Man & the Gun,’ ‘Punch-Drunk Love,’ ‘Miami Vice’ & More

Written by on January 4, 2019 

wildlife

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’re highlighting the noteworthy titles that have recently hit platforms. Check out this week’s selections below and an archive of past round-ups here.

City of God (Fernando Meirelles)

For any number of reasons, crime sagas that earn a Goodfellas comparison would not strike the average viewer as a prime candidate. Yet Fernando Meirelles, not nearly as good ever since, gives a story of Brazilian debauchery its human core in the form of a young, ambitious, wholly relatable boy evolving into manhood under what, we’re led to feel, are the worst conditions known to man. That we’ll likely never know many (or all) of the situations that play out herein makes City of God’s reverberations an even greater miracle. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Departed (Martin Scorsese)

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The Departed is, cinematically speaking, the whole package. Its plot, which borrows the basic premise of Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs but cranks the complexity up to 11, pits cop against criminal in a battle where each has an undercover in the other’s midst. This premise engenders scenes of searing tension, as when the two moles, both of whom are trying to sabotage the other’s operations from behind enemy lines, first discover each other’s existence during an illegal arms deal. In chronicling the parallel but eventually converging stories of the two rats, Scorsese regular Thelma Schoonmaker establishes an economical but propulsive editing scheme built largely on cross-cutting and the suspense this technique generates. Topping off the film’s blazing energy is the whirligig cinematography by DP Michael Ballhaus, which features roving shots, irises, at least one shot that is rotated ninety degrees, freeze frames, a blissful two seconds evoking Wong Kar-wai’s iconic step-printing, and an abundance extreme close-ups that function as cinematic exclamation points. To watch The Departed is to see the full arsenal of cinema on display, with all parts working together in euphoric synergy. – Jonah J. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)

Hell or High Water

David McKenzie’s Hell or High Water is a gritty, darkly humorous, and fiendishly violent neo-western. Or, in other words, the type of film you might expect from a non-American director working in the United States. It borrows heavily from the Coen brothers and Cormac McCarthy, but it does so very well, thanks largely to a terrific script from Taylor Sheridan, the red-hot actor-turned-screenwriter who broke onto the scene last year with Sicario. It might usher in a new chapter of the Cambridge-born director’s career having come back strong in 2013 directing an inspired Jack O’Connell in Starred Up. Indeed, this relocation to the States should go some way to explaining an enjoyably plastic impression of West Texas, where T-bone steaks are served only medium rare and people say things like, “Sideways don’t wanna meet me. Unless it wants to find itself at the short end of a long street.” Or something like that. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)

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After three features utilizing the same humanistic approach of bringing stories about marginalized and often-taboo communities to cinemas, I still found myself staring in awe at Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace. Her subject matter is the sort Hollywood exploits for cheap melodrama and politicized messaging and yet she unearths the beauty, humility, and grace existing within. She exposes PTSD’s sobering complexity here rather than the explosiveness agenda-driven editorializing revels in spotlighting. Through it arrives the pain and sacrifice of love once individual strengths and necessity become paramount to the co-dependent safety a parent/child unit provides. And with a stunning debut by Thomasin McKenzie opposite the always-superb Ben Foster, we bear witness as two empathetic souls acknowledge this devastating and inspirational truth. – Jared M.

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Miami Vice (Michael Mann)

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I dare you to find a movie that is more self-assuredly cool than Miami Vice. I dare you to find a film that is more in love with itself than Miami Vice. I dare you to find two characters more cool-infused than Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell as Ricardo Tubbs and Sonny Crocket (respectively) in Miami Vice. This movie burns with the fire that only the truly un-self-conscious can embrace, and every scene drips with style and grace. The violence is sudden and real while still managing to be thrilling and electrifying. Every beat is calibrated for maximum sleekness, and thanks to the investment of the actors and the determination of writer-director Michael Mann, that cool is achieved. The soundtrack thumps, the sun shines, and the bullets fly. This is the pinnacle of action in the new millennium. – Brian R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Old Man & the Gun (David Lowery)

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At the time of year when people are falling all over themselves to award topical movies that no one will recall the context or possible importance of in five years, there’s a lot to recommend in a solid, playful, deft little character drama. Robert Redford is beguiling as the septuagenarian bank robber at the center of this romantic caper flick, and David Lowery conducts the whole affair with wit and charm to match Redford’s central performance. – Brian R.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)

Pans Labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro’s dark and heart-wrenching fairy tale contrasts mysterious fauns and eyeless child-eating creatures with a real-life monster, Captain Vidal, a sadistic Francoist. Set in fascist Spain in 1944, Ofelia and her pregnant mother arrive at their new home and meet the heartless Captain, who we learn is her stepfather. He’s also her captor, a cruel and possessive man with a penchant for sudden violence. Disappearing into a fairy tale like the ones in her books, Ofelia gets lost in another world, a narrative designed to keep her mother and her unborn brother alive at any cost. While Ofelia makes her way through a labyrinthine mystery in this fantasy landscape, the violence of the real-world seeps in, shattering her reality. Taking as much influence from Víctor Erice’s The Secret of the Beehive as Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander, Del Toro’s masterful Pan’s Labyrinth finds an uplifting sense of hope in the darkest of places.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Punch Drunk Love

Following Boogie Nights and Magnolia, some initially took it as a joke that Paul Thomas Anderson would make a 90-minute Adam Sandler comedy, but Punch-Drunk Love is a resonant, beautiful film with an amazing soundtrack by Jon Brion and stunning images. Anchored by suitably bizarre narrative choices (e.g. the van in the street randomly flipping over), the film successfully deconstructs Sandler’s “man-child” persona while adding complexity and depth to it, essentially taking Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison and exploring how this kind of person might function in a real society, and what could have caused him to become this way. Sandler is, to his credit, at his best here, as he seems to understand Anderson’s angle and doesn’t over-play the character of Barry. Emily Watson is equally strong as Sandler’s love interest, convincing us how a woman of her nature would fall for this outwardly weird guy by seeing his good side. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman is also brilliant as Dean, a.k.a “The Mattress Man,” whose showdown with Barry at film’s end is darkly funny. – John U.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski)

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It seems everyone is working two or three jobs these days to make up for the widening gap in wealth inequality for millennials. All the wealth in the entire world is tumbling from the sky into the large pockets of the same five or six men who control the biggest companies in the world. In the end it won’t rightly save anybody. We all live and die and these days we all work crappy jobs. The American dream is long-dead and been replaced with American exhaustion, and Andrew Bujalski’s film is on the pulse of that very idea. That he manages to create something that is so full of life and celebration amid the decaying reality of an entire society of low-income class employees is something of a miracle. When all that’s left at the end of the day is a shrinking check and more bills all you can do is scream. It won’t make things better, but it can’t hurt. – Willow M.

Where to Stream: Hulu

Wildlife (Paul Dano)

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“I feel like I need to wake up, but I don’t know what from… or to,” Carey Mulligan’s Jeanette declares to her teenage son Joe (Ed Oxenbould) in Wildlife, Paul Dano’s remarkably assured, thematically rich directorial debut. The haze Jeanette finds herself in is due to her husband Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) having abandoned them to fight a wildfire close to the Canadian border. The absence of a patriarchal figure in their family, who have recently relocated to small-town Montana, leads to Jeanette discovering newfound, untidy emotional independence and her son is there to witness the protracted, quietly devastating unraveling of a marriage. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: iTunes

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

Rust Creek (review)
State Like Sleep

Amazon Prime

Brazil
Jane Eyre
Mud
Total Recall

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Sólo con tu pareja
The Lion Hunters
Jean Rouch – The Adventurous Filmmaker
Belladonna of Sadness
The Man Between
The Third Man
Flowers off Taipei: Taiwan New Cinema

Netflix

The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Cool Hand Luke
The Dark Knight
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
East of Eden
The Graduate
Indiana Jones
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word
Pulp Fiction
Senna

Continue: Where to Stream the Best Films of 2018

where-to-stream-best-films-2018

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