Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.

Anatomy of a Fall (Justin Triet)

The ensuing days after a romantic breakup, even if it isn’t a cataclysmic one, are an uncanny time. Perhaps once the spell of verbal conflict and sparring’s ceased, suddenly your sole companion for the most intimate thoughts is yourself once again, but it’s an opportune moment for contemplation: how did it really go wrong? Or, can I be honest with myself and acknowledge my own partial responsibility for its demise? For Sandra (Sandra Hüller) and Samuel (Samuel Theis), the key onscreen and offscreen players in Anatomy of a Fall, are enduring this quagmire, although their inevitable breakup was enforced––the latter has just tragically died. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles)

The world that Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles imagine––a Brazil in the not-so-distant future filtered through Spaghetti Western––is so vivid, its characters so alive, that it makes for one of 2020’s most absorbing films. Seeing a community unite against evil this year, while protests demanding an end to police brutality raged outside, reminded me that cinema isn’t only a mirror, but often a call to action. – Jose S.

Where to Stream: Kino Film Collection

Beau Is Afraid (Joaquin Phoenix)

Ari Aster’s brazenly original three-hour odyssey Beau Is Afraid is, refreshingly, the kind of film where it seems no notes were given––or at least the director had the creative control to reject them. Jumping from some of the most brilliant dark comedy in cinema as of late to a boldly conceived existential journey to an emotionally rife reckoning with mother issues, this Charlie Kaufman-esque journey of the mind packs in quite a lot. Even at its most unwieldy, Aster’s film is continued proof that Joaquin Phoenix––brilliant here, at the center of every scene––is the rare breed of actor seeking new challenges with each performance. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Paramount+ with Showtime

The Creator (Gareth Edwards)

If you need an example of a movie that doesn’t earn the portentous use of chapter titles and an “Everything In Its Right Place” needle-drop, look no further than The Creator. The new film from visual effects indie wunderkind-turned-IP peddler Gareth Edwards––the seven-year gap between this and the film you definitely forgot was the most successful grosser of 2016 pointing to confirmation of him not being that movie’s chief author––is an admirable pursuit of big-budget, original sci-fi, a film I kind of wanted to like. The sight of James Cameron/Mamoru Oshii-mechsuits stirred some warm feelings, yet the problem is the intrusion of sentimentality, something beyond Edwards’ talents to pull off. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Dream Scenario (Kristoffer Borgli)

The ever-evolving nature of fame and infamy gets examined in Dream Scenario, Kristoffer Borgli’s follow-up to his dark comedy Sick of Myself. It’s the Norwegian director’s first feature in America, and with it comes the confident backing of A24, producer Ari Aster, and a starry cast led by Nicolas Cage. It all sounds promising, and for a time Borgli rises to the occasion with a compelling, satirical high concept. But most of the goodwill Dream Scenario builds in its first half goes away once Borgli degrades the story into a facile, reactionary attack against cancel culture. – C.J. P. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Four Daughters (Kaouther Ben Hania)

Inserting yourself into the story you’re telling is always a risk. Kaouther Ben Hania, the director of Four Daughters, makes herself known in her docu-fiction experiment, seen coaching to some extent her subjects. The film moving between the rooms of their family home and a backstage setting with makeup being applied (perhaps admitting to the surprisingly glossy look of much of the film), it readily anticipates criticism of itself for exploitation. Though lining a couch for much of the runtime, our five subjects are very comfortable in front of the camera, and you kind of just trust them. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Maestro (Bradley Cooper)

Bradley Cooper is undoubtedly feeling the Bern. There’s something very endearing about Cooper’s star persona, not least the fact that, of all modern Hollywood leading men, the mere idea of a “star persona” is something he actually earns. He is charismatic, good-looking, talented (also showcasing talent some felt he didn’t have), and has pretty good taste. Though Paul Thomas Anderson hit on something deploying him for an edgier role as one-man hurricane movie producer and cad Jon Peters. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Saltburn (Emerald Fennell)

Fennell’s follow-up to 2020’s Promising Young Woman, which won her a Best Screenplay Oscar, is scaled-up in every fashion: Suzie Davies’ production design is decadent; Linus Sandgren’s camera freely traverses Oxford grounds before moving to the somehow-more-impressive titular estate in the film’s second half. Keoghan’s face is often seen in extreme close-up carrying a red hue, reflecting an epidermis unprepared for extended poolside hangs and more geared for library sessions, even during summertime. (Oliver’s Oxford tutor is astounded to hear that he read the entire “optional” summer reading list: “The King James Bible is on there!” he exclaims, granting us our first moment in which a character peers at Oliver as if he’s an alien.) – Caleb H. (full review)

Where to Stream: Prime Video

Silent Night (John Woo)

The opening minutes of Silent Night promise something fun. There’s Joel Kinnaman, dressed in a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sweater, sprinting in super-slow-motion through his neighborhood’s back alleys. There are the warring Mexican gang members he’s chasing, spraying bullets at each other as they rampage through residential streets. There’s the glittery soundtrack of a music box filtering out the distant sirens and tire-screeching. And then there’s a red balloon, floating above the chaos, doing its best Fritz Lang impression. It’s gloriously, ludicrously over-the-top. – Jake K-S. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Thanksgiving (Eli Roth)

You don’t make a movie called Thanksgiving without mentally preparing for critics to label it a turkey. I suspect that pun will be dispensed quite a lot in reviews of Eli Roth’s latest slasher, reheated like leftovers from the holiday and all the more flavorless with every bite. Possibly from low expectations––this is, after all, an adaptation of a fake in-movie trailer from a box office flop approaching 17 years old, spin-offs of which are the underwhelming likes of Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun––I didn’t find myself in that camp, even if the taste it left in my mouth wasn’t altogether pleasant. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella)

There are many films that start with a bang and many that climax at the end. There are fewer that wow with a deliberately calibrated, orgiastic halfway mark. This (among many other qualities) makes Argentinian director Laura Citarella’s beguiling, shape-shifting epic Trenque Lauquen something of a rarity. The first half of the 250-minute film (also screening in two parts at festivals, which is perfectly doable and would probably lead to a different viewing experience) concludes with a wordless scene of contemplation that abruptly cuts to a title sequence for the ages. This brutal transition comes as a surprise—not only because nothing in the two hours you’ve just spent has prepared you for the mean glare of strobe light and nasty electro beat accompanying the credits list. It also feels like a promise, a dare: “Think that’s enough weirdness for one movie? We’re just getting started.” However fatigued or perplexed one may be at this point, the sweet kick of adrenaline from this madly confident interlude will send pulses racing like the best of cinema does. But let’s start again from the top. – Zhuo-Ning Su (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

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