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.
Aniara (Pella Kågerman & Hugo Lilja)
The title shares its name with a city-size spacecraft ferrying humans from Earth to Mars in barely three weeks. It’s a routine trip that’s never run into problems with many passengers already having family on the red planet to greet them upon arrival. But there’s a first time for everything as a small field of debris forces Captain Chefone (Arvin Kananian) off course. Unfortunately a screw breaches their hull anyway, pushing their nuclear fuel supply to critical mass. Expelling it may save them for the moment, but without it they cannot steer. So despite having enough self-sustaining electricity and algae (for air and food), there’s no way to return onto their necessary trajectory. Either a celestial body interrupts their path to slingshot back or they simply drift forever. – Jared M. (full review)
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (Osgood Perkins)
Osgood Perkins’ debut feature, The Blackcoat’s Daughter – originally known as February at its premiere – is a stylish exercise in dread, teasing out its slow-drip horrors with precision, and building a deliriously evil presence that hovers along the fringes. However, there’s a thin line between mystery and vagueness in storytelling, and it becomes difficult to decide where a film fits when it only works in the context of a specific structural order. Read my full review. – Mike S.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Cannes 2019 Shorts
As you catch up on our Cannes reviews, if you can’t make it to France but would like a taste of the festival, a selection of shorts hailing from this year’s Critics’ Week are now available to stream for a limited time. Featuring Brandon Cronenberg’s Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You, there’s also shorts hailing for Lithuania, Australia, Egypt, France, Belgium, Portugal, and more.
Where to Stream: Festival Scope
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
Stories — whether black, white, or other — always have the potential to transcend race, economics, and environment to hit on a deeper level, stripped of labels, known as universal humanity. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight does this. I’m not black, gay, or poor, yet I saw myself in Chiron’s struggle for identity within a world trying to exclude him. He’s betrayed and bullied, but never broken. We never grow to become quite what we expect, despite forever remaining a manifestation of our individual pasts. Nothing reveals this truth better than Trevante Rhodes’ portrayal of Chiron in this time-warp triptych’s final third: wholly different from the boy met an hour previous, and identical to his core. – Jared M.
Where to Stream: Netflix
The Perfection (Richard Shepard)
Like much of Netflix’s original fare, Richard Shepard’s The Perfection feels tailor-made for the platform with its corkscrew structure and hairpin twists but the problem is less the film’s fiendish compulsion to shock than its design being seemingly reverse engineered to complete its purpose. What begins as a playful Single White Female riff, complete with a sycophantically friendly Allison Williams doting on an unraveling cello prodigy (Logan Browning) soon gives way to entirely unexpected narrative directions. Pasts are revealed, shiny surfaces are torn away, and genre frills just as quickly move from slick and satisfying to ugly and cheap. – Michael S. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Sorry Angel (Christophe Honoré)
We can assume that Christophe Honoré’s 10th big-screen feature as director might trigger some viewers’ short-term memories — and perhaps apprehension, too. Considering the year that cinema has had, certain things inevitably spring to mind at the thought of a love story between an older, cosmopolitan, more worldly, more intellectual man and an intelligent, albeit impressionable younger guy; as does, in another way, the idea of an HIV story set in early-90s Paris. Some mistaken folk might even rush to call Sorry Angel “this year’s Call Me by Your Name” (you’d have to have been living under a rock to call it this year’s BPM), but it is a far more melancholic and drab piece than Luca Guadagnino’s all-conquering (well, mostly conquering) hit. – Rory O. (full review)
Spotlight (Thomas McCarthy)
One of the best movies about journalism since All the President’s Men, Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight bears all the earmarks of an old-fashioned ensemble entertainment from another era while capturing enough wistful, crucial details to serve as a reminder and warning to the current media-saturated climate we live in. McCarthy scales back his style in a way similar to his best film, The Visitor, and Spotlight houses a similar moral outrage beneath a veneer of the day-to-day grind belonging to everyday people. What is specifically powerful about Spotlight is the way it eschews the intimate details of the Catholic Church’s individual molestation cases, instead focusing on this issue from the eyes of survivors and the community. We are not goaded into complicity with these newspaper men and women, but drawn into their fight through an experience as immersive as any this year. The cast, led by Michael Keaton, is one of the strongest 2015 had to offer, and they inhabit these people in a way that draws this struggle from the recent past in clear, immediate lines. – Nathan B.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
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