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.

Ali & Ava (Clio Barnard)

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Their differences are plenty. Her heritage is Irish; his is Pakistani. She lives in a part of Britain where he knows to worry about getting stones thrown at him; he lives amongst a diaspora of immigrants from Europe and Asia. She has four kids and five grandkids; he has a wife with whom he’s separated yet still unable to admit it to his family, for they wouldn’t approve of letting her stay while she finishes school. The one thing Ava (Claire Rushbrook) and Ali (Adeel Akhtar) do have in common is a little girl named Sofia (Ariana Bodorova). Ava provides educational assistance during her schooling as an aide. Ali employs the girl’s father to help him look after his properties and tenants, of which he’s also one. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Both Sides of the Blade (Claire Denis)

In Both Sides of the Blade a romance breaks down and threatens to break up in a stylish apartment overlooking the sweet Parisian skyline. The director is of course Claire Denis, a filmmaker whose last work began in a place that looked like Eden and ended in a spaceship plummeting toward no less than a black hole. A baroque melodrama that might just maybe be a trolling farce, Both Sides of the Blade‘s concerns are of a more earthbound variety–though if the insistent strings of Tindersticks’ score are something to go by, they are of no less importance. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Luis Buñuel)

An all-time favorite of Pedro Almodóvar, Luis Buñuel’s humorously-tinged dark tale The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz follows a bachelor who experiences a formative experience as a child when he witnesses a death he believes he may have caused. With truly bracing fantasy sequences and fetishistic imagery that only Buñuel could dream up, this 1955 feature plays as an interesting precursor to the then-soon-to-be-conceived Vertigo as well as many of Almodóvar’s pet themes in the decades to come. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Film Movement+

Early Films of Joanna Hogg

Before The Souvenir became something of a global breakout, Joanna Hogg earned the attention of canny critics—and Martin Scorsese—with her first three features Unrelated, Archipelago, and Exhibition. If you’ve yet to catch up (and simply can’t wait for The Eternal Daughter‘s imminent premiere), they’re now streaming under Filmatique’s “Contemporary Masters” banner.

Where to Stream: Filmatique

Nope (Jordan Peele)

Only two films have cemented Jordan Peele as a formative voice in contemporary horror, Oscar winner, and rein-puller for one of the biggest properties in science fiction, The Twilight Zone. Although Nope likely aims for the heights of his first two horror ventures, its blend of Buffalo Bill and Buck Rogers aligns more with his Rod Serling proclivities. This is grand sci-fi showmanship with a social conscience, but its biggest shock is that Peele may be more invested in the former than the latter. In a refusal to rest on laurels he takes a big swing on a larger canvas. – Conor O. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski)

“He’s the fastest man alive.” Such is the kind of open self-awareness that is tastefully deployed throughout Top Gun: Maverick. Despite being the latest in a line of legacy sequels eager to capitalize on pandering nostalgia, Tom Cruise’s decades-in-waiting return to what made him a superstar only occasionally resorts to such bait. Thankfully, Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski are of a mind to make a film that ultimately exists on its own. Forced to contend with the pall of Reagan-era propaganda over the first Top Gun, this sequel has the gumption to take the original to task, while actively engaging with everything we know about its star. The film’s opening moments mirror that of its predecessor almost exactly. From the opening supers, to the music to the Tony Scott sunscapes, it’s just enough of a signal to let fans know they’re in a relatively safe space. But the fan service flourishes are dispensed up front, leaving plenty of runway to let the whole thing rip. Whether or not one is a fan of the first film, it can’t be overstated how impressive almost every creative decision in Maverick is. The action is practical, the propaganda is muted, and the cocksure hero has decidedly aged. – Conor O. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Tsugua Diaries (Maureen Fazandeiro and Miguel Gomes)

When the idea of “pandemic movies” becoming a sort of subgenre was formed and necessitated by global conditions, there was a groan that could be heard around the world. We know how this goes. Artists will jump on gimmicky opportunities to shallowly explore interior space and entrapment. It became a cliché before any movie was even made. Yet some great artists found a way to make unique, memorable studies of the current moment. Mati Diop’s In My Room used interior space and feelings of inability to escape to explore monotonous life. Rob Savage’s clever Host turned entrapment into a nightmare of computer-aided terror. The latest film from Portugal’s Maureen Fazandeiro and Miguel Gomes is an exercise in how art itself––and, by virtue, the people involved in making it––has been changed by the pandemic. – Soham G. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

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