With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) (Robin Campillo)
Robin Campillo’s account of what it was like to be a member of ACT UP in the 1990s epitomized why the personal is always political. His kind-hearted, unsentimental approach to the struggles of people living with HIV was equal parts brutal and inspiring. Nahuel Pérez Biscayart proved to be a revelation as a young activist living his life as if, literally, every day was his last. – Jose S.
A Ciambra (Jonas Carpignano)
After making a splash with Mediterranea, Jonas Carpignano is back with the Martin Scorsese-produced A Ciambra. We reviewed Italy’s Oscar entry at Cannes, saying, “It would be a stretch to say that Carpignano diverts in any major way from the gritty aesthetic that has become synonymous with post-Dardennes (and, in particular, post-Rosetta) social realist cinema — all overcast clouds above and gravel below — nor those films’ favored narrative arc. It does, however, pulsate with true authenticity, surely down to the fact that the director has quite literally been here before, having made a short (A Ciambra) that focused on the same real family, the Amatas, three years prior.” – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Amazon
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (David Wain)
After delivering one of the funniest, most tear-inducing parodies of all-time with They Came Together, David Wain gave us two Wet Hot American Summer TV seasons, and now he’s finally back to feature films with a look at the early days of National Lampoon with A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which premiered at Sundance and is now on Netflix. Led by Will Forte and also starring Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Lennon, Joel McHale, Matt Walsh, Paul Scheer, and many more, we’re looking forward to watching.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Only the Brave (Joseph Kosinski)
The victim of being one of two Miles Teller-fronted pictures opening back-to-back with titles that could have very easily been swapped with each other (the other, Thank You For Your Service, was a profound, if cliched military drama), Only The Brave is an emotionally-charged action thriller based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a crew of elite fire fighters hailing from rural Arizona. The drama and action of the third act is intensified by investments in character development made by director Joseph Kosinski and writers Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer. They give the film’s first-rate cast, including Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch and Jennifer Connelly, room to build three-dimensional characters and a town we care deeply about as they enter the inferno. Rarely are action films this spiritual and this grounded. It’s a shame Only The Brave — and for that matter, Thank You For Your Service — didn’t find much of an audience when they opened in the fall. Both are commendable dramas celebrating real-life heroes. – John F.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Dan Gilroy)
Roman J. Israel, Esq. defies expectations at every turn. It stars Denzel Washington, but this is not the suave, in-control character the actor’s known for. Instead, the title character is a socially awkward, anachronistically dressed misfit. It’s a legal drama, but eschews the epic courtroom scenes and shocking turns that are the genre’s hallmarks. Israel is the anti-Michael Clayton. It is writer-director Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to the deliciously nasty Nightcrawler, but no thriller. Even the poster misleads: released the morning of the film’s world premiere screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, its central image — the back of Washington’s head and upper body, decked out in a 1970s suit and wearing dated headphones — implies that the film takes place decades earlier. In fact, it is set in 2017. – Christopher S. (full review)
Suburbicon (George Clooney)
Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich laced with too many prescription drugs, Suburbicon might look, sound, and perhaps even taste a little like a Joel and Ethan Coen picture because, in a sense, it is. The Minnesota brothers penned the script for this deliciously cruel and acerbically funny 1960s suburban nightmare years ago — something of a surprise given the story’s fixation on building walls and having other people pay for them — before being picked up and brought to life, in all its glory, by George Clooney. – Rory O. (full review)
The Woman Who Left (Lav Diaz)
Lav Diaz’s Golden Lion winner from this year’s Venice Film Festival feels like something of a surprise because, for all its extended shots, luminous black-and-white photography, and socio-historical weight, The Woman Who Left is ultimately an unostentatious work. Compared to, say, Norte, The End of History’s remarkably grim ending, with its reaches into fantasy / metaphysics (don’t forget that Tarkovsky-esque levitation), there doesn’t seem to be quite the same need to impress or belabor the point. – Ethan V. (full review)
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