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.
Brad’s Status (Mike White)
Brad’s (Ben Stiller) son is about to embark on college. It’s the type of auspicious life marker to make anyone look back and question the journey they’ve taken thus far. Has Brad done enough? Lived up to the potential he felt he possessed? Or was he passed by? All of his old Tufts friends are rich, famous, successful, and/or happy—pure happiness unencumbered by the seemingly trivial struggles Brad faces daily. He isn’t poor, though. Nor destitute. If anything he’s on the cusp of breaking past middle class with loving wife (Jenna Fischer’s Melanie) and son (Austin Abrams’ Troy). We therefore can’t feasibly pity him and this film about his white privileged crisis knows it. Only one person could ever feel sorry for him: himself. And of course he does. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)
Guadagnino gets it. With miraculous ease and intimacy, he maps a summer romance from the first tingles of anticipation to the pangs of memories marking a life changed. There’s no blame, twists or drama. Just moments of realization that have surprised and would ultimately define us. Boasting an immaculate technical team, a dream cast led by the phenomenal Timothée Chalamet and the timeless words by André Aciman/James Ivory, this all-around spellbinding picture lays bare the workings of the heart so beautifully you don’t watch so much as relive them. A bona-fide masterpiece of shattering tenderness and wisdom. – Zhuo-Ning Su
Faces Places (Agnès Varda and JR)
An irrepressible, freewheeling collaboration, Faces Places uses a simple concept – following legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda and the pseudonymous street artist JR as they travel the French countryside and put up large-scale photographs of its inhabitants – in order to explore an extraordinary range of humanity and emotion. Light-hearted and substantial, its prosaic method of presentation only enlivens the pairing of the octogenarian and the young raconteur, culminating in a beautiful moment of pure emotion that reflects its central aims: revelation via documentation. – Ryan S.
I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie)
Eclipsed by the subsequent notorious O.J. Simpson murder fiasco, one can’t really blame Margot Robbie for initially believing Tonya Harding to be a fictitious character. What was months prior an inescapable media frenzy, the Kerrigan-Harding incident was erased from prevalence almost instantaneously. Configured as a mockumentary, Craig Gillespie revives the case against Harding in a darkly comedic and surprisingly affecting study of an athlete shunned from the public eye for what might have been nothing more than the result of a teenager who followed her heart. – Joseph F. (full review)
Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)
At its heart, Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues is a meditation on the struggle between traditionalism and modernism. Through the story of one man’s journey through Chinese cities — Kaili to Zhenyuan — Bi focuses on characters who lament the people and ideas that they’ve lost as the world’s changed around them. But this is not just another screed against contemporary life; it finds a cruel beauty and gentle soul in the transition between elemental landscapes and the unfinished, industrialized future. And there’s personal serenity for some of these characters in being able to leave behind their old lives. – Michael S. (full review)
Mohawk (Ted Geoghegan)
After his acclaimed debut We Are Still Here, Ted Geoghegan is back for his follow-up. “What at first feels put-on becomes lived-in; as actors sink into characters and grisly displays of violence allow for direct confrontations with suffering, Mohawk offers a raw and earnest condemning of the white man’s historical and ever-present atrocities that feels particularly urgent today,” Mike Mazzanti said in his review. “Shot in only natural light on actual Mohawk land, Geoghegan makes it clear that even with little means he can still deliver sheer affect.”
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)
Guillermo del Toro’s Shape of Water is the elegant love story he was born to make. It is obviously his best film since Pan’s Labyrinth, but one can go further: Shape is his finest effort to date. Consider the swoon-worthy look of it all, from the design of the amphibious creature to the sight of a grinning Sally Hawkins on her nightly bus journey. Consider, too, the performances of Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, and Michael Stuhlbarg. On paper, the plot — mute custodian falls for the aforementioned imprisoned creature during the Cold War — sounds stale and B-movie-ish. In del Toro’s hands, it is magical. Moment to moment, scene for scene, The Shape of Water is a glorious creation. Here is a film that reminds us why we so adore cinema in the first place. A remarkable achievement in all respects. – Chris S.
Spettacolo (Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen)
The cinematic representation of a kind of meta-art, a self-reckoning through artistic expression, is nothing new. Whatever the form, most depictions have centered on either the creative process and its attendant difficulties, or the revelations of character that stem from the material (and in many cases both). Spettacolo, a documentary centering around the annual play staged in the Italian town of Monticchiello, largely eschews these staid subjects in favor of a more sedate, quietly ruminative view of how art and tradition are so often intertwined, and how the rapidly changing modern world affects these two cultural artifacts. Though the tone and treatment fall too often into the elegiac, there are still some surprises and insights to be found. – Ryan S. (full review)
TCM Selects on FilmStruck
As if the selection on FilmStruck couldn’t get any better, they’ve now teamed with Warner Bros. to offer TCM Selects. Featuring Casablanca, Rebel Without a Cause, Singin’ In the Rain, Citizen Kane, The Music Man, Bringing Up Baby, The Thin Man, Cat People, A Night At The Opera, An American In Paris, and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf–some of which are available now, others coming soon–your to-watch list just got a whole lot bigger and more instatly accessible.
Where to Stream: FilmStruck
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan)
With the strongest one-two punch of first produced scripts in Hollywood the past few years, Taylor Sheridan has emerged as a distinctive voice in revitalizing tired (or all but dormant) genres. After scripting Sicario and Hell or High Water, he’s now gone fully behind the camera for his directorial debut Wind River, which blends both crime and western elements. I said in my review, “Let down by muddy characterization and a choppy directorial style, the drama finally coheres in its final act to deliver the uncompromising thrills that have been Sheridan’s trademark.” – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Netflix
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