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.
20th Century Women (Mike Mills)
That emotional profundity most directors try to build to across an entire film? Mike Mills achieves it in every scene of 20th Century Women. There’s such a debilitating warmness to both the vibrant aesthetic and construction of its dynamic characters as Mills quickly soothes one into his story that you’re all the more caught off-guard as the flurry of emotional wallops are presented. Without ever hitting a tonal misstep, Mills’ latest feature takes place in a short period of time within relatively few locations, yet seems to pick up every wavelength of the human experience. There are also few funnier scenes this year than Billy Crudup‘s William attempting to explain the ending of a certain classic. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
After the Storm (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
Can our children pick and choose the personality traits they inherit, or are they doomed to obtain our lesser qualities? These are the hard questions being meditated on in After the Storm, a sobering, transcendent tale of a divorced man’s efforts to nudge back into his son’s life. Beautifully shot by regular cinematographer Yutaka Yamasaki, it marks a welcome and quite brilliant return to serious fare for writer-editor-director Hirokazu Kore-eda following last year’s Our Little Sister, widely regarded as one of the slightest works of his career thus far. – Rory O. (full review)
All These Sleepless Nights (Michal Marczak)
Blurring the line between documentary and fiction like few films before it, Michal Marczak‘s All These Sleepless Nights is a music-filled ode to the ever-shifting bliss and angst of youth set mostly in the wee hours of the day in Warsaw, Poland. Marczak himself, who also plays cinematographer, is wary to delineate the line between narrative and nonfiction, and part of the film’s joy is forgoing one’s grasp on this altering perspective, rather simply getting wrapped up in the immaculately-shot allure of its location. – Jordan R. (full review)
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
Kelly Reichardt‘s mesmerizing triptych sees women battered by society and the bitter Montana breeze. Distant railroad horns and the epic Rocky Mountain scenery make it inescapably American, and, in a year in which one woman didn’t break the highest glass of all, the domestic struggles of these assertive, more “certain” women — including never-better Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and breakout Lily Gladstone — carry greater poignancy. I saw the film in January at Sundance, and the feelings it provoked haven’t left me. – Ed F.
Lion (Garth Davis)
Garth Davis‘ directorial debut Lion is based on a true story. The film makes sure to tell us that at the very beginning of the movie — just to remind us that whatever we’re about to see in front of us were real events inspired by real people. We first see the main character of the film, Saroo, at all but five years old, wandering the streets of central India by helping out his mom, a rock carrier, and his brother, the man of the house. In a random, but realistic, turn of events Saroo ends up on runaway train and gets lost thousands of kilometers away in the streets of Calcutta. The first half, all in Hindi and Bengali with English subtitles, is dynamite, encompassing an exotic world far away from us that nevertheless feels all too intimate and relatable. Saroo is a tiny fella and he ends up surviving many dilemmas by simply doing what he does best: running. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Joseph Cedar)
Together, writer/director Joseph Cedar and lead actor Richard Gere craft a singularly memorable character in Norman Oppenheimer, a lonely New York “businessman” with loose connections and an insatiable drive for success. Cedar builds his film Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer as a modern adaptation of the “Court Jew” archetype, in which a Jewish figure befriends a man of power, only to be betrayed in the end. – Dan M. (full review)
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Jorma Taccone Akiva Schaffer)
It’s all about #brand loyalty for The Lonely Island in their first “official” movie, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, which stays true to the absurdist, bite-sized comedy that made their name. The musical comedy trio – comprised of Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone – has been around for over a decade, breaking out through their digital shorts on Saturday Night Live. – Dan M. (full review)
Where to Stream: HBO Go
A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
“You are alone you your revolution, Ms. Dickinson,” spouts a stoic headmistress in the opening sequence of A Quiet Passion, a biopic of 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson and the latest work from proud Liverpudlian auteur Terence Davies. In the scene, young Emily has apparently rejected both a life in the seminary and the option to be a practicing catholic, a decision the famously atheistic director clearly vibes with. That sense of empathy and understanding with his subject is rife throughout this quietly cleansing and exquisitely considered film, which shows the writer from her late teens (portrayed by Emma Bell) through to adulthood (Cynthia Nixon) and old age. – Rory O. (full review)
Also New to Streaming
Taris and Three Colors: Blue
The Earrings of Madame de . . . and Elena and Her Men
Young and Innocent
What Did the Lady Forget?
Princess Yang Kwei-fei
The Third Shadow Warrior
MUBI (free for 30 days)