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.

About Endlessness (Roy Andersson)

“What should I do now that I have lost my faith?” is the question that animates About Endlessness; this being the new film by Roy Andersson, it is delivered in a doctor’s waiting room, over and over again, in a creaky voice, by a dumpy man in late middle age who continues his plaint even after the doctor and his receptionist gruntingly force him outside into the hallway, from whence they can hear him scratching at the door like a zombie. About Endlessness is Roy Andersson’s fourth film of this century; it looks much like the previous three, and nothing like anything else ever made. – Mark A. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Candyman (Nia DaCosta)

The marketing machine can say Nia DaCosta’s Candyman (co-written by producer Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld) is a “spiritual sequel” all it wants, but you should know that bit of deflection is more about their decision to re-center the tale on the Black experience over insufficient connective tissue to the past. Narratively, one would be lost without having seen the original. DaCosta and company do a great job sprinkling in flashbacks via shadow play, but don’t rehash the conclusion (spoilers for the first film): that Helen becomes Candyman in the end. That whole film is about a ghost proving itself a living, breathing warning about America’s violence towards Black men and women, yet closes with a white woman taking the mantle. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Center Stage (Stanley Kwan)

Following her breakout with Jackie Chan in Police Story and before her iconic roles in the films of Wong Kar-wai and Olivier Assayas, Maggie Cheung delivered one of the best performances of her career in Stanley Kwan’s lush, definitive, and boldly conceived biopic Center Stage, also known as Actress. Now gorgeously restored in 4K from the original negative, and approved by Kwan himself, the film follows Cheung as iconic silent film star Ruan Lingyu, who committed suicide at the age of 24 in 1935 after a tumultuous private life that was frequent fodder for the vicious Shanghai tabloids—and began to mirror the melodramas that brought her fame. With Cheung receiving the Best Actress award at Berlinale, the film also mixes in interviews dissecting acting and fame, while also interspersing actual footage from Ruan Lingyu’s films. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Cry Macho (Clint Eastwood)

Clint Eastwood must know he’s getting close to the end. Watching him onscreen in Cry Macho, the 45th directorial credit in a storied career that’s spanned six decades, he brings a sense of contentment and poignancy to every scene. Once wily and horny, his smile seems peaceful and less aggressive. If the tall man with no name is now hunched over and frail, he moves slowly—not only from necessity but because he’s simply in no rush. There are no more battles to fight, only horizons to watch. “I don’t know how to cure old,” he says at one point, in what has to be the most empathetic line delivery of his career. – Glenn H. (full review)

Where to Stream: HBO Max

Her Socialist Smile (John Gianvito)

You may have known that Helen Keller was a comrade, a life-long socialist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World; in Her Socialist Smile, John Gianvito assembles Keller’s political addresses and writings into a portrait of a warrior for social justice and a passionate, insightful proselytizer of Marxist thought. She instigated a Braille translation of Bakunin and advocated for a general strike during the first Red Scare. Now, in a time of national self-criticism, when seemingly no American monument is safe from revisionism, Helen Keller emerges from Her Socialist Smile to appear even more inspiring, relevant, and righteous than in the official narrative—appears, perhaps, the only truly based person they teach you about in elementary school. – Mark A. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

The Mad Women’s Ball (Melanie Laurent)

With the TIFF world premiere The Mad Women’s Ball (Le Bal des folles), Mélanie Laurent proves again to be an equal force in front of and behind the camera. There are the deeply memorable performances in Inglourious Basterds, Le Concert, Beginners, Enemy, and Alexandre Aja’s Oxygen. (The latter, a Netflix picture, was essentially a one-person show.) She also released a lovely album, En t’attendant, in 2011; the title track features one of the most positively glorious screams ever recorded. In the last decade, Laurent has directed six films—2011’s The Adopted, 2014’s Breathe, 2015’s Tomorrow (co-helmed with Cyril Dion), 2017’s Diving, 2018’s Galveston, and now The Mad Women’s Ball. Her latest is without question her most ambitious, finest film. – Chris S. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

The Nowhere Inn (Bill Benz)

The criticism of any film, narrative or documentary, wherein a musical artist plays him or herself is that it begins to play like branded IP rather than a natural extension of the artist’s work as the artist. For some, like Bruce Springsteen, a level of self-awareness about their process and inspiration is a design feature rather than a bug. For so many others, such as the Beatles or Spice Girls, big-screen outings were largely fan service. This brings us to the enigma of Annie Clark, who is painfully aware of her persona as a woman of mystery. In fact, she’s frequently mistaken or told she’s an unknown; outside of certain alt-rock circles, perhaps that is true. For some she means the world. For others—like a limo driver and bouncer who don’t know her—she’s simply not on the radar. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Prisoners of the Ghostland (Sion Sono)

Arguably the hardest working man in show business, Nicolas Cage appeared in over 40 films the last decade alone. Yes, he may no longer work with the likes of David Lynch, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Charlie Kaufman or the Coens, but the eternally entertaining actor usually finds a gem every now and again that truly utilizes his eccentric talents. That’s why the prospect of him teaming with a director as unhinged and prolific as he is an actor made for the most-anticipated collaboration in some time. With Cage as his lead, Sion Sono––one of Japan’s most creative, kinetic filmmakers––embarked on his English-language debut Prisoners of the Ghostland following his life-altering, death-defying heart attack. The results are a madcap Mad Max-esque, Gilliam-style fever dream that throws everything at the screen that its limited, but resourceful budget can muster up. The actual experience of watching this gonzo dystopian samurai western is far from the shock-a-minute journey that one would expect, but even in its more banal sequences, Sono’s imaginative eye peeks through. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Riders of Justice (Anders Thomas Jensen)

Anders Thomas Jensen’s entertaining rollercoaster of a film Riders of Justice follows a soldier named Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) who risks it all to take revenge on the criminals that may or may not have had something to do with the untimely death of his beloved wife.  Although this film is neither genre-defying nor age-defining, its touching message is executed methodically. – Tim B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Saint-Narcisse (Bruce LaBruce)

The Narcissus myth, where a man falls in love with his own reflection and ultimately destroys himself over it, has only grown more relevant with time. The dominance of social media, the performative aspects that come with it, self-help culture, various forms of media pushing self-affirmation, and a culture driven towards individualism are just some of the ways we’ve led ourselves to a place where terms like “toxic positivity” begin taking prominence. It’s a topic well worth exploring, and thank God Canadian provocateur Bruce LaBruce chose to. Rather than getting too intellectual about it, Saint-Narcisse gives audiences the reflection of their obsessed selves they deserve: a sleazy, incestuous, soapy good time evoking ‘70s B-movies as it drags traditional values around religion and family to the extreme endpoint of loving oneself. – C.J. P. (full review)

Where to Stream: Virtual Cinemas

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