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.
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Exactly one year after completing his accomplished Before trilogy at Sundance, writer-director Richard Linklater returned with Boyhood, a film 12 years in the making and worth every minute of the wait. Shot one week at a time over the course of a decade or so, Linklater explores the formative years of a young man named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane. Born into separated parents, played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke (doing some of the best work in their careers), Mason represents some part of a childhood all of us have known. This is a film of many small moments, all added together to make something quite wonderful. – Dan M (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
The Childhood of a Leader (Brady Corbet)
The feature debut from young actor turned screenwriter-director Brady Corbet, The Childhood of a Leader is an ambitious choice for a first project — a period piece tying together the post-WWI political climate and the upbringing of a child in a chateau outside Paris. The film, premiering in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival, is a huge psychological and tonal balancing act that could crumble at each turn, and yet never does. – Tommaso T. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Creed (Ryan Coogler)
Perhaps after one well-remembered surprise hit and five sequels of quality varying from passable to laughable disaster, no one expected much from Ryan Coogler’s new spin on the Rocky franchise. But Coogler freed himself of the burden of trying to follow its footsteps while doing exactly that. Creed is Hollywood filmmaking at its absolute zenith: a film that sets up archetypes and, without subverting them, turns them into breathing characters who don’t have character goals, but desires. Coogler sets up familiar scenarios and then gives a little bit of a twist: an unexpected camera angle emphasizes a minor point, a held beat allows us to feel the intimacy between people, and the long takes never show themselves off — only the drama on screen. Coogler obviously loves Stallone’s original, but he’s never exploitative; the iconic references become integral to its new characters, unlike in the latest installment of another awakening franchise. Readers, I’ll admit: I mocked people for discussing how much they cried during Creed before I saw it. But what I didn’t understand is how well Coogler builds our interest in the characters, so that creating an emotional response to discovering whether Michael B. Jordan’s emphatically determined newcomer can prove his worth is absolutely necessary to his work. Which is to say that Coogler does exactly what Hollywood films have been trying to do since their birth, and reminds us of their power. – Peter L.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
De Palma (Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow)
Earlier this year, Kent Jones’ Hitchcock /Truffaut — a documentary on the famous interview sessions between the two directors — boasted perhaps the most chaotic, dignity-threatening queue of any film screened at Cannes. There is a craving for this sort of thing among cinephiles it seems and it’s easy to see why. Directors just seem to open up much more when speaking to one of their own kind. Brian De Palma, the subject of this fine documentary, says that they’re “the only ones who understand what we go through.” Over the last five years, fellow directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow shot over 30 hours of interviews with the movie icon and have distilled them down into this rich feature-length documentary. De Palma is a fascinating, revealing and compelling overview of a remarkably eclectic career, but it’s also a seldom-heard first-hand account of what it’s like to work inside and outside the Hollywood system. – Rory O. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Evolution (Lucile Hadžihalilovic)
Near the beginning of Evolution, there’s a shot that hangs underwater, showing a seemingly harmonious aquatic eco-system that’s glimpsed just long enough to create the sense of something that, while somewhat familiar, is distinctly outside the human world. This fleeting image though shows the promise of the film Evolution could’ve been. – Ethan V. (full review)
Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Koreeda)
He debuted his latest film at Cannes, After the Storm, but Hirokazu Koreeda‘s previous feature finally got a release in the United States thanks to Sony Classics this past summer. Adapted from Akimi Yoshida’s highly successful manga Umimachi Diary, Our Little Sister is an examination of the dynamics amongst the members of a damaged family.While we were mixed on it back at Cannes last year, it’s now available to stream. – Jordan R.
Tank 432 (Nick Gillespie)
Director Ben Wheatley is showing his eye for talent by putting his name behind a guy who’s worked closely with him since 2011’s Kill List. A filmmaker in his own right, camera operator Nick Gillespie has stayed by Wheatley’s side on every subsequent project up to and including the forthcoming Free Fire. This time around it’s he who’s providing the claustrophobic thriller as writer and director of Tank 432 (formerly known as Belly of the Bulldog). It’s a doozy too—all mood, atmosphere, and mystery with our own confusion about the action mirrored in those onscreen. All they know is that they have orders. Extract their prisoners, survive the war, and write everything down. But while they know what to do, the why seems universally out of reach. – Jared M. (full review)
Also New to Streaming
Chevalier (and the films of Athina Rachel Tsangari)
MUBI (free 30-day trial)