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.

Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg (Alexis Bloom and Svetlana Zill)

You can’t always get what you want, unless you are a Rolling Stones fan hungering for documentary deep-dives into the band’s storied history. Indeed, it is spectacularly serendipitous that Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg arrives just a few months after The Stones and Brian Jones. The latter doc, from Nick Broomfield, centered on Jones, the band’s founder and leader until Mick Jagger and Keith Richards snatched that mantle. Catching Fire and The Stones and Brian Jones cover much of the same ground, use some of the same archival footage, and even feature the same anecdotes from delightful Tin Drum director Volker Schlöndorff. (Once you hear his tale of walking in on Keith Richards eating breakfast in Pallenberg’s bed, you never forget it.) The films are even released by the same distributor, Magnolia. – Christopher S. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Contestant (Clair Titley)

The tagline of Clair Titley’s The Contestant is “The naked truth about the world’s first reality star.” The show referred to is Susunu! Denpa Shōnen, which aired in Japan from January 1998 to March 2002, and which saw participants––usually young people eager for fame––complete grueling challenges, such as hitch-hiking from South Africa to Norway or traveling from India to Indonesia by peddle boat. The star is Tomoaki Hamatsu, better known as “Nasubi” (“eggplant” in Japanese, owing to the size and shape of his head), who appeared on Denpa Shōnen’s now infamous program A Life in Prizes. The question that the show posed was simple: how long could someone survive on competition prizes alone? – Oliver W. (Hulu

Dark Waters (Todd Haynes)

Legal dramas lionize those who rise above the allure of cynicism and greed. Sometimes it’s the victims of grand social injustice or the lawyers who help ensure their chance at public retribution. Either way, in almost every case the ethics of heroism wins the day because justice finally becomes tangible. Todd Haynes understands that the justice system hardly ever works in such cut and dry terms. Highfalutin jargon and endless procedural bureaucracy render the judicial process intimidating and isolating for the very citizens it’s supposed to help. With Dark Waters, the rare biopic that refuses to embrace climactic closure, he elides sentimental and rousing conventions one would associate with courtroom epics. – Glenn H. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World (Radu Jude)

Long before the formal somersaulting of his 2021 Berlinale winner Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, the Romanian director’s films have hopscotched across genres and tones, weaving together the vernaculars of essay films, documentaries, and archives into projects that unfurl like mosaics. Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World follows in their footsteps. A collage perched between road movie and black comedy, Jude’s latest is another effervescent study of life in the 21st century, a work that’s engineered to both sponge something of our screens-infested zeitgeist and interrogate its textures. Few filmmakers are so reliably able to conjure snapshots of modern capitalism and its neuroses; fewer still can douse those documents with so much playfulness and wonder as Jude. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Femme (Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping)

It’s near-impossible to make a revenge narrative that doesn’t serve as a commentary on clichéd gender roles. Male-centered vengeance stories, even at their most knowingly ludicrous, typically focus on wounded men aiming to reassert the dominance stripped of them; female-centered ones are about why women shouldn’t be underestimated because of stereotypical, outdated ideas of femininity. It’s an enduring, still-thrilling formula even as the boldest films within this pantheon can’t help reverting back to this template. The greatest strength of Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping’s stylish debut Femme is their self-awareness as to how pervasive this genre trait is even within an unmistakably queer narrative, making their protagonist’s quest for vengeance a borderline-B-plot within a character study of increasing moral murkiness. It won’t be anywhere near as liable for highly charged discourse, but in its best moments it feels positively reminiscent of Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, another seemingly straightforward revenge tale flipped on its head by the way power dynamics subtly evolve. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Holdovers (Alexander Payne)

This film, in the best possible way, is a time machine. Comfortable, bittersweet, and very funny, it captures a moment that is nostalgic without the syrup. Paul Hunham––an embittered classics teacher at Barton Academy boarding school forced to spend his Christmas break babysitting abandoned students––is the pinnacle of Paul Giamatti’s incredible career. He’s mean, he’s pretentious, he’s pedantic. Yet he does care. He is in pain. Alexander Payne has softened as he’s aged, and that’s on full display here. The edge of the blade dulls, and we love these characters enough that we’re happy that they may make it through the day. Da’Vine Joy Randolph might give the best performance of the year and newcomer Dominic Sessa is a wonder. Nothing I write here will do the picture justice. Do yourself the favor and watch it. – Dan M.

Where to Stream: Prime Video

House of Tolerance (Bertrand Bonello)

Bertrand Bonello’s opium-soaked, time-collapsing fever dream of a Parisian brothel caught between the 19th and 20th centuries emerges like the lovechild of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. Screening on 35mm for the first time in years, House of Tolerance is, among other things: a parade of opulent images, a supreme and startling use of music, and his most loving lens on the female form. A shocking mutilation, a gleefully anachronistic dance to the Moody Blues, drugs and sex and astonishing split-screens and flights of fancy that climax with an entirely unprecedented final minute––Bonello captures all with both inebriated detachment and total precision, cementing his place among the greatest living filmmakers. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days), The Criterion Channel

Humane (Caitlin Cronenberg)

To paraphrase former White House Chief of Staff Tom Card, whispering in the ear of George W. Bush: a second Cronenberg offspring has made a movie. Whereas her older brother Brandon Cronenberg has more openly sought to replicate the visceral, satirical body horror of their father’s earliest work, offering some delightfully nasty thrills with the likes of Antiviral and Infinity Pool––even as he remained comfortably within his dad’s shadow––Caitlin Cronenberg couldn’t be accused of simply conforming to the expectations that come with her family’s brand-name recognition. The biggest surprise with her directorial debut Humane might be just how comfortably this could sit alongside Blumhouse and Screen Gems shlock at your local multiplex: a well-engineered, single-location thriller that prioritizes bloody, gut-punch twists and turns over the more thoughtful introspection that typically accompanies this in a Cronenberg effort. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Idea of You (Michael Showalter)

Despite rumors that The Idea of You is a work of Harry Styles fan fiction (or a reimagining of Notting Hill), Michael Showalter’s frothy romantic comedy stands on its own with a lot of good old-fashioned star power. A date movie that feels crafted in an era before streaming (yet comes to Prime Video) the film follows Solène (Anne Hathaway), a Silver Lake art gallery owner who’s recently broken up with Daniel (Reid Scott), a corporate attorney with a wandering eye. They share custody of their 16-year-old daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) who has transitioned from boy bands like the fictional August Moon in favor of powerful female pop stars like St. Vincent. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Prime Video

Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Phạm Thiên Ân)

Early into Pham Thien An’s sprawling, stupefying Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, there’s a shot that manifests Caravaggio inside a shack in rural Vietnam. Having traveled from Saigon to his home village to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law, Thien (Le Phong Vu) is visiting a local elder who sowed a shroud for the departed. The twenty-something wants to pay for the service; the old man doesn’t take money from neighbors. He does accept the company, though, and very generously spills a whole cascade of memories from the Vietnam War, laying bare an old bullet scar on his ribcage. And as Thien bends to graze the bruised skin under the warm, caliginous light, Pham frames the moment as one of reverential awe, an image modeled off of Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.” It’s a beautiful shot in a film full of them. That it comes near the end of a particularly intricate 24-minute take is a testament to Pham’s mastery of craft; that this three-hour odyssey is only his first feature only adds to the wonder. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Kino Film Collection

Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind (Ethan Coen)

Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind kicks off with two great videos of Jerry Lee Lewis that you can probably watch online right now. The first is an older Lewis playing a lovely country rendition of Ernest Tubb’s “Walking the Floor Over You”; the second is a young, prime Lewis blowing your mind with his April 1957 single “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” It’s a strong start, especially for those who haven’t seen him play. The man is a plain-and-simple musical luminary. He kicks back his chair or throws off his coat mid-piano solo without missing a beat and you immediately understand why he was a phenomenon: the immaculate piano work, golden voice, dynamic style, inebriating confidence, insane performance ethic, and Iggy Pop-level energy on stage. Throw all of that in a cocktail and you’ve got a lethal drink, a palpable charisma. But once the opening videos end, there’s not much to stick around for. – Luke H. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski)

The Matrix Resurrections is misshapen, haphazard, and some of the happiest a film has made me in 2021, regularly inspiring surprises and enthusiasms the contemporary tentpole long deemed irrelevant. Though less a take-it-or-leave-it gauntlet-toss than Lana Wachowski’s more boldly experimental endeavors, the virtues of her fourth Matrix are often in excess of anything she’s made since the polarizing-but-great sequels, sometimes in contradiction to the matter of us even watching it—a work about the fact that it nearly should not exist. – Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

A Night of Knowing Nothing (Payal Kapadia)

A Night of Knowing Nothing, the debut of Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia and winner of the Oeil d’or for Best Documentary at last year’s Cannes, cannily fuses two forms of knowing, or two ways of absorbing an important moment in one’s life: experiencing and its near-opposite, remembering. Through its slippery cinematic language and elusive point-of-view, Kapadia depicts a moment happening urgently in the film’s present-day strand––a wave of anti-government student protests and their resulting crackdown––and treats it like memory, which we know operates as anything but a direct mental recording device. Jonathan Rosenbaum convincingly argues that a film can’t be both incoherent and political––at its best, A Night of Knowing Nothing offers a challenge to this idea. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: Metrograph at Home

Pamfir (Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk)

A riveting father-son story set in the criminal world of smuggling on the edge of the Ukrainian border, Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s debut Pamfir has a remarkable sense of location. Astonishing tracking shots center on our foreboding lead Leonid (Oleksandr Yatsentyuk) as he picks up the pieces of his life to make ends meet for his family. There’s a lived-in sensibility to its world, giving space for raw, unfiltered emotions to play out in regard to regrettable decisions our characters make in a bid both for survival and a familial connection. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Metrograph at Home

Seeing Red (Su Friedrich)

​​A pioneer of the New York queer and experimental film scenes explores the many meanings of the color red in this whirlwind short. Bringing together a series of monologues, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and a visual montage centered around red objects, the half-hour film is as thrilling as it is stirring. Seeing Red showcases Su Friedrich’s ingenuity as a director whose playful approach to filmmaking always taps into new emotional and formal territory. 

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme)

Perhaps the greatest concert film of all time, Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense recently received a much-deserved 4K 40th-anniversary theatrical release, where it amassed nearly $7M worldwide, more than during the film’s original run. Released in 1984, the film was shot in December 1983 over three nights of Talking Heads‘ performances at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater and now the new restoration has arrived digitally––the perfect entertainment to play on repeat for your next party.

Where to Stream: Max

Also New to Streaming

Apple TV+

The Big Lebowski
Blade Runner 2049

The Criterion Channel

The Breaking Ice

Columbia’s Golden Era
Directed by Ayoka Chenzira
Directed by Michael Roemer
Directed by Sara Driver
First-Person Asian American: 11 Documentaries
Hollywood Crack-Up: The Decade American Cinema Lost Its Mind
Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Antiwar Trilogy
Once Upon a Time in America
Set in Venice
Starring Shirley MacLaine
When the Apocalypse Is Over: New Independent Philippine Cinema


Stars at Noon
When Evil Lurks

Metrograph at Home

Ghost Tropic
Jeannette: the Childhood of Joan of Arc
Night Across the Street
Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Three Crowns of the Sailor
The Tsugua Diaries

Two Shorts by Kelly Reichardt

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Flight of the Red Balloon
The Innocents
Only God Forgives
Secret Sunshine
The Selfish Giant
Two Days, One Night
The Unknown Girl
Zombi Child


Starship Troopers

Prime Video

All That Heaven Allows
Call Me By Your Name
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Master
The Night of the Hunter
Rear Window
Rolling Thunder


Remembering Gene Wilder
They Shot the Piano Player

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