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.

The Beekeeper (David Ayer)

It’s the time of year for smooth-brained relaxation. Moviegoers can recover from the holidays with the comfort of knowing Gerard Butler, Liam Neeson, or Jason Statham will be here to satisfy their mid-budget, action-programmer needs. Is it really the new year if one of those cherished Kings of January doesn’t appear on the release slate? There’s no Gerry or Liam, but the ever-reliable Statham dons a trucker hat and blue jeans to grit his way through David Ayer’s The Beekeeper, an overall valiant, occasionally fun attempt to take us out of Q1 doldrums. – Conor O. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler)

S. Craig Zahler is the kind of genre filmmaker who’s making films unlike anyone else in his field today. His 2015 debut Bone Tomahawk pulled together an impressive cast of character actors to make a two-plus hour western/horror hybrid, spending its sweet time building to a repulsive finale. The long runtime, slow pacing, and abrupt tonal shift all worked, though, thanks to Zahler’s memorable dialogue and imagination when it came to horrific violence. Brawl in Cell Block 99 sees the writer-director sticking to the same formula that made Bone Tomahawk work so well, and it’s hard not to blame him. Usually formulaic would be a bad thing, but Zahler is the only one using his particular formula, and the results are just as brutal and entertaining as before. – C.J. P. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Dario Argento Panico (Simone Scafidi)

See an exclusive clip above.

There are really three Dario Argentos in Simone Scafidi’s new documentary, Dario Argento Panico, and together they form a kind of Unholy Trinity. There is Dario Argento the artist (Father)––passionate, industrious, destructive; Dario Argento the man (Son)––generous, bookish, vulnerable; and Dario Argento the cinematic style (Holy Spirit)––savage, operatic, phantasmagorical. And perhaps the most enjoyable––and certainly the most novel––part of Scafidi’s film is that he allows these three personas to co-exist, creating a disguised giallo whose central question is not “Who committed the murder?” but “Who is Dario Argento?” – Oliver W. (full review)

Where to Stream: Shudder

Dicks: The Musical (Larry Charles)

When God (Bowen Yang) sees two virile young men plowing women, selling gears, and telling everyone they know that they do both of those things better than anyone else He ever created, He also sees their profound sadness. Because despite living their best lives, Craig (Josh Sharp) and Trevor (Aaron Jackson) don’t know love. Not familial love. One never had a father. The other never had a mother. And, as everyone knows, a one-parent home isn’t really a home at all. No, it’s borderline child abuse. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Max

Farewell My Concubine (Chen Kaige)

Premiering 30 years ago last year, Chen Kaige’s enchanting, Palme d’Or-winning, and Oscar-nominated drama Farewell My Concubine finally returned in its original cut, stunningly restored in 4K, to theaters. Starring Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, and Gong Li, the drama was cut by 20 minutes after Harvey Scissorhands had his way with it. Now restored to its original glory, it’s arrived on streaming.

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

God’s Creatures (Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer)

Some actors slip into familiar roles like old sweaters. Emily Watson might prefer a raincoat. The actress first graced our screens in Breaking the Waves for Lars von Trier: her eyes peeking out from under a wooly hat, whipped by wind and rain, and carrying the sins of an entire town. The great actress faces those same elements again in God’s Creatures, trading von Trier’s nightmarish vision of the Scottish highlands for a doom metal take on Ireland’s Atlantic coast. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Prime Video

The Greatest Night in Pop (Bao Nguyen)

While archival music documentaries have had a long history before Summer of Soul, Questlove’s Oscar winner seemed to open the floodgates for various organizations to look into their archives to see what treasures may be found. The latest example in his regard is The Greatest Night in Pop, which captures the incredible story of recording “We Are the World.” While it hews to a fairly conventional form, primarily narrated by the song’s mastermind Lionel Richie as he recounts the nail-biting countdown to gather the world’s greatest musicians, the film’s best moments are the never-before-seen footage of the recording. From Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson to Bruce Springsteen to Diana Ross to Tina Turner to Stevie Wonder to Cyndi Lauper and beyond, it’s a fascinating portrait of egos being pulled back to do something for the greater good. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Kokomo City (D. Smith)

Some films seem heavy from the outset. Taking on a number of Black transgender sex workers as its subject while splitting time between New York and Georgia––culturally different, if still not completely free nexuses of American culture––Kokomo City might appear this way. A documentary where its subjects are amongst the most vulnerable people in the country, you’d expect maybe something akin to the more seemingly downbeat tone of a recent documentary on the same subject, The Stroll, which positioned itself as an official history of sorts. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Paramount+ with Showtime

Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Steven Soderbergh)

Repeating the blissfully perfect, pure ode to pleasure that is Magic Mike XXL would be a fool’s errand, so nearly a decade later––with Steven Soderbergh back in the director’s chair–cinema’s finest stripper-verse is closing out on a more gentle, familiar, innocuous note. Hewing, unexpectedly, closer to a family film at its heart, Magic Mike’s Last Dance offers a more generalized message of the power of dance to engender community. This reliance on plot––and specifically this plot––rings a touch disappointing when considering the franchise’s bolder peaks. But thanks to a couple of memorable set-pieces, this final outing is still sexier than anything the likes of 50 Shades of Grey or Sam Levinson could ever dream up. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Past Lives (Celine Song)

Whether miniscule or major, the millions of decisions we make form the winding path of our lives. Specific reasons for taking certain forks in the road can often be lost to the sea of time, swelling back up only as our memory allows. A triptych not-quite-romance crossing nearly a quarter-century, playwright Celine Song’s directorial debut Past Lives examines such universal experience with keen cultural specificity, telling the story of childhood friends who twice reconnect later in life. It’s a warm, patient film culminating in a quietly powerful, reflective finale, though its sum is greater than its parts when the first two sections register a touch underdeveloped. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Paramount+ with Showtime

Mami Wati (Lílis Soares)

Does film reveal that the personal is political? C.J. “Fiery” Obasi and Lílis Soares photograph a personal film. It draws its emotion and style from West African mythologies. In diametric black-and-white images, it spins a fable of morphing gray space: the village Iyi exists between a modernity at turns salving and annihilating. Narrative magic emerges in the personal struggle between two sisters and their venerated mother, between the violence modern men bring and the possibility for a revolution that already exists in the image and tongue of Iyi’s women. The political future is inside an iris, an impossible iridescence that emerges, as often occurs, under the care of a camera. – Frank F.

Where to Stream: Metrograph at Home

Red Rocket (Sean Baker)

Few directors on the planet are making films that feel as lived-in as Sean Baker. Perhaps that is why Tangerine, The Florida Project, and Red Rocket resonate so strongly. More than verisimilitude, though, it is Baker’s understanding of the complexities of human nature that pushes his work to the level of excellence. Simon Rex’s Mikey Saber, an ex-porn star whose eye for a hustle is ever-present, behaves exactly how he should—uncaringly destructive to himself and others, but with a lovable grin. Part of the joy we derive from watching Red Rocket is our realization that Mikey is going to make the selfish move every single damn time. So very, very wrong; so very, very 2021. It cements Baker as one of cinema’s brightest lights, and features a lead performance that remains endearing even when Mikey is at his worst, not to mention a magnificent debut from Suzanna Son. In its final sequence, Rocket reveals Mikey to be something rare: a character completely true to himself. Deluded, but true. Thus Red Rocket is more than a comedy. It is a modern classic exploring the flaws and desires of a man who in his relentless selfishness and overwhelming confidence is a quintessential American. Might sound crazy, but it ain’t no lie. – Chris S.

Where to Stream: Prime Video

R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu)

Anyone looking to take the temperature of Cristian Mungiu’s first film in six long years should heed the words of Matthias, his most recent downtrodden protagonist: “People who feel pity die first,” he explains to his 8-year-old son. “I want you to die last.” Too much? Try the more eloquent musings of the local priest: “Everyone has their place in the world, as God ordained.” Translation: go back to where you came from. The Romanian filmmaker returns with R.M.N., a portrait of Europe, perhaps the world, in the days of late capitalism. As bitter and biting as its winter landscape, it stars Marin Grigore as a Hungarian immigrant in a small village nestled amongst the snowy forests and sweeping mountains of Transylvania. Working in crisp blues and greys from Tudor Vladimir Panduru (GraduationMalmkrog), Mungiu sketches the town as a modern Babel: Romanian, Hungarian, French, German, Sri Lankan, and English are all spoken, and an uneasy coexistence prevails. You soon wonder for how long. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Via Dolorosa (Oraib Toukan)

Artist and scholar Oraib Toukan uncovers early films by the late Palestinian cinematographer and photographer Hani Jawharieh, who was part of the historic Palestine Film Unit (PFU). Re-assembling the footage, Toukan focuses on the details within, inside, and behind each frame to find, as she puts it, “knowledge beyond what the image represents.”

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

Unrest (Cyril Schäublin)

The best word to describe Unrest is “clever.” It isn’t on the level of the artisans and thinkers it lovingly portrays––all the graphers (geo, carto, photo) and the ists (social, anarch, horolog, and so on)––but not so far off; and more than enough to be worthy of their story. Consider the title’s neat duality. “Unrest,” as the film explains, is another name for a wristwatch’s balance wheel: an instrument that, working in tandem with the spiral and escapement, creates the mechanism that makes it tick. Then there is the other kind. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Also New to Streaming

The Criterion Channel

Celebrate Black History
Directed by the Safdie Brothers
Directed by Shirley Clarke
Drugstore Cowboy
Gothic Noir
Hong Kong Hits
Interdimensional Romance
Three by Jonathan Glazer
Your Name.

MUBI (free for 30 days)

World of Glory
One False Move
The City Below
The Lies of Victors
Night of the Living Dead
Eve’s Bayou

Death in the Garden
Watermelon Man
Red Hook Summer
Sleeping Sickness
So Long, My Son


The Babadook
The Novice
Orion and the Dark

Prime Video

Another Round
Basic Instinct
Fiddler on the Roof
Get Out
Hot Fuzz
In the Cut




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