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.
Before we highlight this week’s picks, I want to give a special shout-out to our newly-launched Twitter account for Michael Snydel’s podcast Intermission. He’s sharing daily, well-curated streaming recommendations, so be sure to give it a follow!
Burial (Ben Parker)
From Tarantino to Mann to Marvel, mining Word War II for fictional storytelling purposes is nothing new in cinema. The latest to take the leap is Ben Parker’s Burial, a staid action thriller following Russian soldiers who are transporting the corpse of Hitler back to their homeland, per Stalin’s request. While Parker suggests some interesting ideas about conflicted nationalism at the end of a war, and he gets the table-setting right when it comes to mood, Burial is hurt by generic characterization and a narrative that isn’t sure if it wants to thrill, disturb, or find deeper psychological truths. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: VOD
Cinematography by James Wong Howe
One of the great cinematographers in movie history is now getting a much-deserved series on The Criterion Channel, following a theatrical retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image earlier this year. The James Wong Howe tribute includes bonafide classics such as Hud, Seconds, The Hard Way, Sweet Smell of Success, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, as we all as a great number of lesser-known offers worth checking out.
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
Eight By Fritz Lang
Spanning his career from the silent era to an Edward G. Robinson-led noir, Filmatique’s collection puts eight works by the German master into a handy package. There is, of course, his epochal Metropolis, a film that needs no introduction, and the rare streaming appearance of his two-part Die Nibelungen—a silent adventure as deserving of his name as anything else. But if we can make a special recommendation, don’t sleep on his deliriously entertaining Spies or Woman in the Moon, a sci-fi epic made before cinema had capacity to imagine such things.
Where to Stream: Filmatique
Elvis (Baz Luhrmann)
Few filmmakers embrace artistic dichotomy like Baz Luhrmann. The Australian writer-director known for epic, ornate, long-gestating projects has become synonymous with both extravagant innovation and chaotic fluff. He is a walking, talking, directing state of creative contrast. “Six films into his career” might make it seem like he’s a relative newcomer, but Luhrmann’s been helming giant features since his 1996 tropical Ed Hardy rendition of Romeo + Juliet, which pales in scintillation to Elvis. – Luke H. (full review)
Where to Stream: HBO Max
The Films of Studio Ghibli
While not new to streaming, per se, considering their inclusion on HBO Max and digital purchase, the exquisite Studio Ghibli library is now available to digitally rent on all major platforms. The full available list is as follows: Castle in the Sky, The Cat Returns, Earwig and the Witch, From Up on Poppy Hill, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Ocean Waves, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, Ponyo, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, The Secret World of Arrietty, Spirited Away, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Tales from Earthsea, When Marnie Was There, Whisper of the Heart, and The Wind Rises.
Where to Stream: VOD
Funny Pages (Owen Kline)
The deranged lunatics populating Owen Kline’s absurdist, bleakly hilarious Funny Pages are all somewhat anachronistic; loners who gravitate around old things and old places, one foot always firmly rooted in the past. Even teenage Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) nurses what feels like an age-inappropriate nostalgia. A high school senior stranded in an anonymous suburban stretch of Princeton, NJ, he works at the local comic store while daydreaming of becoming a cartoonist himself. But the comics he loves and devours with pantagruelian appetite are much, much older than him—the kind of niche, underground relics no one seems to recognize, much less appreciate. Funny Pages tracks Robert’s coming of age, but Kline (here in his directorial feature debut) dexterously avoids the genre’s trappings. His isn’t just a portrait of a most complicated chapter in a young man’s life, but an homage, in turns affectionate and savage, to an untimely culture and untimely breed of people, forever out of synch with the world around them. – Leonardo G. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Ida Western Exile (Courtney Stephens)
Reinterpreting Georgia O’Keeffe’s time living and working at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, this 8-minute short from nonfiction filmmaker Courtney Stephens takes a distinctly feminine view of solitude and escape into the American West. Set against the vastness of the desert landscape, Stephens explores the realities of traveling alone as a woman in a place that promises reinvention and self-reliance.
Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club
McEnroe (Barney Douglas)
When it comes to John McEnroe documentaries, it’s hard to top the utter formal brilliance of Julien Faraut’s 2018 work In the Realm of Perfection, which dissected the minutia of movement and personality of the tennis legend with a fascinating avant-garde approach. So, it’s understandably that Barney Douglas went the more conventional route with his by-the-numbers yet entertaining McEnroe––and, as with most docs of this ilk, it’s far more riveting when it turns personal, learning right from the man himself, and his family, about the costs of fame. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Showtime
Outside Noise and Classical Period (Ted Fendt)
Ted Fendt’s Outside Noise is largely noiseless. Without background music, following the lives of three women traveling back and forth between Vienna and Berlin, Fendt’s low-low-budget film echoes the noise around them—a car horn here, birds chirping there, distant conversations from others that provide some sense of shelter for our own chats with others. It would be inaccurate to call it a comedy or a drama or any other genre; it just exists. – Michael F. (full review)
Watcher (Chloe Okuno)
Ever since It Follows, the 2014 horror movie about a spectral grim reaper stalking a teenage girl, Maika Monroe has become her generation’s avatar of fear and paranoia. Throughout her filmography, she boasts an inner world of melancholy that begins in a delicate register and then multiplies into a feverish anguish the farther her characters tumble down their own rabbit holes. It’s the kind of psychological spiraling that gives oxygen to director Chloe Okuno’s feature debut, Watcher, a chamber piece thriller and the latest gaslighting parable to champion Monroe’s specific set of skills. – Jake K. (full review)
Where to Stream: Shudder
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Jane Schoenbrun)
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair premiered at Sundance in 2021 and hasn’t left my mind since. Jane Schoenbrun’s film is about a teen girl named Casey who takes the World’s Fair Challenge (an online role-playing horror game) and slowly but surely documents the changes that may (or may not) be happening to her. Its deceptively simple plot description hides what a rich text exists within; an ambitious and haunting coming-of-age story that also happens to be one of the most loaded queer films in years. – Juan B.
Where to Stream: HBO Max
Also New to Streaming
The Criterion Channel
British New Wave
Starring Romy Schneider
Directed by Carlos Saura
The Cinema 5 Story
Death in Venice
Children of Men
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Social Network
MUBI (free for 30 days)
This Magnificent Cake!
Egomania: Island Without Hope
2 Days in New York
The Bridges of Madison County
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Little Princess
Eight Men Out
Days of Heaven
My Beautiful Laundrette
Once Upon a Time in the West