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 the interwebs. 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 Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage
Blood Glacier (Marvin Kren)
Blood Glacier boldly announces itself before running through a list of familiar horror movie tropes. A team of scientists led by the burly and morose Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) are responsible for studying the few remaining glaciers not yet decimated by global warming. The discovery of a blood soaked glacier sparks a gory chain of events across the German Alps. The bleeding monolith is an exciting image in a pulpy sort of way and paired with early expansive views of the scenery, Blood Glacier lays down a decent foundation for itself. Janek’s faithful dog, Tinni, is another compelling, if familiar, genre element and the camera roves excitingly across the ground along the canine towards inevitable doom. – Zade C. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier)
92 minutes of taut physical activity, morbid humor, and gruesome violence, Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin is one of the year’s leanest and most impressive killing machines. Saulnier begins his film with quiet, character-building chapters, but once he sets his resourceful, pleasingly narrow plot in motion, Blue Ruin becomes nothing more than a series of sharp, vicious set-pieces founded on Nash Edgerton-like bursts of violence. The film is a good example of the kind of genre treat that gets points for disposable ambition: Saulnier’s technique is so controlled, and his sequence staging so clever, that nothing else really matters. – Danny K. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Brick Mansions (Camille Delamarre)
A few months back I was watching a small indie thriller called Hours, and was surprised with a personal revelation; I’m going to miss Paul Walker in the movies. Never an actor of great range or variety, Walker built his name off B-grade actioners that were sometimes graciously marketed as A-level flicks. Within that niche, Walker exuded a certain charm and bemusement that made you feel at ease with the absurdity, and it wasn’t more than twenty minutes into the Luc Besson-produced Brick Mansions before I was met again with that curious thought. These types of films are going to be less fun without Walker pushing them along. – Nathan B. (full review)
The Fault in Our Stars (Josh Boone)
My teenage years may be decades removed from me at this point, but that didn’t stop me from reconnecting with my brooding, uncertain inner teen when reading John Green’s effective dying kids sop, The Fault in Our Stars. Green took the familiar and maudlin and transformed them into something knowing, poignant and practically sensitive. Sure, the book’s a touch overrated, but it earned its fans with a storyteller’s affection and avoided the flabby, toothless pitfalls of similar entries in the sub-genre. – Nathan B. (full review)
Godzilla (Gareth Edwards)
Whoa. What else can one say about this film? The taste of the prior American remake of Godzilla hadn’t yet been completely washed out of our mouths, but, thanks to a stellar marketing campaign that favored mood and atmosphere over bald spectacle, the anticipation for this new incarnation was high. Somehow, Gareth Edwards not only cleared the set bar, but did so with room enough to fit a 300-foot lizard. Thanks to his bold-for-the-time decision to keep the monster in the shadows, Edwards built up a level of heated anticipation and awe before unleashing a final-act climax that had audiences cheering and left people staggering out of the film still vibrating with excitement. This is old-school monster-movie making, the likes of which we all feared had been lost. – Brian R.
The Rover (David Michôd)
David Michôd’s western is an atmospheric, lean and mean western. His deceptively simplistic second feature is no sophomore slump, as his eye for tension has grown sharper since a feature debut, Animal Kingdom. The Rover is about more than a man going after his car, but, even looking at the picture from a completely surface-level view, it’s still an exciting thriller that’s as good as the rest of the more narratively conventional films on this list. – Jack G.
Starred Up (David Mackenzie)
In an opening sequence, as he’s arriving to adult prison, Eric (Jack O’Connell) is given a thorough inspection in a moment that clues us in to the kind of movie Starred Up will be: a no-holds barred, explicit exploration of prison culture. Directed by David Mackenzie (Mister Foe, Perfect Sense), Starred Up is a more extreme and, often, more exciting exploration of themes MacKenzie has previously tackled. Eric, a violent drifter of sorts, grows up without a proper parent, learning to fend for himself — and, in a later scene, we learn the exact consequences of this and how it got him to this present state. Eric, for the first time in his adult life, meets his father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn), a hardened criminal who encourages his son to play the game. A product of the “system,” he wants Eric to simply go along, keep his head down, and get out. Needless to say, it’s an irritation when his son starts making connections and plans. – John F. (full review)
The Two Faces of January (Hossein Amini)
Following a Berlin premiere earlier this year, The Two Faces of January is finally arriving in the U.S. and ahead of a theatrical release next month, it has landed on VOD. The directorial debut of Hossein Amini, the screenwriter behind Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Drive, the story is centered on a con artist, his wife, and a stranger who try to flee a foreign country after one of them is caught up in the murder of a police officer. Led by Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac, the source material comes from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, the author behind The Talented Mr. Ripley, and we’re looking forward to checking it out. – Jordan R.
Young & Beautiful (François Ozon)
Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful) paints the portrait of a young French girl’s journey of sexual awakening and experimentation that is at times reminiscent of a teenage version of Luis Bunuel‘sBelle du Jour. Often melancholic but interspersed with some unexpectedly funny candid moments, French director Francois Ozon presents an unjudgmental voyeuristic peek into the life of an underage prostitute. – Shanshan C. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
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