With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’re highlighting the noteworthy titles that have recently hit platforms. Check out this week’s selections below and an archive of past round-ups here.
Birds of Passage (Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra)
It probably says more about Ciro Guerra’s last film than this inimitable new offering (which he co-directed with his long-serving producer Christina Gallego) to suggest that fans of Embrace of the Serpent might find Birds of Passage just a little on the linear side. However, to compare the two is surely akin to comparing the varying potency of two strains of class-A hallucinogens. Set in Columbia in the 1960s, this violent, operatic, and sparsely trippy film follows the early days of marijuana trafficking in the region. Don’t worry if that all sounds a touch familiar. – Rory O. (full review)
Carlos and Demonlover (Olivier Assayas)
Impossibly long, impossibly dense and impossibly entertaining, Olivier Assayas’ best film yet is also his longest, by about three hours. Edgar Ramirez embodies terrorist Carlos the Jackal in every frame, running around the frames with endless ambition and energy. Also available to stream is his 2002 thriller Demonlover. – Dan M.
Climax (Gaspar Noé)
Gaspar Noé has probably never been likened to Lazarus before – or any other saint, for that matter – but he’s fully earned himself the comparison with Climax, which constitutes a miraculous comeback after the nadir that was Love. It has all the in-your-face trademarks of the Noé brand, but here they’re packaged in a compact, expertly crafted horror flick that transcends its puerility to achieve something altogether sublime. – Giovanni M.C. (full review)
Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)
Asghar Farhadi returned this year with his eighth feature film, but this time he has ventured outside of his native country of Iran. Everybody Knows, which opened the Cannes Film Festival last year, is a psychological thriller starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem that was shot entirely in Spanish on the Iberian Peninsula. Following the kidnapping of their daughter, the film was met with a mixed response (including our own review), but I’m always curious to see what Farhadi has in store. Having missed it in theaters, it’s now available to stream. – Jordan R.
Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry)
Distinct from musicals, music biopics, and documentaries, fiction films about the challenges faced by musicians in practicing their craft have been around since the earliest days of cinema. From The Jazz Singer and A Star Is Born to recent releases such as Not Fade Away and Inside Llewyn Davis, the tribulations of musicianship have long fascinated filmmakers and audiences alike. Although these struggles are typically emphasized for dramatic purposes, rarely is the viewer subjected to the downward spiral of one of these artists for the overwhelming majority of the runtime, let alone with such intoxicating lucidity; a feat that Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell accomplishes with flying colors. – Kyle P. (full review)
The Love Witch (Anna Biller)
Shot in sumptuously lit 35mm, The Love Witch is a throwback to Hammer Horror films and Technicolor melodramas of the ‘50s and ‘60s, with set design and color schemes that seem to invoke the ghost of Jacques Demy, all in subservience to a decidedly retro ‘70s vibe with a contemporary setting. Only writer-director Anna Biller‘s second film, The Love Witch affirms not only her skill as a director, but as an auteur – Biller also produced and edited the film, and was responsible for every aspect of the production, art, and costume design, and even composed the score. – Josh H. (full review)
Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
Luca Guadagnino does a lot of things very, very well. Indeed, it is hard to think of a working director more adept at capturing the tactile delights of stuff like touch; taste; swimming pools; seduction; fabric; desire; food; dance; rich people; Tilda Swinton; Tilda Swinton eating; Tilda Swinton dancing; Tilda Swinton swimming; and so forth and so on. One thing he does not do so well, perhaps, is horror. But that might not matter so much when it comes to Suspiria, his 1970s- and Berlin-set reimagining of Dario Argento’s justifiably adored masterwork of the same name. – Rory O. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
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