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 platforms. 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, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
The Endless (Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson)
To resolve is to settle, finding the determination to do something rather than simply wait for something to happen to you. A resolution isn’t therefore a firm ending. On the contrary, it serves to provide beginnings. That decision has the potential to set you onto a path towards freedom either from the danger of outside forces or the complacency rendering you immobile within. So to look upon the conclusion of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s debut feature (as a tandem) isn’t to relinquish hope. The being — their riff on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Unknown” — that watches the events in Resolution does want stories, that is true. It craves them enough to ensure its characters arrive in time for their test. To assume it seeks tragedy, however, is to ignore complexity. – Jared M. (full review)
Gemini (Aaron Katz)
Gemini is also a fantastic neo-noir set in the Thief-inspired Los Angeles of Drive, an upside-down city, as captured in the surrealistic opening credits by cinematographer Andrew Reed, where morals have all but vanished, leaving behind only a group of ghostly beings trapped in the limbo of their crushed dreams and dissatisfaction. (James Ransone’s paparazzo is especially wonderful.) We wonder, for example, why the intelligent, perceptive Jill wound up as the personal assistant / henchwoman of spoiled movie star Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz) who uses her to conduct dirty work under the pretense of being more than her employee, but also her “best friend.” – Jose S. (full review)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
One does not necessarily have to be fond of canines in order to love Isle of Dogs, but it helps. It may also help to have a fondness for the meticulous craft of stop-motion animation itself or, even more interestingly perhaps, for Japanese cinema. It is a delightful, exquisitely-detailed production that sees Wes Anderson return to animated filmmaking for the first time since Fantastic Mr. Fox, and it’s clear, as he has admitted, that his biggest influences were not the works of Laika or Aardman, but rather Akira Kurosawa. – Rory O. (full review)
The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki)
The Other Side of Hope is an offbeat comedy with an oddball cast of characters that’s also a commentary on the Syrian refugee crisis — so it’s not all too surprising its understated charms have yet to find their way to a wider audience. Khaled (Sherwan Haji) managed to flee a war-torn Syria with his sister but was separated from her as they crossed borders. Now in Helsinki, Khaled forges an unlikely bond with a shrewd middle-aged salesman-turned-restaurateur, Waldemar Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), in effort to find his sister and attempt to peacefully get by in a Finland that’s simultaneously welcoming, with its wonderfully strange rockabilly street musicians, and antagonistic, with bands of violent white nationalists skulking around at night. Leave it to Finland’s working-class bard, Aki Kaurismäki, to tell a story with such intuitive nuance that all the deadpan wit and painstaking attention paid to navigating the arduous bureaucratic process of seeking asylum accumulate into a poignant fusion of melancholy and tireless ambition: a bittersweet ballad for Syria’s displaced, critiquing Finland’s response to the crisis and urging their acknowledgement. – Kyle P.
Where to Stream: FilmStruck
A Quiet Place (John Krasinski)
The world is terrible, and full of monsters. So says the core of solid dread within John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place. Informed by more than just his multi-hyphenate skills and assured suspense chops, it’s macabre storytelling that taps into an ever-evolving anxiety around safety, stability and overall control of our circumstances. In a thinkpiece-ready age where almost every film seems to be viewed against the current climate, Krasinski’s creature feature could veritably stand-in for the anxieties of the now. Thankfully, it prefers to remain a ubiquitous commentary, and a lean, mean Spielbergian thrill ride to boot. – Conor O. (full review)
Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
Eight years removed from Shutter Island and it still resonates as one of Martin Scorsese’s finer outings this decade. A tightly constructed psychological thriller, there’s an emotional throughline and sense of displacement (courtesy of Thelma Schoonmaker’s brilliant editing) that makes this Hitchcock-meets-noir homage blossom on repeating viewings. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson)
Perhaps the most audacious series of gambits this past year (certainly in franchise filmmaking) came late, in the form of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Jettisoning much of the established conventions and narrative structures, Rian Johnson orchestrated a daring four-part narrative, moving between intersecting, asynchronous tales of disappointment and the balance between hope and evil. It is a genuinely exciting and innovative new chapter in the closest thing modern society has to myth, while delivering some moments of levity and pain along the way. – Ryan S.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Weirdos (Bruce McDonald)
Weirdos, the latest film from the quintessentially Canadian auteur Bruce McDonald, is on its face just another road trip comedy with the spirit of Andy Warhol, but this time Warhol actually appears on screen — although for legal reasons, per the credits, Rhys Bevan-John plays “Not Andy Warhol.” It’s the summer of 1976 in Nova Scotia when Kit (Dylan Authors) takes out on the road with his radiant pal Alice (Julia Sarah Stone). She’s as confused as he is when she asks if they’ll be having “goodbye sex,” something they’ve been putting off for an obvious reason. – John F. (full review)
Where to Stream: MUBI
Woman Walks Ahead (Susanna White)
Jessica Chastain’s latest role finds her on the western frontier. Woman Walks Ahead, which comes from director Susanna White (Our Kind of Traitor) and writer Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke), follows the true story of an artist from New York who comes to Standing Rock in the 1880s in order to paint a portrait, but is met with a look at the government’s intrusion on Native American land. Also starring Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, and Oscar winner Sam Rockwell, A24 is now making it available on VOD.
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