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.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick)
For its stature as that rare political comedy which never truly loses relevance, it’s just a little hard to believe that Dr. Strangelove has recently turned 50. It should go without saying that the finest, most-fitting way to celebrate one of Stanley Kubrick‘s first great films — probably the third or fourth, depending on who you ask — is just watching the thing, which you can now do so on Amazon Prime, but those who want a story of how this classic was first brought together should have one more viewing option set up. Check out a behind-the-scenes documentary on it here. – Nick N.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
It Follows (David Robert Mitchell)
Horror is a genre that gets passed over a lot in these kinds of lists. You can probably blame the cheap jump scare and loud noises productions that have dominated the field lately. So horror buffs and film fans of all stripes should be thrilled to see It Follows. Lovingly crafted with an emphasis on spatial relationships and slow burn tension, this is a film to remind the masses why horror is one of the most purely cinematic genres. – Brian R.
Hard to Be a God (Aleksei German)
Yes, while perhaps a form of punishment cinema (trust me, search “Hard to Be a God… more like Hard to Sit Through” on Twitter), what separates this film is a certain openness, the ability to drift in and out of its hellish landscape of various synonyms for muck — shit, grime, etc. While the occasionally awkward fades to black are likely a result of the director’s death before completion, it only makes the experience feel more tangential, which, in this case, is very much a good thing. – Ethan V.
John Wick (David Leitch and Chad Stahelski)
John Wick is a refreshingly streamlined action movie. There’s not an ounce of fat in David Leitch and Chad Stahelski‘s film, and Derek Kolstad‘s script gets right everything so many revenge pictures get wrong. The familial scenes in the Taken movies, for example, are an afterthought — crap you have to trudge through to get to the shootouts. Actual time and care was put into the set-up of John Wick. When Wick’s dog dies, it’s an earned moment for the character and the film. It’s a strangely heartfelt movie, and far more sincere than most pieces of Oscar bait. What follows that effective set-up is a wildly entertaining action movie, filled with a variety of set pieces, fun kills, style, and a world that begs for a sequel. – Jack G.
Where to Stream: HBO Go
The Overnighters (Jesse Moss)
North America is the land of opportunity, but sometimes you have to travel to find it. The Overnighters revolves around the oil boom currently taking place in North Dakota and a small town that is flooded with people that tell stories reminiscent of the gold rush in California in 1849. Back then, towns sprung up as demand increased. However, in Williston, North Dakota, demand for housing in any form for the massive influx of workers has been heavily outstripped. Yet the tide of people continues to surge. Within this small town is a pastor that has opened up his church doors to the people seeking shelter, housing them for months at a time much to the chagrin of his own membership. This push and pull, the story of the film, becomes as powerful as any on the nature of complex issues such as religion, family, economics, and what it means to live in modern-day America. – Bill G.
Where to Stream: PBS (through 7/15)
It’s only fitting that after we got the promising first trailer for the Rocky spin-off Creed that the first five films in the franchise would arrive on Netflix streaming. With releases spanning the course of 14 years, from the scrappy surprise hit initial entry in 1976 all the way to 1990’s Rocky V, if one wants to dive into the history of the series, it can be easily done. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Netflix
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (John Madden)
An unexpected franchise (both the hotel and the film), The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is essentially a gentle sitcom. It’s a form of comfort food that delights even if it lacks surprises. Reuniting the gang from the first picture, we check back in with the pensioners on holiday; many now hold jobs in India, including Bill Nighy as Douglas, a tour guide whose script is read to him from a boy he’s hired. Despite the genial tone, the comedic pay-off never quite plays out beyond a few chuckles. Judi Dench returns as Evelyn, who is formally hired to source quality fabrics for a British fashion brand impressed with her experience, and she points out to her younger boss that she’s 72. Also back is Maggie Smith as Muriel who helps the hotel’s young proprietor Sonny (Dev Patel) run the place. Looking to expand the franchise (how reflexive!) the film opens in California as he goes in search for international financing. Sonny was in over his head in the first picture, but here he’s confidently growing his brand with his eye set on a new project. Also on his mind is his marriage to the Sunaina (Tina Desai), a relationship that could use some more depth. 0 John F. (full review)
Spring (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead)
The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” Naturally, I pushed everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance from Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, its Italy-set journey of an American lost and alone proves equally suspenseful, grotesque, funny, and beautiful. The best part, however, is it’s smart and sensitive way of allowing the dark fantasy to enhance its love story rather than overshadow. Because at the end of the day, what’s onscreen isn’t necessarily out to scare us—although it will. Instead it shows love’s power to literally reinvent ourselves into that which we didn’t even realize we wanted to be. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Also New to Streaming
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Conan the Barbarian
From Here to Eternity
How to Marry a Millionaire
Kung Fu Hustle
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Silence of the Lambs The Terminator
What are you streaming this weekend?