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.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed)
After the apocalyptic implications following the cliffhanger of Avengers: Infinity War, one wonders where Marvel could go next. Small, of course. Ant-Man was the franchise’s most playful, inconsequential offering, so it’s only fitting that another insular story featuring Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and shrinkable company would make a worthwhile breather in a world of superheroes where the fate of the world is often the name of the game. That’s clearly–and thankfully–not the mission here and in his follow-up Peyton Reed doubles down on the comedic charms of his cast, playing up Rudd’s aloofness and winning reactions to the quantum-related craziness going on around him, while also providing inventive new perspectives into their size-adjusting quarrels. – Jordan R. (full review)
Becoming Jiff (Forrest Silvers, Tyler Silvers)
While he’s still involved with numerous laugh-inducing projects, the golden age of Judd Apatow may be over. Thankfully, a number of talented emerging writer-directors are here to take up the comedy mantle. One such promising duo is Forrest and Tyler Silvers, whose new series Becoming Jiff has debuted. By turns raunchy and sweet, the comedy follows the journey of one man, a misplaced phone, and his romantic roadblocks.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (Gus Van Sant)
Returning to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time since Gerry, Gus Van Sant has had a peculiar run since. After experimental highlights like Elephant and Paranoid Park, he earned acclaim with Milk, but then his last trio of features–Restless, Promised Land, and The Sea of Trees have been forgettable–or worse. His latest film, Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Far on Foot, finds him returning with a beating heart, courtesy of Joaquin Phoenix’s stand-out lead performance, but this biopic is ultimately let down by its shapeless, uncinematic approach. – Jordan R. (full review)
Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis)
Claire Denis may not be the first Francophone auteur expected to turn in a romantic comedy, and her latest will disappoint those expecting Nancy Meyers a Paris. However, Let the Sunshine In (Un Beau Soleil Interieur) is a sophisticated, idiosyncratic, thoroughly modern interpretation of a French romantic farce, perceptive if not laugh-out-loud funny, featuring a top-form Juliette Binoche as a middle-aged divorcée wading through a series of exasperatingly self-centered men in search not just for love, but a partner with whom she can be herself. – Ed F. (full review)
Manhunter (Michael Mann)
No Michael Mann film fits into its genre. There are crime pictures (Heat, Miami Vice), thrillers (The Insider, Collateral), a biopic (Ali), a horror film (The Keep), and historical epics (The Last of the Mohicans, Public Enemies) — all molds we can imagine, but none Mann seems interested in conforming to. Manhunter, a crime-thriller with direct horror overtones — the lattermost thanks to Thomas Harris‘s Red Dragon, upon which it’s based — eschews conventions, bringing forth the psychology of its characters through both sound and image. (For reference, look at this video essay from 2009.) What starts as an unsettling portrait eventually blossoms into an inescapable nightmare, but it’s the kind you’ll want to revisit again and again. – Nick N.
Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
If Phantom Thread is truly Daniel Day-Lewis’ final role, as the actor has stated, one might imagine a physical and mental strain rupturing across the screen the likes of which we haven’t seen since Daniel Plainview. That Reynolds Woodcock exudes anything but those qualities is one of the many surprises Paul Thomas Anderson has in store with his sumptuous period drama. Although there’s an egomaniacal vein that runs through that character, an elite fashion designer, there’s also a sly tenderness and comedic warmth that gives startling life to this shape-shifting relationship drama. Deeply engrossing and playful as it seamlessly weaves between romantic, unsettling, funny, and back again, Phantom Thread is defined by the women in Reynolds’ life (played by the astounding Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville), and it’s a joy to see their three-way psychological game unfold. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: HBO Go
Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)
Over a decade since her remarkably observed and authentically acted The Savages, writer-director Tamara Jenkins makes her long-awaited return to Sundance and feature filmmaking with Private Life, a generous, graceful, full-hearted drama about the complexities of desiring a child when your physiology denies you at every turn. Lest one thinks this is a somber look at such an intimate journey, Jenkins imbues an immense amount of humor and relatability without ever hitting a false note. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
RBG (Betsy West and Julie Cohen)
RBG is an essential documentary for the adoring fans of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg aka The Notorious RBG, according to some millennials. They have created an entire mythology out of a quiet, brilliant women who rose to the rank of the court’s chief dissenter post Bush v. Gore. Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West have crafted an engaging documentary to hold us over until she, like fellow pioneer of civil rights Thurgood Marshall, gets a biopic of her own later this year. – John F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Three Identical Strangers (Tim Wardle)
Three Identical Strangers tells an interesting story well, without too much artistic flourish but at the same time not getting in the way of that story or overstaying its welcome. Director Tim Wardle lays a lot on the strength of the events he’s covering, and they are indeed compelling enough on their own to hold your interest. The flipside of this is that the film has little power outside of a first viewing. It’s the kind of doc you’re best off walking into knowing as little as possible about, because possessing key details could legitimately lessen your enjoyment. – Dan S. (full review)
Also New to Streaming
MUBI (free for 30 days)