With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options—not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves–each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit platforms. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.
Bad Trip (Kitao Sakurai)
The Eric Andre persona is best understood by his popular late-night Adult Swim series, succinctly titled The Eric Andre Show. In every episode Andre’s irreverent and self-destructive behavior leads him to trash his set, causing bodily harm, and torturing a slew of celebrities that range from Jimmy Kimmel to the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Andre is the equivalent of a magic mushrooms trip: wildly confusing, incoherent, sometimes causing one to burst at the seams with ecstatic comedic moments. Andre’s energy finds the perfect vessel in Bad Trip, his first starring role with a script he wrote with frequent collaborator and director Kitao Sakurai. – Erik N. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Collective (Alexander Nanau)
Part journalism procedural and part depressing exposé, Alexander Nanau’s verité documentary Collective examines the institutional corruption at the heart of the Romanian health care sector. The existence of such organized malfeasance will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen any of the Romanian New Wave films that touch on the country’s nightmarish bureaucracy. But, really, any sentient human being living in the western world won’t be blindsided by the fact that for-profit industries cuts corners or that government officials outright lie to the press about various wrongdoings. Many Americans, currently living through an epistemological crisis of staggering proportions, are now slowly inured to such ugly realities. – Vikram M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Following a recent Federico Fellini box set release from Criterion, they’re now spotlighting many titles from that collection on their streaming channel. Catch up with some of the Italian master’s finest works with Variety Lights (1950), The White Sheik (1952), I vitelloni (1953), La strada (1954), Il bidone (1955), Nights of Cabiria (1957), 8½ (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Amarcord (1973), City of Women (1980), And the Ship Sails On (1983), and Intervista (1987).
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
The Eye of Vichy (Claude Chabrol)
A valuable piece of preservation, Claude Chabrol’s 1993 documentary, The Eye of Vichy, is nonetheless distinguished by its consciously spare presentation. A chronologically arranged selection of World War 2-era French newsreels from 1940-1944, these curated pieces offer a fascinating (and horrifying) companion to pervasive western propaganda whether it’s through anti-semitic nationalism, disingenuous framing of Nazi diplomacy, or cartoons where Mickey Mouse and Popeye––hopped up on a whiskey IV––bomb a home of French allied sympathizers. These segments each offer their own educational merit, but intermittently punctuated by Brian Cox’s terse narration, Chabrol’s structure accumulates in a way that appropriately, points to the unseen––down to its final moments where the veil drops and the illusion of the last four years calcifies into a collective amnesia. – Michael S.
Where to Stream: OVID.tv
The Father (Florian Zeller)
Directed and co-written by Florian Zeller from his own play, The Father doesn’t have much visual flair. It’s a first feature, largely takes place in one apartment, and centers on two characters. Its most consistent motif being frames within frame: doorways lead to hallways and corridors; paintings domineer rooms like portals to a world half remembered. Scenes, sequences, and arcs fray at the edges until they snake in on themselves. But for a movie as low-key movie as it is quietly brutal, this may have been the most fitting choice. – Matt C. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
L’intrus (Claire Denis)
See our exclusive trailer premiere above.
With Claire Denis recently wrapping her next film, the star-studded Fire, it’s an opportune time to catch up with her greatest––and perhaps most under-seen––work. Exuding a wondrous formal adventurousness to convey an abstract journey, her 2004 feature L’intrus is now being released in Metrograph’s Virtual Cinema. The enigmatic story, traversing from the snowy Alps to Korea to Tahiti, follows an old mercenary (Michel Subor) who is in search of both a heart transplant and his long-estranged son (Grégoire Colin). – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Metrograph’s Virtual Cinema
Shoplifters of the World (Stephen Kijak)
The Smiths are dead. That’s the news Cleo (Helena Howard) punctuates with a scream loud enough to wake everyone in Denver, Colorado but her own passed out drunk mother on the couch. So she drives to the one place she knows she’ll find a kindred spirit: the record store. Dean (Ellar Coltrane) is reading the news behind the counter as she walks in, the obvious air of depression looming above him before his boss (Thomas Lennon) stomps in to say that he needs to stop playing Morrissey and Marr’s music in memorialization since it’s always been too much of a downer. What he doesn’t realize that Cleo and Dean do, however, is that not everyone wants escapism from their art. Some seek an understanding that they aren’t alone. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Six Films by Midi Z
See our exclusive trailer premiere for the series above.
Emerging this past decade, Taiwanese director Midi Z hasn’t received much in the way of attention in the United States, but with the release of his Cannes-selected drama Nina Wu, the Museum of the Moving Image is putting a spotlight on his work, also featuring Return to Burma, Ice Poison, City of Jade, The Road to Mandalay, and 14 Apples. Reviewing Mandalay at Venice, Zhuo-Ning Su said, “Showing impressive patience and confidence, the director doesn’t rush to provide us with all the background information. Instead, the audience is thrown into the middle of a treacherously hushed journey right off the bat.” His latest work, Nina Wu, reteams with Wu Ke-Xi who gives a fantastic performance as she endures harassment–-both subdued and appalling––as an actress mounting her breakout role. While some extraneous diversions in the film’s more abstract second half don’t wholly satisfying, the finale provides a deeply upsetting glimpse of the horrors being finally unearthed in the #MeToo movement. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Museum of the Moving Image’s Virtual Cinema
A Tale of Springtime (Éric Rohmer)
Few filmographies inspire analysis as incisive, rigorous, and layered as Eric Rohmer’s, which—for me—makes their massive pleasure quotient slightly suspect. Is it enough to vicariously enjoy those quotidian components—the Parisian apartments, the generous light of the countryside, the unambiguous beauty of its actors, the unimposing philosophical longueurs? A Tale of Springtime, newly presented by Janus Films in a beautiful restoration, is that Rohmerian ethos to the nth degree. So much so that its matchmaking plot registers as a bit of a snooze, window dressing to the debates about transcendentalism (and why you’re an idiot for confusing it with transcendence) and perfectly calibrated shot-edit patterns through every conversation. Each of Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons will arrive in restorations week after week—unfortunately not in a theater for most, but right now any escape into these ground-level fantasies will do. – Nick N.
Where to Stream: Film Forum’s Virtual Cinema
Two Lovers (James Gray)
James Gray’s Two Lovers pulls no punches. In the vein of classic Hollywood romance-tragedies such as A Place in the Sun minus the gloss and the decisiveness, Gray offers up a grainy character study backed up with a constant post-modern uncertainty. It seems that Gray’s film, much like its characters, is trapped in between responsibility and desire. – Dan M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Violation (Dusty Mancinelli and Madeleine Sims-Fewer)
We’re often told growing up that every story has two sides so that we can learn how to put ourselves into another’s shoes and see whether actions we thought were harmless actually did cause harm. That doesn’t mean you can’t project the sentiments onto adult situations too, though. Especially when they deal with memory. Take Miriam (Madeleine Sims-Fewer) and Greta (Anna Maguire) for example—two sisters who used to do everything together in their youth. When the topic of teenage injustice first arrives in conversation, their anecdote is colored as Big Sis defending the honor of Little Sis. When it comes up a second time, however, Greta reminds Miriam that she specifically asked her not to do what she did because of the consequences that did ultimately arise. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Shudder
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