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 an archive of past round-ups here.
7500 (Patrick Vollrath)
Patrick Vollrath’s 7500 is a one-room, one-man show. It asks you to spend 92 minutes inside the cockpit of an Airbus A319, and in intimate quarters with a young first officer who must land it back to safety once the aircraft is hijacked by a group of Islamist terrorists. It is, for the best part of its brisk running time, a stomach-churning ride that bursts with the same force and anxieties of another recent–but far superior–single-setting drama: Steven Knight’s Locke. Much like Knight’s sophomore directorial work, it seesaws between claustrophobic and expansive, a testament to how much can be achieved in a location spanning a handful of square meters. Take it as a real-time thriller, an intelligently crafted study in cinematic minimalism, and 7500 works. The trouble starts when Vollrath’s feature debut (a follow-up to his 2015 Oscar-nominated short Everything Will Be Okay) attempts the landing. High above the clouds is where 7500 feels most visceral; but when the hijacking narrows down to a face-off between pilot and terrorist, things hit a cliché-riddled, insipid terrain. – Leonardo G. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Babyteeth (Shannon Murphy)
Milla is not the first terminally stricken teen girl to grace a coming-of-age film, nor will she be the last. She may, however, be the most precocious: kitted out in oversized ‘80s woodland animal shirts and Day-Glo colors, and with a revolving cast of hairdos (for obvious reason), she enlivens and emboldens the new film Babyteeth with a punky energy that–try as lesser directors might–is not often seen in such things. Indeed, we’re not kissing Ansel Elgort in Anne Frank’s house anymore, Dorothy. – Rory O. (full review)
Crawl (Alexandre Aja)
After forays into horror-comedy (Piranha 3D) and dark fables (Horns), New French Extremity director Alexandre Aja comes full circle with straight-forward, gnarly horror in Crawl. A precise and tense midsummer sandbox picture, Crawl allows Aja’s fixations on viscera and tension to bare their sharp teeth in a single space, recalling his earlier work (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) through sheer tempo and intensity, all while maintaining a father-daughter (and dog) narrative with just enough heft and sincerity to resonate. – Mike M. (full review)
I Am Somebody (Madeline Anderson)
Continuing a series on Madeline Anderson, the first female documentarian of African-American heritage, Le Cinéma Club are now screening, free, I Am Somebody, her 1970 piece on union- and wage-related strikes held by black female hospital workers in Charleston, SC, circa 1969. In vivid color photography, Anderson’s panoplic form (talking-head, on-the-ground, and speechifying documentation meld neatly) and urgent perspective—”There was no way that I was not going to make that film,” she once said—burn through every second. – Nick N.
Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club
Knife + Heart (Yann Gonzalez)
There is a movie within the movie Knife + Heart and it boasts the slightly euphemistic title of Homocidal (although I prefer the working title: Anal Fury). It is, in fact, being filmed as we watch, along with a number of other similarly lewd movies. Homocidal is the latest production of Far West Films, a fictional queer softcore porn studio that acts as the focus of Knife + Heart, a delightfully icky horror movie seeped in beautiful Giallo homage that is the second feature of Niçoise polymath Yann Gonzalez (who you might know as one half of M83). – Rory O. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Long Distance Film Festival
If one is seeking to discover exciting new cinematic voices, look no further than a new festival launching this weekend. Now underway through Monday, Long Distance Film Festival presents films from around the world, including a handful of world premieres. Made up of three distinct shorts programs as well as the feature Ghost of the Golden Groves, when many top-tier festivals focus on established names, this festival is a remarkable testament to just how much there is to unearth across the world. Take a peek at the intriguing fare that awaits above, check out the lineup here, and tune in starting at 7pm ET tonight.
Where to Stream: Spectacle Theater on Twitch
Milla (Valerie Massadian)
Director Valerie Massadian’s intimate and honest depiction of poverty distances itself from conventional Hollywood theatrics–these are not “movie protagonists” as we know them, they just are. Both stunningly ethereal and brutally real, Milla patiently earns every one of its emotions. Comparisons to the work of Barbara Loden and Chantal Akerman are apt, but don’t be mistaken–this work is still startlingly unique. – Jason O.
Miss Juneteenth (Channing Godfrey People)
A unique and authentic film that captures African American life in deep in heart of Fort Worth, Texas, Channing Godfrey People’s Miss Juneteenth is a warm and wise picture that traces a fractured mother-daughter relationship against the backdrop of an annual pageant. The film veers into familiar material as a mother, Turnouise Jones (Nicole Beharie), presses her 15-year old daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) to follow in her footsteps and compete for a scholarship that will enable her to leave the small world she knows. It appears as if Kai has plans to do so, with or without Turnouise’s nudging as she shows little to no interest in the completion. – John F. (full review)
Projectr / Woman on the Beach
Grasshopper Film, distributor behind some of the more significant films being released in the United States nowadays, has collected their library into a readily accessible streaming site, Projectr, running the gamut from new virtual titles to the films of Straub-Huillet to a free section on the black experience, with work by Claire Denis, Bertrand Bonello, and Mariano Llinás peppered throughout. They’re also continuing a virtual Hong Sangsoo retro with 2006’s Woman on the Beach, presented in a new 4K restoration, following last week’s Hill of Freedom release.
Queersighted: Turn the Gaze Around
After a stellar first installment of his series Queersighted, Michael Koresky is back with round two, Turn the Gaze Around, which spotlights filmmakers breaking convention as well as a conversation with Mayukh Sen. The lineup, now on The Criterion Channel, features Orpheus (Jean Cocteau, 1950), Purple Noon (René Clement, 1960), Querelle (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982), My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985), My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991), The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1996), and Water Lilies (Céline Sciamma, 2007).
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas)
Boasting the cast of the year, Penélope Cruz, Édgar Ramírez, Wagner Moura, Gael García Bernal, and Ana de Armas lead Wasp Network, the latest film from Olivier Assayas. Told with a sweeping, time-jumping scope, the thriller is set in the 1990s and follows a group of Cuban defectors who infiltrate anti-Castro terrorist groups. Yes, even after a recut, it’s unwieldy and scattered at times, but still possesses a strong level of urgency in thrilling setpieces and worth seeing for the acting magic of this ensemble.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Also New to Streaming
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The Criterion Channel
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