Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.
Before we highlight this week’s picks, I want to give a special shout-out to our newly-launched Twitter account for Michael Snydel’s podcast Intermission. He’s sharing daily, well-curated streaming recommendations, so be sure to give it a follow!
Beast (Baltasar Kormakur)
There’s no better form of getting over a dead parent or spouse than combatting a killer animal. At least that’s the thesis of The Shallows, Crawl, and now Beast. Arriving in the coveted late-August B-movie spot (basically the January doldrums for slightly cooler people), Beast is a lean and likably earnest, if slightly unremarkable, creature feature. The newest from director Baltasar Kormakur––who has not quite graduated to the IP blockbuster class while his contemporary Jaume Collet-Serra (who used to specialize in these kinds of movies) now serves as master to The Rock––seems to prove the Icelandic journeyman is perhaps destined for Vulgar Auteurist glory in our degraded age. If never undercutting the somewhat ridiculous scenario with bad jokes and even unafraid of making some overt stabs at psychology with dream sequences, it’s the kind of genre film unafraid to have the stakes clear and just serious enough. – Ethan V. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
The Cathedral (Ricky D’Ambrose)
What makes the fabric of our upbringing? The memories we’ll reflect on after those years have passed are often not what we may hold onto in a moment filtered and refracted through a thousand more experiences. Following his hour-long debut feature Notes on an Appearance, Ricky D’Ambrose’s Bressonian style continues with The Cathedral, a less intellectually rigorous outing that still impresses with its sense of personal significance, recreating slivers of a life experience over some two decades to form a vivid recollection of both the fracturing of a family and the United States at large. It’s an ambitious undertaking for an 87-minute film, and while this lofty aim can result in a few passages striking a bit broad, one comes away admiring D’Ambrose’s meticulously committed approach to storytelling. – Jordan R. (full review)
Civic (Dwayne LeBlanc)
The first of a trilogy of migration stories, this evocative short from emerging Los Angeles filmmaker Dwayne LeBlanc centers on a young man’s return home to South Central Los Angeles after a lengthy absence. Driving through the lens-flared freeways and idling in familiar sidestreets, he reconnects with friends and family, wondering if they’ll recognize him. Taking place entirely within the interior of a car, this ode to LA is also an affirmation of identity.
Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club
The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May)
If you’ve had any desire to see one of the greatest films ever made in its proper form, you’re out of luck. Unless you’ve been able to catch one of its rare 35mm screenings or got your hands on an even-rarer (and poor-quality) out-of-print DVD, you’ve likely had to resort to a shoddy-looking YouTube rip to see Elaine May’s 1972 black-comedy masterpiece The Heartbreak Kid. Following the journey of immediate regret and romantic conniving on the part of Charles Grodin’s character, who just a few days into the marriage to one woman (Jeannie Berlin) falls for another (Cybill Shepherd), the film has sadly wallowed in distribution woes. Its rights are in the hands of a pharmaceutical company that has little interest in making any version of it widely available, much less restoring it. Thankfully, a tech-fluent cinephile has come to the rescue with a new AI-upscaled version.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (Dean Fleischer-Camp)
Despite being a modest hit considering its humble origins, I missed Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate’s Malick-inspired animation Marcel the Shell with Shoes On this summer in theaters. However, A24 has now released it digitally and our own Robyn Bahr had high praise for it on our recent episode of The Film Stage Show.
Where to Stream: VOD
Murina (Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic)
We often forget that exotic locales aren’t an escape for those living here. While co-eds dock ashore for sun, sex, and fun, families merely wake up early to go spearfishing so they have dinner that night. The psychological toll of constantly looking out your window at happy faces while dealing with the futility of teenage living under a domineering father with few (if any) opportunities to leave must be daunting. So when Julija (Gracija Filipovic) exits the water to see her father’s (Leon Lucev’s Ante) rich friend from a past life (Cliff Curtis’ Javi) has arrived, she wonders about the possibilities he brings. Ante and her mother (Danica Curcic’s Nela) hope to sell him land. Julija hopes he’ll save her. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Kino Now
Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma)
A masterclass in simplicity, Céline Sciamma’s finest work yet follows an eight-year-old girl who embarks on a brief stay at the childhood home of her mothers, following her grandmother’s passing. While any additional plot details arebest left hidden, Petite Maman emerges as a tender inquiry into the fleeting experiences of youth and how the process of adulthood can shatter a sense of wonder about the world. Before viewing, one may think Sciamma can’t possibly break your heart in a scant 72 minutes, but the effect is quite the opposite as she makes every precious second count, culminating in one of the most affecting finales of the year.
Where to Stream: Hulu
Saloum (Jean Luc Herbulot)
The infamous “Hyenas”—three mercenaries running amok throughout Africa—are caught in the air with gold bars, the drug lord (Renaud Farah’s Felix) they’ve been hired to extract, and a failed fuel tank leaving them with bad and worse options for an emergency landing. The Guinea-Bissau authorities won’t let them leave without a fight on the ground and they’ve surely alerted their Senegalese counterparts already, but Chaka (Yann Gael) knows of a secret beach from his past where they might be able to lay low and find the materials to repair their plane’s damage. Rafa (Roger Sallah), the muscle to Chaka’s brains, doesn’t like the idea while Minuit’s (Mentor Ba) mysticism has him believing their leader is hiding come crucial details, but they follow him just the same. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Shudder
True Things (Harry Wootliff)
Watch an exclusive clip above.
Kate (Ruth Wilson) is listless. She works a dead-end workers’ claim desk wherein her bosses are so redundant that they don’t think they’re doing their job unless chastising their employees for not bringing in doctor notes. Her best friend Alison (Hayley Squires) is too busy with her kids to provide stimulating entertainment beyond a couple of drinks at their local. And the only place she really has at her disposal to escape these doldrums is her parents’ home so Mum (Elizabeth Rider) can remind her about all the women her age having babies and Dad (Frank McCusker) can pawn off the vegetables he grows. It therefore means something when a client applying for assistance flirts with her instead of spitting the usual personal insults. It truly means a lot. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Venice 2022 Shorts
Courtesy of our friends at Festival Scope, if you weren’t able to make it to the 79th Venice International Film Festival, the Sala Web has returned featuring a selection of short films available to watch for free, with a limited capacity for each screening, available until September 30th. Featuring work by Salomé Villeneuve (yes, the Dune director’s daughter), as well as Simone Massi, Clare Young, Ce Ding Tan, Giulia Grandinetti, and more, some have already hit capacity, so get watching!
Where to Stream: Festival Scope
Also New to Streaming
MUBI (free for 30 days)
2 Days in New York
Małni – Towards the Ocean, Towards the Shore
Funny Ha Ha
The Virgin Suicides