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.
Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation (Youssef Chebbi)
Realized with a formally exacting chilliness, Youssef Chebbi’s slow-burning noir concerns police officers investigating the mysteries behind corpses who have died from immolation. While the nebulous, metaphor-heavy script leaves much to be desired, Chebbi’s Cannes, TIFF, and ND/NF selection excels at conjuring an atmosphere of dread and isolation amidst a derelict apartment complex.
Where to Stream: VOD
Carpet Cowboys (Emily MacKenzie and Noah Collier)
The tiny city of Dalton, Georgia, has left a large footprint in the daily lives of millions who most wouldn’t have stopped for a second to consider. Well, it’s probably more appropriate to say that millions have left large footprints in Dalton’s biggest export: this city is the “Carpet Capital of the World.” With 85% of carpets in the USA having been made there, the industry’s made it one of America’s most prosperous locations for several decades. It shouldn’t be a surprise that many an entrepreneur have attempted to establish themselves there, though that easy entry point into the American Dream has become more complicated in recent years––something made abundantly clear in Carpet Cowboys, the feature directorial debut of documentarians Emily MacKenzie and Noah Collier. – Alistair R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Metrograph at Home
The Eight Mountains (Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch)
An intimate story of friendship projected across the vast alpine Italian landscape, Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch’s The Eight Mountains is a stirring, at times spiritual experience of reconnection on both human and environmental levels. Starring Luca Marinelli and Alessandro Borghi, the decade-spanning story adapted from Paolo Cognetti’s novel gives its audience the proper space to breathe in the surroundings while our characters attempt to find a footing in their lives. Read my full interview.
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley)
The appeal of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign is in creating weird, wonderful characters of your own and throwing them into a wide array of quests: no two games can ever be the same. This is what I’m assured by friends who are into D&D, anyway, as playing any tabletop game with a convoluted set of instructions causes me to glaze over mentally––yes, dear reader, the following review isn’t written from an authoritative perspective as a member of the franchise’s enduring fandom. I have been informed by those more in the know than myself that the latest role-playing, game-themed effort from director duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who previously gave us the appreciably greater Game Night) contains a treasure trove of Easter Eggs and winking references only the faithful will latch onto. – Alistair R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Prime Video
How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Daniel Goldhaber)
Logan (Lukas Gage) meets Shawn (Marcus Scribner) holding a red-covered book within a section of a bookstore both men are trolling for like-minded individuals. Our assumption is that the color means he’s leafing through Andreas Malm’s nonfiction How to Blow Up a Pipeline, in which the author argues for sabotage as a legitimate form of climate activism while also criticizing the pacifism and fatalism that has otherwise dominated the conversation instead. It makes sense, then, why Logan smirks before relaying how it “doesn’t actually explain how to build a bomb.” It doesn’t have to when there are numerous resources that already do—the stuff that will probably land you on an FBI watchlist. That’s not the point. The point is that those bombs should be built. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Meg 2: The Trench (Ben Wheatley)
The summer shark movie should be silly. It should know exactly what it is: a B-movie with a bigger-than-expected budget, a bankable star, and unlimited scenes of sharks eating people in absurd ways. Meg 2: The Trench, a follow-up to 2018’s hit The Meg, oscillates between its B-movie sensibilities and a self-seriousness unnecessary for this subgenre. Again starring Jason Statham as the megalodon-fighting, submarine-diving Jonas Taylor, the film, this time helmed by Ben Wheatley, struggles to replicate the same joy of the first. – Michael F. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Past Lives (Celine Song)
Whether miniscule or major, the millions of decisions we make form the winding path of our lives. Specific reasons for taking certain forks in the road can often be lost to the sea of time, swelling back up only as our memory allows. A triptych not-quite-romance crossing nearly a quarter-century, playwright Celine Song’s directorial debut Past Lives examines such universal experience with keen cultural specificity, telling the story of childhood friends who twice reconnect later in life. It’s a warm, patient film culminating in a quietly powerful, reflective finale, though its sum is greater than its parts when the first two sections register a touch underdeveloped. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
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