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.

Beaver Trilogy (Trent Harris)

For a 1979 local news segment, Trent Harris filmed an affable young man’s drag performance as Olivia Newton-John at a talent show in Beaver, Utah. A few years later, Harris retold the story of the “Beaver Kid” in two fictional shorts, the first starring a then-unknown Sean Penn, the second starring a then-unknown Crispin Glover. The feature-length sum of all three parts, Beaver Trilogy is a captivating portrait of an outsider, a meta odyssey into reenactment and exploitation, and a true cult masterpiece.

New to Streaming: Le Cinéma Club

The Card Counter (Paul Schrader)

Whatever new could be said about Paul Schrader as an artist—curving around the extra-textual value in Kickstarter campaigns, Facebook posts, and tragic losses of final cut—is almost entirely on the back of First Reformed. A cultural smash first propelled by surprise of the he’s-still-got-it! variety that, as those things always do, faded, now denotes career reset—a generational shift for telling us his anxiety-ridden men of ‘70s and ‘80s landmarks stuck around to become the doom-scrolling generation whose problems are more global than personal. (Though obviously that too.) The catch of this conquest is a greedy fan (hello) alternately thrilled at the existence of another film and worried a final statement for the ages is rendered naught. A broken promise? Please; he owes us nothing. But Ernst Toller’s martyrdom is hard to sacrifice as a last note. – Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: HBO Max

Compartment No. 6 (Juho Kuosmanen)

Juho Kuosmanen’s film is both a period piece set in a very specific era (Russia at the end of the millennium and the dawn of Vladimir Putin’s Presidency) yet seemingly exists entirely elsewhere, its period details all tied towards earlier eras, an intoxicating blend of Soviet and Western cultural touchstones dating prior to the Iron Curtain’s collapse. Like Kaurismäki, whose most recent stories of immigration feel both timely and timeless in their conception, Kuosmanen has crafted a drama within a clearly defined moment in recent history, only to refuse to be tied to it. This approach to period storytelling proves far more intriguing than the romantic drama within this setting. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Dinner in America (Adam Rehmeier)

Born from a decision to combine two aughts-era sketches that weren’t quite working on their own, filmed in 2018 (stewarded with the help of Danny Leiner, who passed during production), and debuted in 2020 at Sundance, writer-director Adam Rehmeier would be forgiven for just being happy Dinner in America is finally hitting the public. The result is more than the culmination of a lengthy artistic gestation, though—its content, humor, and heart all merge to deliver a piece with the potential for cult appeal that transcends the act itself. It’s a treatise on America, the blurred line between taboo and cruelty, and our collective fear of real individuality despite claims by both sides of the aisle to foster freedom. The outcasts get their day. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels)

A general rule film students learn the first few weeks of their intro class is that a film teaches you how to watch it within the first five minutes. Well, most. The latest outing from Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) throws everything it’s got against the wall and, if it doesn’t stick after a minute, turns itself on its head and shoots its characters into the next parallel universe. Marvel opened up this can of worms and if there can be countless Spider-Men, why can’t Evelyn Wang, a Chinese-American laundromat owner and collector of random hobbies, also have a parallel existence she’s just starting to tap into? – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Hustle (Jeremiah Zagar)

One, perhaps foolishly, comes to a new Adam Sandler picture in the post-Uncut Gems phase of his career with at least some expectations. And one would think his new film Hustle would be the star’s idea of a passion project, being a courtside fixture at NBA games and all. What we get is a rather low-stakes, thoroughly generic not-quite-drama, not-quite-comedy that likely would’ve been a middling studio picture à la Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day ten-to-fifteen years ago, but is seemingly presented as the first prestige Happy Madison production. Also curiously anchored by somewhat of a low-wattage performance from the star—more akin to the borderline sleepwalking in his other Netflix originals than the manic, committed turn that got him a lot of attention again in 2019—the enterprise is, a couple of energetic basketball scenes aside, strangely undercooked on the whole. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Image You Missed (Donal Foreman)

A few minutes into Donal Foreman’s The Image You Missed, a voice-over comes to an abrupt stop: “each film is a mission impossible, but this one here, it was the most…” It’s a truncated snippet from an interview given in French by Foreman’s father, Arthur “Art” MacCaig, the late Irish-American director who raised to fame after his resolutely partisan documentary on Ireland’s Troubles, The Patriot Game (1979), and who here acts as the epicenter of a deeply personal and powerfully moving documentary-essay that weaves together an estranged parent-son relationship with a two-handed portrait of a country the two both filmed and experienced – in markedly different ways. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Where to Stream: OVID.tv

Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas)

Olivier Assayas’ most ambitious project has now begun rolling out. A revisit of his 1996 masterpiece Irma Vep, this new limited series finds Alicia Vikander slipping into the Maggie Cheung role as the French director examines the state of filmmaking in humorous, sexy fashion. With seven more episodes rolling out through late July, we can’t wait to see what strange avenues Assayas will go down.

Where to Stream: HBO Max

No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga)

“This never happened to the other fellow” quipped a young, eager George Lazenby in 1969. The opening of Peter R. Hunt’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is to date the most self-aware the 007 franchise has run in its nearly six-decade history. It established a winking-but-perhaps-necessary acknowledgment for audiences hesitant to relinquish Sean Connery, as if to say “this will be different, we know, but you’ll be okay.” That sentiment is all over No Time To Die, and director Cary Joji Fukunaga is far from subtle about it. From the car to the music cues to the sentimentality at its core, Fukunaga seems indebted to the sixth Bond outing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in a way that has fascinating implications for the series and its future. As the first American at the helm, he appears more than suited to the role. That’s to say nothing of the storied production squabbles and rewrites upon rewrites, but the final output would dictate none of that holds sway. What’s on display here has the trappings of rousing, big entertainment. Given the track record of other Bonds’ final bows, Craig has been gifted a ceremonious farewell. That, for certain, never happened to the other fellows. – Conor O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

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. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: VOD

Pleasure (Ninja Thyberg)

Pleasure is, in its bones, a classic tale of the corrupting allure of fame. A young starlet-to-be arrives in Hollywood, becomes both entranced and envious of the successful veteran, signs her soul away to become the morally corrupt person she was warned about, and eventually realizes her mistake in thinking pure success would bring her happiness. In Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s impeccably cast drama, the archetypal aspiring celebrity is Bella Cherry (spectacular first-time actor Sofia Kappel) a nineteen-year-old Swede who moves to the US in search of porn stardom. Though Bella is a newcomer, she understands the game, if not its specific rules, and is soon taking on bigger, better, and more harrowing challenges in a meteoric rise to top and be topped. While the intelligently shot and performed porn epic begins promisingly, its overwhelming heterosexuality, predictable beats, and rushed third act result in a middling conclusion that has few truly new thoughts about the industry it portrays. – Shayna W. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Score (Malachi Smyth)

As Troy (Will Poulter) muses on the car ride out-of-town to meet with “professional criminals” (he and Johnny Flynn’s Mike realize they’re amateurs at best, still trying to move their way up) and exchange 20 grand for unspecified goods, “score” is one of those words with multiple meanings. Film score. Settling scores. Scoring on the soccer field. Scoring in bed. While it’s as much a monologue to explain writer-director Malachi Smyth’s decision to title his film The Score as it is the set-up to an as yet-to-arrive punchline during the denouement, the real reason for its existence is to let audiences in on the central dynamic. Where Mike is all business, Troy cannot help himself from living life no matter the stakes, consequences, or his companion’s annoyance. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Tom Gormican)

As unhinged as its muse, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a curious bit of fan service and perhaps a welcome evolution in the career of Nicolas Cage, who has been one of the more active leading men of late—an output that in some years stretches to six feature titles, some of which he’s served as a producer for. This film posits the theory that our man is broke, down on his luck, and in need of a comeback. Guided (or haunted) by Nicky––the clean-shaven younger version of himself that serves as the beast within––he finds himself seeking one massive hit to survive. He’s in troubled waters, divorcing wife Sally (Sharon Horgan), unable to relate to daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), and deep in debt from a lavish lifestyle. After a potential dream project that he pitches in grand Cagian fashion passes, his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris) brings him a lucrative, can’t-pass-up offer to hang out with a wealthy fan in Mallorca Spain for a million dollars. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

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