With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
6 Years (Hannah Fidell)
The euphoria and anguish of first love has been captured in countless films, but few do it with the level of raw authenticity and intimacy as found in Hannah Fidell‘s latest feature. 6 Years, which seemingly takes place over the course of only a few weeks, tracks a climactic point in the relationship of Dan (Ben Rosenfield) and Melanie (Taissa Farmiga), childhood friends who have been dating for a half-dozen years and are forced to confront major changes as college winds down and their future options open up. – Jordan R. (full review)
Alex of Venice (Chris Messina)
After working with Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, Sam Mendes, Ben Affleck, and more, the perpetually employed Chris Messina has gathered a wealth of knowledge behind the camera, culminating with his assured directorial debut. Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival, Alex of Venice is an honest portrayal of the aftermath of a crumbling marriage. Coming to the end of their ten-plus year relationship, workaholic Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) learns that her husband (Messina) needs time apart, seemingly frustrated at himself with his recent role of “housewife.” – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Call Me Lucky (Bobcat Goldthwait)
Do you know Barry Crimmins? It doesn’t really matter if you do or you don’t, by the end of Bobcat Goldthwait‘s Call Me Lucky you’ll have trouble getting him out of your mind. Crimmins, a tough-nosed, politically-minded comedian, founded two comedy clubs in Boston and helped foster the careers of many now-famous comedians, including Goldthwait himself. All the while, Crimmins was harboring demons from his past, which gradually crept into the forefront of his life, both on and off the stage. As these revelations come to light in the film, what begins as a semi-serious, mostly-funny portrait of a never-was becomes something much more dramatic and much more important. – Dan M.
The D Train (Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel)
In The D Train, written and directed by Andrew Mogel and Jarred Paul, Jack Black digs into the deepest, saddest part of our social psyche to create a character that’s immensely unlikeable and imminently relatable. His name is Dan Landsman, and he has settled. He went to high school in a Pittsburgh suburb, married his high school sweetheart (an underused-but-still-great Kathryn Hahn), bought a home in a Pittsburgh suburb and got a steady job in the Pittsburgh area for a gun-shy boss (Jeffrey Tambor). Though the self-appointed head of his high school class’ alumni committee as they plan their 20-year reunion, nobody likes him. At all. – Dan M. (full review)
Iris (Albert Maysles)
In 1970, David and Albert Maysles unleashed their seminal documentary Gimme Shelter. The brothers captured the violent events at the 1969 Altamont Speedway Festival with the Rolling Stones playing out an era of “peace and love.” Gimme Shelter is molded into a masterful set of images and moments that are explosive, dangerous, and alluring — much like the music of rock ‘n’ roll. Throughout their celebrated and prolific career, the Maysles siblings explored vast worlds, a portrait of American salesmen or the reclusive world of society’s elite in East Hampton making for some of their most iconic works. – Zade C. (full review)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)
From the first moment, Jauja presents a confounding and exciting approach to cinema. A block of text explains the title, a reference to a secret land of abundance and happiness that has caused many men to go mad, disappearing in their feeble searches to find it. It then cuts to a striking composition in 4:3 (with curves that recall old photography), where Captain Dinesen (Mortensen) and his daughter, Ingeborg (Viilbjork Agger Malling), discuss her desire to get a dog. The shot is striking in the density of the colors of the grass and the sky (shot in 35mm, though presented in a digital transfer) and the stillness of the characters (Mortensen has his back to us), as if it is a living painting. – Peter L. (full review)
La Sapienza (Eugène Green)
La Sapienza opens with a montage of Italy’s greatest architectural wonders — cathedrals, domes, churches, and more shot in perfect lighting, propelled to grandiosity by the backing sounds of an operatic choir. It is a gorgeous five minutes that seems to build a sense of artistic appreciation in the viewer through sheer rhythm. That makes it all the more shocking when, after the brief interruption of an epigraph, the film resumes with a shot of an ugly corporate skyscraper. “Life’s good,” the sign boasts. – Forrest C. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Pariah (Dee Rees)
This edgy indie out of Brooklyn tells the tale of a girl coming out to her parents in a way rarely seen – without tearjerker theatrics and shame. Alike (Adepero Oduye), the heroine of this drama, knows she’s gay and her quest is less about getting her parents to accept her than it is figuring out who she is besides her sexuality. First, she mirrors the urban style of her out and proud butch best friend (Pernell Walker), donning shiny ball caps and oversized tees. Later, she mimicks the Afro-pop infused style of her girly-girl crush, a cute and charismatic classmate (Aasha Davis). Identity evolution is common among teen girls, yet rarely is it so relateable onscreen. Oduye nails this arc, deftly maneuvering through Alike’s journey from closeted Daddy’s girl to an independent and fearless young woman. It is a coming-of-age tale told with grace and integrity. Bolstered by raw and naturalistic performances, Pariah will feel familiar no matter where you grew up. – Kristy P.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Lorene Scafaria)
Perhaps the most overlooked movie of its respective year was Lorene Scafaria‘s directorial debut. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an incredibly charming piece of work. It never gets too quirky or overly sentimental for its own good. We love the two leads, Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley), and, by the end, the saddest part of the apocalypse is they don’t get to spend any more time together. – Jack G.
Where to Stream: Netflix
She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich)
The contemporary is overrated; sometimes, we have to look back in order to move forward; the new is always found in the old. These are some of the obvious mantras of Peter Bogdanovich, quite possibly the most misunderstood filmmaker in all of American cinema. (Just read Vincent Canby’s dumfounded reviews of the otherwise brilliant Saint Jack and They All Laughed.) The plot of his latest film, She’s Funny That Way, is a wish-wash of knots and tangles where, through sheer coincidence, the characters end up whimsically encountering each other. “A city of eight million people and everybody knows everybody. – James K. (full review)
Also New to Streaming
What are you streaming this weekend?