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.
Before we get to our weekly streaming picks, check out our annual feature: Where to Stream the Best Films of 2019.
Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Mads Brügger)
In 1961, Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld was killed in a plane crash in Africa under mysterious circumstances. Beginning as an investigation into his still-unsolved death, the trail that Mads Brügger follows in Cold Case Hammarskjöld is one that expands to implicate some of the world’s most powerful governments in unfathomably heinous crimes. Without revealing the specifics of the jaw-dropping revelations in this thoroughly engrossing documentary, if there’s any justice, what is brought to light will cause global attention and a demand for some kind of retribution. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Directed by Céline Sciamma
Ahead of Portrait of a Lady on Fire‘s wide release this Valentine’s Day, one may be looking to catch up on director Céline Sciamma’s earlier films, which didn’t get the kind of backing Neon is bringing to her latest. The Criterion Channel is now featuring her first trio of films: Water Lilies (2007), Tomboy (2011), Girlhood (2014). Exploring the pains and joys of adolescence, they are essential watches before her overwhelmingly emotional new drama. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
La Flor (Mariano Llinás)
The fundamental details surrounding La Flor — its fourteen-hour running time, its ten-year production, its appropriately devilish six-part structure — already have it predestined for cult status, and yet Mariano Llinás’s mammoth effort both fulfill and far exceed any preconceptions. An extraordinary ode to forgotten genres, a sincere and open-hearted love letter to its four central actresses, who turn in some of the most astonishing performances in recent memory: what is perhaps most overwhelming about La Flor is that it manages to contain infinite worlds of pleasure, surprise, and glory, while paying tribute to the possibilities of cinema, storytelling, and human creativity. – Ryan S.
Where to Stream: Grasshopper Film (through 12/31 only)
Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu)
In Romania at the end of the 1980’s–the autumn years of the Ceausescu regime–Adrian Porumboiu worked as a professional referee for the national football league (or however it was referred to at the time). His son Corneliu (born in 1975) would grow up to become a significant filmmaker in the so-called Romanian New Wave of the mid ’00s. In 2014, Corneliu made a movie about his dad called The Second Game in which he narrated over a full 90-minute match that his father had refereed. Through the ever-politicized veil of sport the director was able to talk about the realities of those times. He returns to the beautiful game in 2018 with Infinite Football, a contemporary portrait of a man who suffered a bad injury before his career—at least in his eyes–had the chance to take off. – Rory O. (full review)
The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers)
For all its finely considered dread, the reason Robert Eggers’ ungulate-deifying debut The Witch made such a cultural mark had far more to do with its sense of mischief. Sure, puritan religious life is fine, Eggers seemed to say, but have you ever tried living deliciously? His second feature, The Lighthouse, brilliantly confirms that taste for devilry and narrative subterfuge. It’s a ghost story drenched in gritty, saltwater-flecked period accuracy and anchored in cautionary maritime fables, but one with a boozy, amorous, and darkly comic edge that made me think of everything from The Birds to Ben Wheatley’s similarly trippy A Field in England. Needless to say, it rules. – Rory O. (full review)
Starring Juliette Binoche
Simply one of the greatest actors working in cinema, Juliette Binoche has worked with numerous masters of the craft and now The Criterion Channel is giving her a much-deserved spotlight. Now streaming is Rendez-vous (André Téchiné, 1985), Mauvais sang (Leos Carax, 1986), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Philip Kaufman, 1988), The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991), Three Colors: Blue (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993), Code Unknown (Michael Haneke, 2000), Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005), Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008), Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010), Elles (Małgorzata Szumowska, 2011), Camille Claudel 1915 (Bruno Dumont, 2013), Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014), and Slack Bay (Bruno Dumont, 2016).
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
Before the decade comes to a close, one of the momentous occurrences in terms of streaming availability has arrived. For the first time ever, the films of Studio Ghibli are now available digitally, ahead of coming to HBO’s new platform this spring. The towering library, available in both English and Japanese includes Castle in the Sky, The Cat Returns, From Up on Poppy Hill, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Ocean Waves, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, Ponyo, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, The Secret World of Arrietty, Spirited Away, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Tales From Earthsea, When Marnie Was There, and Whisper of the Heart. Beautiful, isn’t it? – Jordan R.
The Two Popes (Fernando Meirelles)
Do the principles of God change with the shifting tides of culture? This theological question is at the heart of The Two Popes. As unanswerable as the question may be, it presents an engaging-if-scattered platform for the spiritual sparring that Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins devour. Directed by Fernando Meirelles with the kind of hyperactivity that worked so well in his kinetic breakthrough City of God, that trait is unfortunately not helped here with Anthony McCarten’s script, which attempts to pack a life’s worth of history in between a few conversations. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Wild Rose (Tom Harper)
Tom Harper’s Wild Rose is a film whose fixation on authenticity is directly at odds with its own craft. A corrective to the recent spate of self-absorbed superstar narratives, this is an underdog-musician story that’s appealingly as much about responsibility as sex and drugs, even as it’s repeatedly hamstrung by overly sentimental direction– a saccharine tone all the more disappointing given the strength of an alternately brittle and soulful script from TV veteran Nicole Taylor. – Michael S. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Also New to Streaming
The Criterion Channel
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See more weekly streaming picks here.