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.
Actress (Robert Greene)
As if Sirk and the Maysles brothers had an anxiety-ridden child (don’t ask about that procreation process), Actress is one of the few functional “boundary-blurring” documentaries of late because Robert Greene, a keen observer of movement, had discovered a perfect subject and the best story for it. At one moment intimate and comfortable, at the next an unpleasant dive into an emotional maelstrom, its shape makes one wonder that the tired “we’re all actors” maxim would be tried anywhere but the documentary format. – Nick N.
Where to Stream: iTunes
Buzzard (Joel Potrykus)
In an episode of my podcast, The Cinephiliacs, colleague Vadim Rizov noted a humorous but mostly essential statement when describing his disappointment with the movement of the Duplass Brothers into more mainstream territory: “Bros need independent movies, too.” Most depictions of “bro culture” have depended on some of the loudest names in Hollywood — Judd Apatow, Adam McKay, and Seth Rogen among others. The problem is that these bro movies often seem to focus on the pleasures and perils of being a bro — a subject only worthy of intermittent screen depiction — and few of them use that milieu to explore other factors. That’s what makes Buzzard, Joel Potrykus’s second feature, one of the most exciting pictures in contemporary American cinema. – Peter L. (full review)
Exodus: Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott)
Ridley Scott and the biblical epic seem like an intriguing proposition, but Exodus: Gods and Kings, the latest take on the story of Moses, proves to be a vacuous and curiously empty spectacle. The film may spend most of its running time trying to get the Hebrew people out of Egypt, but in dramatic terms, it’s just wandering in the wilderness. – Nathan B. (full review)
Faults (Riley Stearns)
With Sound of My Voice, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Master, and more, filmmakers’ fascination with cults seems to have hit a surge as of late, particularly exploring what it does to people’s psyche and the way that it, in turn, affects the people around them. Not everyone who joins a cult is without family or friends, so what happens when the family you willingly left behind drags you back into their lives? Written and directed by Riley Stearns (who is making his feature film debut at SXSW), Faults follows Ansel (Leland Orser), a cult deprogrammer who is down on his luck. – Bill G. (full review)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
There is a distinctly Americana fascination and connection between director Bennett Miller’s Capote, Moneyball, and Foxcatcher. Centered on a struggling former Olympic wrestler and his unlikely relationship with a bizarre billionaire, the film is less about the actual details of what happened in this real-life tragedy and more about the insidious nature that is derived from excessive wealth and power. The film features a truly powerhouse trio of performances from Steve Carrell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum. Eerily paced and unnerving at every turn, the fastidious study of these characters is both enveloping and thought-provoking. – Raffi A.
The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies (Peter Jackson)
There’s a moment early in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that captures all of the restless and vivid immediacy that director Peter Jackson has frequently brought to his now six-film strong vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Picking up directly from the last installment, Jackson visits a fantastical, apocalyptic firestorm upon the human denizens of Laketown, a water-logged province that has drawn the ire of the intimidating and tyrannical dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). The last movie ended in haste with Smaug flying from his squatter’s den in Erebor, urged to wrath by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), his company of dwarves, and their hobbit burglar Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), but this one opens with a startling and rousing depiction of his consuming vengeance. – Nathan B. (full review)
Jealousy (Philippe Garrel)
A search for unknowable romantic truths, causing a paranoia that runs deep in the heart of needing to love and be loved. Romantic follies not as great revelations, but simply the flows of life, edited without announcement. An autobiographical tale across three generations, compressed like a visit in the desert, only lasting so long before one must leave. Devastating in its subtle lightness, images and sounds like a vision of the remembered past, flashing through memory before turning off the light. – Peter L.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
Considering I can’t imagine there’s much more to be said when it comes to Martin Scorsese‘s classic character study, we’ll simply inform you that Taxi Driver has finally returned to Netflix and it’s a must watch, regardless of how many times you’ve seen it. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Netflix
Top Five (Chris Rock)
Top Five, the latest film directed, written by, and starring Chris Rock, is a somewhat meta project, produced by Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Questlove, following Rock as a man who was once on top of the entertainment game, now questioning his path in life. Featuring, but not limited to Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah, we actually never got around to seeing it last fall, but it’s now available to stream. – Jordan R.
Also New to Streaming
The ABCs of Death 2
Beverly Hills Cop
Bridget Jones’s Diary
The Brothers Grimm
Half of a Yellow Sun
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Three Days of the Condor
What are you streaming this weekend?