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 past round-ups here.

The Columnist (Ivo van Aart)

Never read the comments—a universal rule for all writers who publish, share, or create on the internet. No matter what you say or how you say it, there will always be a troll ready to disparage your work or you personally. They don’t need a reason beyond their ability to do so. They don’t need a salient point either. And it’s precisely because they possess neither that they ultimately live rent-free inside the minds of everyone they attack with artificial anonymity. One doesn’t even have to read their words to feel their pain because knowing they exist eats at you regardless. So don’t ignore them. Don’t pretend they aren’t there waiting. Because doing so gives them credence. Fearing such comments only fuels their authors to strike again. This is precisely why director Ivo van Aart and screenwriter Daan Windhorst’s De kuthoer [The Columnist] is a success. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Lost Course (Jill Li)

“I was locked in Guangdong jail for twenty days,” says Hong, a resident of Wukan, China who became a key figure in the small village’s 2011 protests that drew worldwide attention. “During those twenty days, I developed a view of life. I now believe that the most important thing is not health, but freedom.” Such a view underpins Jill Li’s fantastic first feature, the documentary Lost Course, which explores the extraordinary events that led to the ousting of Wukan’s corrupt officials and subsequent ascension of the once-protestors to local government. The three-hour film at times feels more like a political epic on the scale of Dickens or Hugo, weaving a cautionary tale about democracy, power, and the pitfalls of idealism.  – Artemis L. (full review)

Where to Stream: OVID.tv

Mainstream (Gia Coppola)

Six years after the release of her debut Palo Alto, Gia Coppola returns with Mainstream, a media satire set in sunny Los Angeles about a couple of disaffected young people who decide to make it big on YouTube by creating viral content. It’s a logline with promise, but the execution leaves a great deal to be desired. Palo Alto was a stylish introduction for the director back in 2014; perhaps a touch dramatically stilted but there was enough cool in all those neon lights, humid Californian nights, and woozy synths to suggest the arrival of a new voice. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Paper Tigers (Tran Quoc Bao)

Like the warring Japanese dojos depicted throughout the Karate Kid franchise, a growing disconnect exists between those who wish to learn a fighting style as a means of physical and emotional growth and those who simply seek the ability to punish their adversaries without mercy. It’s respect and honor versus strength and superiority—something even the most devout and sacred of Chinese Kung Fu masters like Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan) can’t always instill in their pupils. No matter how much they strive to trust the younger generation’s capacity to protect what they’ve learned as a tool, the allure of morphing it into a weapon for profit is often too much to ignore. It’s why he retired after his three disciples left. The disappointment was too much to bear. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Shadow in the Cloud (Roseanne Liang)

The first half of Shadow in the Cloud ends up being a pretty taut thriller as we too are wondering what’s so important. Not being able to see what the men are doing means our imaginations can go wild as to the lengths they’re going to wrestle the package away from Quaid. So the intrigue only mounts once we witness what Maude does: a low-flying Japanese fighter in the clouds and the silhouette of something unexplainable on the wing. Her warnings fall on deaf ears of the sexist variety and she’ll eventually have to take it upon herself to save them all when things go awry. Don’t think it’s for their benefit, though. In Maude’s mind everyone is expendable—including herself. And she’s unafraid to prove it. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (Marilyn Agrelo)

Sidestepping the curse that has befallen lesser behind-the-scenes documentaries taking on subjects with an immense archival body amassed over the course of decades, Marilyn Agrelo’s fascinating and well-constructed Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is a focused look at the show’s origins before it became an international cultural juggernaut. Keying in primarily on the show’s first twenty years––including the development of the Children’s Television Workshop, whose $8 million dollar budget was funded partially by the US Department of Education––the film is an affectionate look at the power of TV to transform early childhood education, using Madison Avenue advertising techniques to teach the alphabet. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Satyajit Ray at 100

Born 100 years this week, Satyajit Ray’s body of work is one of the most towering in all of cinema with his humble, humanistic portrayals of every facet of life in India. The Criterion Channel is now putting a spotlight on his work with a selection featuring Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), The Music Room (1958), Apur Sansar (1959), Devi (1960), Rabindranath Tagore (1961), Three Daughters (1961), The Big City (1963), Charulata (1964), The Coward (1965), The Holy Man (1965), The Hero (1966), The Chess Players (1977), The Elephant God (1979), The Home and the World (1984), An Enemy of the People (1989), and The Stranger (1991).

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Tenet (Christopher Nolan)

When Tenet was officially released in areas where cinemas were open last fall, the initial reaction was muted (including our review), but I found it to be Christopher Nolan’s most fascinating and entertaining movie in many years. Bereft of any humanity, it feels like he had a 5-hour cut then removed every other line of dialogue to intentionally obfuscate the plot, as if the script was written by an alien who has never experienced anything in life but Bond films. When Nolan has reached for dramatic profundity in the past, it often falls flat, so to seem him do something so programmatic and emotion-free feels perfectly in his wheelhouse. While it got too much attention to be considered a cult hit in the making, one imagines it could emerge as his Blackhat in the years to come. (Yes, that’s a high compliment.) – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: HBO Max

Starring Gena Rowlands

Turning 91 this June, Gena Rowlands has been retired for a few years now, capping a career full of endless riches. The Criterion Channel’s new retrospective of course features some of her finest John Cassavetes collaborations, and more, with Shadows (1959), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Faces (1968), Machine Gun McCain (1969), Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Opening Night (1977), Gloria (1980), Tempest (1982), and Night on Earth (1991).

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

TCM Classic Film Festival

Classic movie lovers, rejoice! Going virtual once again this year, the TCM Classic Film Festival takes place through May 9 and will be extended to HBO Max’s platform as well. Along with much-adored classics from Breathless to North by Northwest to the Martin Scorsese-introduced Goodfellas and Mean Streets, the lineup also features a Nichols and May documentary, a pair of Chantal Akerman films, Anthony Mann’s T-Men, Frank Borzage’s The Mortal Storm, Samuel Fuller’s Underworld U.S.A., Powell & Pressburger’s I Know Where I’m Going!, the world premieres of the new restorations of Irving Pichel’s noir gem They Won’t Believe Me, the French drama Princess Tam Tam, the Pre-Code film Her Man, and more. Also, be sure to check out our interview with Bill Morrison, whose new short let me come in will be playing at the festival.

Where to Stream: TCM and HBO Max

Undergods (Chino Moya)

We all like to think we have control—kings of our proverbial castles. It’s all a ruse, though. We’re actually slaves to a system that seems more and more likely to fail with each new day and each new declaration that its imminent demise is a call to arms to save it rather than move on and evolve. That false sense of control is thus a mechanism we use to combat the fear of knowing how little we truly possess. We dream of other men failing so as not to realize that unfortunate soul is probably a future version of ourselves. We play God opposite those we believe are beneath us because we feel the pressure of those above doing the same. And there’s absolutely no way out. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

What Happened Was… (Tom Noonan)

While often considered a cult figure for his roles in Manhunter, Last Action Hero, RoboCop 2, and The Monster Squad among sundry others, Tom Noonan is perhaps most deserving of praise for his fiercely intelligent, emotionally lacerating, and masterfully composed work as a writer-director. 1994’s What Happened Was…, in which he is also lead actor, is a paramount achievement, making all the more shameful its relegation to relative obscurity for more than 25 years. This Friday, however, sees the virtual release of a remarkable 4K restoration, to which I can pay the finest compliment one might afford: as a longtime fan I simply did not think the film could look this nice. Read my full interview with Noonan here. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Also New to Streaming

Amazon Prime

The French Connection

The Criterion Channel

Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Starring Robert Ryan
After the War
Directed by Lois Weber
Written by Dalton Trumbo
Dance, Girl, Dance
Fire Will Come
Directed by Josephine Decker


The Immigrant
Jackie Brown


The Night

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Heroic Purgatory
North Face
Coup D’etat

The Names of Love


Fried Barry (review)

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