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.

Apples (Christos Nikou)

Apples is set in a world where digital technology seems not to exist, yet the psychic imprint of the digital age hangs heavy over first-time director Christos Nikou’s sparse absurdist dramedy. In an alternate-universe Greece, people are falling victim to a pandemic of sudden-onset Memento syndrome: total, crippling amnesia that befalls ordinary adults seemingly at random, necessitating elaborate state-run medical programs for the mnemonically impaired. Of particular concern to such programs are “unclaimed” amnesiacs, patients who fail to be identified by friends or family members and thus become wards of the state, who must be gradually rehabilitated into society and construct new identities from scratch. – Eli F. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Causeway (Lila Neugebauer)

It comes as a bit of a surprise to see how jarring Jennifer Lawrence’s presence is in Causeway, her new film directed by first-time filmmaker Lila Neugebauer. A subdued character drama about a soldier recovering back home after suffering a brain injury in Afghanistan, it marks both Lawrence’s return to playing a central character since 2018’s Red Sparrow (unless you want to count her part in 2021’s ensemble Don’t Look Up) and her most grounded role in an even longer time. Go back to the mid-2010s and you’ll find her playing a Russian spy, a mutant superhero, a metaphor for mother nature, and (scariest of all) trapped in outer space with Chris Pratt, which might explain why it takes some adjusting to see her as a regular person trying to rebuild themselves. It’s a welcome and savvy move: Causeway serves as a reminder of her strengths, which rise above the lackluster material she’s working with. – C.J. P. (full review)

Where to Stream: Apple TV+

Costa Brava, Lebanon (Mounia Akl)

What can you do when your homeland’s falling apart? The easy answer is stay or leave, but both options carry too much complexity to simply choose and be done. For starters, not everyone has that choice—whether due to finances, family, or myriad other reasons. And those who are able must dig deep within themselves to rationalize why. Do you leave because of greater opportunity? Do you stay because you want to be part of the solution? Or do you find yourself in a sort of purgatory—one foot planted on each side, only to discover your fear of losing out on the benefits of one for the potential of the other has you locked in stasis? That’s where Walid (Saleh Bakri) currently exists. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg)

In Crimes of the Future, an underground movement of performance artists try understanding a world in which humans grow new organs on a regular basis and pain, for some reason, has vanished. The director, of course, is David Cronenberg, back with his first film in eight years and just the second original screenplay he has developed since 1999’s eXistenZ. Since its announcement last year Crimes has been marketed as Cronenberg’s long-awaited return to body horror, a lubricious realm that he hasn’t fully embraced since… 1999’s Existenz. Miraculously, it delivers on that promise: a film of erotic surgery and designer organs; in which a live autopsy is performed on a young boy for a crowd of trendy onlookers; and in which the recently regal Kristen Stewart gives a performance so tweaked it might actually be the embodiment of edging. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Dustin (Naïla Guiguet)

Winner of the Short Cuts Award for Best Film at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, Dustin is the electric debut of rising French filmmaker, screenwriter, and DJ Naïla Guiguet. A young trans person is swept up in the adrenaline and collective effervescence of a warehouse rave in the suburbs of Paris.

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

Filmatique Noir

Filmatique begins Noirvember with a nine-title selection—films by Orson Welles, André de Toth, Ida Lupino, and Alain Robbe-Grillet, and two detective tales starring the great Jean Gabin. Filmatique is also offering a 30-day free trial with the code FLMTQNOIR for customers hoping to check out the selection.

Where to Stream: Filmatique

Fox Noir

Take a deeper dive into some perhaps underseen gems this Noirvember. Another round of Fox Noir is back on The Criterion Channel, this time featuring Fallen Angel (1945), The Dark Corner (1946), Kiss of Death (1947), Call Northside 777 (1948), Cry of the City (1948), Thieves’ Highway (1949), Panic in the Streets (1950), and The House on Telegraph Hill (1951).

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

The Girl and the Spider (Ramon and Silvan Zürcher)

Ostensibly the story of a Berlin family preparing for its evening dinner as a cat wanders the apartment, The Strange Little Cat was among the most beguiling films of the early-to-mid 2010s and its more mysterious explorations of everyday family life. With the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival entry The Girl and the Spider, director Ramon Zürcher returns, with brother Silvan Zürcher as co-director. (The latter produced The Strange Little Cat.) Spider is equally captivating––a mesmerizing, uniquely ambiguous study of friendship, rivalry, tension, and memory. It is difficult to remember another recent film that does so much with so little in the way of plot and location. – Chris S. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Loving Highsmith (Eva Vitija)

“My life is a chronicle of unbelievable mistakes.” So writes Patricia Highsmith, the acclaimed author of Strangers on a TrainThe Price of SaltThe Talented Mr. Ripley, and many more. Loving Highsmith, directed by Eva Vitija, is a nifty chronicle of Highsmith’s turbulent life, anchored primarily by her own diary entries, television interviews, and the recollections of past lovers. It is, above all else, a fascinating window into the personal and creative life of a queer woman constantly rebelling against the restrictive social norms of her time while trying to decipher what kind of person she is herself. As Highsmith writes: “I am the forever seeking.” – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Next Exit (Mali Elfman)

See an exclusive clip above.

While a viral video of a young boy playing cards with his dead father captured the nation so profoundly that suicides and murders have skyrocketed due to humanity no longer fearing death, allowing every single ghost to be seen by every single human on Earth would be quite the logistical issue for debut writer-director Mali Elfman. Having started crafting Next Exit ten years ago, she’s had plenty time to tweak and hone her script in a way that allows the high-concept, supernatural / sci-fi conceit to dissolve into the background so its heartbreakingly bittersweet, uplifting drama about two people who spent their lives wondering if living was worth the pain can shine through. The questions must still ultimately outnumber the answers. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Peter von Kant (François Ozon)

From the sure evidence of his filmography—and, yes, his legendarily turbulent private life—Rainer Werner Fassbinder should be quite tickled by the thought of another, younger filmmaker deifying him in their own work. Fassbinder’s is the cinema of the submissive power dynamic, and François Ozon, no slouch either, has come to play servant to the master. What’s more elusive in Peter von Kant, his slavish reimagining of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, is what’s gained from this entangling designed to be mutually fulfilling for both parties. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Soft & Quiet (Beth de Araújo)

Told in real-time across one (seemingly) unbroken shot, Beth de Araújo’s Soft & Quiet is perhaps the most provocative film to screen at SXSW this year. If it doesn’t quite fit the bill as a traditional horror film, that doesn’t mean there isn’t terror lurking under its surface. Speaking after the screening, de Araujo said her intention is to have the audience witness a hate crime play out in real-time. The film is much more—it’s a political indictment of the kind of frank, racist conversations that can play out amongst a group of like-minded (awful) individuals who are careful to moderate their tone. It’s the kind of wink, wink, nod, nod, coded language used to pull moderate voters into your cause—be it a politician in a sweater vest or a soccer mom in Target is saying it, is it that bad? Don’t they speak for all “Americans,” Tucker Carlson? – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (Eric Appel)

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story gets its subject in a way very few biopics ever have—by not really being a biopic at all. Rather, Weird approaches the life of song parody legend, UHF star, and self-proclaimed “world’s most famous accordion player in an extremely specific genre of music” just as Yankovic himself approaches his music: keeping the music and changing the words. Or, in this case, keeping the tropes and exaggerating them to wildly comedic effect. – Chris S. (full review)

Where to Stream: The Roku Channel

Also New to Streaming

The Criterion Channel

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MUBI (free for 30 days)

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