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.
Body Double (Brian De Palma)
When rewatching Body Double for the third time, its most striking element was, as on my first viewing, Craig Wasson’s performance. As central character Jake Scully, Wasson turns his conventionally attractive looks into an endlessly fascinating nebbishness and awkwardness. In an early scene, Jake simply walks to his car and jumps in the driver’s seat, yet Wasson manages to turn this casual action into one of the most amusing instances of purposefully bad acting. This unquestionably intended ridiculousness in fact informs an audience of the approach required by the entire film: just as it is difficult to take this ludicrous failed actor and naïve man seriously, Body Double itself is better enjoyed with a grain of salt. Right before Jake goes to his car, he orders a hot dog from a street stand that De Palma shoots from the side before gliding to its front. With this voluptuous tracking shot, he creates a grotesquely sexual visual trick completely at odds with the hopeful tone of Pino Donaggio’s soundtrack and Jake’s cheerful dialogue with the clerk. Body Double isn’t a serious film, but it takes its outrageous fancifulness seriously. – Manuela L. (full review)
Boston Strangler (Matt Ruskin)
In the early 1960s, 13 women were murdered around the Boston area. Most were strangled with their own nylon stockings, leading the press to dub the murderer the “Boston Strangler.” That title also lends itself to Matt Ruskin’s newest feature on the killings, which foregrounds the reporting of Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) and Jean Cole (Carrie Coon) for the Record American. They not only coined the name but also wrote a four-part series highlighting the investigative gridlock that kept police from discovering the killer and kept the city on edge. – Christian G. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Dragged Across Concrete (S. Craig Zahler)
Anyone transfixed by the hyper-stylized meathead triumph of blood and violence of Brawl in Cell 99 should be warned. Dragged Across Concrete, S. Craig Zahler’s third feature, is comparatively much tamer than his 2017 prison drama. But where the new entry lacks in bloodshed and bone-splintering violence, it still confirms Zahler’s penchant for complicated characters, and conjures up a bad cops action movie which, despite blips in tension and a second half far superior to the first, crystallizes Zahler’s as a key name to watch for lovers of the genre. – Leonardo G. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Anthony Fabian)
Fleshing out Paul Gallico’s more melancholy 1958 novella, which has been adapted several times previously on the small screen, Anthony Fabian’s take on Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was one of 2022’s purest moviegoing delights. It’s easy to roll your eyes at its inherent niceness, and reluctance to dwell on any moment of dramatic tension that arises during Ada Harris’ (Lesley Manville) trip to the French capital to get her own Dior dress––but very few crowdpleasers in this vein are as successful at getting you to invest despite the lack of stakes involved. By the end, I was crying tears of joy. – Alistair R.
Where to Stream: Prime Video
The Novelist’s Film (Hong Sangsoo)
Your mileage may vary on what constitutes the best of Hong Sangsoo’s recent work, but The Novelist’s Film (basically) confirmed my suspicion he’s (more or less) our greatest director. At least it’s 92 minutes as they should be spent: a handful of perfectly measured scenes, an amazingly honest window into the artist’s process, a couple good gags, and while most movies can’t manage one good ending, this boasts two perfect finales. “I love you” has hardly ever sounded so sincere. – Nick N.
Where to Stream: VOD
Therapy Dogs (Ethan Eng)
My high school days ended before social media and school-shooting drills. We just had the odd bomb threat, apple exploding against an unsuspecting student’s skull, and mesh gym bags that solved zero problems whatsoever. So watching Ethan Eng’s Therapy Dogs and its meme-able events can be jarring. Especially uncomfortable moments, such as the non-joke “joke” of putting a fake gun to a classmate’s temple and capturing the reaction with the potential of showing millions. I can’t imagine the psychological ramifications of knowing at that age that everything you do, is done to you, can go viral instantly. How do you cope with that involuntary transparency? How do you process the uncertainty we all felt in our own eras with nothing to separate your private and public spheres of existence? – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
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