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 platforms. 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, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery)
If Bonnie and Clyde survived their final stand-off and attempted to live a life after crime, we would have the basic set-up of writer/director David Lowery‘s subdued, deeply felt Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. But that is just the beginning, as this drama skirts around the major peaks one may find in another film of its kind, instead focusing on the quiet, sublime exchanges. – Jordan R.
Félicité (Alain Gomis)
A wild and adventurous fourth feature from French-African director Alain Gomis, Félicité find ourselves in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the world’s most dangerous places and a hard place in the best of times to make a living. Gomis, alongside cinematographer Céline Bozon, photograph the city as a wild, confused metropolis, unspooling over new-money concrete blocks, dirt tracks and a make-shift hazardous slums. It’s where Félicité, played with style and jazz by Congolese theatre actor Vero Tshanda Beya, works hand-to-mouth as a singer in raucous night clubs. The opening scene shows Félicité in full voice in a dive bar, where men drunkenly brawl and wads of notes are sent her way in reckless abandon, shot with an explosive energy. – Ed F. (full review)
Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater)
The latest stage of Richard Linklater’s freewheeling career takes him back to the 1970s with Last Flag Flying, a 44-years-belated sequel to Hal Ashby’s masterpiece The Last Detail. It’s difficult to call much of anything from Linklater a surprise at this point: he seems as comfortable at the helm of a studio comedy powered by Jack Black’s manic energy as he does a decade-plus-spanning epic about the journey from childhood to adolescence. Last Flag Flying may not stand as one of Linklater’s defining works, but it does signal a kinship with the New Hollywood director, whose run from 1970-1979 was as inspired as any other from that era — before he got burned (and burned-out) and died too young at the age of 59. Ashby and Linklater have a shared ability to make a film built on discursive moments flow narratively, an affinity for counterculture movements or small communities that help define an era or place while being held outside of its mainstream, and a shared interest in people discovering themselves and finding some small measure of independence in circumstances that otherwise forbid it. – Max O. (full review)
Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman)
In a year full of minions, emojis, talking cars, and bossy babies, to say we’re looking for something a bit more compelling in the animated field is an understatement. Thankfully, a beautifully-detailed animation arrived this past fall in the form of Loving Vincent, a Vincent Van Gogh biopic that’s also the first fully oil-painted feature film. 125 painters worked over six years, resulting in 65,000 painted frames, and Saoirse Ronan, Aidan Turner, Douglass Booth, Chris O’Dowd, and Helen McCrory are in its voice cast, with Clint Mansell on scoring duties. – Jordan R.
The Lure (Agnieszka Smoczynska)
The Polish cannibal horror mermaid musical you’ve been waiting for arrived in theaters last year, along with a prestigious release on The Criterion Collection. “A compelling fairytale wrapped in an 1980s rock opera, Smoczynska offers up plenty details to admire from start to finish. Clever world-building touches include the sonar language through which the sisters secretly communicate, the anatomy of their tails and the mechanics/rules of removing said tails. Not to mention the wonderfully over-the-top production design,” we said in our review. “There is far too much here not to recommend. This is nothing if not brazen and intriguing filmmaking, and should be sought out and discussed, despite its shortcomings.” – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: FilmStruck
Mom and Dad (Brian Taylor)
I have to imagine every parent at some point wonders where their life could have gone if they didn’t have children. This doesn’t make them bad people — only those who actually act on the urge by abandoning their families without so much as a goodbye fall under that label. It just proves they’re human. It’s merely a manifestation of fatigue and frustration as the late-night parties and carefree, irresponsible attitudes necessary to let loose disappear. Gone are the dreams you can try and fail at knowing you don’t have a spouse and two kids to help feed, cloth, and shelter. Maybe you remember the past and long for its excess or perhaps you look towards the future, confident you wouldn’t be going to bed at 9:00pm without them. Well, Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad (his first foray as director without Mark Neveldine by his side) seeks to give this fantasy life. – Jared M. (full review)
Thelma (Joachim Trier)
Joachim Trier delivers one of the most startlingly bleak openings in recent memory as Thelma‘s glimpse at difficult revelations yet to come tightens its vice-like grip. While the resulting coming-of-age tale proves supernatural in aesthetic, its resonant look at an adolescent breaking free of prejudiced constraints contains universally authentic themes. Nature and nurture collide as the power of embracing one’s own identity potently defeats the suppression through conformity ideal forced upon them. Whether a result of religion, race, gender, or sexuality, society will imprison psychologically with fear and hate. To realize you’re not the cancer in your own life is to therefore render those prisons into chrysalises and augment your escape with the strength to change the world. – Jared M.
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)
With Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes has created a bold, tremendously original film that I expect will be adored for years to come. It transports the viewer to places that are long, long gone: Manhattan in the 1920s, the down-and-dirty Big Apple of the 1970s. And it tells two stories — separated by several decades — that are as affecting as any in recent cinema. The gentle, heartbreakingly exquisite Wonderstruck may at first seem something of a departure for Haynes. However, he has always been a successful chronicler of the outsider. His adaptation of Brian Selznick’s 2011 book is a gloriously involving tale, one infused with imagination and mystery. And the performances from its three young leads — Millicent Simmonds as Rose, Oakes Fegley as Ben, and Jaden Michael as Jamie — are enchanting. – Chris S.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
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