Category: Streaming Suggestions

Now Available on Amazon Prime: Silence, the Problem of Pain, & the Challenge of Cinema as Religious Text

Originally published on January 16, 2017. Silence is now available for streaming for Amazon Prime subscribers. Overview: Upon hearing that their mentor has apostatized, two 17th Century Jesuit priests venture into Japan, where Christianity is outlawed, to find him. Based on the novel by Shūsaku Endō. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated R; 161 minutes. What’s In The Frame?: Martin Scorsese famously said, “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out,” a sentence that might be as useful as any working definition that has been offered for the art form as it hits its toddler stage. But the...

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Now Available on Netflix Instant Streaming: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Is A Heartfelt Embrace of the Weird

Originally published on May 4 2017. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now available on Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: The cosmic adventures of the mismatched team continue as Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) uncovers the secrets of his true parentage, bringing him into contact with his father (Kurt Russell). Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 136 minutes. Band of Outsiders: Ayesha, High Priestess of The Sovereign sits on an opulent throne, boasting of the perfect evolutionary state reached by her species. The Sovereign are covered in gold, from their clothing and skin all the way down to...

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New on Amazon Prime: The Big Sick is Exactly What We Need

Originally published on July 5, 2017, The Big Sick is now available for streaming for Amazon Prime users. Overview: A new couple is challenged by familial, cultural, and medical issues. 2017; Apatow Productions; Rated R; 119 minutes. Some Background: Before getting into the movie as a whole, it’s important to talk about how Kumail and Emily got to where they are today. Back in the early days of podcasting, I met the couple through The Indoor Kids, a podcast where the couple and a guest played and talked about video games and the culture that surrounds them. When I...

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New on Amazon Prime: Fences is a Performance Powerhouse With Questionable Follow-Through

Originally published on January 9, 2017, Fences is now available for streaming for Amazon Prime customers. Overview: Based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Fences examines the struggles of an aging black man in the 1950s as he tries to provide for his family, while his personal failures isolate him. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated PG-13; 139 minutes. August Personage: We’d be hard pressed to find a writer who so exquisitely captured the voices of black Americans during the 20th century like August Wilson. Wilson’s works carry blackness within their very punctuation, each break, stammer, or interruption illuminating a great...

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Amazon Prime Hidden Gems: Alps

Alps (2011) Director: Yorgos Lanthimos Genre: Drama Kino Lorber Yorgos Lanthimos makes you work. His films depict worlds that appear to be just like ours, ones where things work just a bit differently. Since Lanthimos doesn’t have any interest in exposition, it’s always on us to figure out not only the culture and rules that govern these worlds, but how and why his characters are interacting with the world and each other the way they are. In this sense, Alps is heavy lifting. The movie follows a small group of, um…let’s call them specialty grief counselors. Their business is...

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Now Available on HBO GO: John Wick: Chapter 2 is a High Art Action Film of Mythic Proportion

Originally published on February 8, 2017. John Wick 2 is now available on HBO GO’s streaming service. Overview: When a former ally forces John Wick to make good on an old debt, he finds himself caught in a whirlwind of repercussions with a bounty on his head. Summit Entertainment; 2017; Rated R; 122 minutes. Working Again: Before we even get to the opening credits and title card for John Wick: Chapter 2, the film quickly dispenses with the plot that any standard action sequel would go for by wrapping up the threads from John Wick. Reclaiming the car that...

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Now Available on Amazon Prime: Free Fire Sees Fear & Masculine Insecurity Beget Violence

Originally published on April 24, 2017. Free Fire is now available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Overview:  In 1978, a weapons deal in a warehouse quickly goes wrong, and a shootout ensues when everyone present tries to defend themselves. A24; 2016; Rated R; 90 minutes. “It’s too late, I’ve been insulted”: In 1978, a weapons deal goes wrong. There is no on screen information to give a date, time, or location. We can glean as much as it necessary from visual cues and exposition. Free Fire’s premise could be handled in many ways, and Ben Wheatley chooses an impressively...

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New on Hulu: Phoenix Forgotten Almost Makes for a Memorable Experience

Originally published on April 24, 2017. Phoenix Forgotten is available on Hulu’s streaming service. Overview: Twenty years after strange lights appeared over Phoenix, Arizona, a young filmmaker seeks the truth behind the disappearance of her brother who went missing while investigating the sightings. Cinelou Films; 2017; PG-13; 87 minutes. Worth Remembering: I frequently see people using the terms “found footage” and “mockumentary” interchangeably, which is an error I’m never in a hurry to correct, given that anyone who hasn’t learned the difference by now likely has little interest in the horror/sci-fi genres where the two different forms are most...

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FilmStruck Hidden Gem: Fallen Angels

Fallen Angels (1995) Director: Wong Kar-Wai Genre: Drama Overview: A killer navigates conflicted feelings towards his assistant while a mute loner tries to make it in the world after getting out of prison. Synopsis: Watching the mid 1990s films of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai is a bit like a reading a collection of poetry. The final output isn’t necessarily meant to be understood or figured out. There can be a theme or feeling that runs through the finished piece, but there’s always a different reading out there, a new angle to look at. There might be an odd...

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Now Available on Netflix Instant Streaming: Raw May Be the Year’s Best Horror Film

Originally published on June 9, 2017. Raw is now available on Netflix instant streaming. Overview: A gifted veterinarian student finds her dietary and personal values challenged through a triggering event at college. Petit Film; 2016; Rated R; 99 minutes. Let it Sink In: Raw bared its flesh at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Adding to its critical success in Europe was the story that several audience members at the Toronto International Film Festival had to receive medical attention after fainting, a tried and true horror marketing ploy that, no matter how valid, always gets my attention. It delivers on...

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Nightbreed and the Majesty of Monsters

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with monsters? I do. It was somewhere in the midst of Frankenstein, Goosebumps, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and War of the Colossal Beast that I came to love them. I researched them. I wrote about them. I drew them on every blank piece of paper I could find and turned many a school art project into a monstrous vision of blood and blisters, much to the disgust of my teachers. I was separated from my peers for monsters. I went to detention for monsters. My parents were called...

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New on Amazon Prime: The Lost City of Z Discovers the Lost Vision of David Lean

Originally published on April 13, 2017. The Lost City of Z is now available on Amazon Prime instant streaming. Overview: In the early 20th Century, a determined explorer makes three separate journeys into the Amazon in hopes of finding a lost civilization. Bleecker Street/Amazon Studios; 2016; PG-13; 140 minutes. This Time, It’s True: I never liked that old dismissal, “They don’t make movies like that any more.” The sentence is almost always cheap and empty, and frequently a testament only to its speaker’s nostalgic hindsightedness. Most of the things that were great about movies then, no matter where in...

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Mubi Hidden Gem #2 – Hello Destroyer

Hello Destroyer Kevan Funk Drama Synopsis: After almost killing a rival hockey team’s player during a match, Tyson Burr struggles to rebuild his life.  Overall: It would be a gross oversimplification to say that Kevan Funk’s Hello Destroyer is a film about violence, much as it would be a gross oversimplification to say that it’s a film about hockey. Yes, the film follows Tyson Burr (Jared Abrahamson), a professional hockey enforcer who gets dropped from his team after hitting an opposing player so hard he shattered one of his vertebrae and hemorrhaged his brain. Hello Destroyer is a film...

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Netflix Hidden Gem: Carnage Park

Carnage Park (2016) Director: Mickey Keating Genre: Horror IFC Midnight Synopsis: Psychotic Vietnam war veteran Wyatt Moss (Pat Healy) terrorizes a young woman named Vivian Fontaine (Ashley Young) in a deadly game of cat and mouse in the California desert. Overview: Written and directed by Mickey Keating as a thematic and aesthetic throwback to classic 1970s exploitation films, Carnage Park sees Pat Healy flexing all of his character actor chops as a supremely deranged central antagonist. After a hapless bank robber mistakenly makes his way into a stretch of privately owned California desert, Wyatt makes short work of ‘Scorpion’ Joe Clay (James...

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Carrie White Burns in Hell: Carrie’s 40th Anniversary

Originally published on October 26, 2016. Carrie is now available on Hulu treaming. Forty years later, Carrie is still one of the most popular horror movies of its time. As is the case with any successful adaptation, it would be a disservice to neglect to consider the source material. 1976: In the middle of one of the hottest decades for horror, Stephen King’s first film adaptation was born. This would spark the beginning of a successful book to film career that took King from a job making $1.60 an hour in a laundry to where he is today as one...

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