Category: Streaming Suggestions

Netflix Hidden Gem: Maria Bamford: Old Baby

Last year, Maria Bamford’s genius show Lady Dynamite debuted on Netflix. For those unfamiliar with her stand up comedy, it was a great primer to the kinds of jokes to expect from her, and a glimpse into the life of one of the best working comedians today. Now available on Netflix is her new stand up special, Old Baby, and it’s definitely worth your time. Most stand up specials stick to a familiar format. A comedian stands onstage in a large venue packed with people who are all told about the filming and asked to be extra supportive. Pardon my...

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Netflix Hidden Gem: 8MM

8MM Directed By: Joel Schumacher Genre: Mystery, Thriller Columbia Pictures Synopsis: A private detective is hired to determine the authenticity of a snuff film. Overview: Remember when you were a teenager and you watched movies with your friends, and you didn’t know anything about movies, and it didn’t matter? I feel like most of my teen years were spent watching trashy 90s action/thrillers that, looking back, weren’t that great (but were super great in their lack of greatness.) 8MM is one of those types of movies, the ones where you make a giant bowl of extra buttery popcorn and...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: Manchester by the Sea Is An Operatic Ode to Melancholy

Originally published on December 5, 2016. Manchester by the Sea is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview: A man wracked with a personal grief of his own is forced to care for his teenage nephew following the death of his brother. Roadside Attractions; 2016; Rated R; 137 minutes. Working Class Blues: At the heart of director Kenneth Lonergan’s stunning followup to the critically heralded – and notoriously delayed – release of his 2011 feature length effort Margaret is another heartfelt story of tragedy and grief. In the vein of that film’s unexpected heroine, Lonergan casts Casey Affleck as a man called upon...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: Bridget Jones’s Baby Is Hilariously Satisfying

Originally Published on September 30, 2016. Bridget Jones’s Baby is now available on Netflix Instant in the United States. Overview: Twelve years after Bridget Jones discovers love with Mark Darcy, we catch up with her only to discover she’s single again. However, one girls’ weekend and one christening celebration are enough to alter the course of her solitude forever, or the next 18 years at least. Universal Pictures; 2016; Rated R; 123 minutes. All By Myself: Fans of the original Bridget Jones’s Diary will be greeted with all of the happy, nostalgic feelings the moment the opening credits roll and we find Bridget...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: American Honey is a Rapid Fire Dream

Originally published on May 14, 2016. American Honey is now available through Amazon Prime’s Instant Streaming Service. Overview: A teenage girl joins a group of travelling magazine salespeople; A24/Focus Features; 2016; 162 Minutes. The Crew: Andrea Arnold’s 162-minute road trip movie is an absolute joyride through the American Midwest, brimming with the spontaneity and energy of modern youth. American Honey follows Star, portrayed with a naked vulnerability from newcomer Sasha Lane. With no responsible parents and two siblings under her care, she finds an easy escape as a member of a door-to-door magazine sales troupe. She becomes smitten with Jake, the star-salesman who recruited her and another extremely committed performance from Shia Laboeuf. The rest of the ensemble cast bears generally unknown faces (with the possible exception of Arielle Holmes, who appears after her breakthrough in last year’s Heaven Knows What). The crew don somewhat despicable personas yet their arrogance and unruliness are spun by Arnold into a noble and charismatic camaraderie. With an ear-pounding and contemporary yet somehow still nostalgia-inducing score of pop, EDM, and occasional country songs, the film always feels electric and wild. And despite all the ruckus and all of the obviously terrible decisions the characters make, Arnold never displays a desire to pass judgment with her film. Instead, with sympathetic frames caught by warm hues, she chooses to be intimate, sort of validating the oft-criticized millennial lifestyle. The...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: Want to Understand 2017 America? Watch ‘Oklahoma City’ This Weekend

Originally published March 3, 2017. Oklahoma City is now available on Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: Two violent events mobilized the American far-right in the early 90s and inspired a former solider named Timothy McVeigh to carry out one of the deadliest acts of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history. PBS; 2017; Not Rated ; 113 minutes. How We Got There: This documentary-length episode of PBS’s long-running series American Experience painstakingly recounts the events that led to the explosive growth of the white separatist movement in the early- to mid-1990s and connects them directly to the deadly bombing of the Murrah...

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New Netflix Instant Streaming: Tower Dares An Emotional Connection

Originally published on October 12, 2016. Tower is now available on U.S. Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: Combining archival footage and rotoscope animation, Keith Maitland’s TOWER is a bold documentary on the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. Kino Lorber; 2016; Not Rated; 82 minutes. A National Sickness: Orlando. San Bernardino. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Virginia Tech. Columbine. These names resonant deep within the American psyche, each synonymous with one of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings. These attacks may not be unique among First World Countries, but they are unmatched in their frequency. Other countries look at...

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New on Amazon Prime Streaming: The Handmaiden Is Erotic and Gorgeous

Originally published on May 15, 2016. The Handmaiden is now available on Amazon Prime instant streaming. Overview: A con man hires a pickpocket to help him, but things go awry when unexpected love develops. CJ Entertainment; 2016; 145 Minutes. The Web: Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden builds a web of deception and manipulation, a story in which the roles of puppeteers and puppets are indistinguishable. The film tangles the relationships between three primary people. Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) is a wealthy Japanese heiress promised to her predatory uncle.  Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri) is a young thief disguised as Lady Hideko’s eponymous servant. And con...

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New on Netflix Instant: Pete’s Dragon Is the Rare Remake Success Story

Originally published on August 16, 2016. Pete’s Dragon is now available on Netflix Instant in the U.S. Overview: A modern day revisionist retelling of the classic Disney film of 1977 that manages to deliver a wondrous reboot that miraculously supersedes the original. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2016; Rated PG; 103 minutes. Folklore: Starting with the opening sequence of David Lowery’s remarkable Pete’s Dragon remake, independent film actor and folk singer iconoclast Bonnie “Prince” Billy provides an original musical composition that serves to set the tone for the entire production. The strains and lyrics to “The Dragon Song” serve...

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New on Netflix Instant: The Eyes of My Mother is Hauntingly Poignant Horror

Originally published on October 26, 2016. The Eyes of My Mother is now available on U.S. Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: After witnessing an act of brutal violence, a young woman deals with her trauma and isolation with creative and depraved methods. Magnet Releasing; 2016; Rated R; 76 minutes. Open Eyes: Shot in stunning black and white, The Eyes of My Mother is a gorgeous looking film that has the added benefit of muting the inevitable gore. Nicolas Pesce’s directorial debut challenges the audience with timelines that expect you to keep up with them and choices that ask you to...

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New on Netflix Instant: Newtown is a Call to Action

Originally published on April 15, 2016. Newtown is now available on Netflix Instant streaming in the U.S. Overview: On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and killed 20 children, aged between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members. Newtown follows the collective grief and trauma of a community in mourning. Mile 22/Transform Films. 2016. Unrated. 85 minutes. The Grieving Process: They say there are 72 hours after a tragedy when everyone stands singularly together. 72 hours where political divisions don’t matter, people comfort each other wholeheartedly, regardless of what...

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Netflix Hidden Gem: Little Sister

Little Sister Directed By: Zach Clark Genre : Comedy Forager Films Synopsis: A young “former goth” woman returns home from aspiring to be a nun to face her past. Overview: Sometimes Netflix has a bizarre algorithm for its recommendations, but every now and then it gets it just right. Back in January, I discovered a little gem of a comedy/horror film called Lace Crater. It was charming in its imperfection and a welcome addition to a long lineup of little, low-budget, quirky indie movies, a genre that continues to melt my heart and one that seems to just keep...

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Netflix Hidden Gem: Look Who’s Back

Look Who’s Back (2015) Director: David Wnendt Genre: Comedy Constantin Film Synopsis: Adolf Hitler wakes up in modern Germany and becomes a media sensation. Overview: Look Who’s Back is structured like Borat or Bruno — a mix of scripted scenes and those of the main character interacting with the public. The entertainment, of course, comes from the public’s reaction to the eccentric figure at the centre of the movie. However, unlike those films and their heightened stereotype main characters, the protagonist of Look Who’s Back is Adolf Hitler. Waking up in a park in 2014 Berlin, Hitler finds himself transported in time to a world he...

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Netflix Hidden Gem: Trash Fire

Trash Fire (2016) Director: Richard Bates Jr. Genre: Horror Vertical Entertainment Synopsis: A couple whose relationship is on the rocks try to rebuild old family bonds and conquer personal demons, with violent results. Overview: Trash Fire gets into the garbage right away. Meet Owen (Adrian Grenier) and Isabel (the cat-eyed Angela Trimbur) a couple on the rocks at a juncture in their lives. We see them together through an awkward anniversary argument that lets us know things are not going well and only one of them seems to care. Being a fly on the wall for their disintegrating relationship feels like a...

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