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.
Beau Is Afraid (Joaquin Phoenix)
Ari Aster’s brazenly original three-hour odyssey Beau Is Afraid is, refreshingly, the kind of film where it seems no notes were given––or at least the director had the creative control to reject them. Jumping from some of the most brilliant dark comedy in cinema as of late to a boldly conceived existential journey to an emotionally rife reckoning with mother issues, this Charlie Kaufman-esque journey of the mind packs in quite a lot. Even at its most unwieldy, Aster’s film is continued proof that Joaquin Phoenix––brilliant here, at the center of every scene––is the rare breed of actor seeking new challenges with each performance. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: VOD
Chevalier (Stephen Williams)
TIFF wasn’t kidding when they said they were welcoming director Stephen Williams back after pivoting into prestige television. It’s been 27 years since his theatrical debut Soul Survivor, with a laundry list of all your favorite shows in the meantime. Which just goes to prove that sometimes it’s all about the right project bringing you back into the fold. And it seems a script by rising star Stefani Robinson (coming from FX shows Atlanta and What We Do in the Shadows herself) about the first-known classical composer of African ancestry, Joseph Bologne (also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges), was exactly that. A stirring tribute to a man of many talents, Chevalier gorgeously gives a once-forgotten virtuoso violinist the cinematic treatment. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
Cinema Sabaya (Orit Fouks Rotem)
If 2022 was the year of self-reflexive explorations of harnessing cinematic tools to varying means––the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Gray, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Jafar Panahi all providing differing viewpoints on how artistic ambitions have forged the paths of their lives––Orit Fouks Rotem’s debut feature Cinema Sabaya also deserves to be part of the conversation. With the smallest scope amongst the aforementioned–yet, like Panahi, exuding a documentary-like realism to excavate deeper truths––Israel’s Oscar entry examines how the unified pursuit of artistic fulfillment can break down cultural and religious barriers to invite conversations that otherwise may never take place. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Kino Now
Falcon Lake (Charlotte Le Bon)
Every cinematic cabin in the woods suggests a place out of time. If you believe the movies, they’re either a) a dread-inducing home to all manner of spirits and masked killers which directly tie the cabin back to its haunted past; or b) an idyllic getaway for a teenager during a formative coming-of-age experience. The directorial debut of Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon is an unusual, immediately arresting combination, grounding its deeply sincere account of first love within the realm of gothic horror––here the urban myth of a girl who drowned in the nearby lake many summers prior. – Alistair R. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot (Adam Yauch)
Celebrating their 15th anniversary this month, Oscilloscope Laboratories have had quite a roster of notable releases, with films from Kelly Reichardt, Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Alice Rohrwacher, Anna Rose Holmer, Joel Potrykus, Josephine Decker, and beyond. The anniversary affords the perfect time to catch up with their first release, directed by the company’s founder, the late Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys fame. Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot, which captures the top 24 high school basketball players competing in an epic tournament in NYC’s iconic Rucker Park, is just as much an ode to the sport as it is an opportunity for Yauch to exude his musical tastes and energetic eye to capturing movement. Featuring tracks by Jay-Z, Nas, Public Enemy, Kool and the Gang and, yes, Beastie Boys, the documentary offers a kinetic look at promising talent trying to make it big. – Jordan R.
Matter Out of Place (Nikolaus Geyrhalter)
The term “matter out of place” refers to objects in a place they do not originally belong to. In his new film, acclaimed Austrian director Nikolaus Geyrhalter traces immense amounts of waste across our planet. The film made its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival 2022 and won the festival’s inaugural Green Leopard Environmental Prize.
Where to Stream: OVID
Retrograde (Adrian Murray)
One of the strongest independent features of the year also has one of the simplest premises: Molly Richmond (Molly Reisman) is charged with reckless driving but every fiber of her being aims to fight it. Through a series of pitch-perfect, dryly hilarious, and ultimately soul-sucking interactions, the 74-minute gem charts Molly’s journey to fight the system to dispiriting ends. Premiering alongside Jordan Tetewsky & Joshua Pikovsky’s Hannah Ha Ha and Clay Tatum’s The Civil Dead at Slamdance 2022, the three films would make an excellent triple feature about modern malaise and the mundane frustrations with the various economic and bureaucratic roadblocks of daily life.
Where to Stream: Fandor
Sideral (Carlos Segundo)
As Brazil prepares to launch its first manned rocket ship into space, one community begins imagining new futures for themselves. Carlos Segundo’s fifteen-minute black-and-white short spins a simple sci-fi premise into a smart study of changing family dynamics. In its calculated shift from slice-of-life storytelling to space-tinged surrealism, Sideral is a testament to Segundos’ mission to make films at “the edge of the impossible and the possible.”
Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club
Sweet Thing (Alexandre Rockwell)
Alexandre Rockwell’s Sweet Thing could be pulled from any era. Shot in striking 16mm black-and-white, the coming-of-age film—Rockwell’s first feature since 2013—is an intimate story about childhood, connection, freedom, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive. Starring Rockwell’s own children Lana and Nico as, respectively, Billie and Nico, Sweet Thing keeps its lens on two children maturing before they should and forced into situations of adulthood. – Michael F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Film Movement+
Tommy Guns (Carlos Conceição)
It’s tough when you want to like a film a little more. The idea and spirit is present in Tommy Guns, but an overwhelming air of academicism––something that’s sadly begun infecting art cinema in the past decade, its films made more and more by directors self-conscious of the festival circuit tics and requirements––leaves it hard to commend overall. – Ethan V. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
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