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.

After Blue (Bertrand Mandico)

In the post-apocalyptic nightmare of After Blue, humanity—or what’s left of it—roams a former paradise turned wasteland. The Armageddon that wrecked the Earth in some undetermined past left no machines behind, no screens, and, perhaps most conspicuously, no men. In the distant planet the human race fled to, and which writer-director Bertrand Mandico’s film is named after, “they were the first to die,” we’re warned early on: “their hairs grew inside them, and killed them.” As it was for its predecessor, The Wild BoysAfter Blue is suffused in a feverish ecstasy, that wild excitement that comes from a watching one world crumble and another jutting into being from scratch, a vision of a clean slate in which everything—and everyone—can be reinvented, and every norm challenged. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Where to Stream: OVID.tv

Anatomy of a Fall (Justin Triet)

The ensuing days after a romantic breakup, even if it isn’t a cataclysmic one, are an uncanny time. Perhaps once the spell of verbal conflict and sparring’s ceased, suddenly your sole companion for the most intimate thoughts is yourself once again, but it’s an opportune moment for contemplation: how did it really go wrong? Or, can I be honest with myself and acknowledge my own partial responsibility for its demise? For Sandra (Sandra Hüller) and Samuel (Samuel Theis), the key onscreen and offscreen players in Anatomy of a Fall, are enduring this quagmire, although their inevitable breakup was enforced––the latter has just tragically died. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Anselm (Wim Wenders)

A meditation on the work of German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer, Wim Wenders’ concise, spare 3D documentary Anselm allows us to spend time in the presence of the artist and man. Both born in 1945, Wenders and Kiefer share much of the same DNA as creators who tackle the history of a divided country traumatized and silenced. For Wenders, a global filmmaker whose other new picture this year, the fantastic Perfect Days, was made in Japan, Anselm is a thoughtful, contemplative return to some of the themes explored in his seminal Wings of Desire. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Dad & Step-Dad (Tynan DeLong)

It’s the week of Colin Burgess, as the stellar comedy Free Time arrives in theaters and one of his prior features, Dad & Step-Dad, finally lands on VOD. If you have yet to be acquainted with this self-deprecating, character-driven style of humor, these two features provide the ideal entry point. Shot over just four days for around $18K, DeLong’s comedy proves that with the right cast and dedication to pushing the joke to its most hilarious limits, a sketch-style set-up can in fact flourish in feature form. Following Jim (Burgess) and Dave (Anthony Oberbeck) as the competitive title characters vying for the attention of their son/step-son Branson (played perfectly by the thirtysomething Brian Fiddyman), Dad & Step-Dad is a hysterical battle of one-upmanship wrapped in ego and fatherhood.

Where to Stream: VOD

Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Phạm Thiên Ân)

Early into Pham Thien An’s sprawling, stupefying Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, there’s a shot that manifests Caravaggio inside a shack in rural Vietnam. Having traveled from Saigon to his home village to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law, Thien (Le Phong Vu) is visiting a local elder who sowed a shroud for the departed. The twenty-something wants to pay for the service; the old man doesn’t take money from neighbors. He does accept the company, though, and very generously spills a whole cascade of memories from the Vietnam War, laying bare an old bullet scar on his ribcage. And as Thien bends to graze the bruised skin under the warm, caliginous light, Pham frames the moment as one of reverential awe, an image modeled off of Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.” It’s a beautiful shot in a film full of them. That it comes near the end of a particularly intricate 24-minute take is a testament to Pham’s mastery of craft; that this three-hour odyssey is only his first feature only adds to the wonder. – Leonardo G. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Isadora’s Children (Damien Manivel)

French dancer-turned-filmmaker Damien Manivel’s Isadora’s Children is a delicate exploration of pioneering choreographer Isadora Duncan. Four women study and tenderly feel their way through Duncan’s emotional 1923 piece “Mother” one century later in a striking contemporary adaptation. 

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

The Monk and the Gun (Pawo Choyning Dorji)

A brief overview of the history and current state of their national industry proves helpful for assessing the reasons why his sophomore effort, the Oscar-shortlisted (but consequently un-nominated) The Monk and the Gun, feels so frustrating. Set in 2006, shortly after the Himalayan nation became the last in the world to get TV and Internet access, the period piece aims to analyze the tensions between religious and monarchist traditions, and the dawn of a democratic future. Imagine a Jia Zhangke effort layered in whimsy, and you’re halfway to understanding the film’s approach to dramatizing these themes. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Molli and Max in the Future (Michael Lukk Litwak)

A feat of small-scale, inventive sci-fi with a large imagination, Molli and Max in the Future subverts the oft-repeated idea that any peek deep into the future is one with a little less humanity. Taking the mold of a rather charming rom-com, the film follows the reunions of a man and woman over 12 years and various planets and dimensions. While some of its more eccentric touches don’t fully register, Zosia Mamet and Aristotle Athari find a grounded heart to their characters and evolving relationship that ensure the journey is one worth taking.

Where to Stream: VOD

Road House (Doug Liman)

You need to tread a fine line when paying homage to 1980s action movies. Wink too much at the audience and it’ll either feel like you’re striving for cult status or telling the audience they shouldn’t take your film so seriously; play it too straight and you run risk of viewers not realizing you’re in on the highly ridiculous joke. The recent Jason Statham vehicle The Beekeeper is, for me at least, the best recent example of a filmmaker perfecting that balance of gritty sincerity and knowing stupidity, but in its best moments, Doug Liman’s remake of Road House threatens to give it a run for its money. It has several scenes that deliver intentional laughs while servicing a gritty, western-aping narrative which stretches credulity beyond breaking point long before we learn of an evil cabal of property developers and their endless string of violent henchmen. Liman knows how silly this is, but in its earliest and best stretches, never plays his hands so clearly as to make his movie seem like nothing more than genre pastiche. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Prime Video

Yuni (Kamila Andini)

One of our favorite undistributed films of 2021 has now arrived. Film Movement, who released Kamila Andini’s 2022 festival premiere Before, Now & Then in theaters last summer, has picked up the Indonesian director’s prior feature, the coming-of-age tale Yuni. Reyzando Nawara said in his review, “Kamila Andini further proves herself of Indonesian cinema’s most vital voices with her third solo feature Yuni. Partly inspired by Sapardi Djoko Damono’s love poem “Rain in June,” the movie paints a candid portrait of what it’s like for a teenage girl in Indonesia, where expectations and dated traditional values often prevent one from fully having the freedom to pursue their dreams.”

Where to Stream: Film Movement+, VOD

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