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.

Annihilation (Alex Garland)

More terrifying than any creature Hollywood could dream up is the unraveling of one’s mind—the steady loss of a consciousness as defined by the memories, motivations, and knowledge built up from decades of experience and reflection. With Annihilation, Alex Garland’s beautiful, frightening follow-up to Ex Machina, he portrays this paralyzing sensation with a sense of vivid imagination, and also delivers a cadre of horrifying creatures to boot. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Barbarian (Zach Cregger)

The kind of horror film that resembles the experience of traveling down the dark recesses of one’s nightmares, Barbarian is also quite funny to boot. While its thin characterization and merely surface-level thrills hold it back from being a profoundly high mark for the genre, they are also perhaps a necessity to adhere to its rather surprising triptych structure. Above all else, with its rollercoaster tone, we imagine this is the inaugural year for a perennial Halloween watch.

Where to Stream: Hulu

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Pierre Földes)

The short stories of Haruki Murakami are becoming an increasing fixture on the big screen––it may have taken considerably more time since their initial publications, but not since Stephen King’s earliest collections has an author’s back catalog found itself getting adapted so rapidly. After Lee Chang-dong and Ryusuke Hamaguchi managed to weave epic tales of obsession and grief from two comparatively conversational works (in their respective masterpieces Burning and Drive My Car), a handful of other tales are adapted far more faithfully for the screen in Pierre Földes’ animated anthology. – Alistair R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Brand New Day (Amos Gitai)

Le Cinéma Club’s third annual Summer Music Festival to celebrate the electric power of live music begins with the rarely screened Brand New Day follows ‘80s sensation Eurythmics––the pop duo made up of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart––while on tour in Japan. An early documentary by esteemed French-Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, the film’s dynamism matches its musicians’ pizzazz.  As Lennox and Stewart meet up with local musicians––including the late great Ryuichi Sakamoto––a portrait of passionate musicianship comes together, bolstered by its cinematographer’s keen eye for strong visuals and a pounding synth score.

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)

In The Grand Budapest Hotel we can sense both a progression and summarizing of the entire Wes Anderson canon: an immediate, overriding narrative and stylistic conflation of The Royal Tenenbaums’ literary qualities and Moonrise’s storybook leanings; the bandit antics of FoxBottle Rocket’s rabble-rousing spirit; the looming ghosts of never-to-be-recovered loved ones which so significantly drove RushmoreThe Darjeeling Limited’s always-searching eye for foreign landscapes; even, at its climax, The Life Aquatic’s gun fight. Yet despite the clear consistency in form, structure, theme, tone, and sensibility which run through them all, The Grand Budapest Hotel has the quality of being often overstuffed, at once emotionally devastating in a manner few outside his corner have seemed to master and, yet, the slightest bit slack in fulfilling much of a cogent throughline. – Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Isabella (Matías Piñeiro)

Women from Shakespeare’s oeuvre find themselves reincarnated in modern-day South America through the recent works of Argentine director Matías Piñeiro (Hermia & HelenaThe Princess of France, Viola), which operate with non-linear structures concentrated on the intersection between the professional and intimate lives of actresses or aspiring artists. His unassumingly sumptuous new feature Isabella–which channels the central sister-brother dilemma in the British author’s Measure for Measure–examines two women’s unexpressed self-doubt, their aversion to risk, and conflicted career aspirations in an initially puzzling but ultimately rewarding fragmented narrative. – Carlos A. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Linoleum (Colin West)

If we lived in an alternate universe where Bill Nye never got his big break, relegated to shooting his lo-fi children’s show from his garage and submitting tapes to a local affiliate in hopes he’d advance to a prime Sunday morning slot, it would look something like the one Cameron Edwin (Jim Gaffigan) occupies. As his marriage is also on the brink of collapse, his midlife crisis conveniently dovetails with an old Russian rocket falling in his backyard. Edwin decides to make the most of the opportunity and attempt to fulfill his dreams of being an astronaut. An effective concoction of cosmic mystery and earnest emotion to elevate its small-scale, homespun design, Colin West’s Linoleum evolves into a nifty, heartfelt sci-drama. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

M3GAN (Gerard Johnstone)

Not outwardly terrifying, director Gerard Johnstone’s sci-fi slasher features a lifelike AI doll named M3GAN, programmed to attach itself to a single child. In the case of Akela Cooper and James Wan’s story, M3GAN finds her child soulmate in Cady (Violet McGraw), a young girl recently orphaned by a fatal, parental car accident. The rest of the story plays out with absurdity, a film reliant on knowledge, tech, and habits recognized by 2023 audiences. M3GAN works due to our own reliance on and ability to trust technology we don’t understand, taken to logical ends by the film’s willingness to ham up this story, go for big laughs, and succeed in finding them more often than not. – Michael F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Prime Video (including Unrated version)

Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed (Stephen Kijak)

Whether its his Sirk classics, the epic Giant, the charming Pillow Talk or startling Seconds, Rock Hudson had an iconic presence in Hollywood and a career that was cut short, dying just before his 60th birthday due to AIDS-related causes. A new documentary on his career, which premiered at Tribeca and is now streaming on Max, follows a tried and true formula detailing his life story. In its most compelling passages we get a detailed look at his closeted sexual life, including many stories from the men who are still alive to tell it, as well as how his queerness was perhaps subtly expressed on-screen during a time when his career could have been destroyed if the truth came out.

Where to Stream: Max

Run Rabbit Run (Daina Reid)

Run Rabbit Run, the latest from director Daina Reid, has all the ingredients of the modern mother-daughter horror film. There are the strung-out bass notes and dissonant metallic clangs. There are the cute, unexpectedly vicious animals attempting to become blatant metaphors. There are the disturbing black-crayon drawings that suggest something demonic. And then there is the central strained, maternal relationship that devolves into a psychological game of wills and triggers old trauma into a chaotic climax. – Jake K. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Tori and Lokita (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)

Tori and Lokita, the latest from the eerily consistent Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, pulls you in opposite directions when assessing it. It is as consummately made and passionately intended as anything they’ve done, but the filmmakers, as is apparent in less-successful films, can really undermine themselves with choices in plotting. I’ll never forget viewing my first, The Son, as a student in undergrad, both marveling and being almost perturbed at what a simple, elemental conflict—a man forgiving the murderer of his child—drove the entire film and generated all its tension. As in Lorna’s Silence and The Unknown Girl, this story can’t move without plot streaming out of every corner, contrivances piling upon contrivances, the way the tape could peel out of an old analog cassette or VHS. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (Sophie Fiennes)

Art made during COVID––more specifically during quarantine and before / at the very beginning of the vaccine rollout––will surely hold an added weight as history is written. In those very hard (and very recent, and in some respects, very current) times, what did we write? What did we read? What did we watch? T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, directed by Sophie Fiennes and performed by her brother Ralph, is a decidedly worthwhile artifact of this precarious time. – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin)

I’d argue it sustains momentum better than most of fellow wacky Canadian aesthete Guy Maddin’s films. And regardless, one hopes The Twentieth Century points to a bold new direction for Canadian cinema: one willing to laugh at itself while taking very seriously aesthetic ambition. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: OVID

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