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.

Armageddon Time (James Gray)

Armageddon Time is the sort of film usually invoked as a “portrait of the nation” or “state of the union address,” something taking the temperature of a country—most likely the United States—at a particular time in history. But it’s also a work that makes self-consciousness a virtue: its wonderful writer-director, James Gray, is informed up to his eyes about the virtues and pitfalls of films like these, and here makes something so idiosyncratically his own but that audiences and critics might still mislabel with one of those aforementioned ideas. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: Prime Video

Godland (Hlynur Pálmason)

Featuring onscreen text explaining how the film was inspired by left-behind photos taken by a Danish priest while visiting Iceland in the late 1800s (as opposed to how it was actually suburban American child Andy’s favorite movie in 1995), Godland takes on the heavy weight of a historical object. But though this is really a film fighting a battle between formalism and compelling dramaturgy, the questions it asks will actually be much simpler. Our stand-in for the unnamed priest of historical record is the young Lutheran Lucas (Elliot Crosset Hove), assigned to help build a church in rural Iceland by his rather bored-looking superior in the ministry (he spends the meeting eating food, not making eye contact). Yet this is no easy task: Iceland is wild country and Lucas’ trek will take him into the so-to-speak heart of darkness. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel

Infinity Pool (Brandon Cronenberg)

By now the Cronenberg surname has become synonymous with bodily obsession. Like his father David’s wealthy oeuvre of anatomical grotesquerie, Brandon Cronenberg has taken the torch and developed his own small, corporeal-minded canon, blending a gory imagination with sharp socio-economic fables. More than his chilling, futuristic narrative concepts, it’s his sensory details that overwhelm and entrance, grounding science fiction in the earthly vulgarities and excretions that deliver genuine shocks instead of cheap thrills. That he can keep twisting the knife and warrant an appreciation for his detail and dexterity is a rare gift. – Jake K-S. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Morning of the Earth (Albert Falzon)

A rarely seen, recently remastered surf epic filmed in beaches across Australia, Hawaii, and Indonesia. Spearheaded by photographer-filmmaker-surfer Albert “Alby” Falzon, Morning of the Earth quickly achieved cult status upon initial release for its stunning cinematography, psychedelic soundtrack, and candid depiction of surfers raising chickens and growing their own vegetables that resonated with the nature-lovin’ youth counterculture of the era. Inspired by Jonas Mekas’ writing, Falzon made a film “that was a reflection of the spirit of surfing at the time.”

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

Pacifiction (Albert Serra)

Pacifiction is what Albert Serra might describe as an unfuckable movie. “Unfuckable is, you take the whole thing or you don’t take it but you cannot apply a critical judgment in an easy way,” he explained to us in 2019, “because it is what it is and it doesn’t look like any other film.” Pacifiction does not look like any other film. It doesn’t taste or smell like other films, either, even Serra’s own distinctive body of work. It premiered in a Cannes competition that has been high on wattage but low on power, crying out for a sensation. Pacifiction is that sensation: a film unlike any other this year, appearing near the end of proceedings, with the festival’s final furlongs already in sight; it is the closest the selection has come to delivering a masterpiece. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Other People’s Children (Rebecca Zlotowski)

Directed by Rebecca Zlotowski, the French drama Other People’s Children has a simple plot linked with complex ideas. Following Rachel (Virginie Efira), a 40-year-old childless, single teacher, the film watches her fall in love with Ali (Roschdy Zem), a man with a young daughter named Leila. Rachel, always wanting kids of her own, becomes connected to Leila, forcing her to confront her own views on motherhood. Zlotowski’s film grows into a study of overheard conversations and biting words from kids, those who don’t know any better. – Michael F. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Sanctuary (Zachary Wigon)

How well do you know your regular sex worker? How well do they know you? What Hal (Christopher Abbott) and Rebecca (Margaret Qualley) share may have begun as a source of fun, but it’s obviously evolved into something much deeper. It’s now akin to therapy and they both know it to be true. The problem, however, lies in how they interpret what these sessions actually provide. Does Hal need Rebecca to come and validate his fetishized insecurities so he can achieve orgasmic release? Or does she do it to empower him with the necessary confidence to lead a company that’s suddenly fallen to him upon the death of his domineering father? Can either of them really know for sure? Not with money involved. Honesty demands higher stakes. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Stroll (Kristen Lovell and Zachary Drucker)

A frank celebration of a pre-Giuliani New York, Kristen Lovell and Zachary Drucker’s The Stroll explores a unique period from the inside. Lovell––an actress, activist, and the producer of the seminal trans film The Garden Left Behind––knows the streets well, and after being the subject of a 2007 documentary about prostitution her eyes were opened to the possibility of one day making a film. In fifteen years, she’s gone from being homeless and sleeping at a Times Square megaplex to debuting her HBO-backed feature in Park City at the nation’s premier indie film festival. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Max

Three Floors (Nanni Moretti)

A car is knocked off-course on a quiet suburban street and crashes fatally into the front room of a well-furnished apartment. In the flurry of bricks and wall plaster, it lands inches from the feet of a young girl who stares the wreckage down with a cool, deadpan expression. If this is your classic “inciting incident” for a full-bodied, conventionally structured drama, its oddly comic denouement––coupled with the main characters all appearing to survey the outcome in little, rhythmic intervals––mark Three Floors as a work by Nanni Moretti, who never met an instance of bourgeois life he couldn’t mischievously ironize. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

You Hurt My Feelings (Nicole Holofcener)

In a landscape that has mostly lost its taste for comedy, every Nicole Holofcener film feels like a revelation. While she has more on her mind than just making audiences laugh, her gift for humor is undervalued, and her latest, You Hurt My Feelings, is as perceptive, insightful, and funny as her best work. The stakes may be considered low, but that is only in comparison to the ill-perceived notion that audiences need to be satiated with overcomplicated, heightened narratives that stretch beyond quotidian human issues. For these characters the stakes couldn’t be higher, and it’s refreshing to see a director examine the major emotional consequences of small but significant actions. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

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