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April 20, 2018

New to Streaming: ‘Happy End,’ ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower,’ ‘Hostiles,’ ‘The Nothing Factory,’ and More

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Behemoth (Zhao Liang)

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There’s just one thing missing from Zhao Liang’s visually masterful documentary Behemoth: a before image of what this wasteland of coal and rock used to be before God’s beast was unleashed. That creature — as represented by the industrial machine — devours the mountains of Mongolia, exploding large formations into rubble to be separated by the Sichaun people acting as minions. These citizens become the cause and effect, each job necessary to aid in their survival also proving to be the root of their demise. All this land destroyed; all these innocents dead amongst the ash. What was once a haven of gorgeous landscapes has slowly devolved into a blight of dust and fire, its inhabitants’ purgatorial existence consumed as Hell rises from beneath. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Happy End (Michael Haneke)

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Nobody does bourgeois despair better than Haneke and that’s just a fact. This ominously titled family drama, constructed with the kind of surgical precision the Austrian auteur has come to be known for, once again uncovers a chain of unhealthy obsessions and self-destructive impulses from beneath a gleaming surface. Rich people’s problems? Sure. But the grace and exactitude with which such desperation is examined – or indeed mocked – wows. And the pride, disdain and pristine dread etched into the faces of Jean-Louis Trintignant & co. betray something so wretched it fascinates the mind to consider these deplorably callous creatures. – Zhuo-Ning Su

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Hostiles (Scott Cooper)

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The fact that America’s past isn’t without its horrific nightmares of misguided violence and oppression shouldn’t be lost on anyone, especially not with everything that’s going on here today. Our history runs red with the blood of men, women, and children who fought to survive against a force that thought themselves superior because of the color of their skin. White Europeans staked claim upon their arrival, killing the Native Americans with gunfire, alcohol, and disease before chasing them off west. They brought slave ships full of Africans as unpaid laborers, property to be bought and sold. And after the latter won their freedom as a result of the Civil War, the former remained in invisible chains—the discovery of gold in the Black Hills eventually tightening them further. Scott Cooper’s Hostiles (based on an unrealized manuscript by the late Donald E. Stewart) isn’t about that fight per se. Instead he focuses on the aftermath—the cost. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

In the Fade (Fatih Akin)

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Fatih Akin sends a cumbersome bull into the socio-political china shop of present-day Germany, and all its racial and social divides, with In the Fade, a compelling (if somewhat ugly and hammy) contemporary revenge thriller wherein fear begets fear, hates begets hate, and thrills — however imprudent they might be — are easy to come by.Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Hiromasa Yonebayashi)

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The new Japanese animation house Studio Ponoc, founded and staffed by veterans of Studio Ghibli, has made a mission statement with its first feature, Mary and The Witch’s Flower. Though the studio’s name is Croatian for “midnight,” alluding to the beginning of a new day, this movie represents less a fresh start than it does business as usual. From the character designs to the animation style, it tries to create the impression of a Ghibli film at every step. The implication seems to be that fans of Ghibli need not worry about the studio’s indefinite, possibly permanent “hiatus” from feature production–at least when production began on Mary–because Ponoc is now here to take up the reins and deliver works which look and feel almost exactly the same. – Dan S. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Nothing Factory (Pedro Pinho)

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Near the end of The Nothing Factory, the film’s ostensible lead player Ze (José Smith Vargas) angrily remarks to Daniele (real-life documentarian Daniele Incalcaterra) that he’s simply exploiting him and his fellow doomed factory workers so he can simply have something to “show his cinema buddies in France.” Ze seems to realize himself as a subject eternally linked to film, with the ins and outs of the proletariat having been a ripe topic since the beginnings of cinema with Workers Leaving the Factory of course, or extending into the neorealist films of the ’40s and then morphing into a reliable stream of documentaries and small dramas that turn up on the festival circuit. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Pass Over (Spike Lee)

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Spike Lee’s next feature Black Klansman, produced with Jordan Peele, is one of our most-anticipated films of the year, but first we have his capturing of an acclaimed play, which turned out to be one of our favorites of Sundance. Dan Schindel said in his review, “Once again, Spike Lee has found an innovative theatrical production and brought it to blistering cinematic life. Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over, produced in 2017 by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, combines Waiting for Godot, Biblical lore, and contemporary American race issues into a story that’s at turns funny, suspenseful, and bizarre”

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo)

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South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo has built a formidable career with variations on the same thematic, structural, and formal choices, and Right Now, Wrong Then is another permutation involving his three favorite subjects — film critics, drinking, and pathetic men — but while the films almost always have a playful intelligence in their construction, they rarely feel this deceptively moving. Expertly shifting between naturalism and self-awareness in both its formal choices and performances (Kim Min-hee imbues every line with a crucial conversational purity), it becomes not only a great romantic comedy, but an examination of how we process the experience of watching a film. – Michael S.

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Also New to Streaming

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Shanty Tramp
Fish Tail
Buffet Froid
Afternoon

Netflix

Kodachrome
Lakeview Terrace
Pele
Seven Pounds

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.

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