(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)
It’s time for another edition of Now Stream This, where all your dreams can come true – provided your dreams involve belonging to multiple streaming services. In this edition, we’ve got a new Disney classic, an old Nicolas Ray classic, some creepy puppets, and a baby-faced Jeff Bridges. There’s also a glimpse at some humble beginnings as we look at two debut films from two directors who have new movies in theaters this month.
Streaming on Netflix June 20
It feels like Moana should’ve been a bigger deal. Sure, it did well at the box office, but a lot of Moana’s limelight was stolen by the other big Disney animated film of 2016, Zooptopia. Zootopia is a very good animated film, but Moana outshines it in every respect. The story of a teenager who dares to venture beyond the shores of her island in search of a demigod, Moana bursts will color and features a rather uplifting message along the way. With wonderful songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i and two stellar vocal performances from Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, Moana is the type of Disney film that will stand the test of time. If you somehow missed this slice of magic in theaters, it’s hitting Netflix before month’s end. Just don’t be surprised if you end up with the songs stuck in your head for weeks to follow.
For fans of: Frozen, Tangled, Hamilton, Dwayne Johnson’s surprisingly strong singing skills.
2. In A Lonely Place
Now Streaming on FilmStruck
Nicholas Ray’s bleak, brilliant 1950 film noir In a Lonely Place features arguably the best performance of Humphrey Bogart’s career. Bogart became iconic playing tough guys, but in In a Lonely Place, he’s more raw, more vulnerable, more damaged. Bogart plays a washed-up screenwriter who becomes the suspect in the murder of a hat-check girl (hey, we’ve all been there, right?). His neighbor (Gloria Grahame) unexpectedly provides an alibi for Bogart, and the two strike up a romance that becomes bogged down in suspicion and deceit. This is a twisty, intense, immensely watchable film that will leave you shaken when the screen fades to black; a perfect mix of noir and melodrama.
For fans of: Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, depressing denouements.
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
To prepare yourself for Trey Edward Shults’ highly disturbing It Comes at Night, which opens in theaters this weekend, take a look back at his feature film debut, the almost equally disturbing Krisha. Krisha isn’t strictly a horror film the way It Comes at Night is, but Shults ratchets up more tension and anxiety here than almost an entire year’s worth of horror movies. Krisha (played by Shults’ aunt Krisha Fairchild), the black sheep of the family, returns home for Thanksgiving, and we can tell from the first frame that it’s only a matter of time before something terrible happens. Shults filmed Krisha in 9 days, using real family members to fill out the cast, and created something truly stunning in the process.
For fans of: John Cassavetes, Margot at the Wedding, Ordinary People, anxiety.
4. Primal Screen
Streaming on Shudder June 8
Rodney Ascher, director of horror-themed documentaries Room 237 and The Nightmare, delivers his most effective film to date with the short but memorable Primal Screen, which will premiere exclusive on Shudder June 8. Ascher’s film examines a group of people who suffer from automatonophobia,the fear of wax figures, humanoid robots, audio animatronics, or other figures designed to represent humans. The film primarily focuses on how these people reacted when they saw the creepy trailer for Richard Attenborough’s 1978 thriller Magic, which featured Anthony Hopkins and a very unsettling ventriloquist dummy. Ascher’s other docs had interesting ideas, but they seemed to drag on and on and grow repetitive. Here, working with a much shorty format that implies the first in a series of TV episodes, Ascher is much more effective.
For fans of: Dead Silence, Magic, the scary dead eyes of ventriloquist dummies.
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Patty Jenkins is currently reigning supreme at the box office, and rightfully so, with Wonder Woman. Jenkins made her directorial debut with 2003’s Monster, a harrowing portrait of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Charlize Theron underwent a dramatic physical transformation to portray Wuornos, and won a Best Actress Oscar in the process. The film does not downplay nor excuse Wuornos’ crimes, yet it also strives to find some sort of understanding of who she was as a person. “What I decided to do was to see Aileen Wuornos’ story this way. The way the movie is,” Jenkins said at the time of release, “That was how I saw it. I saw that she had killed seven people, and I knew that she had done it, and that she had ruined peoples’ lives, and there was no inching away from that. I also felt heartbroken of the life that she had to live leading up to that, and I saw this kind of simple struggle that led to all of this. So tonally, I just stay true to my own heart.”
For fans of: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Dracula’s Daughter, unpleasantness.
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