Newflix is our weekly look at notable new titles available on online streaming sites.
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Free for Hulu Plus subscribers on Hulu
I’m not going to try to sum up Snatch’s plot here, because half the fun of this movie is untangling its interwoven, rambling narratives and appreciating the cleverness and irony with which the characters’ stories are carefully layered on top of one another. Also, it’s confusing as shit, and I just don't have the space. But suffice to say that Guy Ritchie’s follow up to Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels is a wild ride of a film, a wry look at London’s underground crime scene, a rapid-fire, exuberant farce that gives Brad Pitt a chance to speak in a nearly incomprehensible version of a “pikey” accent. Mostly, it’s just really fun to watch because everybody involved looks like they’re having a blast. Even Jason Statham.
Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
Directed by Nora Ephron
Free for Amazon Prime subscribers on Amazon
If you haven’t seen Sleepless In Seattle, I don’t know why you’re still reading this sentence. It shouldn’t work as well as it does. In theory, the story is overblown and ridiculous—an unhappily coupled woman (Meg Ryan) falls in love with a man she hears on the radio (Tom Hanks) waxing poetic about his dead wife, breaks up with her longtime boyfriend and travels across the country to meet said man, and doesn’t end up in jail or hit with a restraining order. But Sleepless is so self-aware, so earnest, and so well-written (Nora Ephron, that goddamn genius) that it pulls off its schmaltzy, insane premise and then some. It helps that it’s full of homages to equally dramatic romances past, particularly An Affair To Remember—one of the movie’s most hilarious moments comes from Rita Wilson, who breaks down in sobs just describing Affair’s premise. (Go watch it, I’ll wait.) Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’ endless chemistry helps, too, as does Ross Malinger’s preternaturally charming performance as Hanks’ sleepy-eyed, floppy-haired son Jonah. Ugh, it’s just the best, you guys.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Directed by Michael Gondry
Free for HBO subscribers on HBO Go
The first time I saw Eternal Sunshine, I remember walking out of the theater feeling drunk and disoriented, like I was shaking off a really bizarre dream. I was so confused and stunned by the film, which didn’t play like anything else I’d ever seen. (Thank you, Charlie Kaufman.) I was also like, 18, so I was probably actually drunk, but still. It remains one of my most sob-inducing movies, a bittersweet, jarring love story that, if you haven’t seen, I won’t spoil for you here. Suffice to say that as lovers Clementine and Joel, Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey play against type—Winslet is the manic one, Carrey is the quieter, moodier one—to wonderful effect, and, as usual, Kaufman weaves in both subtle and window-smashing observations about human relationships.
Funny Girl (1968)
Directed by William Wyler
Free for Amazon Prime subscribers on Amazon
I’ve already established myself as a Barbra Streisand apologist of the highest degree, and Barbra loves a doomed romance, so I do, too, dammit. Funny Girl is one of my favorite Streisand movies (okay, it’s just my favorite), loosely based on the life of comedian Fanny Brice and her marriage to troubled gambler Nicky Arnstein. While the rest of the movie that surrounds her is relatively unmemorable, Streisand is at her big-eyed, bawdy best here—it’s her first movie, and she carries this thing with her pitch-perfect timing and velvety vocals. But she also mines the story to find its authentic emotion, especially during her musical numbers. “My Man” is the only song that makes me cry by just thinking about it; if I had a dollar for every time my mom, sister, and I have belted out “Don't Rain On My Parade” in its entirety and apropos of nothing, I would charter an ocean liner to Europe and sing it on that ocean liner. Oh, and if you care about that kind of thing, Funny Girl was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture; Barbra tied with Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress.
Also new to streaming:
Convert to Scientology with Alex Gibney’s scathing Going Clear (Available March 29 on HBO Go)…Run wild at Oxford with British boys in The Riot Club ($6.99 to rent on Amazon)…Run wild in space with Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar ($14.99 to buy on Amazon)…Chris Rock gets real in Top Five ($4.99 to rent on Amazon)…Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy share their separate perspectives on falling out of love in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Her, Him, and Them) (Netflix)…George Clooney gets real syrious in Syriana (Netflix)…Mozart and murder make for a lovely pair in Amadeus (Netflix)…Remember young Tom Cruise? in Jerry Maguire (Amazon Prime)…Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman cast spells on us/men in Practical Magic (Netflix)…The Foxy Merkins comes from the creators of Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, a.k.a. my personal heroes (Netflix)…Never swim again after Deep Blue Sea (Netflix)…I’m a little too scared to watch Charlie Victor Romeo (Netflix)…Time travel with Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed (Crackle)…Mariel Hemingway falls in love at the Olympics in Personal Best (Warner Archive)…Smuggle drugs for music in Traitors (Netflix)