Newflix is our weekly look at notable new titles available on online streaming sites.
Directed by Vera Chytilova
Free for Fandor subscribers on Fandor
Daisies is of the freshest, most subversive, and accessible entry points into the Czech New Wave (and one of my personal favorites). It’s bizarre and fun and witty, replete with an undercurrent of “fuck the patriarchy” radicalism. Vera Chytilova’s farce follows the misadventures of two young women—both named Marie—who basically spend the duration of the movie jauntily pulling pranks on each other and various strangers while laughing hysterically and sporting some of the best mod fashion this side of Megan Draper. To these women, nothing is sacred—not men, not food, not societal expectations of womanhood, and certainly not social norms in general; they’re all treated like temporary whims. One of the best scenes sees the two at an empty banquet, cramming fancy food into their mouths, hurling handfuls of wet cake at each other, drinking whiskey straight out the bottle, then catwalking across a buffet table, their kitten heels puncturing platters of meat. It's an anarchic delight—and as Criterion puts it, “one of the great works of feminist cinema.” (Hurry up and watch it, though; it’s only available through the weekend.)
The Babadook (2014)
Directed by Jennifer Kent
Free for Netflix subscribers on Netflix
If you missed The Babadook during its theatrical run, pick a particularly dark and stormy night—sans kids—and dig into this one. One of the best horror movies in years, it follows single mom Amelia (Essie Davis) as she raises her terror of a son, Sam (Noah Wiseman), who’s less Damien-from-The-Omen scary than he is generally needy and irritating, a whiny bundle of nerves and excess energy. The recently widowed Amelia’s exhaustion with Sam, single parenthood, and her underpaying job are palpable—Davis imbues Amelia with a world-weariness and teeth-gritting false cheer that immediately engenders our empathy. So after she accidentally reads Sam a haunting bedtime story about the titular Babadook—a fedora-sporting demon who enters people’s homes and never leaves—and it’s immediately clear that she’ll have to add “Sam’s nightmares” to her list of annoying shit to deal with, our sympathies immediately go to her. Even as Amelia begins to spiral out of control, under the influence of the demon from the twisted bedtime tale, she remains a fully drawn and sympathetic character. This isn’t a horror movie about a demon. It’s a horror movie about parenting, about the demands of modern womanhood, about the limits of the human psyche. And it’s all the more terrifying for it.
All of the Star Wars movies
$89.99 on Amazon
Yes, all of them! Collect them all, if that’s your thing. But heed Keith’s fair warning of yesterweek: “So how does the Star Wars series stack up to previous incarnations? Based on the press release, not that well. Most likely the movies will look and sound state-of-the-art, but those who enjoy bonus features should probably stick to the Blu-ray box set released in 2011. “ Oh. There’s also this fair warning: “These are the tinkered-with Special Editions loathed by many (usually graying) fans. (Though surely even younger fans who only know the Special Edition versions can sense the awfulness of Return Of The Jedi’s ‘Jedi Rock’ musical number.)” But still! You can watch it on your phone in the bathtub!
Goodbye To Language (2014)
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Free for Netflix subscribers on Netflix
What to say about Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye To Language? I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it yet—in its intended 3-D format or otherwise—but David Ehrlich did, and he gave it an Essential tag, writing, “Describing Goodbye To Language (or any of Godard’s late-period films) is the film-critic equivalent of directing a perfume commercial.” Ostensibly, the film follows two couples and one dog; it’s summer for one couple and winter for the other. Each version, explains Ehrlich, “features a ferry and a sudden act of violence [and] a scene of explicitly nudity in a house where an old movie is airing on television. Mary Shelley shows up toward the end, but it’s hard to say where.” Alternatively, our own Tasha Robinson shared with me that she was less fond of the film: “It’s literally people saying random phrases and a bunch of images thrown together with no narrative and no coherency.” Alternatively yet again, Calum Marsh called one of its scenes “the shot of the year.” In other words, you’ll need to see it to (try to) understand it and decide for yourself whether it’s nonsensical or brilliant or both. Ehrlich basically says as much: “Goodbye To Language is a bombastically complicated screed against reality, but one that doesn’t ask to be solved so much as it demands to be seen.”
Also new to streaming:
Come together with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd in They Came Together (Netflix and Amazon Prime on April 17)…Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver walk through the desert in Tracks (Netflix)…Then Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce drive through the desert in The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (Amazon Prime)…Imagine your life as directed by Nicolas Winding Refn in My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn (Netflix)…Mark Wahlberg leads a double life in The Gambler ($12.99 to buy on Amazon)…Form your own opinion of Ryan Gosling’s Lost River ($6.99 to rent on Amazon)…Watch the original The Magnificent Seven before the remake comes out (Amazon Prime)…Shit gets weird in Manhattan in Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (Free for Warner Archive subscribers)…Jane Campion tells the story of New Zealand author Janet Frame in Angel At My Table (Fandor)…Get to know Noah, biblically (Netflix on April 18)…Fight crime with Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz (Netflix)...It's time to meet The Boy Next Door ($14.99 to buy on Amazon)...Come of age with Richard Ayoade in Submarine (Amazon Prime)...