The March of Titles
The Oscars are over, leaving us with two options: go out and contribute to Green Book's inevitable "Best Picture bump" or join Spike Lee's protest against the Academy's decision to give him just one competitive Oscar this year by staying home to stream. Thankfully, the first of the month means the "Big Three" services have a fresh set of titles to choose from; sadly, Crooklyn is still only available to Starz subscribers. Netflix continues to make Netflix-y decisions, releasing a few originals (nothing as promising as last month's Velvet Buzzsaw or High Flying Bird) and an assortment of titles generated by the algorithmic inner workings of its black box while milking the last drops of its Disney agreement. Hulu, on the other hand, appears to be making a big push for "modern classics" ranging from Batman Begins to The French Lieutenant's Woman. Interestingly, Amazon has done some serious counter-programming towards genre movies, particularly horror and martial arts films; fans of Italian giallo and splatter films should stay home this weekend. Here are some suggestions from the new offerings on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Those suffering from Oscars withdrawal have two options here. The last foreign language film with the best shot at winning the big prize was Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won Best Foreign Language Film. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker still remains both the best film about the Iraq War and the only female directed movie and director to win, though admittedly the film isn't very female-oriented in its subject matter or characters. For a double feature that definitely passes the Bechdel test despite male directors, try Douglas McGrath's Emma, which made Gwyneth Paltrow a star, or Phil Morrison's Junebug, which earned Amy Adams the first of her Oscar losses.
A recent Bundler conversation danced around the question of whether Ace Ventura: Pet Detective should now be classified as transphobic and/or homophobic. However, it was astutely pointed out that the scenes in question were obvious parodies of The Crying Game. Does this give Jim Carrey's talking butt an ass pass, or does it mean that the latter movie, long considered groundbreaking in its portrayal of a transgender character and LGBTQ themes, must also be reconsidered? Both films are available on Hulu now, so we expect this debate to be resolved by Monday morning.
From the horror category, George Romero's The Crazies is an effective Vietnam allegory that still resonates with today's politics. The culture wars of the 1970's have never been more insanely presented than Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, the Manson-inspired hippie biker British zombie villager horror mashup that's as surreal a fever dream of drugged out Euro-horror as that description makes it sound. If this type of movie isn't your cup of tea, talk to Jeff Bezos about it. Or open a bottle of Chianti and watch Big Night, Stanley Tucci's delightful little ode to Italian restaurants.