Nightmare Alley, Air Doll, House of Gucci, Poly Styrene and more

Each week, we highlight notable titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s picks below and past roundups here.

Aerial doll (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Although it comes from one of the greatest filmmakers in international cinema, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2009 film Aerial doll had never seen a US release Adapted by Kore-eda from Yoshiie Gōda’s manga series Kuuki Ningyo, it is a modern retelling of the myth of Galatea, in which King Pygmalion fell in love with his ivory statue and the goddess Aphrodite brought the statue to life. For a 21st century take on the tale, Kore-eda naturally updated the statue into an inflatable sex doll, played by Bae Doona (cloud atlas, Sense8). – Mitchell B. (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD

Beyond infinity two minutes (Junta Yamaguchi)

The logistics behind Beyond infinity two minutes are mind-boggling to understand; Time travel stories are often quite confusing when not filmed in one shot. The theater group Europe Kikaku who take up this additional challenge are therefore crazy. Group director Makoto Ueda admits he wouldn’t have written the script this way if he hadn’t already trusted his actors and knew they could handle the experience. Not that having them at his disposal necessarily made his job and that of director Junta Yamaguchi any easier. To be able to create this particular adventure through time and space in a seamless seventy-minute progression, they would still need to break everything down into two-minute increments to make sure everything goes as it does. must. already had. – Jared M. (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD

Hive (Blerta Basholli)

Hive has an inspiring tale based on a true story similar to that of many English language enthusiasts: through the force of her will, a resilient woman overcomes great personal and systemic obstacles. These kinds of films are produced by studios, especially in the UK, all the time (last year we had Misbehavior), usually in bright packaging and with a comedic bent. Hive, however, trades that gloss for a handheld camera and a washed-out color palette. It takes away the laughs, because it’s post-war Kosovo, and life is hard and gray for beekeeper Fahrije (Yllka Gashi). – Orla S. (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD

Gucci House (Ridley Scott)

Sitting down to write on Gucci House, I thought I would start with a quote. There had to be a line, even peripheral, that stuck. This was not the case. How about a moment that sums up his 157 minutes? It has the necessary components to dive into its artifice, at least in theory. There’s the greatness, and there’s the more hyperbolic aspects of whatever people throw the term “camp” at. Alas, nothing on that front appealed to me either. Instead, all I asked is why this thing is so hard to grasp. – Matt C. (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD

I was a simple man (Christophe Makoto Yogi)

With her sublime sophomore effort, I was a simple man, director Christopher Makoto Yogi sees Hawai’i not just as a tropical paradise, but as a quiet, sacred place with a spiritual identity under constant threat from cultural erasure and American imperialism. Oscillating between eerily pristine wide shots of the Honolulu skyline and ghostly portraits of rural life, the film’s haunting cinematography echoes this tension through competing textures and hues. Yet Yogi’s quietly radical aesthetic manages to capture the moving humanity of a tormented individual sliding feverishly from one world to another. – Glenn H.

Where to stream: VOD

Madalena (Madiano Marcheti)

Madalena is never just a name in Madalena, Madiano Marcheti’s haunting debut film about the murder of a trans woman in rural Brazil. For some it is a source of income and friendship, and for others panic and loss. The film follows a trio of characters whose disparate lives all overlap in some way with the lifeless person who now stands in a vast field of green soy crops. In doing so, Marcheti’s film presents various reactions to trauma that reverberate outwardly, revealing the subtle nuances of societal intolerance and personal grief. – Glenn H. (Full Review)

Where to stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Minor premise (Eric Schultz)

The most important memory for the audience to remember is one that Ethan (Sathya Sridharan) specifically tried to forget. Her father (Nikolas Kontomanolis) sits at a desk telling her how things work in academia. Any idea, theory or experience that arises in the pursuit of a university project belongs to said university. And since Paul is the head of the department, everything belongs to him. That’s not to say Ethan won’t get credit – scientific papers often have multiple authors and names listed under the responsible person. It just confirms that it won’t get all the praise. It either. Whether Ethan cracked the case or not, the school was always the catalyst. It was their money that made this possible and the team that delivered on their promise. – Jared M. (Full Review)

Where to stream: tube

The monopoly of violence (David Dufresne)

“Scenes shot in 13 French cities between November 2018 and February 2020. During this period, we counted 2 dead, 5 amputated hands and 27 eyes lost during law enforcement operations.” This sobering text appears before the end credits of The monopoly of violence, a riveting and engaging documentary from French filmmaker David Dufresne. “Conversation” is an appropriate word here, because Monopoly centers on two elements: shocking smartphone videos capturing police brutality against protesters, and one-on-one conversations between sociologists, lawyers, police union officials and protesters, among others. – Chris S (Full Review)

Where to stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

alley of nightmares (Guillermo del Toro)

Of all the bizarre flourishes in Guillermo del Toro’s filmography, it’s perhaps the most surreal that it took him so long to run away and join the circus. By re-adapting William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel about a carnival huckster-turned-mentalist, The shape of water and Crimson Peak helmer seems a safe bet to follow the wild and dark corridors of alley of nightmares. An ever-enjoyed stylist, del Toro lends an undeniable dreamlike sheen to this tale, even managing to sharpen the claws on some of the key scenes shared by his 1947 predecessor. Yet what remains holds no more truth or deep connection than the one of Stanton Carlisle’s (Bradley Cooper) scary shows. This role, it seems, is one of alley of nightmaresthe main sticking points. – Conore O. (Full Review)

Where to stream: HBO Max and Hulu

Poly Styrene: I’m a cliché (Celeste Bell & Paul Sng)

For a young teenager steeped in grunge, Britpop and The Beatles, discovering 1970s British punk rock was like a quick and glorious slap in the face. And one of the crucial pieces of pre-internet background information was Dream of England, essential study by Jon Savage on the time. The book is full of memorable characters, and neither is Poly Styrene. She’s only a minor player in Savage’s text, but few resonate more. The author explains that “Poly was a star, with her dayglo clothes, multiracial background, braces and surreal songs that wittily commented on this very process of consumption and packaging that she both celebrated and transcended. ” All of these and more are depicted in the long-running documentary Poly Styrene: I’m a clichéwhich had its Canadian premiere at Hot Docs 2021. – Christopher S. (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD

Also new to streaming

Amazon Premier

Needle in a stack of time (review)

The criterion channel

Roots & Revolution: reggae in the cinema
With Harry Belafonte
Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Movies
Douglas Sirk Melodramas


Charli XCX: alone together (review)
stop and go (review)

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Mandrel and male
The visitor
black jellyfish
In search of Venera
Honey cigar



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