Instant Gratification: “Boyhood” and four other good movies new to Amazon Prime and Netflix

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Boyhood” (Netflix) — My full review is here. Richard Linklater’s wonderful cinematic experiment was shot over a 12-year period, charting a boy’s growth into adulthood and his parents’ growth from crazy kids in love to sadder, wiser middle-aged adults. Linklater uses time as his canvas, focusing on the little moments between the so-called big ones, to show how we change over the years without even realizing it’s happening to us.

The Lobster” (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. Greek writer-director Yorges Lathimos’ first English-language film has a premise that might seem like an SNL skit, in which single people are forced by a dystopian society to gather at a hotel for bizarre speed-dating rituals, and if they don’t find a soulmate, they get turned into an animal. But the film is both ridiculous and deadly serious in using its surreal premise to examine modern love, and what people will give up of themselves to get it.

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“Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. XXXVIII”: Warm up some Turkey Day leftovers

 

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For fans of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” November is December and Thanksgiving is Christmas.

Since the show was originally on the air in the 1990s, MST3K fans have been trained to get hungry at Thanksgiving and the annual “Turkey Day” marathons that Comedy Central would put on. For a full day, the network would show non-stop episodes of the show, and for several years included bonus segments in between the movies. If you thought your relatives were insufferable before, wait until you had to entertain them in the living room (the one with the good furniture that you were normally banned from), knowing that the marathon was going on in the TV room upstairs.

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Instant Gratification: “Sing Street” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix

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Pick of the Week: “Sing Street”My full review is here. John Carney (“Once”) delivers a delightful ode to candy-coated ’80s pop in this tale of a shy teenage boy at a brutal Dublin public school who finds his voice with the help of some friends, a beguiling older girl, and a folder full of great song lyrics. If you don’t have “Drive It Like You Stole It” in your head for the next week, I worry for you.

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Cleveland does not necessarily rock in “The Land” and “Uncle Nick”

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For a city whose river once caught on fire, Cleveland doesn’t seem to capture the imagination of many filmmakers. Sure, the Mistake by the Lake plays home to both one of the iconic Christmas movies of all time (“A Christmas Story”) and one of the most iconic baseball movies of all time (“Major League”). But outside of genre and the scruffy charm of the Harvey Pekar biopic “American Slendor,” you don’t see much of Cleveland in the movies.

Which is too bad, since the city embodies all that is both great and tragic about the American city – I would love to see a big-screen adaptation of Mark Weingarten’s epic novel “Crooked River Burning,” for example. But until then, by coincidence, two new films set in Cleveland, “The Land” and “Uncle Nick,” happen to be hitting DVD shelves this month. They’re very different films, but in their own ways both could only be made in Cleveland.

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“Len and Company”: The punk rocker in winter is not pretty

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Len wouldn’t watch his own movie. Len is a spiky, angry former punk rocker turned hit pop producer, stewing in his infinity pool and his own self-loathing at his “country estate.” He listens to audiobooks of Western novels and watches old police shows on television. I doubt that he would watch Tim Godsall’s “Len & Company,” the fuzzy and unfocused indie drama that stars Len, out on DVD this month from IFC Films and available on Netflix.

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Instant Gratification: “Sicario” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime

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Pick of the Week: “Sicario (Amazon Prime) — This stomach-churning action-thriller offers a neat bit of misdirection, as a rising star FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is brought into a mysterious task force fighting Mexican drug cartels, led by a flip-flop wearing government agent (Josh Brolin) and his mysterious advisor (Benicio Del Toro). She doesn’t know who she can trust, and neither do we, as her attempts to bring moral clarity to the fight are swamped in a world of corruption and violence on all sides.

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