“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I” (Amazon Prime/Hulu) — My full review is here. It’s all setup for “Mockingjay — Part 2,” coming Nov. 20, but it’s effective setup, with Katniss Everdeen and the rebels on the run, planning, waiting, hoping. Those hoping for action in this film will be disappointed — Katniss fires exactly one arrow in the film — but those looking for mood will be swayed, especially as Jennifer Lawrence sings the haunting “The Hanging Tree.” Part 2 better pay off, though.
“While We’re Young” (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. Noah Baumbach released two movies in 2015, and the supposedly more “commercial” of the two was this acidic comedy of manners about a middle-aged couple (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) who befriend some boho millenials (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried). The dialogue zings, and underneath the generation clash comedy is a wise and thoughtful film about authenticity and integrity, and what those mean in a world where “keeping it real” is itself a pose.
“Ain’t These Bodies Saints” (Netflix) — My full review is here. This evocative take on a “Bonnie & Clyde” style crime drama starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara is distinguished by David Lowery’s almost painterly eye, and the way he prefers to shoot around the big dramatic beats of his screenplay rather than tackling genre conventions directly.
“Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection” (Netflix) — This anthology collects some of Disney’s great animated shorts from the last 15 years, including the retro-inspired Mickey cartoon “Get a Horse!” and the delightful “Feast.”
“Starlet” (Netflix) — My full review is here. Before he made the kinetic “Tangerine,” writer-director Sean Baker made this empathetic film about a porn star (Dree Hemingway) who strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly woman.