The start of a new month means new movies for streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime. While both are offering recent releases in March, it’s gratifying to see both are also bolstering their supply of classic movies, which seemed to be thinning out over the last few months.
“The End of the Tour” (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. While Jason Segel does a bang-up job portraying the brilliant and troubled novelist David Foster Wallace, it would be a mistake to assume James Ponsoldt’s wonderful film is some sort of biopic. Instead, it’s something of a conversation-fueled road movie, in which Wallace and a younger, hungrier writer (Jesse Eisenberg) spend a couple of days together for a Rolling Stone interview, sparring and connecting as they talk about writing, ambition, and the limitations of success.
“Finding Vivian Maier“ — My full review is here. This documentary explores the life of a Chicago nanny who, surreptitiously, was one of the great street photographers of the 20th century. Mixing Maier’s perceptive photography with interviews with those who knew her (but didn’t really know her), the film paints a picture of a great artist finally getting her due.
“Winter on Fire“ — I finally caught up with this Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary in the strangest of locations — screening in a bar in Rincon, Puerto Rico on movie night. The bar patrons were riveted, though, as the film gives a blow-by-blow, you-are-there portrait of the protests in Ukraine against a government that was cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and how the protesters resisted state-sanctioned violence to effect change in their country.
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Sword of Destiny“ — My full review is here. No question that this Netflix original film isn’t as magical as Ang Lee’s 2000 arthouse hit. But it’s a good, solid martial arts movie for those who like the genre, with Michelle Yeoh returning as the grieving warrior pledged with protecting the Green Destiny sword from thieves. Donnie Yen and Jason Scott Lee are welcome additions to the cast, but the real star is director Yuen Wo Ping’s breathtaking fight choreography.
“Blade Runner: Director’s Cut“ — No annoying voiceovers or tidy endings in Ridley Scott’s original version of his 1982 sci-fi noir, starring Harrison Ford as a detective in 2019 Los Angeles hunting down androids known as “replicants” that seem, as the slogan goes, more human than human.