The big hitters are coming up dry this week. New originals on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are pretty spare. Only biohorror movie “Little Joe” arrives as part of an already-paid subscription. That said, there are some interesting films when it comes to low- and mid-budget arrivals for digital rental. I want to start by featuring a film I’ve already championed pretty strongly on this site.
Birds of Prey (digital rental)
directed by Cathy Yan
The Harley Quinn supervillain movie was rentable two weeks ago if you were willing to pay $20. Now it’s a much more affordable $6 to digitally rent. I’ve hailed the movie as a film I expect to still be talking about at the end of the year. It’s bluntly subversive, funny, and phenomenally well told as both a traditional narrative and a meta-version. The fight choreography is exceptional, the set design is superb, and Margot Robbie’s Quinn stands out as a generationally good action-comedy performance.
Check out my spoiler-free review. If you’re interested in why “Birds of Prey” was described as a box office failure while similarly budgeted and performing films directed by men were described as successes, I wrote about that here (I mean, the answer’s in the sentence, it’s because they were directed by men, but the link has stats and stats are fun!) If you’ve seen “Birds of Prey” and want to read criticism by women about the film’s meaning and production, I compiled a few articles right here.
“Birds of Prey” is rentable for $6 through Amazon, Fandango Now, GooglePlay, iTunes, and Vudu. I highly recommend it, especially if you need something to escape into for 2 hours that’s still going to respect your anger at the state of the world.
Little Joe (Hulu)
directed by Jessica Hausner
Australian writer-director Jessica Hausner has directed a number of off-kilter films about personal obsessions and emotional compulsions. “Little Joe” is a film built around a houseplant engineered to make you happy…but it might not be doing that right. The concept is simple, but plays to all of Hausner’s strengths.
I appreciate that more films are moving into brightly lit horror. It feels more reflective and applicable for modern sensibilities. We’re still scared by what could jump out of the shadows, but we also live with overwhelming and obvious fears that threaten to become normalized every day. It feels like a needed trend in horror.
You can see this free with a Hulu subscription, rent it for $4 from Amazon or Vudu, or for $5 from GooglePlay or YouTube.
Stray Dolls (digital rental)
directed by Sonejuhi Sinha
Writer-director Sonejuhi Sinha is a relatively new voice. “Stray Dolls” fuses immigrant experience to crime thriller, with a protagonist who leaves India only to find abuse and corruption in the U.S. What follows is a story about two women trying to break free of a cycle of escalating violence.
You can rent it for $4 through Redbox on Demand, or $5 through Amazon or FandangoNow.
Sea Fever (digital rental)
directed by Neasa Hardiman
Escape from feeling trapped by quarantines with this horror movie about a group of people trapped on a boat and having to quarantine themselves. It’s strange the way that horror reflective of a horror we’re going through is appealing. There’s probably a German word for that, but I’ve got to say Neasa Hardiman’s “Sea Fever” looks pretty good.
The Irish writer-director has a long history in TV, with her most recent work as a director on Netflix’s sadly defunct “Jessica Jones”. While the trailer for “Sea Fever” looks action packed, it’s been described as more of a slow burn exercise in building tension.
You can rent this from Amazon, Fandango Now, Redbox on Demand, or Vudu for $7.
The Lost Husband (digital rental)
directed by Vicky Wight
Then again, maybe quarantine at sea isn’t your thing. Maybe a woman going through a process of self-discovery and being rewarded with Josh Duhamel as a hot farmer (there’s probably a German word for that, too) – maybe that’s your thing.
Yes, this looks like a totally predictable Hallmark-style movie, but there’s a place for the things that are predictable and enjoyable in all our lives. For me, it’s Irish sea quarantine movies with glowy infecto-tentacles. For someone else, it’s two attractive people with completely opposite backgrounds gradually falling in love amidst relaxing scenery. Neither’s better nor worse as a form of escapism, and these days…the relaxing scenery’s sounding better and better.
You can rent “The Lost Husband” from Amazon or Redbox on Demand for $6.
Take a look at new movies and shows by women from past weeks.
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