Before you turn on your television, iPad or laptop this weekend and drown in options, The Globe and Mail presents three streaming bets that are worth your coveted downtime – no commute to the movie theatre required.
Drag Me to Hell (Netflix)
It has been seven years since Sam Raimi last directed a movie (Oz the Great and Powerful) and 11 since he made a great one: 2009′s Drag Me to Hell, a raucous experiment in unrelenting terror that was also somehow bloodless enough to qualify for a PG rating. (No simple feat given that Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise set records for on-screen splatter.) Before the filmmaker gets dragged back into the comic-book genre he helped create with his original Spider-Man trilogy – the current buzz is that the director’s signed to helm the Doctor Strange sequel – remind yourself that the man absolutely loves to stretch the boundary between straight-ahead terror and awoooogah cartoon, with this horror tale about a young woman getting mixed up with demonic forces as frightening as it is Looney Tunes absurd. The film is also good reminder of what Alison Lohman brought to the screen – the actress hasn’t headlined a movie since.
Starship Troopers (Crave)
The recent success of the Elisabeth Moss-led The Invisible Man should lead curious moviegoers to another, just-as-dark spin on the H.G. Wells story: Paul Verhoeven’s 2000 thriller Hollow Man. But that title doesn’t appear to be floating around any current streaming services, which is fine; that means you can just seamlessly transition over to watching Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, the director’s far-better attempt at sci-fi subversion, now available on Crave with the Starz add-on. Almost completely misunderstood at the time of its 1997 release, Verhoeven’s bloody and expensive epic is a gleeful satire of fascism that only grows more hilarious and profound with every subsequent rewatch.
Unarmed Verses (CBC Gem)
CBC’s streaming arm continues to offer underrated homegrown work that, because of the service’s underwhelming marketing, threatens to be underexposed all over again. A prime example is this feature from Charles Officer, a documentary built from the ground up, so to speak. Taking a unique approach to chronicling urban change and renewal, Officer’s 2017 doc looks at the revitalization of Toronto’s Villaways housing complex through the eyes of young resident Francine Valentine. The girl is an employed by Officer as an avatar to examine themes of gentrification, community and class. That the filmmaker is able to accomplish such a task with grace and respect makes the film an essential artifact of 21st-century urban Canadian life.
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