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.
The Antenna, Crave: Thanks to Crave’s recent “TIFF Selects” initiative – a collection of art-house-flavoured films that played this past September’s Toronto film festival but didn’t secure theatrical distribution in Canada – adventurous moviegoers’ streaming options just became that much more eclectic and easy. Available now, The Antenna is one of the more underrated, and peculiar, films on the docket – an oozy mix of social satire and sticky horror. Arriving from director Orcun Behram, the film takes place in a grey and nearly deserted Turkey, where apartment superintendent Mehmet (Ihsan Onal) is tasked with supervising the installation of a new government surveillance system, the arrival of which happens to coincide with a pesky infection of black goo that’s seeping into tenants’ homes. The central metaphor might be obvious, but Behram, in his feature directorial debut, has dark fun with the allegory. As the frequency of this particular nightmare ratchets up in volume, The Antenna proves a worthy successor to the work of David Cronenberg, Ben Wheatley and the many other filmmakers who delight in the meaty material of rancid subjects.
Old Joy, Criterion Channel: If you’re a close follower of The Globe’s film pages, you’re likely tired by now of hearing about American director Kelly Reichardt, whose new film First Cow is one of the best in theatres right now. Well ... was in theatres, until the current crisis. Anyway, I’m also going to use this space to urge you to check out the Criterion Channel this month to go further down the Reichardt rabbit hole (I tried to fit in a cattle pun just now, but it was an udder disaster). To mark the release of First Cow, Criterion has added Reichardt’s four most acclaimed films: 1994′s River of Grass, 2006′s Old Joy, 2008′s Wendy and Lucy and 2010′s Meek’s Cutoff. Each work is a masterclass in cinematic restraint, but for those looking for the ideal entry point into Reichardt’s work, best to start with Old Joy, a quiet and deliberately understated character study that follows two estranged friends going for a hike in the Oregon woods. It features standout lead performances, original music by Yo La Tengo and a short enough running time (just over 70 minutes) that means that even if you don’t immedaitely latch onto Reichardt’s sensibility, you won’t feel like you wasted any time at all.
Crawl, Amazon Prime Video: All right, the alligators-on-the-loose thriller Crawl is not “original” or even “good” in the traditional sense. But in a Hollywood ecosystem obsessed with brands and inoffensive genericism, there is something admirable and fresh about a movie that has nothing on its mind other than delivering 87 minutes worth of gory, gator-chomping thrills. The plot is as ridiculously simple as it is simply ridiculous. In the midst of a Category 5 hurricane somewhere in Florida, competitive swimmer Haley (Kaya Scodelario) goes searching for her estranged father (Barry Pepper) at the old family home. Haley finds her dad injured in the crawl space basement, where the waters are quickly rising and a handful of gators have gathered to stalk their new prey. And ... that’s it. That’s the movie. Blessedly so.
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