As we're all trapped indoors for the time being, here's our chance to see some of those classic movies we've always been meaning to get to, as well as some new arthouse films courtesy of our local theater. We also have a roundup of what's good and new on Netflix, and some free offerings from HBO.
The Loft Cinema. While The Loft is closed as a physical theater, they've transformed their business as the place to go for streaming arthouse films. Loft fans can purchase an "e-ticket" for the films and are then sent a link to view the film. The Loft Cinema will be splitting the revenue with the film's distributor 50/50. This money will go directly to their employees and essential operational costs while their theater is closed. To get a ticket or to find out the Loft team has up their sleeve, head over to loftcinema.org. New to The Loft this week:
Extra Ordinary. This blend of supernatural horror and oddball comedy follows a half-hearted spiritual medium (Maeve Higgins) accustomed to seeing ghostly activity. But her attempts at living a semi-normal life are complicated when a past-his-prime rock star (Will Forte) comes to town looking for a victim to renew his Satanic pact for a come-back album. This black comedy by newbie directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman was celebrated at multiple festivals for its wit and wackiness. 94 minutes. $12 to stream.
And Then We Danced. In this Swedish-Georgian drama, a young dancer at the National Georgian Ensemble has his years of routine and practice turned upside down when a new dancer arrives, and turns out to be both a rival and a desire. And Then We Danced was the Swedish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 2019 Academy Awards. This third film by Swedish director Levan Akin is a heartfelt examination of "cultural identity, sexuality and self-expression." 113 minutes. $12 to stream. In Georgian with English subtitles.
Bacurau. The term "acid Western" is interesting even if you don't know what it means. But knowing that it's an underground film style of psychedelic, counter-culture cowboy themes makes it all the better. From Brazilian directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho, Bacurau is a thrilling, violent and humorous take on the Western genre about a small village that mourns the loss of its matriarch, and shortly after, discover that their town has vanished from most maps while a UFO begins appearing in the skies. Bacurau won the Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. 131 minutes. $12 to stream. In Portuguese and English, with English subtitles.
Lethal Weapon. Why watch just one cheesy '80s cop movie, when you can watch four in a row? That's right, all four classic Lethal Weapons just got added to Netflix. It's time to binge more Gibson/Glover than you thought possible. The "Buddy Cop" film genre was really something perfected decades ago, so why look anywhere else for it? Recently, it was announced that Lethal Weapon 5 is in development, with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover confirmed to return, and Richard Donner returning to direct. You're going to want to be all caught up on the series when you hit that LW5 midnight premiere.
Taxi Driver. Since you can't go anywhere, you might as well watch a film that reminds you that the streets beyond your door are gritty places you should just avoid in the first place. Taxi Driver is a slow-burning, nocturnal character examination, featuring an acting performance by Robert De Niro so great that you'll forget he was in Meet The Fockers. Bernard Herrmann's lonely, atmospheric soundtrack is perfect for this NYC noir, and Scorcese is at the top of his game. It's Taxi Driver, for cryin' out loud. If you haven't seen it, now's your chance. Plus, you get to live out all your vigilante dreams.
The Social Network. Considering we're all trapped inside on social media, you might as well enjoy the story of how that soul-sucking device came to be. For a dramatization on how Facebook was born, The Social Network is better than it has any right to be. This is thanks to so many of the film's participants bringing their A-game: directing by David Fincher, a soundtrack by Trent Reznor, fantastic acting by Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, and a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. Along with three Oscars, it also has the privilege of being the first PG-13 movie containing two instances of the word "fuck."
The Matrix. Perhaps the best way of getting out of the house is by imagining there is no house. This month, Netlifx is getting the entire Matrix trilogy. And even if the later films are a bit off the deep end, the first Matrix stands as a triumph of Y2K-era computer graphics and cyberpunk atmosphere. It's the film responsible for a seemingly endless amount of cultural references: red pill/blue pill, bullet time and "wire fu"—that is, kung fu where the actors fight while zipping around on wires. And since The Matrix 4 is currently being developed, here's your chance to see the whole series.
HBO. Considering how many people are trapped inside, HBO is opening up a wide amount of their library to be streamed for free on services like HBO Go and HBO Now. The catch: their entire library isn't free, but a good amount of it still is, and only for the month of April. HBO shows being streamed for free include The Sopranos, Silicon Valley, Six Feet Under, True Blood, The Wire, Veep and more. We're talking dozens of seasons, hundreds of episodes for free.
They're also opening up some of their original documentary series, such as The Case Against Adnan Syed, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, I Love You Now Die, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality and We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest. Finally, HBO also has a selection of films available for viewing, like The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, The Bridges of Madison County, Empire of the Sun, Sucker Punch, Pokémon Detective Pikachu and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
But our personal recommendation for free HBO streaming is McMillion$, a multipart documentary about the con man who rigged McDonalds' 1990s Monopoly game, resulting in $24 million being stolen and a series of FBI agents trying to track the mystery mastermind down.
CBS All Access. Defy the stay-at-home order by going where no man has gone before with the latest Star Trek series on CBS All Access. Right now, with the code GIFT, you get a full month of CBS All Access, including two seasons of Star Trek Discovery and the debut season of Picard, which just wrapped up a few weeks back. Plus, all the other CBS programming. Make it so!