When I was a kid, the impending arrival of a new monthly channel guide from our cable company was always a cause for excitement. About 5-6 days before the start of a new month, we’d get a thick text in the mail that featured a complete guide to the next month’s offerings on our cable system, and I’d spend the next day after it arrived carefully highlighting and marking down every movie I wanted to see using the index in the back. It became part of my routine, and I still occasionally dig up notes I wrote when I was 14 with detailed instructions as to what to tape when.
That attitude of discovery – embracing the titles that I will be able to see, rather than getting obsessed and frustrated by the titles that I want to see but don’t have immediate access to – is the same attitude I’ve taken when going through new offerings on the various streaming services. It’s an attitude that allows me to be more than satisfied with what I can get, instead of being one of those frustrated users online who can’t help but comment “When is XXX going to be available on XXX? ,” which just ends up reading as “Why isn’t everything I want always available on the single platform I’ve chosen to buy?” The truth is that the availability of titles on streaming services is a reliant on a complicated back-end of deals, legalities and general hardware and software limitations, and it’s a process very much still at the beginning stages of its media life.
Basically, what I’m asking is to not view streaming options from the mindset of looking for a specific title that you desperately need to have – the odds are that that title is available in some other format, so you may just have to buckle down and – horrors! – get a physical copy. Streaming services aren’t an endless library of content, so treat them like I did to television listings as a teenager, only with a much wider scope in terms of both time frames of availability and depth of content. Most of these titles listed below won’t be available on streaming forever, so enjoy them while you can, and know that even if they’re gone, there will be titles that are just as interesting waiting in the wings.
New and intriguing psychotronic titles on Netflix include Sion (WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?) Sono’s 2016 flick TAG, the Korean thriller TUNNEL, Anne Heche and Sandra Oh getting into it in Onur Tukel’s CATFIGHT, Johnnie To’s action pic THREE, the violent Indonesian action film HEADSHOT, John Michael (CAVALRY) McDonagh’s WAR ON EVERYONE featuring Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña, the horror film AXE MURDERS OF VILLISCA (based on a true crime case from 1912, but looks like more of a straightforward slasher film) and the Argentinian sex trafficking horror film HYPERSOMNIA. Catalog titles include JACKASS THE MOVIE, MEAN GIRLS, and 50 Cent in Jim Sheridan’s GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’.
The library-supported streaming service has added the horror film THE BIGFOOT PROJECT, Dan Stevens and Malin Akerman in THE TICKET, the 2011 thriller MYSTERIA with Danny Glover, Billy Zane, Michael Rooker and Martin Landau, the 2009 fantasy film MIDNIGHT CHRONICLES and the 2013 sci-fi memory film IMPLANTED to their ranks.
New titles on Hulu include the 2012 thriller ARBITRAGE with Richard Gere, the exclusive documentary DUMB: THE STORY OF BIG BROTHER MAGAZINE, the 2016 horror pic URGE with Pierce Brosnan and Danny Masterson, and the 2016 horror film ARBOR DEMON with Fiona Dourif and Jake Busey.
Warner’s new titles include a batch of crime classics, including the original GOING IN STYLE (1978), Lee Marvin in POINT BLANK (1967), Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen in PAPILLON (1973), Robert Mitchum in Sydney Pollack’s THE YAKUZA (1974), John Wayne in MCQ (1974), Gene Hackman in Arthur Penn’s NIGHT MOVES (1975), Steve McQueen and Ann-Margaret in THE CINCINNATI KID (1965), and David Niven in THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS (1968). (The last one is not a crime film.)
New to the horror streaming service are the ‘70s Canadian killer kid oddity CATHY’S CURSE, Joe d’Amato’s 1977 sex-meets-horror pic EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS, the 2005 Japanese horror film NOROI: THE CURSE, and season two of the Shudder-exclusive audio horror anthology series Darkest Night, hosted by Lee Pace.
Bob Chinn’s 1976 sex thriller LOVE SLAVES starring John Leslie as a cop tracking down a scheme to turn young women into assassins and sex slaves is new to the service.
New on the Sundance streaming service are Jonathan Demme’s documentary COUSIN BOBBY, the nature camp documentary SUMMER CAMP! featuring music by the Flaming Lips, and Jeff Krulik’s ever-welcome 1986 short HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT, which circulated through the grey market so much through the ‘80s and ‘90s that it’s kind of astonishing to see it readily available.
If the familiar music and the words “A TROMA TEAM PRODUCTION” flying into your face bring you a warm sensation (y’know, down there), their streaming service has you covered. New titles this month include the premiere of ROSE AND VIKTOR: NO MERCY, the vengeful mermaid pic GUTBOY: A BADTIME STORY, Brinke Stevens in the 2013 film (and remake of the 1972 drive-in classic) DIE SISTER DIE!, 2015’s MEATHOOK MASSACRE, the 35mm-shot 2014 crime comedy THE DEVIANTS, the 1994 fantasy pic EYE OF THE SERPENT, the 2013 Japanese thriller HITCH-HIKE, gangsters against the undead in 2003’s WISEGUYS VS. ZOMBIES, Brian DePalma’s 1969 film THE WEDDING PARTY with William Finley, Jill Clayburgh and Robert DeNiro, the 1986 Japanese flick S&M HUNTER, the 1972 prison garden horror pic GARDEN OF THE DEAD, the 2005 killer raccoon film COONS! NIGHT OF THE BANDITS OF THE NIGHT, and Jim (Mystery Science Theater 3000) Mallon’s 1986 slasher pic BLOOD HOOK.
The Criterion-backed classic service is now available on Roku! New Roku streamers can celebrate by watching any of their new additions, including a batch of Peter Bogdanovich’s early work (including the highly-recommended 1968 classic TARGETS with Boris Karloff, PAPER MOON, DAISY MILLER,THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and WHAT’S UP, DOC?), a number of classic LGBTQ films for LGBT Pride month (recommended titles include Fassbinder’s fantastic 1982 flick QUERELLE with Brad Davis, Wong- Kar-Wai’s 1997 HAPPY TOGETHER, Lizzie Borden’s 1983 sci-fi film BORN IN FLAMES, 1994’s WILD REEDS, the 1984 documentary THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, Cheryl Dunye’s underseen 1996 film THE WATERMELON WOMAN, about researching a (fictional) black actress from him history, Steve Buscemi in 1986’s PARTING GLANCES and 1961’s VICTIM) and a pair by Norman Mailer (WILD 90 and MAIDSTONE).
The highly-recommended doc about the life of James Baldwin, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, is now available on Amazon Prime, as well as recent genre films DEATHGASM, the remake/sequel MOONTRAP: TARGET EARTH, the killer beach pic THE SAND, Christian (SCREAMERS) Duguay’s ADRIFT with Kelly Rowan and Kate Jackson, and the cult fave BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR. New catalog titles include the all-star OCEAN’S ELEVEN and OCEAN’S TWELVE, a 1981 Russian adaptation of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, the concert film GRATEFUL DEAD: DEAD AHEAD (as well as the 6-part documentary on the Dead, LONG STRANGE TRIP), season 5 of Unsolved Mysteries, 1985’s martial arts pic STREET FIGHTERS PART II, Rifftrax taking on GHOSTHOUSE, Steve Guttenberg, Sean Bean and Kim Coates in 1998’s AIRBORNE, and the 1980 concert LIBERACE LIVE IN VEGAS.
If you’re willing to put up with some commercial interruption for the price of your entertainment, TubiTV has you covered with a batch of notable catalog titles. Thrillers on the service include William Hurt and Lee Marvin in Michael Apted’s 1983 cold war mystery GORKY PARK, Tom Berenger and Bob Hoskins in Wolfgang Petersen’s 1991 SHATTERED, Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Connelly in Dennis Hopper’s 1990 THE HOT SPOT, Sam Worthington in MAN ON A LEDGE, Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis in 1993’s KALIFORNIA, Ridley Scott’s ridiculous (and enjoyable if you watch it like it’s a deranged giallo-inspired film) HANNIBAL, Lucky McKee’s 2006 horror pic THE WOODS, 1999’s THE MOD SQUAD, Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek in the period ghost story AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, and 1996’s STUNT WOMAN with Michelle Yeoh. Dramas of note include Michelle Williams in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, Adrian Lyne’s INDECENT PROPOSAL, Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in 1981’s camp classic MOMMIE DEAREST, and 2007’s Brazilian film CITY OF MEN, while comedies include Eddie Murphy in BOOMERANG, Martin Short in CLIFFORD, Tom Selleck in QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER, Wes Craven’s VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, COMIC BOOK THE MOVIE, the romantic comedy THE CUTTING EDGE, the Wayans’ I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA, Susan Seidelman’s DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, and LARS AND THE REAL GIRL.
Sony’s streaming service has completely overturned their offerings, so the new month now offers plenty of new options. For action titles, you can get Clint Eastwood in IN THE LINE OF FIRE, Chow Yun-Fat in THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, Ang Lee’s CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, the fantasy/action hybrids ULTRAVIOLET and PRIEST, Van Damme and Lundgren return in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION, Robert Rodriguez’s DESPERADO and ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, Schwarzenegger in THE 6TH DAY, Samuel L. Jackson in ARENA, Michael Caine getting revenge in HARRY BROWN, Spike Lee’s remake of OLDBOY, Michael Jai White as an underground fighter in BLOOD & BONE, and Guy Ritchie’s REVOLVER and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS – which should serve as companions for the new series based on SNATCH, also on the service.
Also notable are a number of animated titles (HEAVY METAL, HEAVY METAL 2000, TEKKONKINKREET, JIN-ROH THE WOLF BRIGADE), comedies (STRANGER THAN FICTION, STIR CRAZY, CHEECH & CHONG’S NICE DREAMS, the slasher comedy BAGHEAD, REAL GENIUS, WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S, THE MASK) and the drama RAISIN IN THE SUN.
But that’s not all! We’ve also got some good catalog horror fare (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, the 1990 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the 1980 THE BOOGEYMAN), some not-so-good catalog horror fare (SLEEPWALKERS, CAMERON’S CLOSET, the follow-up RETURN OF THE BOOGEYMAN), giant scaly monsters (GODZILLA FINAL WARS, GODZILLA TOKYO SOS, LAKE PLACID), Carl Franklin’s nifty 1995 period crime thriller DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS with Denzel Washington, the recommended alien invasion pic ATTACK THE BLOCK, the great documentary JODOROWSKY’S DUNE, and Sam Rockwell in Duncan Jones’ fantastic 2009 sci-fi tale MOON.
The service has added quite a few notable titles to their free-with-commercials option, including cult faves WILD IN THE STREETS (1968, with Shelley Winters, Christopher Jones and Richard Pryor), CULT OF THE DAMNED (1969, with Roddy McDowall and Jennifer Jones), DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (1965, with Vincent Price), Peter and David Paul and Michael Berryman in Ruggero Deodato’s 1987 THE BARBARIANS, Faye Dunaway in Michael Winner’s 1983 THE WICKED LADY, Miles O’Keefe in IRON WARRIOR, and Dennis Christopher in 1985’s THE FALLING aka ALIEN PREDATOR.
More conventional titles include Mario Van Peebles’ 1993 Western POSSE, Madonna and Sean Penn in SHANGHAI SURPRISE, Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Susan Tyrrell in Paul Verhoven’s great FLESH + BLOOD, Melanie Griffith in CHERRY 2000, Tom Selleck in QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER, Ridley Scott’s ridiculous (and enjoyable if you watch it like it’s a deranged giallo-inspired film) HANNIBAL, Nicolas Cage in VAMPIRE’S KISS, Lou Gossett Jr. and Bruce Dern in the boxing con comedy DIGGSTOWN, BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY, John Hurt in 1984, Richard Ayoade’s nifty coming of age drama SUBMARINE, Patrick Dempsey romances SOME GIRLS, Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis in 1993’s KALIFORNIA, the Wayans’ I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA, Susan Seidelman’s DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, and LARS AND THE REAL GIRL.
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