Video on Demand
By Ben McDonald
Another month of quarantine down, and perhaps many more to go. While few of us are likely going to the theater anytime soon, there’s still an abundance of movies to watch from the comfort of our homes this month. Up first is Netflix, which this month is bringing (among other things) a beloved 2019 crime-thriller favorite and an upcoming romantic comedy. The aforementioned favorite is of course the Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, and Lakeith Stanfield. As I suspect is the case for many moviegoers, Uncut Gems was one of my absolute favorite films of last year, a wildly entertaining, funny, and deeply stressful ball of anxiety about a Jewish jewelry store owner deep in gambling debt. The film did tremendously well at the box office last winter (bringing in $50 million – compare that to the $4.1 million Good Time earned), but I’m more than delighted Netflix is bringing the Safdie brothers’ grimy new picture to audiences all across America. For those that haven’t yet seen it, I can’t recommend Uncut Gems enough. The film will be available to stream starting May 25.
Netflix is also releasing Michael Showalter‘s The Lovebirds this month. A romantic comedy from the director of The Big Sick, the film stars (again) Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae as a couple that gets mixed up in a murder. The Lovebirds was initially planned to premiere at South by Southwest in March this year, but obviously that didn’t work out. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the movie. I have been meaning to watch The Big Sick for quite some time now, so maybe the release of Showalter’s next effort will finally motivate me to cross it off the watchlist. The Lovebirds will become available to Netflix subscribers on May 22.
HBO is also getting two popular films this month with Michael McDonaugh‘s In Bruges and Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Neither of these films likely need much of an introduction, as both have enjoyed continued popularity over the years since their release (2008 for McDonaugh’s black comedy crime film, 2016 for Chazelle’s bittersweet homage to Hollywood musicals). I personally haven’t revisited either film in years, but both belong to a number of films that got me interested in cinema in the first place, and I would easily recommend them to anyone who hasn’t seen them by now. Both In Bruges and La La Land will be available on HBO starting May 1.
Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus, will be coming to Prime Video subscribers this month. A romance starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence, the film follows a British exchange student (Jones) who falls in love with an American student (Yelchin). I have actually never heard of this film before, but apparently it won the Grand Jury Prize back at Sundance in 2011, and reviews tend to be mostly positive – especially with regards to the performances by Jones and Yelchin. You can stream Like Crazy on Prime Video starting May 19.
Last but certainly not least is the Criterion Channel, which very consistently boasts exceptional quality in programming. Two titles that we’re excited to see come to the streaming platform this month are Martin Scorsese‘s historical romance The Age of Innocence and Chantal Akerman‘s last film No Home Movie. I have not seen either of these films, but I adore both directors and have been catching many of their classics and underseen gems recently while in quarantine (After Hours for Scorsese, Jeanne Dielman and Je, Tu, Il, Elle for Akerman). The Age of Innocence stars now-retired acting treasure Daniel Day-Lewis (who just recently celebrated his 63rd birthday), Winona Ryder, and Michelle Pfeiffer, and follows an affair between a lawyer and the cousin of of his fiancé. You really can’t go wrong with Scorsese, and I’ve yet to find a film of his I’ve disliked, so I’m very much looking forward to finally crossing this one of my Scorsese bucket list. The Age of Innocence will be available to Criterion Channel subscribers May 10.
Chantal Akerman’s final film before her untimely death in 2015 seems to be a much more different, rawer kind of film. No Home Movie is a documentary detailing conversations between Akerman and her mother, filmed just months before the latter passed away. I don’t know much about else about this film, but I’m not sure I want to, as Akerman’s work seems best to just experience for yourself. If you haven’t checked out any of the Belgian director’s work before, definitely make it a priority while stuck indoors for the foreseeable future. You won’t regret it. No Home Movie will come to the Criterion Channel May 24.
Continue to the next page to read about our most anticipated films coming to home media this month!