New Year's Binge Watch


2016 had a lot of smaller films. Now many of them are making the rounds on streaming services. Here's a look at a few I've recently caught up on and where to find them.

Netflix:
The Invitation — This film, directed by Karyn Kusama, is about a man who lost a child and went through a divorce who is invited to a dinner party at the home of his ex-wife and her new husband. Of course that's an invitation we'd all accept... So it definitely has an interesting set up. Things get even more interesting when it turns out the ex-wife and new husband are in some sort of cult designed to help people get past grief. This, then, turns into a sort of horror movie that you're not expecting. Logan Marshall-Green is great in the lead role, and this is a fascinating, if not a bit strange, kind of film. But it's been a hit with critics and it's certainly something different.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

Sing Street — John Carney, the name behind "Once," is back with a film set in the 1980s in Ireland about teens who form a rock band. This film is nominated for a Golden Globe, and it has some winning moments. I like the music and some of the performances. I wasn't as taken with it as many of the critics, and I don't think it holds a candle to the magic of "Once." But it's an interesting and engaging film.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

Amazon Prime:
Eye in the Sky — This is a little film that slid under the radar. It has a lofty premise — a joint military operation between England and America has terrorists in its sights. But in order to get them, they risk killing an innocent child. Do they pull the trigger? With the final live-action performance from Alan Rickman, as well as starring Aaron Paul and Helen Mirren, this is a fascinating and gripping film. It's one that explores all sides of a complex issue without offering any easy answers. It's a must watch.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.

The Lobster — This strange film is set in a dystopic alternate reality where those middle age adults who are single have 45 days to find a mate or get turned into an animal. After his wife leaves him, a man (Colin Farrell) heads to a singles resort to try and find someone in 45 days, or else start life as a lobster. This is a weird movie from the jump, and I had trouble getting into it. I liked the world Farrell did, but I'm not sure I really got what this film was trying to say about society, if anything.
Verdict: Two stars out of four.

The Witch — This horror film, set in puritanical times, was a cult hit when it bowed last winter. I finally saw it and still am not sure why. It's OK. It's weird. It's unique, I suppose, but it was a somewhat boring watch.
Verdict: Two stars out of four.

HBO GO:
Midnight Special — This film from Jeff Nichols is about a special boy who is rescued from a cult by his father (Michael Shannon) and his father's friend (Joel Edgerton). There's some good performances here and this is a movie that feels a bit like a 1970s-style film. I wasn't as taken with it as some critics, but I thought it was an enjoyable film with a unique payoff.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

Showtime Anytime:
Weiner — This is the best documentary of the year, and one of the best movies I saw in 2016. It's a documentary that follows disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in his failed bid to be mayor of New York City. That sounds weird, but it's incredibly compelling.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.

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