As the Covid-19 pandemic creeps toward the six-month mark, are you missing the experience of watching a movie inside a theater as much as I am?
Here are a few of my personal picks you can look for, now playing in Virtual Cinemas and from various streaming services.
“Boys State” on Apple TV+ (with subscription)
The latest from indie darling A24 won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at this year’s Sundance festival. The film follows a herd of Texas teens as they try — like their elders have done for decades — to form a mock state government over the course of one immersive week. But in an era of social media call-outs and deep societal divisions, we squirm while watching the polarizing effects of our political moment play out.
Also on Apple TV+
“Beastie Boys Story” (with subscription) — From filmmaker Spike Jonze, this quirky doc captures rappers Michael Diamond and Adam Horowitz during a live stage show, reflecting on their careers in a playful, wistful middle-aged reverie.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” on Netflix (with subscription)
Unexpected. Mind-bending. Kooky. Nightmarish. The latest from master screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has been praised by many critics as many things. But “prairie noir” may be the most apt description for this story of a young woman (Jessie Buckley) who travels with her boyfriend to the strange, secluded farm of his parents. Highly stylized and always leaning into ambiguity, Kaufman presents a new puzzle of moral ambiguity.
Also on Netflix
“Horse Girl” (with subscription) — Sometimes you just see an indie movie poster and you’re like, yup, I’ma watch that. Especially when you see that screwball filmmaker Jeff Baena (“Life After Beth,” “The Little Hours”) is directing.
“Song Without a Name” ($12) at The State Theatre (Modesto)
The feature debut from filmmaker Melina León is the first film by a female Peruvian director to play at Cannes. León tells the harrowing story of an Andean mother whose baby is stolen, moments after birth, at a fake clinic in the late 1980s. The woman’s desperate search for her child leads her to connect with fellow victims of the complex web of human trafficking that cruelly continues to this day throughout the world.
Also at The State
“The Fight” ($12) — Sure to be of interest to Filmworks regulars, this political doc gives an inside look into the front-line legal battles of today’s major social issues, centering the all-too-real impacts of political ideologies on actual people.