Streaming Surprises, Volume 11

Our “Streaming Surprises” series calls attention to good movies new and old. Titles are available from various streaming services.

”Paterson” (2016)
Paterson is about a man and a town, both named Paterson. Each morning, Paterson wakes, dresses and has breakfast, but not before taking note of Laura, who lies next to him, still sleeping. Before getting out of bed, he completes a small gesture that communicates care and affection for Laura. Then Paterson walks to work. He is a bus driver for the city of Paterson. These daily walks between home and depot, like the sequences spent with Paterson as he drives through town, give the viewer intimate insight into the poetic rhythms of life in Paterson––its people, its near-abandoned factories, its main street that clings on. These insights are sometimes corroborated by poetry Paterson writes in a journal he keeps with him.
Paterson operates much like a poem itself. It’s organized around days, and each day looks much like the day preceding it (Paterson walks to the depot, he drives the bus, he walks home and converses with Laura, who has been home indulging her creativity, he walks the dog, he stops in for a beer at the neighborhood bar). The repetition and recurrence, however, is what results in meaning. In seeing the routines of Paterson and, to a degree, the people and the town that surround him, we get glimpses into the tensions and conflicts that keep people and places going.
Submitted by Rubén Casas Available on Amazon Prime Video.

“I Called Him Morgan” (2016)
Writer and Director Kasper Collin’s second Jazz documentary (his first, ”My Name Is Albert Taylor,” 2006) I Called Him Morgan is a story of a prodigious talent in the young trumpeter Lee Morgan. It’s also one of the best-reviewed documentaries of the past year.
Morgan was a 17-year-old stealing the show while playing with Dizzy Gillespie and his orchestra. His talent, confidence and fresh perspective on Jazz impressed his bandmates.
Then Morgan’s drug habit began taking a toll on his career.
The documentary uses two audio interviews, one with Lee Morgan, recorded shortly before his death, and one with his wife, Helen Morgan, recorded just before her death. Helen’s interview comes after being released from prison, being charged and sentenced with Lee’s murder.
One can only wonder what might have been if Lee Morgan’s career continued? But would his career even have gotten as far, without Helen? This film, and the former friends of both Morgans interviewed in it want you to know how talented Lee was and what special people they both were. Lee Morgan is not a household name like John Coltrane or Dizzy Gillespie. We’re left, as we are too often, wondering what might have been for this overwhelmingly talented musician whose life ended tragically too soon.
The music alone is a good reason to watch this film. Some of Lee’s songs seem sorrowful, some exciting, all are impressive and will make you want to seek out more, on youtube, spotify, or the record store.
Submitted by Justus Bier-Stanberry. Available on Netflix.

“Christine” (2016)
Portraying a person’s mental illness in cinema is a delicate prospect. In his third feature, filmmaker Antonio Campos deftly draws a stunning performance from star actress Rebecca Hall in “Christine,” based on the true story of 1970s TV reporter Christine Chubbuck, who committed suicide during a live broadcast. Hall inhabits Chubbuck completely, as we see intimate, hard-to-watch glimpses of a young woman’s professional frustrations and depression as she slowly unravels. We know the outcome, but it’s impossible to take your eyes off Hall, who turns Chubbuck’s fury into a creeping personal catastrophe.
Submitted by Jefferson Beavers. Available on Netflix.