The Chaos of the Streaming Era Is Great For Movie Lovers -

The Chaos of the Streaming Era Is Great For Movie Lovers

 The Chaos of the Streaming Era Is Great For Movie Lovers

Winter Kills (1979)

Adapted from a novel by The Manchurian Candidate author Richard Condon, Winter Kills turns the story of a Kennedy-like president’s assassination into a pitch dark, star-packed black comedy. The film — starring Jeff Bridges with a supporting cast that includes everyone from Anthony Perkins to Toshiro Mifune — barely saw release in 1979, but as the strangest of all the paranoid ’70s thrillers, it’s inevitably picked up a cult following over the years, which grew when it was re-released on DVD in the early aughts. It’s gone in and out of circulation over the years, but it’s currently just a click away. (Find it on: Prime)

Seconds (1966)

The Manchurian Candidate itself remained largely unseen after its first run only to become recognized as a classic years after its release. It took a little longer for Frankenheimer’s bizarre and disturbing Seconds to achieve the same status. John Randolph stars as an aging man who, unsatisfied with what his life has become, pays to be “reborn” through plastic surgery. He emerges from the process as a handsome young man played by Rock Hudson but soon discovers his new life is its own kind of nightmare. It often plays like an experimental, feature-length installment of The Twilight Zone with Frankenheimer and veteran cinematographer James Wong Howe trying out every strange idea that ever occurred to them. A flop on release, its reputation rebounded when it was re-released in the 1990s. (Find it on: Paramount Plus)

Sonatine (1993)

Takeshi Kitano had been a popular comic and host on Japanese TV before becoming the star and director of artfully brutal action films like Violent Cop. One of his best films, Sonatine tells the story of a yakuza enforcer who tries to leave a life of crime behind and, for a while, seems to succeed, carving out a new life in a seaside town. It doesn’t last, but much of the film’s power comes from the stark contrast it presents between peacefulness and violence. Picked up by Miramax, it’s now one of a handful of arthouse classics that can be found alongside much more familiar fare on Paramount Plus. (Find it on: Paramount Plus)

The TV Set (2006)

Despite appearing in an era when just about anything producer Judd Apatow touched became a hit, writer/director Jake Kasdan’s The TV Set struggled at the box office. Starring David Duchovny, it’s a funny and unfailingly mean depiction of what it takes to work in television—and the near-impossibility of realizing an artistic vision without compromise. It may have slipped through-the-cracks, but feels almost made to be rediscovered in the low-stakes streaming era. (Find it on: Prime, Peacock, Tubi, Popcornflix, Pluto)

Sign O’ the Times (1988)

A concert film built around Prince’s double-album 1987 masterpiece, Sign O’ the Times earned strong reviews when it hit theaters but fans largely stayed away. Maybe they were mad Prince never brought that semi-legendary tour to the US? Whatever the reason, Sign O’ the Times became almost impossible to see for years until, suddenly it wasn’t, showing up on virtually every streaming service around. That’s good news for anyone who wants to see a master in his prime. (Find it on: Peacock, Vudu (free selection), Tubi, Pluto)

Gerry (2002)

Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon had tremendous success when they teamed up for Good Will Hunting. That gave them a little room to experiment with their next collaboration, in which Damon and Casey Affleck play hikers, both apparently named “Gerry,” who find themselves lost in the desert. Inspired by the long shots of Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr and Van Sant’s fascination with the video game Tomb Raider, Gerry follows the pair as they crack jokes, then grow increasingly desperate as they realize how lost they’ve become. To put it kindly, substantially fewer moviegoers saw it in theaters than saw Good Will Hunting (or Van Sant’s Psycho remake, for that matter), but its hypnotic power plays just as well at home. (Find it on: Peacock, Vudu (free selection), Tubi, Crackle, Popcornflix, Pluto, Shout Factory)

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