Now Stream This: 'Nomadland', 'Possessor', 'Unforgiven', 'MacGruber', 'The Shape of Water', 'Aquaman', and More
19th February 2021

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

Nomadland
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2020

Genre: Drama

Director: Chloé Zhao

Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie

Chloé Zhao‘s beautiful, melancholy, and altogether remarkable Nomadland follows Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman who proclaims herself to be houseless, not homeless. After her husband died and her town went belly-up, Fern has taken to living in her van. She works a seasonal job at Amazon, and when the work is done, she hits the road, roaming about, encountering other nomads, and just trying to get by. There’s a more Hollywood version of this film where Fern learns to pick herself up by her bootstraps and works towards buying herself a new house, but that’s not Nomadland. Instead, it’s about the journey, and Zhao brings us fully into Fern’s world, with McDormand delivering yet another fantastic, raw, believable performance.

For fans of: The RiderInto the Wild, the unbearable beauty of the country mixed with the harsh cruelty of reality.

 

Possessor
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2020

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Brandon Cronenberg‘s ultra-violent sci-fi thriller Possessor has Andrea Riseborough as an assassin who can upload her consciousness into other people’s heads. But the work is getting to her, and her assignments are turning more savage. To further complicate matters, the person Riseborough is currently possessing – played by Christopher Abbott – is able to fight back and occasionally regain control. The story unfolds with an icy coldness mixed with a ghastly brutality that creates a film experience that’s overwhelming.

For fans of: VideodromeAntiviral, close-ups of extremely believable practical gore effects.

 

Unforgiven
Now Streaming on HBO Max

Release Date: 1992

Genre: Western

Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Clint Eastwood has directed over 40 movies, and none of them even comes close to his masterpiece, Unforgiven. No, not even Sully. Here, Eastwood returns to the genre that made him a star – the Western – and deconstructs it. This is not a typical, by-the-numbers Western where the good guys are good and the bad guys wear black hats. It’s a complicated, often brutal story of a former gunslinger who gets roped back into action to become a bounty hunter. Eastwood’s character, Will Munny, was once an outlaw and a killer of women and children. Now, he’s a widower trying to be a farmer while raising two kids. But when a hot-headed kid (Jaimz Woolvett) rides up to the farm and offers Will the chance to earn some money killing some cowboys who violently assaulted a prostitute, Will takes the job, and brings along his old pal Ned (Morgan Freeman). Their destination is Big Whiskey, a town in Wyoming overseen by a sadistic lawman, played by Gene Hackman. Deliberately paced and filled with scenes that go from quiet and reflective to shockingly brutal, Unforgiven is a masterwork; a film that burns with rage, and regret, where death is lurking, waiting to strike. Everyone is great here, but Hackman steals the show, playing his vile character like someone who is completely convinced he’s actually the good guy.

For fans of: The Quick and the DeadPale Rider, the Duck of Death.

 

MacGruber
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2010

Genre: Comedy

Director: Jorma Taccone

Cast: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Maya Rudolph, Powers Boothe

Saturday Night Live movies don’t have the best track record. On the “good” side, there’s The Blues Brothers and Wayne’s World. On the “bad” side there’s…well…almost everything else. So it’s understandable to approach MacGruber, a film based on an SNL character that really wasn’t even that funny to begin with, with a touch of skepticism. On paper, the idea sounds one-note: it’s a parody of MacGyver, the late ’80s/early ’90s series about a guy who was really good at making bombs out of random shit like hockey tickets and gum. But MacGruber uses that basic set-up to create an absurd and uproariously funny action-comedy. Will Forte is MacGruber, a former Green Beret, Navy SEAL, and Army Ranger who gets drafted to help retrieve a stolen nuclear warhead. Really, though, the plot almost doesn’t matter – it’s just there to hang a bunch of laugh-out-loud funny scenarios on, each more ridiculous than the next.

For fans of: Hot RodPopstar, the old celery trick.

 

The Shape of Water
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2017

Genre: Fantasy-Drama

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer

Guillermo del Toro‘s beautiful movie about a woman who fucks the Creature from the Black Lagoon won a Best Picture Oscar, and we should never forget that. The Shape of Water is a story about outsiders, misfits, and outcasts – mute woman Elisa (Sally Hawkins), her gay friend Giles (Richard Jenkins), her Black co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), a Russian spy (Michael Stuhlbarg), and a psychopathic military man (Michael Shannon). And then there’s the fish man – a kind of humanoid amphibian creature who just happens to be held prisoner at the secret government laboratory where Elisa works. Elisa helps the fish man escape – and the two begin a romance. It’s an utterly wild idea, and to Guillermo del Toro’s credit, he plays it completely straight, or at least as straight as you can play a movie about a woman having a passionate love affair with a sea creature.

For fans of: Pan’s Labyrinth, Amélie, handsome fish men.

 

The Mummy
Now Streaming on HBO Max

Release Date: 1999

Genre: Horror-Adventure-Comedy

Director: Stephen Sommers

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Jonathan Hyde, Kevin J. O’Connor

A wham-bam pulpy adventure, The Mummy doesn’t resemble the classic Universal horror movie that inspired it at all. And that’s okay! Instead, director Stephen Sommers is going for something akin to Indiana Jones, only far more silly. Brendan Fraser is a soldier-turned-adventurer who teams up with a librarian (Rachel Weisz) to find a lost Egyptian city. Of course, they also find a walking, talking mummy who is ready to take over the world. It’s all quite goofy, but the entertainment value cannot be denied. Fraser makes for a great square-jawed hero, and Weisz steals the entire movie. What’s not to love?

For fans of: Indiana JonesNational Treasure, mummies.

 

Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2021

Genre: Existential Magic Show Designed to Make You Cry

Director: Frank Oz

Cast: Derek DelGaudio

It’s hard to describe Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself. I suppose you could call it a magic show, since Derek DelGaudio is a magician. And there are several illusions in the film. But this isn’t your typical magic show. Instead, In & Of Itself is a kind of soul-searching, existential, post-modern biography, as DelGaudio takes the stage and tells us about himself. And his audience. The film is compiled from DelGaudio’s 72-week, four-time-extended Off-Broadway run, cutting together various performances to craft an often overwhelmingly emotional experience. If you strip everything away – all the stories, all the pregnant pauses, all the shots of stunned audience members – you could call In & Of Itself manipulative. But all movies are manipulative. Art, by its nature, manipulates us to feel somethinganything, and in that regard, In & Of Itself is a triumphant success. “I don’t understand,” one tearful audience member tells DelGaudio at one point. “I know,” he replies sympathetically. That about sums it up.

For fans of: Crying their fucking eyes out.

 

Aquaman
Now Streaming on HBO Max

Release Date: 2018

Genre: Action

Director: James Wan

Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman

What’s the best DCEU movie? Why, it’s Aquaman, of course. Primarily because unlike nearly every other movie in the series to date, Aquaman has color; it has fun; it has the type of “kid with a new toy” energy that is severely lacking in stuff like, oh, let’s say Batman v. Superman. James Wan goes absolutely wild and has a blast doing it crafting an undersea, globe-trotting adventure that’s full of goofy humor. There’s a plot there, sure – but do you really care? All you really need to know is that there’s an octopus playing the drums at one point, and everyone rides around on sharks. Jason Momoa brings the right amount of himbo energy needed to the material, Patrick Wilson is having a blast as the villain, Nicole Kidman wears a fish-monster costume, and Willem Dafoe got to cash a big paycheck. Everyone wins.

For fans of: Romancing the Stone, various Star Wars movies, utter nonsense that doesn’t let you down.

 

The Spanish Prisoner
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1997

Genre: Mystery-Thriller

Director: David Mamet

Cast: Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ben Gazzara, Felicity Huffman, Ricky Jay

David Mamet‘s twisty, deliberate thriller The Spanish Prisoner follows corporate engineer Joe Ross (Campbell Scott), who has just invented something called the Process for this company. What is the Process? Don’t ask, because Mamet doesn’t bother to tell you. All you need to know is that it’s going to make someone lots and lots of money. During a work trip to the Caribbean, Joe meets Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), a friendly millionaire, and the two strike up a kind of friendship. Back in New York, the two meet up again. Joe really likes Jimmy, and Jimmy seems to be a helpful guy. Everything changes, however, when Joe realizes that Jimmy is a conman trying to scam The Process (whatever it is) out of Joe’s hands. With this very simple set-up, Mamet weaves an intricate web, crafting a nifty little thriller in the process. Everyone spouts that famous Mamet-speak, where they say things that sort of sounds like the way real people talk – but not quite. (“We must never forget that we are human, and as humans we dream, and when we dream we dream of money.”) Martin is the secret weapon here – we keep expecting him to do something funny, but he plays everything completely straight, and when he eventually turns menacing, that makes his character all the more disarming.

For fans of: SpartanHeist, people saying stuff like “Dog my cats!”

 

MouseHunt
Now Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1997

Genre: Comedy

Director: Gore Verbinski

Cast: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Maury Chaykin, Christopher Walken

Gore Verbinski‘s feature debut MouseHunt is kind of like a live-action cartoon. The script is a mess, and it’s never clear who we’re supposed to be rooting for here. And yet, Verbinski brings so much style and manic energy that it’s hard not to get carried away by it all. When their father kicks the bucket (and accidentally falls down an open manhole during his funeral), brothers Nathan Lane and Lee Evans learn that they’ve inherited a creepy old house. It seems like a dump at first blush, but the at-odds siblings learn that the place is actually worth a fortune – they just have to fix it up first. Unfortunately, there’s a mouse in the house, and getting rid of him won’t be easy. A triumph of production design and full of slapstick comedy, MouseHunt is oodles of fun and features a memorable turn from Christopher Walken playing an exterminator who eats mouse droppings. Because of course he does.

For fans of: RatatouilleRango, cheese.

Source: Read Full Article