Kanopy offers the best bargain for streaming movies. No advertising, and all you need is a library card. But there is a limitation: You can only watch 10 movies a month.
Here are ten Kanopy “Newly Added Movies” worth watching. But I have to admit that I’ve seen some of these on Kanopy years ago. Well, maybe they were taken off Kanopy along time ago, and have recently put back on.
As usual, they’re listed from best to worst, although they’re all worth seeing.
A Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
When two brothers (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) set out to rob their parents’ jewelry store in what they tell themselves will be a victimless crime. But as every lover of noir knows, the best-laid plans of amateur crooks always go lethally wrong. Writer Kelly Masterson and director Sidney Lumet (his last film) make you experience what it’s like to have your entire world fall apart bit by bit, while fully knowing that it’s entirely your fault. Read my full review.
A Tangerine (2015)
Sometimes a movie blows apart every concept you had about what a motion picture can be. Sean Baker’s tale of a transgender prostitute out for justice creates that sort of magic. Fast, frenetic, funny, and sad, Tangerine looks like no other movie I’ve ever seen, in part because it was shot entirely on iPhones. And yes, that works, allowing the filmmakers to capture the tarnished glamour of today’s Hollywood (the neighborhood, not the industry). The most exciting and original new film I saw in 2015. Did I tell you it’s a Christmas movie? Read my full review.
A Jobs: Man in the Machine (2015)
Director Alex Gibney starts this multifaceted documentary with a difficult question: Why did so many people who never met Steve Jobs mourn his death? Jobs was brilliant, mercurial, and charismatic. He made technology friendly for the average person, and significantly changed the world. But he was also a jerk that cheated friends, let his daughter grow up on welfare while he became incredibly wealthy, and parked his sports car in disability spaces long before he got sick, himself. Gibney offers us an excellent, no-holds-barred, yet empathetic biography of a man utterly lacking in empathy. Read my full review.
A- Sorry We Missed You (2019)
Imagine a food that you absolutely hate, but you eat it anyway because it’s good for you. That’s the experience of seeing Ken Loach’s grim but necessary attack on the gig economy. A man struggles to make money delivering packages. In theory, he’s an independent contractor, but he’s much worse off than an employee. His wife, a nurse, is also supposedly self-employed. Neither of them has time to take care of their children. With almost no happy moments, Sorry We Missed You is like an empathy bomb, forcing you to care for the working poor. Read my full review.
A- The Death of Dick Long (2019)
This very dark comedy works extremely well as a noirish thriller. Or is it a noirish thriller with a deep strain of dark comedy? Three good-old boys party a little too hardy. The next morning, one of them (the Dick of the title) dies in the hospital as an unidentified John Doe. Our hapless protagonists (Michael Abbott Jr. and Andre Hyland) try to hide their connection to the lethal accident and succeed only in digging themselves into a deeper hole. As the title suggests, the comedy isn’t always of the refined sort.
B+ The Farewell (2019)
Lulu Wang’s comedy confrontation between the Chinese and Chinese-American sides of the same family provides a lot of laughs, held up by a serious structure built around mortality. Billi, a New Yorker of Chinese descent (Awkwafina) travels to China, along with the rest of her family, for a final goodbye to her dying, beloved grandmother. But following Chinese custom, no one tells Grandma that she’s dying. Only Billi disapproves of the deception. The family goes as far as to create a sham wedding as an excuse for everyone coming to town. Funny and touching. Read my full review.
B+ Disobedience (2017)
What do you do when your former husband marries your former lover – and all within a very close, religious community? A successful New York photographer (Rachel Weisz) returns home to London for her father’s funeral. But it’s complicated. She deserted the enclosed world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism in which she was raised. Her father was an important rabbi, and her ex-husband was his assumed successor. What’s more, the new wife is the photographer’s past lesbian lover (Rachel McAdams). A very well-made film, with a great cast, set in a society few people know.
B+ Dodsworth (1936)
A middle-aged capitalist (Walter Huston) sells his company and takes his wife to Europe for what they assume will be a never-ending vacation. But the wife (Ruth Chatterton), fearful that age is taking away her beauty, flirts too much and the marriage is soon in trouble. That sounds like a ’30s comedy, but it’s actually a ’30s drama – and a relatively believable one, too. Directed by William Wyler. Screenwriter Sidney Howard adapted Sinclair Lewis’ novel. I don’t know how the ending got through the production code of that era.
B+ Her Smell
There’s a point about halfway through this rock and roll drama when I almost gave up. Elisabeth Moss’ performance as a rundown punk star, while believable, felt like fingernails on a chalkboard. There’s only so much time you can spend with this awful, drunk, and stoned sociopath. Then the narrative leaps four years, and the film becomes something entirely different – and it couldn’t have worked without that first half. Even the cinematography changes from shaky close-ups to smooth calm. Moss carries both parts of the film and does it with strength and integrity.
B+ By the Grace of God (2018)
Decades after the crimes, the adult victims of a Catholic pedophile priest go after him in court. The film’s first 40 minutes are dreadfully boring, primarily because it focuses on a very boring man. But after a while we begin to meet other victims, and they’re much more interesting – especially the extremely troubled Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud). Meanwhile, the priest admits his crimes but treats them as minor transgressions, while the Cardinal fumbles over himself. By the end, it’s excellent. From the usually less serious François Ozon. Based on actual events.