Hulu scored a giant win with Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland,” a shoe-in — or so it appears — within the Academy Awards race.
It was my choice of the second greatest film of 2020 (after “Driveways”), when it bought a restricted launch, and it tops our streaming picks this week, now that it’s set to begin streaming on Hulu starting Feb. 19. Our picks this week additionally embrace Rosamund Pike flashing her evil aspect once more on Netflix, together with our discover of the week: a unusual British comedy a few mother and son spending a summer season collectively.
Right here’s the rundown.
“Nomadland: What occurs when your partner dies, the trade city you reside loses its trade and there’s no place to name dwelling? If you happen to’re resourceful Fern (Frances McDormand), you pack up a camper van and journey via America’s heartland, the place you make fleeting, unforgettable friendships whereas working odd jobs. As she did with “The Rider,” filmmaker Chloe Zhao integrates actual characters with fictional ones and the outcomes right here couldn’t be extra insightful or emotionally wrenching. This haunting adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s nonfiction guide “Nomadland: Surviving America within the Twenty-First Century” reveals Zhao to be a grasp at holding up a mirror to the faces of forgotten Individuals. That is an elemental movie during which on a regular basis conversations and actions — and even gthe pauses the punctuate them — maintain great weight. It’s additionally the one to beat come Oscar time. Particulars: 4 stars out of 4; accessible Feb. 19 on Hulu.
“I Care a Lot”: Rosamund Pike does her “Gone Woman” unscrupulous greatest as a swindler who delights in wiping out financial institution accounts of the aged. On this wickedly entertaining double crosser from director/screenwriter J Blakeson, Pike’s Marla Grayson is the epitome of pleated confidence along with her sun shades and blonde bob hairdo. However has she met her match in her newest goal/ward (Dianne Wiest), who has ties to an area gangster (Peter Dinklage)? “I Care a Lot” coils and strikes like a snake because it slithers towards a surprising finale. Particulars: 3 stars; accessible Feb. 19 on Netflix.
“Breaking Information in Yuba County”: How did “The Assist” director Tate Taylor corral such an elite crew of Allison Janney, Regina Corridor, Mila Kunis, Awkwafina and so forth for such a tone-deaf, relentlessly unfunny slapstick catastrophe? One take a look at the erratic screenplay from Amanda Idoko ought to have had this gifted crew working for the hills. Idoko channels Tarantino and John Waters and socks it to suburbia, but the blows make no contact. The result’s a stomach flop of a movie with Janney sputtering alongside as Sue Buttons, a clueless Yuba County resident who turns into a viral sensation after her philandering husband (Matthew Modine) has a deadly coronary heart assault whereas having intercourse with another person. She buries the physique after which says he’s been kidnapped. Har, har. Drug baddies (together with Awkwafina, in her worst efficiency but) yell tortured strains earlier than the compulsory but pointless Tarantino-esque violence ensues. That is past horrible. Particulars: Zero stars; accessible to stream on, sadly, a number of platforms and taking part in in choose theaters.
“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar”: Not so way back “SNL” characters landed starring roles in their very own motion pictures. Some had been enjoyable (“Wayne’s World,” “The Blues Brothers”), others had been horrible (“It’s Pat,” “Coneheads”). “Barb and Star” was not an “SNL” skit but it surely certain feels prefer it was. It performs like a collection of prolonged skits (some hilarious, others duds) strung collectively by a rest room paper script. The campy setup finds fired besties Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) escaping on a Florida seashore the place they fandango with a pretty-boy (Jamie Dornan) and wind up in the course of homicide plot that includes mosquitoes. It’s endlessly foolish and in the event you give up to it, you’re in for an amusing time. However there’s simply not sufficient killer comedy to assist the movie’s 1 hour, 47-minue working time, regardless of terrific comedic performances from Wiig and Mumolo (who teamed on “Bridesmaids”). Particulars: 2½ stars; accessible on numerous platforms.
“Supernova”: Some have dismissed this indie as over-eager Oscar bait for leads Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth. Overlook them. Author/director Harry Macqueen’s light, quiet “street” image poetically captures the crushing actuality of watching your accomplice’s thoughts erode away from Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t sound like a enjoyable evening on the motion pictures, for certain. However that is definitely worth the watch: An intimate two-hander that buildings itself round poignant, treasured moments which are neither sweeping nor overly dramatic ones. Firth breaks your coronary heart as Sam, the musically inclined husband of author Tusker (Tucci). He’s plotted out a camper van journey to cease in on pals, household and locations that the couple holds pricey. By no means does “Supernova” attempt to chew off greater than it may deal with because it winds towards an inevitable however fantastically rendered vacation spot. Particulars: 3 stars; accessible on numerous platforms.
“Cowboys”: Anna Kerrigan’s Montana-set Western is a fragile story a few mentally unstable father (Steve Zahn) who absconds along with his 11-year-old trans son (Sasha Knight) to the Canadian border. It seems like a country-western music, and earned Zahn a greatest actor award and Kerrigan a greatest screenplay finally 12 months’s Tribeca Movie Competition. Jillian Bell and Ann Dowd co-star. This movie has sadly gotten misplaced through the pandemic and that’s a disgrace given its massive coronary heart and even larger soul. Search it out. Particulars: 3½ stars; accessible on numerous streaming platforms.)
“Twilight’s Kiss (Suk Suk)”: There’s a horrible lack of dramas about late-blooming romance. Right here’s a standout one. Director Ray Yeung’s delicate function set in Hong Kong quietly observes the clandestine relationship between two closeted homosexual males — 70-year-old Pak (Tai Bo) and 65-year-old Hoi (Benjamin Yuen). From demanding households to the conservative setting, these two lovers wrestle to stability their passions with the expectations and calls for of others. Aiding the movie is that each leads present great poise. Particulars: 3 stars; accessible Feb. 19 as a part of the Digital Cinema collection on the Smith Rafael Film Center and the Rialto Cinemas.
“Days of the Bagnold Summer time”: Nobody does droll, quirky character-based comedies just like the Brits. Actor/comic Simon Fowl’s directorial debut is proof of that. It’s a mood-adjusting portrait of an surprising summer season spent between a prickly teen (Earl Cave) and his sweet-natured mother (Monica Dolan). Fowl’s screenplay, tailored from the graphic novel of the identical title, left me smiling all through. However the most effective half is the stunning chemistry between Cave and Dolan. That is one “Summer time” to recollect. Particulars: 3½ stars; accessible via the Digital Cinema collection on the Roxie Theatre and the Smith Rafael Film Center.
Contact Randy Myers at [email protected]