Here’s a look at an interesting new release available to rent from digital providers and a few titles that are have recently become available to stream.
Video on Demand
“Detroit”: Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have previously collaborated on films like “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” Their third effort takes a deep dive on the 50th anniversary of a dark moment in the history of Detroit, Michigan — the riots that tore the city apart in the summer of 1967. After police officers raided an after-hours club and hauled its occupants off to jail, there was widespread civil disobedience across the inner city. Shameful events that occurred between police and residents of the Algiers Motel are depicted in agonizing detail. The movie runs out of steam as it morphs into a courtroom drama, but the uniformly excellent ensemble cast, including John Boyega, Jason Mitchell and Anthony Mackie, ensures that it is compulsively watchable. (Cable and digital VOD, available in 4K UHD on iTunes)
Also on streaming services
“Columbus”: The debut feature from video essayist turned director Kogonada is a delicate and stunning indie drama that is not afraid to unravel slowly. Featuring some of the most beautiful cinematography in any film I’ve seen this year, it tells the story of a young woman named Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) who lives in the tiny college town of Columbus, Indiana. The area is known for striking Modernist structures from architectural legends like I.M. Pei and Robert Venturi. Casey is floating through life and unsure of her future path when she encounters Jin (John Cho). He has arrived from South Korea because his father, a famed architecture professor, has fallen into a coma and is hospitalized there while on a speaking tour. The intersection of their lives is a perfect distraction, for the characters and viewers. (Hulu)
“Marjorie Prime”: Speaking of slow indie dramas, this one is a little harder to recommend, but I was thoroughly entranced by it. Set in a nondescript future, 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith) is living out her final days stirring up the past by having conversations with a hologram projection of her late husband (John Hamm). Artificial intelligence is now the norm, and this service allows for a “Prime” to accompany you and provide companionship after you’ve lost a loved one. Based on the Pulitzer-nominated play by Jordan Harrison, this moving sci-fi tale shows us several encounters within the same family to preserve memories. While a publicity push has been given to draw attention to Smith’s performance, it is the return of Geena Davis that is perhaps the most impressive. The theatrical background of the material gives all the actors an opportunity to solidly deliver grand monologues. (Amazon Prime)