Here’s a look at some interesting new releases available to rent from cable and digital providers and a few titles that have recently hit streaming services.
Video on Demand
“Julieta”: Originally intended as his English-language debut, Pedro Almodovar ended up sticking with Spain for his 20th feature film. He adapted three short stories from Alice Munro and weaved them into a haunting story of a woman seeking to reconnect with her estranged daughter. Set in Madrid and featuring the director’s signature bold color palette, the film serves up melodrama with a hint of Hitchcock. Emma Suarez is remarkable in the lead role, and it’s a delight to see Rossy de Palma, who starred in many of Almodovar’s ’90s films, here in a supporting role. (Cable and digital VOD)
“Passengers”: Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”) helms this stylish sci-fi thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. They’re two people traveling on a 120-year journey in space to go live on another planet when they accidentally wake up from their hibernation pods too early. The movie succeeds thanks to the chemistry between the two leads, but the storyline presents a serious ethical dilemma that may prove too creepy for some viewers. If you are able to look past these story elements, can you survive the epically awful dialogue? Ultimately, I found it to be compulsively watchable, warts and all. The film earned two Academy Award nominations — one for Thomas Newman’s score and another well-deserved nod for the film’s gorgeous production design. (Cable and digital VOD)
Also on streaming services
“Being 17”: Even now as a 70-year-old man, director Andre Techine still has a knack for creating solid coming-of-age stories. This time around he partnered up with “Girlhood” director Celine Sciamma to write a script that shifts between violence and sexual awakening. There are class issues at play here, but mostly we’re focused on the fact that Damien finds himself becoming attracted to Thomas, who relentlessly bullies him at school in rural France. (Netflix)
“Everybody Wants Some!!!”: Richard Linklater heads to the 80s to spotlight this tale of a college baseball team in Texas. The film boasts a strong ensemble cast that includes Blake Jenner (“The Edge of Seventeen”), Glen Powell (“Hidden Figures”) and Zoey Deutch (“Before I Fall). A spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused,” many of the characters are disappointingly two-dimensional. It’s an ode to being a jock, and your enjoyment of the movie will likely depend on how closely that aligns with your own experiences. One thing that Linklater is an expert at is curating the perfect soundtrack for a story, and this is no exception. Blondie, the Cars, Devo and the Sugarhill Gang help it all go down a little easier. (Amazon Prime, Hulu)