No new feature films will be released on Friday, Jan. 1, probably because the studios figure anyone who decides to catch a matinee during their first Walk of Shame of the New Year will just go to seeThe Force Awakens. (Flash mob! Let's all meet at the9 a.m.IMAX 3D screening in smeared makeup, tousled hair, and crumpled dresses.) But while you're nursing 2016's first hangover, here are some movies from the past year you can watch online.
While We're Young
Noah Baumbach's very funnycomedy pits mellowing Gen X couple Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts against free-spirited millennials Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. In addition to raising interesting questions about the appropriation of pop culture between generations, it's also fascinating now to revisit Driver in a recent role that's arguably more villainous than Kylo Ren.
Josh Trank's sophomore sinkhole is a fascinating example of the many different ways a film can go wrong. Granted, exactly what went wrong behind the scenes is something of a mystery — there were wars, rumors of wars, and definitely extensive reshoots — but after an hour, the wheels go off in a spectacular way.Keep an eye out for Kate Mara's unspeakable reshoot wig to see how poorly the new footage is integrated into whatever it was Trank originally intended.
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
The Church of Scientology didn't want you to see Alex Gibney's documentary when it was first released, and they still don't. (Check out their hilarious Gibney-bashing Twitter account, @FreedomEthics.) This is probably because whatever facts it may get wrong, Going Clear is still a bruising expose of a cult whose human-rights abuses eclipse whatever comedy may be found in their Xenu-and-volcanoes cosmology.
Robert Zemeckis's latest was designed to be seen in IMAX 3D, but its $11 million domestic gross means you probably didn't see it dual-projected onto an 80-by-100-foot screen. Thankfully, it still works as a charming caper story as Frenchy McFrencherson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as the real-life Philippe Petit) plots to walk on a wire across the Twin Towers in 1974, and you may still feel your palms getting a little sweaty.
It's a television show rather than a movie, butJessica Jonesis officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's also the best live-action Marvel work, period. Jessica (Krysten Ritter) is a private detective with superhuman strength; she's also an alcoholic battling PTSD after her enslavement by the mind-controlling sociopath Kilgrave (a blood-chilling David Tennant), who's still stalking her. The dark and occasionally grueling series makes no bones about the fact that Kilgrave raped Jessica and means to again, though he of course rejects that word, while the show itself steadfastly refuses to sexualize Jessica for the viewer in spite of Ritter's objective physical beauty. By comparison, look at the cover for the official prequel comic released in October, whose artist just couldn't resist the urge to pose her like a pouty model. Well played, Marvel television producers.