Streaming: the favorite of the new platform StudioCanal presents | Movie
Jo those of us have already subscribed to a veritable bouquet of streaming services – all with modest monthly subscription fees individually and surprisingly hefty as a collective – the announcement of a new service is an increasing incentive to make tough decisions. Does this one offer you anything substantial that you don’t get from those? Which can you do without to make room for a newcomer? Or are you ready to just add it to the growing pile?
With all of that in mind, StudioCanal’s new platform, StudioCanal Presents, has a stronger selling point than most. Over its 34-year history, the Paris-based distribution and production company has built up one of the largest film libraries in the world, rummaging through the vaults of everything from Ealing Studios to Studio Ghibli. StudioCanal Presents, available for £4.99 via the Apple TV app (with a one-week free trial for the wary), was designed to show off such wares. It launched recently with a selection of over 100 titles from its library, with more to be added on a monthly basis, many of which are exclusive to the platform.
Its starter pack, so to speak, is a fairly indicative sample of what its archive has to offer, spanning animated films and art films, classics and new favourites, along with British and French cinema – depending on the origins of the company – particularly well represented in the international mix. StudioCanal’s selection of British classics includes many rightly canonized titles: Carol Reed’s eternally nervous and thrilling noir The third manthe cunning comedy of the pillars of ealing Good hearts and crowns and The lady killersthe still surprising candor of Ken Loach’s first feature film, poor cowor the nervous and sensual modernism of Nicolas Roeg’s endlessly imitated psychological horror don’t look now.
But I was thrilled to find a few films that aren’t celebrated today as much as they deserve. Bryan Forbes’ charming, quietly compassionate 1962 adaptation of Lynne Reid Banks The L-shaped room, about a pregnant French girl seeking allies in a west London boarding house, still rings perceptibly true in its depiction of the mixed messages Britain gives to newcomers. From the same era of British New Realism, Guy Green angry silence probes labor politics and working-class financial desperation with a determined vigor – interpreted as anti-strike in its day – that might still spark debate today. Moving completely away from realism, there’s a rainy Sunday teatime escape in Agatha Christie’s lavish star-encrusted 1970s version Death on the Nileif you want a fix to Kenneth Branagh’s wooden take currently in theaters.
On the other side of the Channel, the French New Wave makes its entrance, with the change of form of Jean-Luc Godard Breathlessthe icy but sunburned tale of René Clément noon purple and the dreamily deconstructed romance of Alain Resnais Last year in Marienbad among the selections. At the most recent end of French culture, the compulsive, suitably meandering policeman series Spiral is a highlight of the platform’s TV selection, featuring the sleazy, bespoke naughtiness of HannibalHannibal Lecter’s 2013 origin series with a perfectly cast Mads Mikkelsen, well worth gorging on for the first or 14th time.
Latter-day movie selections range from the spectacle of brash gangsters to the performance of Tom Hardy’s two Kray brothers in Legend to Steven Soderbergh’s Underrated Southern Fried Heists Lucky Logan to the evil and dark mystery of the Korean woman on a mission by Bong Joon-ho Mother – quite equal to the most popular director Parasite. And if you’ve somehow missed two of the essential American films of the past decade – the wintery, elegiac folk comeback of the Coen Brothers Inside Llewyn Davis and Todd Haynes’ all-time romantic swoon Carol – a double characteristic of these is already worth the five cents of the month.
Also new in streaming and DVD
Human Rights Watch Film Festival
The traveling international festival of progressive and socially responsible film is holding its London edition from March 17-25, with the full program also available for digital streaming in the UK and Ireland during this time. This is a fresh and exciting selection of documentary and narrative works: highlights include the recent Berlin award Myanmar Newspapers – an urgent and searing diary of anonymous filmmakers from the past year under military rule – and eternal springan inspired multimedia reflection on the Chinese police’s persecution of Falun Gong activists, its lively animation drawn from the comic book aesthetic of exiled artist Daxiong.
When her teenage daughter is kidnapped by a cartel and authorities in northern Mexico fail to help her, single mother Cielo takes matters into her own hands. This premise may make Teodora Mihai’s gripping debut look like a standard vigilante thriller, but it’s something else entirely: gripping, yes, but rich in social texture as it ponders a national history of violence. .
Dutch director Tim Leyendekker’s radical and haunting hybrid documentary takes on a case that could be vulnerable to real grim criminal treatment, in which three Dutch men staged a series of sex parties where guests were drugged and bloodshot. infected with HIV. But Leyendekker eschews sensationalism, instead probing emotional motivations from multiple angles over the course of seven reconstructed vignettes.