With most theaters still closed due to the new coronavirus pandemic, this year’s movie season is still up in the air. But movie releases have not been delayed. Every weekend, on streaming services and through “virtual theatrical” releases, new and newly available movies arrive for cinephiles of all levels.
The best offers this weekend are three pleasures. There is a restoration of an Italian comedy about finding yourself on a (rather picturesque) journey. There is a modest yet poignant film about the friendship between two young women. And a dystopian sci-fi thriller with social concerns in mind is also newly available for streaming. (Most movies newly released in the past few weeks are also still available to watch.)
These are the best movies, from different genres, that premiered this week and can be watched at home – for a few bucks on digital services, through virtual theatrical engagements, or for subscribers on streaming platforms.
The recently restored 1993 comedy by Italian director Nanni Moretti follows the director through a wry and not at all selfish journey – or actually three different journeys. He rides his scooter through Rome, thinks about movies and runs into Jennifer Beals (playing himself). Then, looking for a place to work peacefully, he travels between islands with a friend. And finally, he looks for a doctor who can help him heal rashes on his skin. Caro Diario (in English: “Dear Diary”) was received with great acclaim; it’s a fun, refreshing movie for those longing for a look at the sunny Italian countryside and some musings on film and the self.
How to view it: Caro Diario plays in a “virtual theatrical” release via Film at Lincoln Center. (You will receive a link after purchasing a virtual ticket.) See the theater’s website for details.
Mara (Tallie Medel) and Jo (Norma Kuhling) have been friends since they were 14. Now, as young women in New York, their friendship has survived. But free-spirited Jo is an attack on practical Mara, and the relationship borders on co-dependent. Fourteen follows the slow unraveling of their relationship through a series of scenes and relies on the audience to connect the dots between the events. The result is a compelling and sometimes heartbreaking meditation on friendship, growing apart and what we owe each other.
How to view it: Fourteen will open this week in virtual theaters and a list of participating theaters is available at the Grasshopper Films website. (You will receive a rental link and the winnings will help support the independent theater you select on the page.)
Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller from 2009 District 9 is an allegorical story and one with constant resonance. Decades before the story begins, more than a million weak and malnourished aliens come to Earth to escape their dying planet. They have been resettled in a camp in an area called District 9, which has since turned into a slum managed by a weapons manufacturer called Multi-National United. MNU is mainly interested in the technology of aliens. But it gets interesting when an employee (played by Sharlto Copley) catches a virus that turns him into one of the aliens and has to hide in District 9. It’s an exciting and thought-provoking movie to revisit, and a movie with something to say to current global concerns.