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“Mutt,” “Unpregnant” and other streaming gems

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

Stream it on Netflix.

Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s micro-budget New York drama is everything independent films are supposed to be: keenly observed and modestly executed, telling us a story and showing us a world we don’t usually see in mainstream cinema audience. In this case, it’s the world of Feña (Lío Mehiel), a transgender man and semi-desperate pseudo-hustler whose life turns momentarily upside down when he accidentally reconnects with a former boyfriend from before his transition. Each performer is relevant, natural and credible, and the script is lived-in and practically devoid of story (Feña gives a big speech to her father about how difficult it all is, and it’s the only false note, the only scene that seems like a movie scene instead of a real-life scene). It’s a small film, but powerful.

Stream it on Max.

When this Max original debuted in 2020, its story – of a young woman (Haley Lu Richardson, “The White Lotus”) inviting her former best friend (Barbie Ferreira, “Euphoria”) on an impromptu road trip in a state that does not do so. requiring parental consent for an abortion – seemed a little less urgent. In this post-Dobbs world, where such trips have become necessary even for some adults, the picture’s light tone and comic rhythms might seem to make light of a serious situation. But co-writer and director Rachel Lee Goldenberg balances these deceptive tones with aplomb, focusing primarily on the broken (but repairable) friendship between these disparate women, without trivializing the motivation for their reunion. The result is a sharp but friendly road movie, and a great showcase for two charismatic performers.

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Stream it on Hulu.

Filmmaker Sammi Cohen, who had a popular hit on Netflix with last year’s Adam Sandler (and family) vehicle “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” directs this queer teen sex comedy deliciously frisky. Rowan Blanchard plays Paige, torn between two potential romantic interests: the popular Gabriela (Isabella Ferreira) and the introverted AJ (Auli’i Cravalho), who, unfortunately, also happen to be sisters. Although contemporary in its setting and sexual politics, “Crush” betrays Cohen’s love of ’90s teen comedies like “Clueless,” borrowing their candy-colored aesthetic as well as their knowing and sometimes oriented towards adults. Blanchard is a charming presenter, Ferreira a memorable counterpoint, and Cravalho, currently livening up “Mean Girls” and best known to younger viewers for playing “Moana,” is one of the scene’s most exciting young actors.

Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.

Peter Strickland makes delightfully strange films, from Valentines to genre cinema of past eras, with a modern sensibility and an anything-goes spirit. This feature, his fourth, takes a premise that could have played as high camp – the evil deeds of a cursed red dress – and approaches it…well, not exactly. seriously, but not as a joke either. Strickland’s work (which includes the first “Duke of Burgundy” and the more recent “Flux Gourmet”) walks a perpetual tightrope, winking at one moment and shocking us the next. Here, he slyly plays Marianne Jean-Baptiste (best known to American audiences for the ultrarealism of Mike Leigh’s “Secrets & Lies”) in the title role, anchoring the picture’s wild, supernatural elements in a deceptively earthy mantle. down.

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Stream it on Max.

The stalking thriller set in New York was a mainstay of late 20th-century cinema (see “Fatal Attraction,” “Single White Female” and many others); this recent version updates the technology while keeping the pleasures of the return intact. Isabelle Huppert is the main character, a piano teacher (a nice nod to one of her most iconic roles) who befriends Frankie (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young transplant from Boston who, according to her, needs a maternal influence. Frankie understands this – and much more. The director and co-writer is Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”), a filmmaker who, like Strickland, knows how to balance the ridiculous and the sublime, and while “Greta” sometimes threatens to veer into wackier waters, Jordan and her Great, gifted ladies never let us forget that they’re in the game.

Stream it on Netflix.

This documentary profile of famous writer Tom Wolfe is based on “Vanity Fair” article by Michael Lewis in 2015, and it reads like a film magazine article: brief (75 minutes, including credits) and succinct, more of an introduction than an in-depth study. But director Richard Dewey uses his time wisely, chronicling the man, the era he so skillfully captured, and the literary revolution, pushing back against the long-standing standard of the objective, neutral voice, which he helped to define. Deftly juggling talk show footage, archival interviews, and new readings of his work (by Jon Hamm), Dewey also delves into the origins and reception of some of Wolfe’s most beloved plays, as well as of some of his most controversial pieces (which frequently overlapped). We see not only the careful development and cultivation of Wolfe’s public persona, but also the ways in which this may have limited his voice.

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Stream it on Hulu.

Any comprehensive examination of systemic racism in the United States must devote much of its energy to the role of police and the vast gulf between how police treat white citizens and how they treat black citizens. This insightful and incisive documentary from directors Stanley Nelson and Valerie Scoon catalogs these gaps, today and throughout American history, patiently and meticulously detailing precedents and analogues, and analyzing the media influences that make these systems work. Nelson and Scoon pack a lot of information into a fleet’s operating time – but skimp on nothing, paying due attention to immediately apparent historical markers (the “Red Summer” of 1919, Rodney King, George Floyd) while shining the spotlight on less-discussed incidents. and insidious influences.