Shut Up and Play the Hits" (2012)
What It's About: A rock doc showcasing LCD Soundsystem's April 2011 farewell concert at Madison Square Garden. Spanning the week's worth of work leading up to the event, the blowout itself, and the day of reckoning that followed, "Shut Up and Play the Hits" captures the contradictory nature of retirement as the Grammy-nominated band reflects on its tenure, concedes success, and willingly calls it quits.
Why You Should Stream It: Directors Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern do a top-notch job relating the expected concert environment, including plenty of loud and exciting numbers that highlight the band's style and talent well. The ecstasy of concert going is infused throughout the documentary, with close-ups of the band members and their gear excellently conveying the thrill of sharing a room with rock stars. However, as the musicians experience the end of an era, the directing team manages to express the emotional resonance of that occurrence with just as much success. Our review says, "more like any great concert than any great concert, it's evidence of an era barely bygone, but gone all the same," and concludes that those unfamiliar with the group "may not get the full impact of the band's appeal and how difficult a decision this must have been for [frontman James Murphy]. However, for fans of the late LCD Soundsystem, this is something of a great release."
Where It's Available: Amazon Instant, iTunes, Netflix, VUDU, YouTube
Criterion Hulu Plus Pick
We like Criterion a lot, but what we love is finding hard to find, not-readily-available-on-DVD movies. And so the Criterion hub on Hulu Plus is pretty awesome. Their archive has approximately 225 movies that will eventually come out on the Criterion Collection on DVD, but currently, it's just a rather incredible, early sneak peek treasure trove of what's to come. Each week we single out a film that we think you should see.
What It's About: Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee) is a well-to-do housewife living in 1870s Calcutta, becoming increasingly lonely as her husband, Bhupati (Shailen Mukherjee), spends more and more time at work. Noting his wife's isolating, Bhupati asks his cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee) to keep her company during the daytime. This seemingly simple request sets in motion a seismic shift in Charu's mental and emotional state, and leads to profound and unexpected changes in her marriage.
Why You Should Stream It: Although perhaps less well-known than his "Apu Trilogy," Satyajit Ray's "Charaluta" is nonetheless a staple of the Bengali director's canon. This unique picture was the winner of the Silver Bear for Best Directing at the 1965 Berlin Film Festival, and continues to guide modern filmmaking, as seen in its selection for Cannes' classics portion just this past year. Furthermore, Wes Anderson has openly revealed Ray's influence on the "The Darjeeling Limited," the many allusions to the latter's visuals and its signature musical number appropriated directly from "Charaluta"; this particular piece can even be heard in trailers for the 2007 film. The film is understated and sensitive, yet highly sophisticated in its technique; the modest slice-of-life story prevails with its sympathetic characters and poignant accessibility. "Charaluta" is also on Blu-ray/DVD next week and as is Ray's "The Big City." After years of being one of the biggest blindspots in Criterion's collection in terms of seminal world cinema, the boutique DVD label has righted that wrong (not their fault either, there's been loads of rights issues forever). Those wanting to get ahead of the curve note: three more Ray films are available on Hulu Plus already. 1961's documentary “Rabindranath Tagore,” The Holy Man" (1965) “An Enemy of the People” (1990) and “The Home and the World” (1984).
Where It's Available: Hulu Plus
Also Available to Stream
Despite not making our top six picks, the following films are certainly still worthy of your movie-loving attention, and are newly available via various streaming services. Links to our reviews are provided where available.
"The Big Wedding"
"Caroline and Jackie"
"The Company You Keep"
"The Great Gatsby"
"Only God Forgives"
"Pain and Gain"
"Spark: A Burning Man Story"
"Waking Ned Devine"