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The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in July 2019

From Netflix to Amazon Prime, Kanopy to the Criterion Channel, here are the best movies coming to each streaming platform this month.

"Under the Silver Lake"

“Under the Silver Lake”

Netflix may get most of the attention, but it’s hardly a one-stop shop for cinephiles who are looking to stream essential classic and contemporary films. Each of the prominent streaming platforms — and there are more of them all the time — caters to its own niche of film obsessives.

From chilling horror fare on Shudder, to the boundless wonders of the Criterion Channel, and esoteric (but unmissable) festival hits on the newly launched OVID.tv, IndieWire’s monthly guide will highlight the best of what’s coming to every major streaming site, with an eye towards exclusive titles that may help readers decide which of these services is right for them.

Here’s the best of the best for July 2019.

AMAZON PRIME

Once again dumping the brunt of its film offering at the tail end of the month, Amazon Prime isn’t doing much to distinguish itself with its July slate of films (though there’s no shame in enjoying a double feature of “Gone Baby Gone” and “Dumb and Dumber”). But while Prime may not have many new exclusives, the service is nevertheless offering a few titles that cinephiles can’t afford to miss, including Mike Leigh’s “Peterloo,” which was meant for the big screen but could find a more receptive audience at home.

And then, of course, there’s 2019’s one true film maudit.

“Under the Silver Lake” (2019)

The latest film from David Robert Mitchell fizzled when it premiered at Cannes in May 2018, but it didn’t take long for this bizarro epic to find its cult, as critics and audiences (and obsessive Redditors) began digging into its bottomless mysteries soon after its botched release earlier this year. “Under the Silver Lake” is a movie that’s certain to find a second life on streaming, and Amazon Prime has the offer ready to go.

In the meantime, here’s what IndieWire’s Eric Kohn had to say about the film when it was first unveiled to the world:

Like David Robert Mitchell’s two other features (“The Myth of the American Sleepover” and “It Follows”), “Under the Silver Lake” transforms a familiar genre into a unique context, in this case channeling the shaggy-dog detective story into the ambivalence of a millennial who keeps losing the narrative thread of his own life. The movie personifies the male gaze, but it’s also conspicuously about that, deconstructing privilege more than lingering in its confines.

After all, this is the story of a philandering white guy whose obsession with his sultry neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough) sends him on a bizarre subterranean adventure because he probably has nothing better to do. Sam’s epiphanies about his privileged circumstances matter more than any of the breadcrumbs he chases through a loopy plot that takes its time to wander across two hours and 20 minutes. It’s a bizarre and outrageous drama grounded in the consistency of Garfield’s astonishment at every turn.

THE CRITERION CHANNEL

The Criterion Channel

The Criterion Channel

Criterion

The Criterion Channel continues to be so far ahead of its competition that it feels a bit unfair. As usual, it’s hard to know where to even begin with the streamer’s new slate, as the July lineup boasts nine films by Pedro Almodóvar, 10 starring the great Jeanne Moreau (including “La Notte” and “Chimes at Midnight”), the full Criterion Collection edition of Sergei Bondarchuk’s “War and Peace,” and a series of eye-watering masterworks shot by cinematographer Jack Cardiff. And that’s technically not even the half of it.

“The Red Shoes” (1948)

The Cardiff series alone offers too many great films to safely highlight just one, but there are days when this critic is convinced that “The Red Shoes” is the best (and most beautiful) movie ever made, so let’s just go with that. Turn off the lights, sit in front of the biggest screen you can find, and brace for a swooning kind of spectacle that makes the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe feel like it’s made out of plastic.

Available to stream July 28.

FILM MOVEMENT PLUS

Film Movement

Film Movement Plus is the streaming complement to Film Movement, which began in 2002 as a mail-order DVD-of-the-month club with a special focus on arthouse and foreign cinema. The company’s online venture is a natural outgrowth of that brand, offering subscribers access to more than 250 recent festival favorites (and a scattering of older treasures) for just $5.99 per month.

Perfect for cinephiles whose tastes are a bit off the beaten path, Film Movement Plus’ July lineup has an unmissable Gallic streak, as the streamer’s latest slate is geared around Bastille Day and full of French delights that run the gamut from a low-key Eric Rohmer gem (“Full Moon in Paris”) to Véra Belmont’s sumptuous costume epic, “Marquise.” But there’s one newer movie hiding in there that IndieWire never misses the opportunity to celebrate…

“Breathe” (2014)

From her film’s turbulent first scene to its De Palma-level long-take and the shocking finale that follows, the multi-talented Mélanie Laurent shot the utter hell out of her second feature. A shrewd thriller about teenage insecurities, psychosexual violence, and the general turbulence of growing up, “Breathe” tells a twisted story of female friendship with the nuance and know-how of someone who still remembers what it feels like to be suffocated by teenage thirsts.

There’s something indivisibly intimate and elemental about the bond that forms between a mousy child of divorce (Joséphine Japy) and the mysterious new girl at school (an unforgettable Lou de Laâge), and something just as true about the terrible ways in which it tears apart. Does passion set people free, or are people imprisoned by their desires? It’s a hard question to answer, but few movies have ever asked it with such relish.

Available to stream July 12.

HULU

Judging by the recent hubbub, Hulu’s big get for the month is probably “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” Not only is that film experiencing a sudden — and very intense — renaissance, but Hulu just doesn’t have all that many other exclusives to compete with it. Of course, Mindy Kaling’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral” series (available July 31) has some appeal to film types, and eco-thriller “The Wave” (July 21) is a movie that gets scarier with every passing day, but Hulu’s real diamond in the rough thus July is a small Icelandic charmer with an even more pointed take on the perils of climate change.

“Woman at War” (2018)

Halla (Halldora Geirharosdottir) is a 50-year-old choir director with a song in her heart, a smile on her face, and a second life as Reykjavik’s peskiest eco-terrorist. She’s also the heroine of an artful, Icelandic fable that examines what it really means to save the world. Benedikt Erlingsson’s “Woman at War” is the rarest of things: A crowd-pleaser about climate change. Combining Paul Schrader’s dire urgency with Roy Andersson’s droll brand of despair — to cite two other filmmakers whose work has wrestled with the maddening, quixotic idea of a single person trying to redeem an entire planet — Erlingsson has created a winsome knickknack of a movie that manages to reframe the 21st century’s signature crisis in a way that makes room for real heroism.

Available to stream July 4.

KANOPY

Kanopy hit a bit of a snag last month, as the (too) popular streaming service — which taps into America’s library and university systems in order to provide totally free (no fees, no commercials) access to essential classic and contemporary cinema — was ditched by the massive New York Public Library system. You might not always be the one footing the bill, but nothing in this world is ever really free.

But while New Yorkers are out of luck, and the rest of the country might be streaming on borrowed time, Kanopy is continuing to offer an excellent service to those who have access to it. Its July lineup is a heaving loot box of random treasures, from Jacques Rivette’s “La Belle Noiseuse” to Ashley McKenzie’s excellent “Werewolf,” which tore up the festival circuit in 2016. 1973 drama “The Day of the Dolphin” is more fun to listen to than it is to watch, while Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book” would be arresting even on mute.

And for anyone who’s already seen “Chernobyl” but is still looking for something to take the edge off after a long day of work, there’s always Claude Lanzmann’s “The Last of the Unjust.” The “Shoah” filmmaker left behind several essential appendices to his life’s monolithic documentary masterpiece, but this might be the most extraordinary of them all.

“Brimstone & Glory” (2017)

Remember the first 10 minutes of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” when Hushpuppy was just running around with sparklers and the music was blaring and you were profoundly moved for reasons you couldn’t quite understand? Well, Viktor Jakovleski’s “Brimstone & Glory,” an impressionistic doc about a Mexican town with some very explosive traditions, is essentially the feature-length adaptation of that feeling. Produced and scored by “Beasts” mastermind Benh Zeitlin, this euphoric display is a veritable orgy of lights and sounds, a pyroclastic symphony of explosions in the sky that makes you happy to be alive, even if you’re not entirely sure why. That happiness, however, comes at a cost, and Jakovleski’s film isn’t shy about weighing the worth of a good spectacle.

Available to stream July 2.

MAGNOLIA SELECTS

Debuting on the charts this month is Magnolia Selects, an elegant and well-stocked streaming service that offers subscribers unlimited access to movies from the Magnolia Pictures library for just $4.99/month. The library is already well-stocked with genre hits like “13 Assassins” and “I Saw the Devil,” essential documentaries like “Man on Wire” and “No End in Sight,” and epochal dramas like “Force Majeure” and “The Double.” This July, Magnolia Selects is adding the likes of “A Royal Affair” and “Headhunters” to the list, along with indie darlings “Prince Avalanche” and “Compliance.”

“V/H/S” (2012) & “V/H/S/2” (2013)

But really, you just can’t go wrong with the first two installments of the “V/H/S” franchise, a series of horror anthologies that collected some of the genre’s best emerging filmmakers and let them loose in the darkest corners of their imaginations. The framing device of the first movie (and its absolutely bonkers conclusion) probably gives “V/H/S” the edge over its sequel, but “V/H/S/2” contains Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Huw Evans’ demented “Safe Haven,” which is a perfectly crafted little nugget of a nightmare — it’s amazing that something so short can go that much further than you think.

Available to stream July 21.

MUBI

The internet’s most exciting and unpredictable indie and arthouse streamer is back with another bang-up month, as MUBI’s July lineup runs the gamut from underseen contemporary masterpieces like Julia Loktev’s “The Loneliest Planet” and Marco Bellochio’s eye-popping “Vincere” to definitive genre classics like Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line.” The Loktev film is part of a MUBI series focusing on the idea of auteurism, and that program also features a pair of rare films from the late Jean-Claude Brisseau. And while the cinema of Béla Tarr may not seem optimized for the streaming experience, completists shouldn’t miss the chance to check out the Hungarian mastermind’s unfairly derided “The Man from London,” which comes to MUBI on July 27.

“Buy Me a Gun” (2018)

Located somewhere between “The Florida Project” and “Fury Road,” Julio Hernández Cordón’s precocious and arresting “Buy Me a Gun” is a neo-realist fable that’s seen through the eyes of a child and set in a world ruled by fear. It’s a major work in a minor key, a movie that gracefully straddles the line between the tenuousness of the present day and the violence of the post-apocalyptic thunderdome we’re all racing towards, real and unreal all at once.

We know where the story takes place, but the when of it is pointedly unclear. “Mexico,” the opening text declares. “No precise date. Everything, absolutely everything, is run by the cartels. The population has declined due to the lack of women.” From there, Cordón launches us into a vaguely fantastical reality that stretches the drug-related violence of contemporary Mexico to its logical conclusion, the horror so perfect that it casts a pall of dark enchantment over everything it touches. Following the grim adventures of a little girl named Huck (Matilde Hernández Guinea) and her meth addict father (Rogelio Sosa) who’s just trying to keep his head down, “Buy Me a Gun” is a radically urgent film that’s guided by the logic of a bad dream and filtered through the imagination of a brave child, distorting the hellish reality of cartel violence in order to clarify its grim absurdity.

Available to stream July 12.

NETFLIX

Martin Scorsese may be one of the world’s most dedicated evangelists about film preservation and the theatrical experience, so it’s fascinating to find that the legendary auteur only seems to be getting deeper into the Netflix business. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that Netflix is doing its best to stay in the Martin Scorsese business. Whatever the case, the filmmaker and the streamer forged a partnership with the release of last month’s “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” and the upcoming “The Irishman” — a mega-budget crime epic that might just be finished by the end of the year — is perhaps the most anticipated movie of the fall.

And now, just to keep the wheels greased in the meantime, Netflix has dug into the archives and secured the streaming rights to four early Scorsese masterpieces, including some (“Who’s that Knocking at my Door” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”) that have not always been readily available to watch. These movies — rare coups for Netflix’s ridiculously small lineup of classic films — lead a random and somewhat patriotic slate of titles that are new to the streaming platform this July.

Other standouts include “The American” (directed by Anton Corbijn), “Road House” (definitely not directed by Anton Corbijn), and Quentin Tarantino’s rousing “Inglourious Basterds,” which arrives just in time for the big screen release of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” at the end of the month.

“Taxi Driver” (1976)

It’s frustratingly ironic that Scorsese was accused of siding with “The Wolf of Wall Street” subject Jordan Belfort, as the filmmaker has always stood out for his steadfast refusal to pass judgement upon his characters, many (if not most) of whom have been difficult men under the thrall of their own moral turpitude. Writing about “Taxi Driver” in 1976, Pauline Kael observed that “This film doesn’t operate on the level of moral judgment of what Travis Bickle does. Rather, by drawing us into his vortex it makes us understand the psychic discharge of the quiet boys who go berserk. And it’s a real slap in the face for us when we see Travis at the end looking pacified. He’s got the rage out of his system—for the moment, at least—and he’s back at work, picking up passengers in front of the St. Regis. It’s not that he’s cured but that the city is crazier than he is.” The crazier things get, the easier it is to see Travis clearly. Revisiting the film in 2019, you might be surprised to find that he hasn’t changed, even as the world has continued to decay around him.

Available to stream July 1.

OVID.tv

OVID.tv bills itself as an “unprecedented collaborative effort of eight of the most noteworthy independent film distributors in the United States,” and that unique advantage has allowed it to burst out of the gate as a valuable (and inexpensive) way for dedicated cinephiles to track down exciting contemporary films that may have only played on the festival circuit. Five months in — and now boasting more than 500 films, the majority of which aren’t available on any other streaming platform — this most esoteric of services is continuing to showcase the virtues of its unique approach.

OVID’s documentary-heavy July lineup is a smorgasbord of essential obscurities, from John Hanson and Rob Nilson’s “Prairie Trilogy” to a trio of films about the unstable relationship between war and peace in the 20th century (“Do You Remember Vietnam?,” which revisits Saigon three years after the war, is particularly eye-opening). Most exciting of all might be a collection of six films from Soda Kazuhiro, whose vérité work peers into the machinations of Japan with the same unblinking curiosity with which Frederick Wiseman has always looked at America.

“Campaign” (2007)

Soda returned to his home country in 2005 with the intention of making an observational documentary about mental health. He ended up switching gears and shooting a film about an old (and troublesome) friend who was running for a seat on the Kawasaki council. Of course, every portrait of local politics is, in some way, a story about mental health, and the perversely fascinating “Campaign” is no exception. Soda’s sequel, about another acquaintance who decides to get his hands dirty after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, makes harsher and more urgent use of the documentarian’s fly-on-the-wall style.

SHUDDER

The world’s best (and only) premium streaming service exclusively for genre fare is going for quality over quantity this July, and doing so in a way that will make horror fans shudder with delight. Sergio Martino’s fetid giallo classic “All the Colors of the Dark” would be enough to qualify this as a banner month, but Shudder is complementing that classic addition with John Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness,” and the brilliantly titled “Stake Land 2: The Stakelander.” But the real news this month is that Shudder is — for the time being — the exclusive streaming home for a certain Stanley Kubrick film that genre fans can never see too many times.

“The Shining” (1980)

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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