“Touchy Feely”, “Maggie” and other streaming gems

As the temperature drops and the couch waves again, it’s time to go explore the libraries of subscription streaming services. This month’s recommendations include independent dramatic comedies, genre hybrids, and informative documentaries about influential outsiders.

Stream it on Amazon.

When writer and director Lynn Shelton passed away suddenly last year, she left behind a small but distinct group of films – wise and insightful dramatic comedies, modest in scope but endless in emotion. This Sundance Selection is one of his most moving family stories, centered around siblings (Rosemarie DeWitt and Josh Pais) in personal and spiritual crisis, trying to open their minds and hearts to the inexplicable forces around them. Allison Janney, Elliot Page and Scoot McNairy complete the cast.

John Carney continued the success of the “Once” micro-budget to a much larger scale, with big names like Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley and Catherine Keener in major roles. But his sensitivity remained intact; this is another bittersweet musical drama, its songs are part of a story about the people who make music and why they do it. Ruffalo performs (and charms) as a dissatisfied record manager looking not only for talent but for authenticity; he thinks he finds both in Knightley’s uncertain singer-songwriter.

Stream it on HBO Max.

Cartoonist and comedian Nick Kroll shows off his range of actors in this discreet but engaging indie. Narrative traits are familiar: a young hot shot is cut to the waist, so he comes home and lives, learns, and grows. Yet Kroll’s emotional development is compelling, as is his relationship with his suburban sister, played with warmth and exasperation by Rose Byrne; her real partner Bobby Cannavale is in great shape like her husband.

When “Back to the Future” star Lea Thompson transitioned from comedy to directing feature films, she made it a family affair. His daughters Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch co-starred as sisters, Madelyn writes the screenplay, and Thompson appears, in a brief but juicy supporting role, as their mother. But this is not a vanity project; the storyline is witty and insightful, portraying ’20s boredom with lacerating self-reflection, the brotherly play is unsurprisingly believable, and Madelyn has a winning screen presence. Plus, “Succession” fans will be delighted to see Cousin Greg himself, Nicholas Braun, as the romantic frontman.

Stream it on Netflix.

When Joseph Gordon-Levitt made the leap from actor to filmmaker, he went the opposite way of Lea Thompson, creating a character and situation miles from his own. He plays the main character, a goofy musclehead with a thick jersey accent and an ubiquitous leather jacket. Jon is addicted to sex and all its accessories, and Gordon-Levitt’s stylish direction focuses on the routines and rhythms of his purposeful quest. It’s like “Shame” with a sense of humor, a mix that shouldn’t land, but somehow does.

Stream it on Hulu.

The directorial team of Manuel Crosby and Darren Knapp write and direct this cheerfully drunk tribute to ‘One Crazy Night’ action comedies from the 1980s. Tyson Brown stars as Mike, a shy high school student who unexpectedly lands a date you with the girl of his dreams Kelsey (Shelby Duclos) and, stuck without a car, ends up buying a cheap junk. But the vehicle is a good deal for a reason, putting it in the crosshairs of drug dealers, killers and trigger-easy cops. There is a parcel continues, but the young stars keep him on the ground; he’s infinitely likable, she’s a star in the making (her fight scene is breathtaking), and their vibe and chemistry create real stakes in the midst of the madness.

Stream it on HBO Max.

The 2000 modernized adaptation of “Hamlet” by director Michael Almereyda and actor Ethan Hawke is both one of the strangest and most successful films in Shakespeare’s update cycle of this period – it doesn’t. So shouldn’t be surprising that their reunion is even more distant. there, given that the source material is one of the Bard’s lesser known (and therefore more freely interpretable) works. What started as a story of warring royalty turns into a cheerfully filthy story of corrupt biker gangs and cops, as influenced by Roger Corman as William Shakespeare, and better for it. Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson and John Leguizamo co-starred.

Stream it on Hulu.

The strangest thing has happened in this 21st century: Arnold Schwarzenegger has become a wonderful actor. He always had an undeniable charisma and presence, but was never (by his own admission) truly a comedian – yet he acquired a wealth with age and experience, best exemplified by his work as a father. scared here. But don’t worry, genre fans, this isn’t a self-righteous indie drama; he’s a scared dad whose daughter was bitten by zombies in a post-pandemic hellish landscape, so, you know, something for everyone.

Stream it on Amazon.

Dock Ellis is best remembered these days for throwing a no-hit in 1970 when he lost his mind on LSD. Jeff Radice’s freewheeling documentary brings this game to life (with the help of trippy music and animation), but ‘No No’ is much more than that: Ellis’ career, his struggles against addiction and (especially) his insistence on saying what he thinks. at a time when many black athletes were reluctant to do so.

Stream it on Hulu.

Few figures of contemporary comedy are evoked with the reverence reserved for Del Close, the famous improv comedian and teacher whose methods and students have spread like tentacles into the worlds of the Second City, “Saturday Night Live “, Upright Citizens Brigade and more. Heather Ross’ rowdy and energetic documentary brings together the awaited treasure of archival clips and testimonials of famous faces, all while playfully reconstructing her wildest moments and strangest inclinations.


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