The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020

03 Apr 2020 (PT)

Netflixgets 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 prominentstreaming platforms caters to its own niche of film obsessives.

From mainstream fare on Amazon Prime and Huluto the boundless wonders ofthe Criterion Channel, and esoteric but unmissable festival hits on IFC Films Unlimited and MUBI, IndieWire's monthly guide highlights the best of what's coming to every major streaming site, with an eye toward exclusive titles that may help readers decide which service is right for them.

Here's the best of the best for April 2020.

Photo : A24

Amazon Prime

“The Lighthouse” Robert Eggers, 2019

Robert Eggers' Oscar-winning sea dirge is high-key brilliant quarantine viewing, the kind of film that would make anyone go a little bit mad even in “normal” times. Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as a pair of mismatched lighthouse keepers at the edge of the world and the end of their ropes, the Cannes 2019 premiere was a PSA against bad roommates and for pristine filmmaking a year ago, but now it's more relatable than ever.

In his review, IndieWire's Eric Kohn wrote that its “amusingly offbeat flourishes speed past in rapid-fire montages and dream sequences that resist any complete interpretation. ... 'The Lighthouse' keeps coming back to the two men, the smarmy veteran and his despondent underling, as they engage in an abstract power play that can only end in doom and gloom. As a storm careens over the lighthouse and sits there, their limbo becomes a private hell.”

Sounds familiar, but with a couple of compelling twists and an ending that begs for continued conversation, it's also the kind of challenging viewing that would be worth the watch no matter the time.

Available to stream April 16.

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020
Photo : Boo Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

The Criterion Channel

“Dogtooth” Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009

Before “Greek Weird Wave” auteur Yorgos Lanthimos made his pilgrimage to Hollywood to bring his keen eye to films like “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and “The Favourite,” cinephiles fell for his wholly unique dark dramedies like Un Certain Regard winner “Dogtooth.” This month, the Criterion Channel is unspooling a mini-marathon of early Lanthimos offerings, including his rarely seen “Kinetta” and the underappreciated “Alps,” along with his 2009 breakout, which many still regard as his best film.

If nothing else, it's the most crystallized version of his style and obsessions, a surreal, darkly funny, and wonderfully original examination of family life and society at large. That might not sound too amusing — and that's without even touching upon the violence that marks it, plus a generous dash of sexual misconduct for good measure — but Lanthimos is able to find the humor in the very worst of human behavior.

Centered around a family that lives by its own rules — mostly, the ones put into place by an overbearing set of parents who literally don't ever want to let their children out into the world — “Dogtooth” forces both its characters and audience to question everything, from the meaning of words to the value of family.

Available to stream April 2.

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020

Disney Plus

“Jane” Brett Morgen, 2017

One of a number of National Geographic films and series rolling out to the fledgling platform, Brett Morgen's winning exploration of trailblazer Jane Goodall and her work is one of the best offerings to appear yet on the service.

The revelatory documentary offers up contributions from a bounty of some of film's finest working professionals, from the award-winning Morgen himself to composer Philip Glass and cinematographer Ellen Kuras, but the real star is reams of lauded wildlife photographer Hugo van Lawick'spristine 16mm footage, following the early years ofwildlife conservationist Goodall, mostly set in her adopted home of Gombe, Tanzania.

Gifted with so much raw material— and a cooperative Goodall, who offered up interviews and materials and necessary context at seemingly every turn— Morgen has made the definitive portrait of Goodall, one that is also remarkably accessible and almost unbearably tender.

Available to stream April 1.

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020
Photo : Curzon Artificial Eye/Kobal/Shutterstock


“Parasite” Bong Joon-Ho, 2019

It's this month's biggest offering: director Bong's multiple Oscar winner including Best Picture, of course, now piped directly into your home and exclusively on Hulu. What else can be said about the whipsmart dissection of human behavior and modern society that spans so many genres that it's really a genre of its own? Easy answer: it's a Bong Joon Ho film, so of course it's all of those things and more.

While the film enjoyed a game-changing, Hollywood-ruffling march to awards glory, it was clear from the start that this was a film of its own stripe. At Cannes 2019, IndieWire's David Ehrlich called it early, writing:

“Giddy one moment, unbearably tense the next, and always so entertaining and fine-tuned that you don't even notice when it's changing gears, 'Parasite' takes all of the beats you expect to find in a Bong film and shrinks them down with clockwork precision. The movie doesn't feel smaller than the globe-trotting 'Okja,' only more constricted. It's a magic trick that Bong is able to pull off because he's able to carve an entire breathless setpiece from a single wooden table.”

If you somehow have not yet experienced this gem, now is the time.

Available to stream April 1.

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020

IFC Films Unlimited

“Medicine for Melancholy” Barry Jenkins, 2008

Before “Moonlight” stormed the staid halls of Hollywood, filmmaker Barry Jenkins turned his attention to another unexpected couple with one hell of a love story to tell. The low-budget walk-and-talk premiered at SXSW and went on to pick up three Indie Spirit nominations including a “Someone to Watch” nod for Jenkins; he ultimately lost to Lynn Shelton, so talk about a stacked category, establishing the filmmaker as a bright new voice in cinema.

Set in San Francisco, the film follows a mismatched would-be couple in Micah Wyatt Cenac and Jo Tracey Heggins, who meet at a party, have a one-night stand they quickly regret, and then ... just can't seem to get away. As the pair spend the day wandering the city, they unpack issues large and small Jenkins has said the film is about identity politics, long before that became a buzzword for something else entirely and discover both themselves and each other. It's a winning love story, but also a deeply honest, searching one that made Jenkins' talent clear from the start.

Available to stream April 1.

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020


“Ghost Town Anthology” Denis Côté, 2019

When Dennis Côté's latest made the festival rounds last year, including stops at Berlin and London, the 16mm horror feature seemed uniquely suited to fractious times. Set in a tiny village in backwoods Québec and populated with a wide variety of characters both living and, as it turns out, very much dead, “Ghost Town Anthology” follows a community as it comes undone in the face of threats they never could have imagined.

At Berlin back in 2019, IndieWire's David Ehrlich wrote that the film “is a story about a frigid place full of cryogenically frozen people who are waiting for the past to come back; about how they get their wish in the most literal of ways, and then can't bear to admit that the dead are really no different than they are. Shot on a 16mm stock that makes its Québécois' environs look raw and moribund in equal measure, Côté's film is impressively suspended between social-realism and the supernatural.”

Available to stream April 21.

The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020
Photo : Columbia/Kobal/Shutterstock


“Taxi Driver” Martin Scorsese, 1976

In less than nine months, Netflix has rolled out this Martin Scorsese classic, zipped it right back up, and unfurled it yet again the company also did a little thing called “releasing the filmmaking genius' latest masterwork,” but that's for another day. The film last appeared on the service in July 2019. Here's David Ehrlich'stake on the gritty classic, still wholly applicable:

“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 April 1.

Source: Indiewire

Weekend of May 29 - 31, 2020 (IMDb)
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The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform in April 2020
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