Welcome to Flavorwire’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, there’s good stuff from Bradley Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Paul Rudd, Julie Delpy, Amy Poehler, Zach Galifanakis, and Akira Kurosawa, plus a must-see documentary and one of our favorite stand-up specials. Check them out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now.
After months of waiting (itself following nine years of waiting, since Before Sunset), this week sees the theatrical release of Before Midnight , the third chapter in the ongoing saga of Jesse and Celine. So in anticipation of that wonderful film, it’s a good time to look back at the first collaboration between Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy: 1995’s Before Sunrise, currently streaming free for Amazon Prime members. Grin and coo as our American romantic and his French object of desire Meet Cute on a train and spend an evening walk-and-talking in Paris; marvel at how young and innocent they were. But weren’t we all?
The 2004 installment of the Before series, Before Sunset, isn’t currently streaming (for free, anyway), but Netflix has the next best thing: Julie Delpy’s 2007 comedy (she wrote, directed, and stars), which is a slightly more acidic look at romance — and, for that matter, on traveling in Europe with an American lover. It’s an interesting watch now, considering that its skeptical take on long-term love seems to point in the direction taken by the Before three-quel. (And it begat a sequel of its own, which is also streaming on Netflix.)
Also out in theaters this week is The Hangover Part III, which we can only hope makes at least some effort to avoid the outright Xeroxing that made Part II such a chore. Or you could skip that one altogether and return to a surely more enjoyable Bradley Cooper comedy: David Wain’s compulsively re-watchable Wet Hot American Summer, which throws in Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, and Molly Shannon for good measure.
And for a reminder of how hysterically funny and mind-bogglingly weird Hangover co-star Galifanakis can be when left to his own devices, check out this 2006 special, which captures Zach in his most pure, uncut form: on stage, doing the slightly avant-garde and frequently uproarious act that landed him in so many forgettable movies. Enjoy random piano playing, easel-and-sketchpad performances, absurdist observational humor (“At what age should you tell a highway that it was adopted? I think… around seven. Because that’s when they’re going to start thinking to themselves, ‘I don’t look much like the Kiwanis Club’”), interspersed with interviews with his “brother” Seth, a prototype for his character in The Campaign .
And here’s another bit of lesser-known Zachness: a pitch-black 2008 comedy in the Brazil mold, with Galifianakis as a corporate drone whose fantasy life begins to threaten his dull everyday existence. Judy Greer, aka Kitty from Arrested Development, co-stars as his wife — always a bonus, but particularly in the feverish run-up to Season 4.
The prolific and brilliant documentarian Alex Gibney’s new film, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, is out on Friday, and in the meantime, here’s one of his best films, which also looks at a complex story of corruption through the prism of a single, controversial figure. Client 9 has the makings of great documentary in many of the same ways that Spitzer’s story made great copy when it broke back in March of 2008: it’s got sex, it’s got crime, it’s got corruption. But Gibney’s unique gift — whether covering the Enron implosion, the torture debate, the Catholic sex abuse cases, or the Abramoff scandal — is to push further, go deeper, ask the next question, examine the motivations, find the story underneath the story. That’s what he does, to thrilling effect, here: looks the Spitzer story right in the eye, and then keeps looking. Why did Spitzer fall? Why did he fall when he did? And — most importantly — who benefited from it?
An email from Hulu HQ informs your film editor that this is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, and points us towards several Korean, Chinese, and Japanese titles available to Hulu and Hulu Plus members. (You can browse some here.) And though they pointed us towards it, this viewer will frankly never pass up an opportunity to watch Seven Samurai, one of many, many Kurosawa films available to Hulu Plus members.