October is upon us, so it’s time for your subscription streaming services to change out their catalogues – out with the old, in with the new, and with Halloween around the corner, a lot of what’s new is what’s scary. But even if you’re not looking for a fright this month, there’s still plenty of good stuff, from originals to new releases to all-time classics.
Before Midnight (available 10/1): Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying hits theaters this fall, so Netflix is re-upping one of his best movies – the third installment of a franchise nobody expected, taking its romantic young lovers into the murky waters of long-term relationships.
Boogie Nights (available 10/1): And there’s a new Paul Thomas Anderson out at Christmas, so they’ve added his breakthrough feature for the rotation. Set in the San Fernando Valley at the end of the “golden age of porn,” it’s one you’ve probably been in the mood to revisit if you’ve been watching The Deuce , or seeing too many bad Mark Wahlberg movies, or if you just generally enjoy good things.
Raw (available 10/4): One of this year’s most unnerving movies, this French-Belgian horror flick concerns a likable but shy girl who goes off to college, struggles to fit in, and… well, if you don’t know what happens next, it’s better to discover it on your own. But suffice it to say it’s oogy, and funny, and great.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (available 10/6): Marsha P. Johnson was one of New York’s first trans activists; they called her “the Mayor of Christopher Street,” and she was a constant and warm presence in the village – until she died under mysterious circumstances 25 years ago. This fascinating documentary looks into those circumstances, and the inspiring (and complicated) life that preceded them.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (available 10/13): Noah Baumbach’s latest, which was met with rapturous reviews at Cannes, lands on Netflix and in limited release simultaneously – which means it should be fun to watch all the Adam Sandler fans queue it up, eagerly anticipating another Ridiculous Six.
1922 / Wheelman (available 10/20): Both of these wowed crowds at Austin’s Fantastic Fest last weekend; the first is a Stephen King adaptation (real hot streak that guy’s on, I think he’s going places), the second a rip-roaring action flick starring genre fave Frank Grillo (and, as I understand it, pretty much nobody else).
One of Us (available 10/20): Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing’s big break as documentarians was Jesus Camp, just over a decade ago; now, they return to the fertile soil of insular religious organizations with this inside look at ulta-Orthodox Judaism, and three individuals who choose to leave it.
The Hateful Eight (available 10/25): Quentin Tarantino made a big, big deal of shooting and projecting his most recent film – a cross between John Ford Western and Agatha Christie murder mystery – in glorious 70mm film, so he’ll be pleased as punch that you’ll now be able to stream it to your phone over a shitty, blocky 4G signal.
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (available 10/27): The brilliant novelist, essayist, and screenwriter is profiled from up close – by her nephew Griffin Dunne, the director, producer, and actor (y’know, from Who’s That Girl ).
Clueless (available 10/1): Amy Heckerling’s peerless teen comedy is one of those movies that feels like it should always be streaming – but it hasn’t been for a while, and now it is, so here you go. Roll with the homies at will. (Also on Hulu.)
Fargo (available 10/1): Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri has been torching its way through the fall festivals, and Frances McDormand is garnering her best reviews and early awards chatter since – well, since her Oscar-winning turn in the Coen Brothers’ 1996 masterwork. So between that and the success of its TV sorta-adaptation, this one’s primed for a rewatch. (Also on Hulu.)
Song to Song (available 10/2): It’s the latest from Terrence Malick, and it’s not really my brand of vodka. But hey, if it’s yours, cheers.
City of Ghosts (available 10/13): Oscar-nominee Matthew Heineman ( Cartel Land ) directs and, like a crazy person, photographs this harrowing documentary account of a group of citizen journalists in Raqqa (the Syrian city that’s become the “capital” of ISIS), who took it upon themselves to use smuggled video and images to protest and raise awareness.
Arrival (available 10/28): One of last year’s very best movies, in which director Denis Villeneueve (whose Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters next week) takes the tropes of alien invasion moves and turns them sideways, to create a moving and inventive story of communication, hope, and understanding. (Also on Hulu.)
A Fistful of Dollars (available 10/1): Star Clint Eastwood and director Sergio Leone changed the Western forever with this low-budget Italian oater that became a worldwide sensation and a cottage industry. And all these years later, it’s still a grimy, funny, stylish treat.
Across the Universe (available 10/1): Sure, Julie Taymor’s big-screen Beatles musical is kind of a mess. But where else are you gonna see Eddie Izzard doing “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”?
Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2 (available 10/1): Until Tarantino gets around to releasing that “Whole Bloody Affair” cut he screened at Cannes over a damn decade ago and at the New Beverly in 2011, we’re just gonna have to keep putting it together ourselves, I guess.
Colossal (available 10/4): Anne Hathaway is a blackout-drinking Internet writer (I hear ya, sis) who escapes her failing life and relationship to return to her hometown, only to discover an unexpected connection to a giant monster. It sounds ridiculous, and it is; it’s also a blast.
The Reagan Show (available 10/4): This inventive documentary takes us back to the ‘80s, when President Reagan reimagined the presidency as an office defined more by public image and television presence than actual policy work, hahaha, can’t imagine how that could possibly backfire on us.
Harold and Maude (available 10/1): Hal Ashby’s 1971 classic is, without question, one of the greatest of all black comedies, somehow marrying the notion of a suicidal college boy’s romance with an octogenarian into a movie that’s both wickedly funny and unexpectedly sweet.
On the Waterfront (available 10/1): There’s plenty of moral stickiness to work through in Elia Kazan’s 1954 winner of eight Oscars, which is in many ways his defense for testifying in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. But there’s no denying the brilliance of his direction, and the bravura performances he gets from Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, and Rod Steiger.
Daddy Longlegs (available 10/5): If you were bowled over by the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time a couple of months back, this one’s well worth your time – a lived-in portrait of a fuck-up father, made with the intimacy and intelligence of vintage Cassavetes.
The Piano Teacher (available 10/13): Michael Haneke’s 2001 breakthrough film hit Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week; it lands on their streaming service in a couple more , so you can literally take Isabelle Huppert’s haunted performance with you wherever you’re going, rather than just carrying it around in your head.
Night of the Living Dead (available 10/1): This groundbreaking horror classic from the recently departed George A. Romero is getting a full-on theatrical re-release in October, but if you just can’t wait (or don’t live in a market that it’ll play), it’s going into MUBI’s 30-day rotation.
The Dead or Alive Trilogy (available 10/28-10/30): Takashi Miike has somehow made 100 movies in his barely quarter-century of feature directing, and MUBI is commemorating that milestone by streaming the three films of his wildly funny and deliriously stylish Yakuza series.
Evil Dead II (available 10/31): No one’s ever quite melded grisly horror and goofy slapstick as well as Sam Raimi, and this 1987 cult classic may very well be his definitive work. And hey, look at that, just in time for Halloween night. (Also on Shudder.)
Found Footage 3D (available 10/26): Around this time last year, we talked to Scott Weinberg, film critic turned film producer, about this combination homage and satire of the ubiquitous horror subgenre; it was doing the festival circuit then, and this month, it makes its streaming debut.
Best Worst Movie (available 10/30): We’ve got a bit of a soft spot for bad movies around here, so this 2009 documentary is exactly our thing – an inside look at the making, release, and rediscovery of Troll 2, which may, in fact, be the worst damn movie of all time.