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All Hallows Eve is on the horizon now as the end of September approaches, and ghoulish offerings are beginning to emerge from the streaming services. In preparation for October, the unholiest of months, Netflix is beginning to update its library of horror – with this week’s headliner title being the recent reboot of Halloween, with horror comedy Slaughterhouse Rulez to accompany it.
Elsewhere, Channing Godfrey Peoples’ debut film Miss Juneteenth will be made available via BFI Player, MUBI’s season of Pedro Almodovar films continues with the ravishing Volver, and Sky Cinema (via NOW TV) is catching up on the big awards season titles of last year with Judy and Motherless Brooklyn.
Please note that a subscription will be required to watch.
Judy - Sky Cinema and the Sky Cinema Pass on NOW TV
Though a director best known for his work in theatre, Rupert Goold has been making the move to cinematic storytelling for some time - beginning that transition with his work on The Hollow Crown, through to True Story, and now the story of Judy Garland. The biopic follows Garland's career during the last year of her life, at a time when she relocated her stage career to Britain.
A tragic figure within Hollywood's Golden Age following her catapulting to stardom at the age of sixteen, Goold also flashes back to her teenage years, most prominently the filming of her iconic part as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Though Judy is dulled somewhat by its standard biopic approach to the complex psychology that defined Garland throughout her career, the film is at least elevated by an excellent (and Oscar-winning) performance from Reneé Zellweger, and well worth a watch because of it.
Watch a clip from Judy below...
Also new on NOW TV this week: Sweetheart, Motherless Brooklyn
Halloween (2018) - Netflix
American indie darling David Gordon Green’s career trajectory hasn’t exactly been regular. Starting with Malickian tales of the American country with George Washington, before later moving into studio comedies like Pineapple Express with his long time buddy Danny McBride, his 2018 Halloween reboot is simply his latest swerve. And while it hardly reinvents the wheel, the Halloween sequel is a solid, back to basics approach – some have alternatively praised and scorned its throwing out of the increasingly complex lore of the sequels that followed the John Carpenter classic.
Halloween (2018) pares things down to the residual trauma felt by Laurie Strode the survivor of the original film, and Michael Myers’s gory killing spree on his way to finding her. The script from Gordon-Green and McBride infuses proceedings with some comedy, often in the obnoxiousness or alarm of Myers’ victims. Again, this element of the film may displease some, but for those looking for bloody entertainment, Green certainly provides.
Also new on Netflix this week: Slaughterhouse Rulez, Enola Holmes, Early Man
Miss Juneteenth - BFI Player
The debut feature from director Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth is already proving something of an underappreciated gem, gentle subtle in its execution. A deliberately low-key slice-of-life drama about a former beauty queen turned single mother, Peoples films the intergenerational story with great care, recalling the leisurely hang-out energy of the mumblecore work of Andrew Bujalski, perhaps most specifically his recent Support The Girls. Fans of that will find a lot to love in Juneteenth, with its specificity and the lived-in feel of its Southern community, and the captivating performance of Nicole Beharie in the lead. A quiet debut, but one that should have everyone looking to what both Peoples and Beharie will do next.
Also new on BFI Player this week: The Painted Bird, The Fabulous Baron Munchausen
Volver - MUBI
Perhaps one of the dramatic peaks of Pedro Almodovar’s career, his melodrama Volver (which has him once again reunite with long-time collaborator Penelope Cruz) might be his strangest, most unpredictable and most gorgeous. It’s also one of the best of Cruz’s many captivating performances, a mix of fiery determination and believable vulnerability, all visible even as she’s verbally cutting men down to size.
The plot that she leads is twisty, melodrama and rich, but soulful in its execution and genuine in its depiction of the shifting familial bonds. Not to mention that, as with many of Alomodovar’s works, it’s truly beautiful to behold, its cinematography and art direction characterised by vivid reds. One of Almodovar’s crowning depictions of matriarchy, weird and heartfelt and simply unmissable.
Also new on MUBI this week: Salon Kitty, Bird Island