If you can’t make it to the movie theater this weekend – but still want to see something new and different – the internet has you covered. Too covered, actually. Countless movies get weekly digital releases, from the biggest studio blockbusters to the smallest indie movies, so it’s tough trying to sort through the options to decide what’s actually worth watching.
But don’t fret. Inverse is here to reveal some of the best digital-movie choices each week. Here’s what’s worth checking out.
Alright, alright, alright. After the masterpiece that was 2014’s 12-years-in-the-making Boyhood, director Richard Linklater decided to stick close to home for his next movie. Namely, he set out to make the spiritual successor to ‘90s cult classic Dazed & Confused. But instead of chronicling the summertime wanderings of Texas high-schoolers, Linklater opted to continue the semi-autobiographical story with a bunch of college baseball players in Texas. Inverse got to see the world premiere at SXSW, where the tale of a baseball philosopher bros debating the ins and outs of life played like gangbusters, but the movie didn’t really burn up the box office. Linklater’s movies tend to need a settle-in period before resonating, so look forward to declaring this your favorite movie in about six years.
If you’re looking for a bit more trauma and drama in your coming-of-age films, then first-time director Matt Sobel’s debut Take Me to the River will do the trick. Following a gay Californian teenager named Ryder (Logan Miller) visiting his Nebraskan relatives, the film gets dark when he’s forced to confront his hostile family about a mysterious incident with his nine-year-old cousin Molly (Ursula Parker). Packed like a pressure cooker with twisty family revelations and exploring the complications of sexual identity, Take Me to the River is never anything but engaging.
Two years before Clueless made her one of the biggest stars of the ‘90s, Alicia Silverstone debuted in this Lolita-esque thriller about a writer named Nick (Cary Elwes), who shacks up in a Seattle family’s guest house as he takes a journalism job at a big magazine. Nick soon meets the family’s 14-year-old daughter Adrienne (Silverstone), and has to fend off her unwanted flirtations and advances. But whatever Adrienne wants, Adrienne gets. Though mostly known for reviving old horror classics like The Fog or Sleepaway Camp, home video distributor Scream Factory has recently branched off into other genres and it upping their thriller game by releasing titles like The Crush. It’s a welcome change.
Chatty white middle-class people finding themselves is a fairly boring trope that never seems to go away. Seattle Road, a new indie by director Ryan David about a couple named Adam and Eve (ugh) trying to make their complicated relationship work, sounds like more of the same. But luckily, David peppers the film with enough unique angles that try to break this stereotypical structure into a memorably tumultuous exploration of coupling. When she suddenly has to face the death of her father, Eve (Julia Voth) persuades her boyfriend Adam (Maximillian Roeg, son of legendary filmmaker Nicolas Roeg), who grew up in a cultish commune, to move into her father’s country estate without letting him know he didn’t specifically bequeath it to her. Rote? Maybe. Refreshing? Definitely.
This sci-fi horror film, adapted from the Stephen King book of the same name, made its VOD debut earlier this month, but it’s noteworthy because it’s the second time Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack have teamed up in a King adaptation, the first being the 2007 psychological thriller 1408. That might be the only noteworthy thing about it, as Cell, a heavy-handed allegory about cell phone signals causing a zombie-esque apocalypse, was widely panned by critics. Bob Grimm of CV Independent called it “easily one of the worst adaptations ever of a King story.” Yikes, well, at least there’s Samuel L. Jackson acting crazy again.
You’ve got to hand it to Jake Gyllenhaal: the dude is constantly trying new things and often puts in incredible performances in unique movies, as was the case with 2014’s Nightcrawler. While his performance in filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition isn’t as flashy and gloriously anarchic as what he did in Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal still puts in a great turn as an investment banker trying to put his life back together after his wife dies in a car accident. Vallée has made a nice career out of making films, like the Academy Award-winning Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, about confident people rethinking their lives, and Demolition is more of the same. But that isn’t a bad thing.