WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
The filmmakers behind the overlong rom-com “How to Be Single” work hard to subvert genre expectations but it’s not enough to salvage a movie that rarely finds its groove.
Dakota Johnson stars as Alice, a paralegal who, after deciding to take a break from her boyfriend, moves to New York where she finds the dating whirl tough to navigate. Feeling both over-stuffed and under-dramatized, the movie tracks Alice and company (Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Alison Brie) as they ping-pong between a number of bachelors (Jake Lacey, Damon Wayans Jr.).
Wilson scores laughs with her wild antics but otherwise, “How to Be” falls flat. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
Also New To Streaming
Southbound: In a taut 89 minutes, this ingenious horror thriller comes close to matching the eeriness of a handful of “Twilight Zone” episodes. Yes, “Southbound” is much gorier than Rod Serling’s classic series but the film’s unsettling look at guilt and redemption is its ace in the hole. A handful of loosely connected strangers (Fabianne Therese, David Yow) encounter plenty of bizarre situations while on a desolate stretch of desert highway. From episodes featuring skeleton monsters, suburban Satanists and home-invading weirdos, “Southbound” has enough scary images to fuel your nightmares for months. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Mustang: An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language film, this stunner is both exhilarating and shattering as it depicts the fate of five orphaned sisters in rural Turkey who are accused of debauchery after innocently romping with some boys on the way home from school. Overnight, their home is turned into a fortress as they’re groomed for arranged marriages. The directorial debut of Turkish actress Deniz Gamze Erguven so effectively puts you in the shoes of these heroines, especially the young Lale (the vibrantly alive Gunes Sensoy), that when the film winds up in thriller territory, it’s almost unbearably suspenseful. “Mustang” is a must-see. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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The Golden Dream: At the beginning of this involving slice-of-life road drama, Juan (Brandon Lopez) and Sara (Karen Martinez) leave the slums of Guatemala to start over again in the United States. During a journey that includes jumping freight trains and dodging kidnappers, the pals develop a bond with a naive Mayan Indian (Rodolfo Dominguez). Filmmaker Diego Quemada-Diez’s film runs free of Hollywood formula to tell the deeply human story of teenagers desperate for a better life. It’s timely and touching. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Fidelio: Alice’s Journey: As Alice, a fearless sailor unapologetic about her thirst for adventure and sexual fulfillment, the Greek-born French actress Ariane Labed is mesmerizing. You can’t take your eyes off of her as she joins the crew of an old cargo ship, leaving her sweet-natured boyfriend (Anders Danielsen Lie) ashore and reuniting with the captain (Melvil Poupaud), who happens to be her first love. It’s easy to forgive this unusual film its lackluster finale thanks to its intimate, bracing depiction of life on the open sea. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Bloodline: Season 2: The first season of this Netflix series, which was created by the same folks behind “Damages,” didn’t cause much of a stir. But here’s hoping the second batch of episodes generates more buzz. Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn and Chloe Sevigny star in the show, which examines the members of a big, extended family in the Florida Keys who are hiding plenty of dark secrets. The acting is top-notch and the flashback/flashforward structure works nearly as well as it did on “Damages.” On Netflix.
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Girl In The Woods: In this digital-only release, a young woman (Juliet Reeves) must battle nature and her own demons for her survival and sanity in a deserted part of the Appalachian Mountains. Expect some bone-chilling scares. On Comcast, DirecTV, iTunes, Dish, Amazon, Google and Vudu.
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Voltron Legendary Defender: DreamWorks Animation has re-imagined the “Voltron” series from the 1980s with this new science-fiction saga that promises galaxies worth of action, comedy and adventure. The series will launch in early June with an hour-long origin story called “The Rise of Voltron,” and will be followed by 10 episodes. On Netflix.
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An Inconvenient Truth: It’s been a decade since the release of the influential Al Gore documentary about climate change. Celebrate the film’s birthday by checking it out once again. On Amazon, Xfinity On Demand, FandangoNOW, iTunes and Vudu.