The best of what’s newly streaming on Netflix includes a ‘Beautiful’ find

Great movies have the power to record emotions and send them back out into the audience, intact. Sometimes these can be the pondering of life or death, as in several of this week’s movies. Sometimes they can be hope or guilt, the emotions that drive a certain “killer” toward a certain goal. Other times they can feel like nothing, like a lack of connection. Still other times they can make a monster seem human.

Other times, they can just make you laugh or give you a little thrill. Regardless of their intentions, all of this week’s movies should make you feel at something.

Fruitvale Station (Netflix)

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Jean Reno’s talent was wasted in the abominable ‘Godzilla’ remake; don’t miss him in ‘The Professional,’ now streaming

When a movie genre begins to feel stale, one way to freshen it up is to acknowledge the staleness by becoming self-referential. Several of this week’s movies do that: One brings a minor character from an earlier movie up to the lead role, another re-imagines a mystery from long ago. There’s a fictitious remake with a real star, a fictitious sequel with real stars, and an adaptation of a TV sketch that pokes fun at itself.

Beyond that theme, we have a horror film that turns around upon itself, a tricky dark comedy that occasionally fools us and one brutally honest story of a woman overcoming tough times.

The Cat’s Meow (Netflix)

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‘Blue Velvet’ tops our list of the 9 best movies now streaming

Many of this week’s movies deal with movement, starting with the difficult journey eastward by horse and wagon in Tommy Lee Jones’s The Homesman, while other films include swashbuckling, flying, and dancing. Some filmmakers tackle inner struggles, ranging from an amateur detective watching horrors unfold from a closet hiding place (Blue Velvet), to a soldier struggling with the decision to pull the trigger on a child ( American Sniper); from a film director trying to decide what his next film should be (8 ½), to a disgraced army captain tempted to eat human flesh (Ravenous).

The best of what’s new on Netflix

The Homesman

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We shall be released: The best moves newly available on Netflix and other streaming services

Let the music play! Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz begins streaming on Netflix this week, with an impressive array of performers and songs, full of exuberance and joy. That sets the tone for the rest of this week’s streaming movies, all lightweight or lighthearted entertainments. In some cases, acclaimed actors set aside their dramas for a shot at comedy. Some movies are comedies that use their situations to get a closer look at families and connections. Still others are dizzy, crazy cult classics with endless invention that inspires an endless number of smiles. Leave the heavy lifting for this week and enjoy.

The best new movies on Netflix

The Last Waltz

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Star Wars! Nothing but Star Wars! (And other great movies newly available for streaming)

By now, the news has spread far and wide that the first six Star Wars films are available for digital rental and download, and Vudu has them (see below). But other films with passionate fan bases are also available this week. We have the return to form of an octogenarian filmmaker, a magnificent debut horror film, and a “steampunk” classic from two former animators.

We have action heroes pushing the envelope, an action spoof with big laughs, and a so-bad-it’s-good biopic with unintentional laughs. Whatever you choose this week, these movies can elicit strong reactions.

What's new on Netflix

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Variations on violence: 9 fantasic movies now available for streaming

This week’s selection of movies available for streaming features violence of one kind or another, ranging from epic battles to the struggle of one man’s obsession. The movies run from fast-paced and light-hearted to brutal and realistic, slow-paced and thoughtful, to downright frightening. In one case, there is real-life violence as man ventures a little too far into the wild.

But to kick it all off, we have none other than Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, who believes that “this aggression will not stand.” Enjoy!

New on Netflix

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Do the Bunny Hop to these great movies

This week we have several movies that buck the trend, movies that just didn’t do what they were expected to. We have an Oscar winner that could have been dull but isn’t, and is actually highly entertaining and often exhilarating. We have Oscar favorites that did not win, or won only one. We have movies that had production troubles, or distribution troubles, and still managed to come out worth seeing. And we have movies by successful filmmakers that are generally overshadowed in their filmographies. Enjoy!

Now on Netflix

Amadeus

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