Take a break from March Madness to stream some of these great films

If you enjoyed my profile of Fandor earlier this week, you should definitely stream the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, currently available on Netflix. It’s not only a moving portrait of a passionate man, but it’s also a movie lover’s movie, filled with praises and pans. It’s hard to watch and not get excited about the possibilities of movies in general.

Also streaming this week, we have a series of cinematic entertainments consisting of that most basic of visual themes: crime or violence. In many cases, these criminals and loonies therein are such fun to watch that we almost don’t want them to get caught. In other movies, we get heroes, and in still others, we get people who are simply brave enough to try to find a connection with another person in their crazy, mixed-up worlds. Finally, see below for more details about an exciting new streaming service, TubiTV.com.

New on Netflix

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The 9 best movies now streaming

We seem to be in a kind of golden age of animation; not only is computer animation capable of creating truly dazzling worlds, but also the lengthy production schedules of these movies are forcing filmmakers to craft superb screenplays before even beginning.

This week we have two animated movies, plus a few other films that take place in fanciful or unreal worlds. On the other side of the coin, we have a few ultra-realistic movies from the 1970s and 1980s, telling the stories of outcasts and misfits. Lastly, we have a documentary about an unreal, but totally factual, relationship between a famous director and an infamous actor.

The best of what's new on Netflix

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Films you should stream this week include the Oscar-winning 'Citizenfour'

Usually when movies win Oscars, it gives them a little boost at the box office, but the folks behind the recent Best Documentary winner decided that it was less important to make money than to allow as many people as possible to see Citizenfour, so they made it available to stream, totally free.

It’s essential viewing, but after you see it, you might need some other movies to temporarily get your mind off of it. And so streaming this week we have a selection of classic comedies, movies with dazzling visual designs to take you away, movies to get your heart racing, and one that simply feels like a vacation.

Citizenfour

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Start streaming early this weekend; you have one less hour to watch these great films

This week we get a mix of indie movies and mainstream movies, movies in English and movies in foreign languages, movies about heroes and movies about ordinary people. Quite often, all of these people are misfits or outcasts of some kind, never quite sure of how they fit in. Or, in the case of one creepy chiller, the characters rudely discover that they don’t fit in quite as well as they thought they did.

In any case, there’s something here for every outcast and/or misfit to enjoy.

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Hey moms and dads: Here are three great kids’ movies to stream as you wait for Noggin

If you’re excited about Nickelodeon’s plans to offer a streaming version of Noggin, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of great kids’ movies available for streaming while you wait. I’ve picked three new titles for your consideration, and they’re all highly entertaining for grownups, too.

Once the kids are in bed, the best movies for grownups newly available for streaming this week include a pair of tense crime films and a pair of classics from the 1960s. Finally, for those who like to live in the now, there’s a documentary and a political satire that both highlight current events.

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It’s a holiday weekend! Spend part of it watching some great movies. Here are our picks

The new February titles continue to roll in, with many gems and surprises among them. After an exclusive release on Vudu, the great Birdman is available for purchase at a number of services (and it will be available for rent on Vudu beginning February 17). That movie’s gritty, dark, but also funny mood pervades some of the week’s other films, such as The Brothers Bloom, Hesher, and The Rover.

I can also recommend several highly stylish movies that experiment with the medium’s boundaries, including Locke and Drive. Extra dark movies like Joe and The Killer Inside Me feature excellent performances and strong atmosphere. And then, for something lighter that still has a sense of place, there’s the romantic comedy Next Stop Wonderland. Enjoy!

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You probably missed these movies when they were in theaters, but now you can stream them on Netflix!

This week we have some overlooked or underrated gems, movies that slipped under the radar or were somehow misunderstood the first time around. There are movies based on classic literature, movies that sing and dance, and movies that blow stuff up. There are stories about real life, stories that just feel like real life, and stories that feel like nightmares.

Then we have some earlier performances by some of the current Oscar-nominees, notably a very good forgotten Michael Keaton movie, as well as Rosamund Pike and Robert Duvall together in a thriller. Stream away!

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