New movies available for streaming include Fences, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, Pete's Dragon, and more

Spring is arriving, so it seems fitting that several of this week’s streaming selections take the action outdoors, whether it’s telling the story of a couple sisters turned wannabee train robbers, or following a college baseball team in the last few days of summer, or exploring a black family living in the Louisiana Bayou. 

Some movies ask you to ponder heavy subjects, like assisted suicide or children’s fear of abandonment. And some on this list are just plain goofy.

If you were heading into the weekend without any firm plans, consider the matter closed.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (Hulu)

jma buckaroobanzai1 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. 

★★★★☆

Eve’s Bayou (TubiTV)

jma evesbayou3 Trimark Pictures, Inc.

★★★★★

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Catch Memento and many other great movies now streaming online

The great film critic Pauline Kael was interviewed after her retirement in 1990 and before her death in 2001, and she remarked that there was a certain “lostness” in the air that the movies simply weren’t capturing. This week’s batch of now-streaming movies, I think, captures that thing she was talking about. It’s refreshingly cathartic to witness others going through challenges that tap into our own daily worries.

These stories of searching take many forms, from a dark comedy-turned-crime story snapped up from the Sundance Film Festival just weeks ago, to a recent superhero story about a man looking to replace something he felt he was missing, to a crime film about a man with a memory problem, and a story of two men trying to restore an old friendship. 

Mind you, this week's selection isn't all contemplative and heavy. There are two hilarious mockumentaries—one about vampire roomies, and another cult favorite about an aging rock band. All told, you're looking at an array of fine entertainment. 

This Is Spinal Tap (Netflix) [5 stars]

jma thisisspinaltap1 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. 

★★★★☆

Malcolm X (Crackle) 

jma malcolmx Warner Bros. 

★★★★★

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Snubbed by the Oscars

The Oscars are nearly here (February 26, to be precise), and maybe you’re excited about seeing all the nominated films, or maybe you’re tired of the hubbub and craving something less hyped. Several such excellent-but-underrated movies are now streaming this week.

There’s also a cadre of movies that feature action and violence and even zombies that would never be nominated. And there’s a documentary filled with controversy, and a movie that received several nominations at its time but failed to nab the big prize (to the chagrin of many).

Enjoy the Oscars, or don’t, but enjoy these movies and others regardless!

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The best movies to stream this Valentine's Day

February 14 is St. Valentine’s Day, when we give our true loves cards, candy, flowers, sundry heart-shaped things, and take them to dinner, and perhaps even a movie. The holiday can be rough if you’re single, or if you still haven’t yet recovered from the hunt for a suitable Christmas gift—and now it’s time for another? It could be that the best Valentine’s Day present is to simply cook a nice meal (or order some takeout) and stream a romantic movie or two from the comfort of home.

Following is a list of suggestions, ranging from masterful classics to slightly alternative choices—hopefully a little something for just about everyone. And, if you’re not in the mood for any love and romance, then Pixar’s Finding Dory, the second highest-grossing movie of 2016, is new on Netflix, and it’s as good an escape as any! 

Sunrise (Rental on Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes)

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Where and how to stream some of this year's best Oscar nominees

It’s Oscar time again—the 89th Oscar time to be exact. The Oscars can be enormously frustrating (does anyone still think that Ordinary People deserved to beat Raging Bull for Best Picture?) and controversial. Last year brought up the “OscarsSoWhite” tirade, but this year there are several non-white faces nominated, as well as several profound documentaries about racism in America. And Mel Gibson appears to have been forgiven after some appalling, controversial behavior, receiving his first Best Director nomination since winning that trophy in 1996 for Braveheart.

The Oscars were created to celebrate movies, and the power of movies. Sure, it’s a sort of self-celebration, Hollywood using the power of show business to promote the power of show business, but it’s a fun spectacle, and there are some truly great movies being showcased this year. Stories of kindness, empathy, and understanding; or that carry a message about the sorry state of the world; or that celebrate heroism and courage. One in particular, an animated film, simply celebrates the power of a good storytelling. Following is our list of highly recommended Oscar nominees that are—or soon will be—available for streaming or digital rental.

Arrival (Rental coming to Vudu, Amazon Prime, etc.—Feb. 14)*

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Here are 12 of the best movies now available online

Continuing the custom of reassessing the year that was as we boldly head into a new one, we look at one of the best feature releases of 2016. Or was it one of last year’s best TV shows? Or was it both? We also look back at three other unsung gems of 2016, all worth celebrating, even if they aren’t getting much awards-season attention.

But that’s not all. In the interest of looking back, we also highlight some excellent content spanning the last several decades that’s now available on a streaming service near you. From Martin Scorsese’s 1970s documentary about The Band’s final concert, to the touching alien story Starman from the 1980s, to Boogie Nights, which made Mark Wahlberg a household name in the 1990s, to a couple must-see flicks from more recent history, these 12 movies are a testament to the enduring delight of great cinema.

Boogie Nights (Netflix) 

jma boogienights1 Netflix

★★★★☆

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