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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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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