best foreign movies and tv streaming

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

We’re almost to the end of the year, which means it’s time to play end-of-year catch-up with the best movies of 2019. And surprisingly, Netflix is supplying a lot of them. The streaming giant has become quite a force at film festivals in recent years, picking up award contenders and indie dramas in hopes of earning a coveted Academy Award statuette. And it’s been no slouch with international fare — this year, Netflix has acquired some of the best foreign language films of the year, including Mati Diop‘s stunning supernatural romance Atlantics and the surreal French animated film I Lost My Body. Catch up with those to add to your “best of the year” lists, as well as Zhang Yimou‘s best wuxia film in years, a Jackie Chan classic, and a stunning short film from the director of Weathering With You.

Let’s fire up those subtitles and get streaming.

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Best Movies Streaming Right Now Inside Llewyn Davis

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

Here we are again, standing in front of the vast wilderness of streaming. I’m sure as I’m typing this, at least five more streaming services are being created. All these options can make choices overwhelming, but that’s why I’m here. Let me make the choice for you. These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming!

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shadow review

It’s hard to talk about Shadow without mentioning Zhang Yimou’s previous effort, Matt Damon-starrer The Great Wall, from which it could not feel more different. While the latter was accused of whitewashing based on the trailers, its true nature was much more troubling: backed by China Film Group, The Great Wall was a very literal propaganda movie about the West accepting the superior might of the Chinese military. It was also effective as a piece of pop filmmaking, with soldiers in candy-coloured armour fighting off jade green alien invaders (no, really), as if filtering the palette of his House of Flying Daggers through a million computers, which makes this new bare-bones approach to period drama a notable directorial 180.

For one thing, Shadow features almost no colour. That is to say, it’s a film shot in colour, but featuring mostly by black and white and grey, but more so than its stripped-down production design, it features a far more stripped-down ethos, to the point that little in the film actually matters. Take away Chinese government money, and you’re left with a Zhang who doesn’t need to deliver a specific message; so he doesn’t, by design, for better and for worse.

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The third day of the Film 4 Frightfest has come to a blood-soaked close and I’ve made it back safely to camp. From where I’m sitting now (slouched, in fact, and really quite exhausted from all of this sitting in the dark) this year’s Frightfest is already one of the two or three best yet, and Frightfest itself has bloomed into the single most exciting genre fest in the UK. Come along next August and join in, I could use some folks to lunch with.

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