If your nerves are frazzled from the Trump-incited mob at the Capitol this week, escape into the world of virtual cinema using our roundup of new streaming options through local theaters. You'll find them all below, from the Czechoslovak sci-fi Ikarie XB 1 via Grand Illusion to the SXSW-winning documentary Beautiful Something Left Behind via SIFF, as well as some notable nationwide options, like a lively conversation about NYC between Martin Scorcese and Fran Lebowitz in Pretend It’s a City on Netflix. Plus, if you haven't heard, The Stranger's amateur porn film festival HUMP! is accepting submissions through this Friday, January 8, as is the stoner short film fest SPLIFF, through March 5! And don't forget to check out the second installment of The Stranger's Film Club, a new biweekly video series entering Black films with Stranger film experts Jasmyne Keimig and Charles Mudede.
Streaming: Local Connection
Beautiful Something Left Behind
Winner of the SXSW Best Documentary prize, this tear-jerker spotlights children dealing with and learning about grief at a family education center.
Ikarie XB 1
This Czechoslovak adaptation of a Stanisław Lem novel, coined by press materials as "Eastern Bloc science fiction," is set in 2163, when a band of astronauts embarks on a 15-year voyage into outer space in hopes of discovering life in another galaxy.
If you missed the virtual Children's Film Festival last year, don't miss this limited online rescreening of shorts that celebrate queerness and diverse identities, available for members of the King County Library System.
Northwest Film Forum
The Reason I Jump
This impressionistic take on the memoir Japanese poet Naoki Higashida wrote when she was 13 (what did you do as a tween?) comes in the form of a documentary about the rich inner lives of five non-speaking autistic people around the world.
Scarecrow Movie Club: Yojimbo
Join a free Zoom discussion of Akira Kurosawa's '60s samurai film Yojimbo with the movie fiends at Scarecrow as part of the video store's January virtual series.
Laura Dern just wants to go to the mall with her friends and flirt with boys her age to pass the summer months before her sophomore year of high school, but a predatory, deceptively charming older man won't leave her the hell alone. This '80s thriller is based on a short story by Joyce Carol Oates.
Unstreamable: Linguini Incident
The most remarkable part of this film is that almost no one's heard of it—and David Bowie is the lead! And he's quite good in it! The film's VHS cover features the tagline, "He wants to be tied down. She wants to be tied up. It's not what you think." On first glance, I thought, or rather, hoped this was some sort of Americanized version of director Pedro Almodóvar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989), but, as the tagline suggested, it was not what I thought. Instead, The Linguini Incident is a comedy about a strange man from the U.K. who needs to get a Green Card ASAP (played by Bowie, a man who "wants to be tied down"), and an eccentric woman who is trying—unsuccessfully—to be a professional escape artist (played by Arquette, a woman who "wants to be tied up" and has this great line: "You don’t know how hard it is to escape from a straight jacket with tits"). The cast is a bunch of proto-hipsters who live in New York City in the early '90s. They all work at a surreal restaurant that sports a giant Salvador Dalí clock and makes its waitstaff wear uniforms made of silver lamé. It's got, dare I say, A Fish Called Wanda vibes, but without the English slapstick comedy. CHASE BURNS
Virtual Moving History – The Video Artwork of Doris Chase
Discover a compilation of kaleidoscopic work by the late Northwest School video-art pioneer Doris Chase in this edition of the Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound's digital series.
Northwest Film Forum
Wild Wild West
To kick off MoPOP's new "So Bad It's Good" series, queue up the 1999 romp about a Civil War hero (Will Smith) and a U.S. Marshal (Kevin Kline) who partner up to assassinate a diabolical inventor (also played by Kevin Kline). Prepare to have this song stuck in your head for the first time since the turn of the century.
Viewing party available via MoPOP
Cobra Kai: Season 3
When YouTube was honestly trying to become an original content platform, it put out some...stuff, including a 30-years-after-the-fact sequel to The Karate Kid focused on Johnny (you know, the blonde asshole who got crane kicked in the face about 30 seconds before the credits rolled) as a middle-aged man running the Cobra Kai dojo. Nobody expected much from the low budget and the kinda off-putting premise. Which made it all the more surprising that Cobra Kai became a breakout success (relatively) and was also a very effective examination (and repudiation) of toxic masculinity in modern culture. Plus, you know... people kicking each other in the face! Its third season is here and takes place in Japan.
Does this dramedy series accurately reflect the life and inner world of Emily Dickinson? Probably not, but Hailee Steinfeld's portrayal of the great 19th-century American poet is decidedly enjoyable as hell. It's back for a second season that grapples with the poet's relationship with publicity.
Fleeing her abusive husband, an Irish woman with two small kids attempts to build her own home (by hand!) on land given to her by her employer.
History of Swear Words
For those nights this week when you want to watch something only slightly elevated from smooth-brain television—and maybe pick up a few new ways to express yourself—this limited series hosted by suited-up tantrum master Nicolas Cage (who else?) dives into the etymology of expletives with guest linguists, writers, and comedians.
I Blame Society
"Nobody wants you to make a movie as much as you want to make one yourself," says Gillian Wallace Horvat in her satirical low-budget faux documentary about a filmmaker who takes her nontraditional, female-driven murder plot into her own hands when male producers ignore it. She walks people through how she would commit the perfect murder, and in doing so walks the line between fiction and reality.
It's always a fun time to revisit the 1986 musical dark fantasy that introduced the public to the yet-to-be-fully-dismissed theory that David Bowie is, in fact, a Jim Henson creation.
Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and other platforms
If you have a Ted Danson-shaped hole in your life now that The Good Place is over, turn to this silly sitcom created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock in which he plays a man running for mayor in Los Angeles.
Pieces of a Woman
Ignore abusive Shia LaBeouf's appearance in this intense drama about the loss of a child, helmed by the riveting Vanessa Kirby (who you probably know for her former role as Princess Margaret in The Crown).
Pretend It’s a City
Two household names in their respective fields of cinema and cultural criticism, Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz sit down on stage at a dimly lit cocktail lounge to talk about *queue that big-city jazz standard* New York City and how it's influenced them. If the packed auditorium gives you COVID anxiety, know that this talk was recorded before the plague.