Enter the era of “virtual cinema,” a new idea that has various places streaming foreign films, arthouse fare and films that didn’t get a shot at an honest-to-goodness wide theatrical release. When you buy a “ticket” – or rent the movie – it benefits a struggling industry that’s been crippled by stay-at-home orders around the country but with an audience that still needs its film fix.
Here are six films you can stream right now to benefit specific theaters or one of your own choosing. (Also be sure to check out your favorite theater’s website to find more virtual-screening options, such as Alamo Drafthouse’s Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday lineups.)
A film-festival favorite last year – and the 2019 Cannes Jury Prize winner – the movie mashes up sci-fi and satire in a tale of a Brazilian village in the near future where the residents finds their locale disappeared from maps. As if the fly-bys from a UFO-shaped drone aren’t disconcerting enough, the townsfolk also have to fight off a bunch of armed mercenaries who show up.
Where to watch: Kino Marquee
The Polish religious drama, and Oscar nominee this year for best international film, centers on 20-year-old convicted felon Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia). After finding God in a Warsaw prison, he’s released to work as a laborer in a remote village. When he gets there, Daniel passes himself off as the town’s new priest. His wild charm wins over residents but that’s when the village’s own dark secret bubbles to the surface.
Where to watch: Film Movement
The horror rom-com is perfect for Will Forte fans and lovers of all things Ireland. Maeve Higgins plays a driving instructor in a small Irish town who ignores her psychic talents, which include interacting with ghosts. She gets back in touch with her supernatural side when she has to save a local teenage virgin from the satanic shenanigans of a washed-up American pop star (Forte).
Where to watch: Cranked Up Films
‘Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band’
The opening-night presentation at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, this documentary (executive-produced by Ron Howard) features Robertson and other members of the Canadian folk-rock group – plus interviews with Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton – chronicling the rise of The Band, their work with Bob Dylan and what happened to make the iconic bunch break up in spectacular fashion.
Where to watch: Magnolia Pictures
The sweet and emotional comedy stars Kelly O’Sullivan (who also wrote the screenplay) as Bridget, a 34-year-old woman hired by a lesbian couple to be the nanny for their troublemaking 6-year-old, Frances (Ramona Edith-Williams). While Bridget deals with an unwanted pregnancy she also forms a close bond with her young charge, and both help each other grow up.
Where to watch: Film’s website
‘Sorry We Missed You’
Director Ken Loach’s working-class British drama, which premiered at Cannes last year, centers on a self-employed delivery driver (Kris Hitchen). Still deep in debt after the 2008 financial crisis, he and his nurse wife (Debbie Honeywood) struggle to keep their family somewhat afloat in a modern gig economy but also yearn to give their children a better life.
Where to watch: Zeitgeist Films