Jon Garcia is well known for directing scrappy, emotionally intelligent films like the Falls trilogy. But during the pandemic, he pulled off what is perhaps his greatest creative coup yet: filming Love in Dangerous Times (2020), a romance that unfolds in the age of COVID. Ian Stout plays a writer who, from a distance, bonds with a woman (Tiffany Groben) he meets on a dating app. Free on Tubi and Vudu.
Calling all Terrence Malick worshippers! There are new whispers that The Way of the Wind, the master’s long-awaited film about Jesus, will finally debut this year. If you’re feeling impatient, check out Knight of Cups (2015) and Song to Song (2017), which complete an unofficial (and underrated) trilogy of contemporary romances that began with To the Wonder (2012). Christian Bale, Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender play spiritually adrift souls seeking enlightenment. Free on Roku, Tubi, YouTube.
If you survived (and enjoyed!) last week’s screening of Star Trek: Nemesis at the Hollywood Theatre, there are enough delightfully terrible Trek flicks to fill a Klingon Bird of Prey. The bizarrest of the bunch is Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), which was directed (and co-written!) by Capt. Kirk himself, William Shatner. It’s about the Enterprise crew’s exceptionally ill-fated search for God, which culminates with Kirk’s most unforgettable exclamation: “What does God need…with a starship?!” Paramount+.
Zhang Yimou’s 1991 masterpiece Raise the Red Lantern is maddeningly hard to find (step up, Criterion!), so watch it while you have the chance. Gong Li plays a young woman who becomes a concubine during China’s Warlord Era—and gets lost in a maze of friendship and rivalry that will leave you exhilarated, mesmerized and shattered. Free on Amazon Prime.