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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Streaming Consumer Guide: April 22, 2014

Last week's "Streaming Consumer Guide" focused on a recent boom of well-known films in the Netflix catalog like "Rocky," "Death Wish," "Titanic," and "Barton Fink." In the two weeks since, the newest additions to the most popular streaming service have been a little less mainstream, tending more to small companies like IFC, Oscilloscope, or Cinedigm. If you're looking for a popular favorite, go back to the April 8 volume. However, one of the great things about Netflix is the service's capability to present viewers with options that may not have played in their part of the country. Most of these weeks ten-best New to Netflix recommendations never made it out of New York or Los Angeles, and several of them barely played there.

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So, what's new and noteworthy? The highlight in the last two weeks is Destin Cretton's "Short Term 12," which will also be playing at this year's Ebertfest in just a few days with stars Brie Larson and Keith Stanfield in attendance. It's a heartfelt, personal drama that ended up on a number of top ten lists for 2013, including mine. Don't miss it.

The rest of this week's Netflix highlights include an award-winning Thai film, an amazing piece about the assault on MOVE in Philadelphia, a Simon Pegg comedy, a fantastic movie about the artist Banksy, a documentary about a rebellious filmmaker named John Milius, and more. Check out our reviews and add the films to your Netflix queue directly with the "Watch It" functionality on them all. If there's no review in our system, the link below goes directly to the Netflix page.

(Note: Roger's TV review of "Conan the Barbarian" is in "Milius," however briefly.)

10 TO STREAM: NEW TO NETFLIX

"Bastards"
"Exit Through the Gift Shop"
"A Fantastic Fear of Everything"
"Laurence Anyways"
"Let the Fire Burn"
"Milius"
"Mother of George"
"Short Term 12"
"A Touch of Sin"
"Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives"

3 TO RENT: VIDEO ON DEMAND

Netflix isn't your thing? You want to see hit movies BEFORE they have a chance to hit a streaming service? Three major films are making On Demand debuts with their theatrical ones, including a Kristen Wiig drama that we gave four stars a few weeks ago and a major hit from the festival circuit. "Filth" will be available on Thursday, April 24; "Blue Ruin" on Friday, April 25; "Hateship Loveship" is On Demand now. Previews below.

"Blue Ruin"

"Filth"

"Hateship Loveship"

THE BEST OF THE REST

Joss Whedon made waves this week when he announced after the premiere of "In Your Eyes" at the Tribeca Film Festival that the film had just been made available online for $5 via the Vimeo On Demand platform. It's an interesting strategy, building buzz and earning headlines that the film may not have otherwise received from a mere festival debut. Starring Zoe Kazan, the film is directed by Brin Hill and produced and written by Whedon. Watch it now here: "In Your Eyes"

Finally, a few great films have hit Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Streaming since we last met, including "The Great Beauty," "Meek's Cutoff," and "Keep the Lights On" on Hulu Plus and "Kill Bill, Volume 1" & "Kill Bill, Volume 2," "The Odd Couple," and "Mud" for those of you with an Amazon Prime account. Clearly, there aren't enough hours in the day.

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