This week, we look at two new releases that are now available for streaming through subscription services.
Available on streaming services
"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm": With "Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" being one of many on-screen titles we're given as the story rolls on, this outrageous sequel to the 2006 surprise hit comedy finds Sacha Baron Cohen resurrecting his character of a haphazard reporter who returns to America in an effort to give a gift to President Donald Trump. Along with his stowaway daughter Tutar (Bulgarian newcomer Maria Bakalova, who is as fearless as her co-star), they travel across the country focused on the mission. The result is chaotic and often jaw-droppingly offensive, but Baron Cohen (in reality an observant Jew) uses extreme stereotypes and humor to tackle hatred and even the coronavirus. It was filmed in secret over the past year, and some of the biggest shocks and surprises have already been spoiled, but whatever you have heard is actually crazier when you watch it. For all of the media attention that has been given to a certain politician's behavior in the final act, there are many quieter moments that, at least for me, prove to be far more terrifying, such as a simple unguarded moment when a bakery owner doesn't even flinch when asked to write a horrific Semitic message on a cake or, when in disguise, Baron Cohen gets people at a far-right militia rally in Olympia, Wash., to sing along to a horribly racist song about the "Wuhan flu." And while Borat and Tutar do make an appearance at the State Fair of Texas, a scene of Borat with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, which we got a glimpse of in the original trailer, did not make the final cut. For all of the shock and awe, it's surprising to discover that this is ultimately a father-daughter road trip tidily wrapped up as a get out the vote campaign. For a year as bizarre as 2020, maybe it shouldn't be surprising that Borat was the hero we needed all along. (Amazon Prime, 4K Ultra HD available)
"Totally Under Control": After also filming in secret this year, prolific director Alex Gibney has just released this chronicle of the U.S. government's response to COVID-19. Filled with whistleblower accounts recorded under strict safety protocols and unquestionably one of what will become many documentaries on the coronavirus pandemic, this project was edited down to the wire of its surprise release (in fact, Trump tested positive for the virus immediately after the final cut was locked). From mask shortages to potential vaccines, the film leaves no stone unturned while holding the Trump administration accountable for our country's still-increasing death toll. (Hulu)