Here is an interesting new release available now from digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.
Video on Demand
"1985": Adapted from his own award-winning short film, Austin-based director Yen Tan directs a poignant storyline about a closeted young Texan who returns home to visit his conservative family for Christmas. Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, Fox’s “Gotham”) left everything behind and got as far away from his past as humanly possible after graduation. We never see his life in New York, but it clearly has allowed him to live openly far from the judgment at home. He speaks vaguely of roommates, quietly changing the subject when asked about them or if he’s dating anybody at the moment. His father, Dale (Michael Chiklis), is a gruff Vietnam veteran who works in an auto shop and, when home, is often acutely tuned in to talk radio. His mother, Eileen (Virginia Madsen), is softer and kinder in every way, admitting in a hushed conversation that she “didn’t vote for Reagan last year.” The core household beliefs under Dale are guided by religion, strict discipline and a general avoidance of secular culture. This doesn’t make things easy for Andrew (Aidan Langford), Adrian’s younger brother, who secretly listens to a Madonna cassette with headphones on and has shifted his focus at school from sports to the theater. Returning to Texas is not strictly about celebrating Christmas. Adrian lands back at home with a mission to finally be honest with his family, not only letting them know he is gay but to also inform them that he has AIDS. Faced with the uncertainty of their response, he instead tries to reconnect and start out with his friend Carly (Jamie Chung), someone he has had a falling out with since moving away. Despite the subject matter, “1985” rarely dips into maudlin territory. It wisely chooses instead to celebrate unconditional love and the notion that what we have in common is greater than what divides us. (Digital VOD)
Also on streaming services
"The Rider": The surprise winner of best feature at the recent Gotham Independent Film Awards, Chloe Zhao used the real lives of her nonprofessional actors as the basis for her second feature film. In doing so, she has created a story so intimate and honest that it feels like a documentary. We follow a former rodeo star named Brady who has suffered brain damage after a horrific accident getting bucked off a horse in the ring. He lives in South Dakota with his gambling-addicted father and an autistic younger sister and tries to put his life back together by training horses after being told he can no longer ride himself. (Starz)