Here are some interesting new releases available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.
Video on Demand
"Hal": The studio system of the 1970s produced some of the wildest movies in the history of Hollywood. Directors with uncompromising visions were not the exception, but rather the norm. Hal Ashby's career included an incredible run of acclaimed feature films such as "Harold and Maude," "Shampoo," and "Being There" that are still celebrated to this day. Amy Scott's documentary about his career examines his successes and failures working in the industry while interviewing many of his great collaborators and admirers including Jeff Bridges, Jane Fonda, Judd Apatow, Allison Anders, David O. Russell, Lee Grant, Norman Jewison and Cat Stevens. (Cable and digital VOD)
"A Simple Favor": Paul Feig is best known for raunchy comedies such as "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat," which is why it is particularly surprising that he has helmed this canny thriller. Anna Kendrick stars as a single mother and upstart craft vlogger named Stephanie who befriends Emily (Blake Lively), a mysterious publicity director for a fashion designer whom she meets after their sons bond at school. Not long after, Emily suddenly disappears and Stephanie slowly finds herself integrating into the perfect life she always wanted. Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) sure doesn't mind the help around the house and that she is caring for his child. As the days go by and the police don't appear to be any closer to finding out what happened, Stephanie turns to her online fans to help crack the case. At times, it's a little too on the nose — Stephanie references Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic French thriller "Diaboloque" at one point — but the film is stylish, darkly comic, and filled with plenty of twists and turns. I saw one of them coming pretty early on, but even if you think you know where it's all headed, you're still likely to be surprised. Bonus points for a killer soundtrack that includes Serge Gainsbourg and Francoise Hardy. (Cable and digital VOD)
Also on streaming services
"Nico, 1988": Director Susanna Nicchiarelli's unexpected biopic stars Trine Dyrholm as the enigmatic singer who captured the attention of Andy Warhol and Lou Reed in the late '60s. This is weirdly not about her heyday with the Velvet Underground or even her iconic debut album "Chelsea Girl." Instead, it focuses on a time 20 years later, when she is an artist whose life has been curtailed by heroin addiction and struggling to make it through a European tour. In a beautifully tragic manner, Nicchiarelli chooses to focus on the final years of Nico's life where she still managed to give intense musical performances. (Hulu)