Here is an interesting new release available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.
Video on Demand
"Shadow": With "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers," Zhang Yimou has directed some of the most popular "wuxia," or martial arts heroes, films of all time. This type of martial arts movie specifically deals with stories of fantasy based in ancient China. As Zhang lovingly returns to the genre, he delivers a visually stunning tale that is almost without any color at all: while predominately in black and white, he uses very specific instances of color on screen and, most directly, shows splashing blood in deep red across the dark frame. One fight sequence that takes place on top of a large Taoist yin-yang symbol is simply breathtaking. The third-century storyline and political implications therein can be a little confusing, but the incredible action sequences are what most Western viewers will care about. In Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles. (Cable and digital VOD, 4K Ultra HD available)
Also on streaming services
"American Factory": Dayton, Ohio-based filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar follow up their Academy Award-nominated short "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" by looking at how that same decommissioned General Motors factory was transformed several years ago into a car-glass manufacturing plant by a Chinese billionaire. With unprecedented access to the management side and in-depth interviews with the employees, they illustrate the conflicts that occurred after many of those formerly unionized GM workers took up a new position in the reopened factory. The candor on both sides is illuminating and surprising. When the company, Fuyao, and its chairman, Cao Dewang, stepped up to invest in the state of Ohio, people were incredibly excited. The combination of an economic recession and the closing of the plant where so many residents worked was devastating to the community, and the idea of new jobs coming to the area looked like it would turn things around. But many of the former GM factory workers soon realized that their formerly high paying union-supported jobs were not coming back and this new plant would be expecting longer hours and less pay. The tension between Chinese management and supervisors versus the new glass factory employees is palpable, and we witness many closed-door meetings where the bosses feel their new American workers are lazy and entitled. It's a fascinating culture clash and, in part, a succinct explanation of how jobs like this have consistently disappeared from our shores in favor of cheaper labor elsewhere. Acquired after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, this is the first release from Higher Ground Productions, the new company from Barack and Michelle Obama. (Netflix)