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On Demand: Christopher Nolan's thrill ride 'Tenet,' melodrama 'Sylvie's Love'

By Matt Shiverdecker
Special to the American-Statesman

Here is a new release available through digital and cable providers as well as a new title available for streaming this week. 

John David Washington, left, and Robert Pattinson in a scene from "Tenet."

Video on Demand

"Tenet": If you've ever seen a Christopher Nolan film, you know that you're in for outstanding visuals and, more than likely, a little bit of head-scratching. From "Memento" to films like "Inception" and "Interstellar," Nolan loves to provide twists and turns while simultaneously being obsessed with the very concept of time. John David Washington is credited simply as "Protagonist." He is a CIA operative embedded in an undercover operation that ends with him even deeper inside a secret organization that is trying to trace weaponry being used that may be allowing the bad guys to not just time travel, per se, but rather to move backward in time. Neil (Robert Pattinson) is there to assist the Protagonist on his journey, which gets increasingly dangerous as it becomes clear that a very evil man (Kenneth Branagh, camping it up with a terrible Russian accent) has catastrophic plans and the means to pull them off. Hoyte van Hoytema shot the majority of the film with large-format IMAX cameras, and this delivers one of the finest 4K transfers I have ever seen for home viewing. It's a shame that the pandemic kept many from seeing this on the big screen when it was released earlier this fall, but it's still an exciting thrill ride even from the comfort of your couch. As far as the high concept stakes go, I still feel like I could benefit from a map that connects all the characters and the actual timeline, but I had a blast watching it all the same. (Available to purchase now from all digital providers; cable and digital VOD rental on Jan. 5) 

Also on streaming services: 

"Sylvie's Love": Director Eugene Ashe was a musician before becoming a filmmaker. That experience and passion shine through in his exquisite second feature film, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Tessa Thompson stars as the titular character in this sumptuous melodrama that spans from the late '50s into the mid-'60s. Sylvie works in her father's record store and is engaged to a military man who is deployed, but after jazz musician Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) walks into her life, the sparks start to fly. Far from a traditional romance, Ashe shows us the good times and the bad times in a love affair that begins with a chance meeting. Declan Quinn, a frequent collaborator with Mira Nair, shot the film with Super 16 mm cameras, which instantly gives a lush, nostalgic vibe. Stellar art direction and costumes help this low-budget indie look like a million bucks. (Amazon Prime)