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Not into football? Stream a few movies this weekend: Here are Oscar nominees, winners, and several overlooked gems

Jeffrey M. Anderson | Feb. 2, 2015
This week we checked out Netflix's Oscar-nominated original documentary Virunga and found it very much worth watching. While we were in an Oscar-type mood, we found some other, previous nominees and winners, as well as some good movies that maybe should have been nominated. Amazingly, there are crime films, cult films, and rock films among them, as opposed to the usual "serious" stuff that often captures the spotlight. Finally, allow me to introduce you to Break.com, a new and free streaming service for Lionsgate movies.

Earlier in his career, Friedkin had been a documentary filmmaker whose fascination with the way things work creeps into all of his subsequent fiction films. All that goes out the window, however, for the famous car chase sequence along the elevated train. The movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Screenplay, and Best Editing.

Recommended on HuluPlus

Requiem for a Dream

After breaking through with his exceptional low-budget sci-fi film Pi (1998), director Darren Aronofsky made this harrowing, pulsing drama based on Hubert Selby Jr.'s 1978 novel. The hallucinatory Requiem for a Dream (2000) grapples with the increasingly uncontrollable addictions of four characters, while Aronofsky's innovative camera techniques plunges us into the anguish.

Three young friends (Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans) are heroin addicts, but one of them goes psychotic and another suffers a horrible infection in his arm. The fourth character is the unforgettable Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) who begins taking diet pills with the goal of being able to fit into a favorite red dress. Burstyn — already a five-time Oscar nominee with a win for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) — received her sixth nomination for her astounding performance. She lost to Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich).

Recommended on Crackle

Searching for Sugar Man

This vibrant documentary, which won the Oscar in early 2013, has it all: music, mystery, politics, and a surprise twist. The story begins with a forgotten Detroit singer called simply "Rodriguez" who was once compared to Bob Dylan, but whose records never sold. That might have been the end of it, but somehow, amazingly, bootleg tapes of Rodriguez's albums made it all the way to South Africa, where they became associated with the rallying cry against apartheid.Additionally, a legend that Rodriguez had committed suicide by lighting himself on fire onstage, helped to fuel the political energy of the music.

Director Malik Bendjelloul begins here, interviewing dozens of record store nerds and music fans, all of whom worked on the mystery and tried to find out what really happened to this powerful singer. The solution is exhilarating. As always, Crackle viewers can watch for free, with ads, without even registering or logging in.

Featured on Vudu

Gone Girl

David Fincher's extremely dark Gone Girl (2014), an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling 2012 novel, is so ingeniously bleak and cynical that it even points fingers at the audience as it goes along. It ostensibly begins as a "missing wife" mystery: a man, Nick (Ben Affleck), arrives home to find signs of a struggle and his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), gone. At first, viewers might wonder who did it, but eventually, with the appearance of a slick lawyer played by Tyler Perry, the movie becomes about the appearance of what happened, rather than what actually happened.

 

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