Staff Streaming Picks for January!

posted by Tom Fuchs on January 3, 2018

Welcome to the beginning of 2018, and another wonderful year of streaming options! Every month, a bunch of new films and shows are uploaded to streaming services for you to binge watch until your eyes pop. But how to sort through such an overwhelming list? Let the Milwaukee Film staff make all your streams come true. Here’s what we recommend for January.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

(January 31 via Amazon Prime • Dir. D.J. Caruso • 2017)

Take a peek at the top movie on this list and know that xXx: Return of Xander Cage is the exhilaratingly dumb action movie of your dreams.

– Tom, Communications & Social Media Manager

A Ghost Story

(January 7 via Amazon Prime • Dir. David Lowery • 2017)

One of my favorites of 2017, Texas-based, Milwaukee-born (and friend of the festival) filmmaker David Lowery presents a meditation on love and loss that features Casey Affleck under a sheet for most of the movie and an important scene invoving a pie. If you missed it in cinemas this summer, don’t miss it now.

– Cara, Programming & Education Director

Before I Wake

(January 5 via Netflix • Dir. Mike Flanagan • 2016)

I have stated this across many platforms over the past few years, but Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, Quija: Origin of Evil, Gerald’s Game) is one of the best directors working in the horror genre currently, combining formal excellence with a focus on strong character work (you do not want the protagonists of his films to be beset by the supernatural/murderous forces that descend on them). This film was completed a couple years ago but studio problems caused it to fade into the ether. Enter: Netflix! I can’t wait to see what he does with this story of a young boy (Room‘s Jacob Tremblay) whose dreams and nightmares manifest in reality while he sleeps.

–Tom (again), Communications & Social Media Manager

We Need to Talk About Kevin

(January 15 via Hulu • Dir. Lynne Ramsay • 2011)

I got married this past May, which has inevitably led to a lot of “So when are you guys having kids?” type questions. Every time this happens, I think about this movie. My answer before seeing WNTTAK was usually something like “Oh, we’re not really kid people.” My answer after seeing WNTTAK is now “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? AND RISK CREATING A SADISTIC SOCIOPATH AIMED AT RUINING MY LIFE?! NEVER.” Perhaps this is a bit dramatic, but this movie has re-enforced my deep-seeded fear of having children and cemented my decision not to. (Editor’s Note: My five-month old says hello, Katlyn.)

–Katlyn, Graphic Designer


(January 1 via Hulu • Dir. Steve Shainberg • 2002)

James Spader told me to pick We Need to Talk About Kevin. I do as I’m told.

–Katlyn, Graphic Designer

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

(January 1 via Netflix • Dir. Mel Stuart • 1971)

If I haven’t hammered this into your brains yet – this is my favorite movie. A beautiful mix of colorful fantasy and dark diversions. And possibly the best Gene Wilder performance of all time.

–Kristopher, Membership Manager

The Lovely Bones

(January 1 via Netflix • Dir. Peter Jackson • 2009)

A hard story told with fantastical imagery, a beautiful soundtrack, and solid performances from Saoirse Ronan, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci (never scarier), and Mark Wahlberg (who replaced Ryan Gosling at the 11th hour – I often find myself thinking about this switcheroo). Not beloved by everyone (see Rotten Tomatoes’ 31% fresh rating), but an interesting piece of cinema – especially for fans of Peter Jackson.

–Jessica, Development Director

Hot Rod

(January 1 via Hulu • Dir. Akiva Schaffer • 2007)

If you haven’t seen The Lonely Island’s initial foray into cinema before, congratulations! You’re about to become the next Douglas Bubbletrousers.

–Tom, Communications & Social Media Manager, again again

The Polka King

(January 12 via Netflix • Dirs. Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky • 2017)

This movie had me at “Based on a true story.” Jack Black plays a Polish polka ponzi schemer.

–Mark, Corporate & Community Engagement Director

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

(January 1 via Netflix • Dir. Scott Derrickson • 2005)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose brings me back to a time when late elementary school/early middle school-aged Maggie was just discovering the world of horror movies. Oddly enough, I was weirdly drawn to the combination of religion, demons, and devils and this was the movie that had me up way past my bedtime watching and replaying the freakiest scenes in the film. Thus began my love of exorcism movies. I think it’s a good one for beginners who are skeptical of the sub-genre.

–Maggie, Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Coordinator