Films from the dusty corners of subscription services


During this time of social distancing, have you started to notice the limitations of your algorithm – whether those provided by streaming services or our own brains? The Brattle is here to help you #BreakYourAlgorithm!

When we are showing films for the public, we try hard to look to the whole depth and breadth of cinema history to provide options that some of our audience may never even have heard of. Likewise, this weekly selection of 2-4 films will draw from the unseen corners of the most popular streaming services – mostly Netflix, AmazonPrime, and Hulu – to present some options that their trusty computer algorithms seem to ignore. We’ll mostly be highlighting films from before 2000 since those tend to be the hardest to find on the streamers and we’ll endeavor to keep a good variety up so that even if you have seen one film, hopefully, another will be new to you. Let’s all do our best to confuse the robots by breaking out of our cinematic comfort zones!

New selections will be announced every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.






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Wednesday, April 8


Now streaming on Prime and Netflix; for rent elsewhere

1978 • dir Chandra Barot w/Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Pran, Iftekhar, Om shivpuri, Satyendra Kapoor • 166 min

This stone-cold classic of Bollywood cinema is just waiting for discovery on your streaming services. A suave but ruthless gangster named Don (Amitabh Bachchan) is finally captured by the police but is killed during an escape attempt. It just so happens that the chief inspector knows of a man named Vijay who looks identical to Don and enlists his aid to infiltrate the gang. Of course, Vijay comes up against obstacles – including the beautiful but dangerous Roma (Zeenat Aman) who is looking to bring vengeance upon Don. This is a ridiculously entertaining movie with a mix of 70s action, gangster epic, romantic comedy, and insane coincidences – not to mention the requisite musical numbers that pepper most Bollywood films. There is also a 2006 remake streaming so keep your eyes open for the original!

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Thursday, April 2


Streaming on Prime; Free on Tubi, Vudu; For rent elsewhere

1995 • dir Daisy von Scherler Mayer w/Parker Posey • 94 min

“Heh-heh-hello!” Those not in their 20s during the mid-90s might have forgotten this awesome indie film from Daisy von Scherler Mayer. An early-in-her-career Parker Posey plays Mary, a, well, party girl who is devoted to a life of fun. When she is busted for hosting a house party and has to borrow money for bail, Mary winds up getting an unexpected job as a librarian to pay it back. What begins as a boring chore, soon becomes a vocation and Mary’s life begins to change.

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Wednesday, April 1


Streaming on Prime, Hulu; For rent elsewhere

1988 • dir Julien Temple w/Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans • 100 min

This bonkers late-80s musical sci-fi comedy is just the over the top distraction to whisk you away to another time and place. Manicurist Valerie (Davis) is surprised one day by a spaceship crashing into her pool. When three colorfully-furred but oddly attractive aliens (played by the wacky trio of Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans) pop out, Gail decides to befriend them and help them cope with 1980s L.A. culture. Helmed by former Sex Pistols compatriot and music video director Julien Temple, EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY is a film both ahead of and very much of its time… But mostly it is just absurd, madcap fun.

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Thursday, March 26


Please Note: Due to licensing changes on April 1, this title is no longer available.

1970 • dir Marek Piwowski w/Jan Himilsbach, Stanislaw Tym, Jerzy Dobrowolski • 65 min

Did you know that there was a satirical Polish film hiding on Netflix? Neither did we, but here it is. This 1970 black and white film is beautifully restored with English subtitles. Due to a case of mistaken identity, a stowaway on a riverboat cruise is made the entertainment director. Soon, he has manipulated many of the crew and his fellow passengers to create his own mini-dictatorship complete with arbitrary rules, vague policy discussions, cultural appropriation, and a kangaroo court. The stowaway seems to gain his power mainly because the passengers on the ship become bored with the lazy pace of their leisure. The film culminates in an absurdist pageant put on by the stowaway and his cronies. Populated with mostly non-professional actors and shot in a semi-documentary style, THE CRUISE is full of hilariously low-stakes political discourse and paints a biting parody of life under Communist rule in 1970s Poland.

Wednesday, March 25 • Double Feature


Streaming on AmazonPrime, for rent elsewhere

1984 • dir Sammo Hung Kam-Bo w/Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Biao Yuen • 104 min

If you’re not a Jackie Chan fanatic, chances are you haven’t seen WHEELS ON MEALS and it’s a great one! A fun and exciting Hong Kong action/comedy shot in Spain and starring the so-called Three Brothers: Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung. Jackie and Yuen play cousins who run a popular food truck in Barcelona. They soon cross paths with a beautiful young thief who turns out to be the heir to a fortune and the target of a kidnapping plot. Sammo shows up as a bumbling detective and hijinks ensue. The film culminates in a showdown at a castle that includes a legendary fight between Jackie and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. A super-fun hidden gem on AmazonPrime.

Sadly, this is an English dubbed version but the film is so much fun that you’ll hardly notice.

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Streaming on AmazonPrime and Netflix; for rent elsewhere

1994 • dir Lee Lik-chi w/Stephen Chow, Christy Chung, Ng Mang-tat • 93 min

Here’s another great action/comedy from Hong Kong lurking way down the queue on Netflix and Prime! You may have seen Stephen Chow in his later masterpieces Shaolin Soccer or Kung Fu Hustle but this mid-90s gem highlights his comedic charms perfectly. Chow plays Ho Kam-An, a hapless food delivery boy who falls for a beautiful judo student but her boorish teacher gets in the way. In a bid to win her affections, Ho Kam-An enlists the aid of a shady guru who teaches him a half-ass kung fu style that turns out to be surprisingly effective. This hilarious film is constantly skewering the tropes of the kung fu combat flick while never fully sacrificing its story. It escalates into one big madcap martial arts showdown as Ho Kam-An faces off against the ‘invincible’ Japanese karate champion.

The online version is in Chinese with pretty good English subtitles.

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