10 under-the-radar movies from 2019 that you can watch right now – USA TODAY

Little women, jumpsuit-clad doppelgangers and a goofy Adolf Hitler.
These were the stars of some of the year’s best movies, according to USA TODAY movie critic Brian Truitt, with many of his picks (including “Parasite,” “Marriage Story,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “1917”) shaping up to be Oscar heavyweights. But there are plenty of equally entertaining and wholly unique films that either didn’t receive a nationwide theatrical release or are worthy of a second look after stumbling at the box office. We round up just a few of our favorites, all of which are available to stream or rent at home now.
Ranked: The 10 best movies of the 2010s ( from ‘Lady Bird’ to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’)
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If you were anywhere near social media or a Brooklyn Halloween party this year, it’s unlikely that you’d think “Midsommar” flew under the radar. After all, Ari Aster’s gonzo “Hereditary” follow-up has become something of a pop-culture phenomenon, with its instantly memeable burning bear, cathartic screams and flower crown-wearing heroine Dani (Florence Pugh), who joins her bad boyfriend (Jack Reynor) on a trip to a sun-drenched Swedish commune after tragically losing her entire family. But what makes “Midsommar” so remarkable – and so insanely rewatchable – is just how many different levels it works on: as a drug-fueled horror nightmare, a twisted relationship comedy, an acting tour de force for Pugh (now in the midst of a breakout year with “Little Women” and “Fighting With My Family”). Most of all, it’s a profoundly moving meditation on grief, letting go and finding your tribe – even if that happens to be a killer pagan sex cult. 
Streaming on Amazon Prime starting Friday; rent on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 
Women directed many of 2019’s most memorable films, from Lulu Wang’s deeply personal “The Farewell” to Lorene Scafaria’s stripper crime drama “Hustlers.” One of the very best is Joanna Hogg’s sumptuous autobiographical tale “The Souvenir,” which stars Tilda Swinton and her real-life daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne, who plays an idealistic young film student entangled in a toxic relationship with a secretive, hyper-critical older man (Tom Burke). The film achingly captures the throes of infatuation and heartbreak, anchored by an emotionally raw performance by 22-year-old newcomer Swinton Byrne.
Streaming on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 
Elisabeth Moss gives the best performance of her career in Alex Ross Perry’s feverish, relentless and ultimately affecting drama, in which the “Handmaid’s Tale” actress plays a fading punk-rock superstar spiraling through addiction and taking down everyone in her path. It’s courageous, gut-wrenching work from Moss that will likely be ignored by Oscar, but we’ll be talking about it for years to come.
Streaming on Kanopy; rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 
Hunky clones, African refugees and enormous fluffy puppies all come together in this weirdly whimsical satire about a sweet-but-stupid Portuguese soccer star (Carloto Cotta) trying to find a new lease on life after a crushing loss at the World Cup. It’s completely silly, unexpectedly topical and will have you smiling from start to finish. 
Streaming on Criterion Channel; rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play. 
A loyal, lovelorn woman (Zhao Tao) takes the fall for her mobster boyfriend and spends five years in prison, only to be released into a rapidly changing China. Set over two decades as she attempts to reunite with her lost beau, “Ash” is a melancholy crime drama of epic scope, with one of the most devastatingly romantic scenes you’ll see in a movie this or any year. (It also happens to be one of Barack Obama’s favorites of 2019.) 
Streaming on Kanopy; rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 
A slew of documentary Oscar hopefuls are already available to stream, including “American Factory” (Netflix), “One Child Nation” (Amazon Prime) and “For Sama” (YouTube). Our personal favorite is “Apollo 11,” which chronicles the 1969 U.S. moon landing, and was crafted from roughly 11,000 hours of audio recordings and previously unseen footage. By doing away with the usual talking-head interviews and animated infographics, director Todd Douglas Miller creates a pulse-pounding, bracingly intimate look at this historic event and how it united a nation.
Streaming on Hulu; rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 
A year after “Roma,” Netflix stepped up its game with original programming in a major way, with predicted Oscar heavyweights (“The Irishman,” “Marriage Story”), unusual animated fare (“I Lost My Body”), and the only movie where you’ll hear Robert Pattinson channeling Pepe Le Pew (“The King”). But one of the streaming service’s highlights is this haunting Senegalese ghost story about an ill-fated group of refugees and the women they leave behind. It’s a slow-burn drama full of striking, horror-esque imagery and was recently short-listed for best international feature film at the 2020 Oscars. 
Streaming on Netflix. 
Sorry, but Brad Pitt is about to win an Oscar for the wrong movie. Although he’s a charming scene-stealer in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” he reminds us he’s also a captivating leading man in James Gray’s elegiac space drama, about a mournful astronaut who travels to the outer reaches of the galaxy in search of his dad (Tommy Lee Jones), who went missing on a Neptune mission decades earlier. It’s a heartbreaking story about family, connection and the sacrifices of achieving greatness, made richer by stunning cinematography, jaw-dropping action sequences and an ingenious depiction of near-future space travel.
Rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 
Mary Kay Place (“The Big Chill”) is a revelation in this understated drama about a world-weary widow who throws herself into caring for her cancer-ridden cousin (Deirdre O’Connell) and drug-addicted son (Jake Lacy). But as she trudges through life’s mundane tasks with a tender, saintly smile, we gradually learn that Diane is harboring long-suppressed secrets and guilt of her own. It’s a bleak yet beautifully human story with an all-star cast rounded out by veterans Andrea Martin (NBC’s “Great News”) and Estelle Parsons (“Bonnie and Clyde”). 
Streaming on Hulu; rent on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play. 
We in no way believe this is one of the year’s “best” movies. But if you loved the laugh-out-loud insanity of “Cats,” then let us recommend this totally bonkers, future Razzie Award-winning disaster, which boasts a 20% positive rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Matthew McConaughey (comically tortured) and Anne Hathaway (delightfully campy) star as a fisherman and mystery woman who hires him to kill her abusive husband (Jason Clarke). There’s an outrageous twist that’s near-impossible to guess, making this your new go-to drinking-game movie. 
Streaming on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. 


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