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across the streaming-verse

What to Stream on Netflix and Hulu This Weekend: Sundance 2013 Movies

This weekend, as you search for a movie to watch, you can either head to the theater for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit or pick one of approximately 14 billion options available on streaming over a variety of services, be it Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, On Demand, or other sites. Every Friday, Vulture tries to make life easier by narrowing it down to a handful of heartily recommended options. This week, as Sundance 2014 kicks into gear, jump in the wayback machine to revisit the buzzy movies from last year's fest.

C.O.G.
The first film adapted from a David Sedaris short story is as neurotic, awkward, and poignant as fans of the writer's memoirs would hope. Star Jonathan Groff, as the Sedaris proxy, embodies the author's literary voice, playing a wayward twenty-something whose likability is in constant battle with a pseudo-intellectual, skeptical core. C.O.G. picks up with David as he embarks on a spiritual journey — or whatever retreating to an Oregon apple orchard can really be considered. The simple escape is thrown a curve ball when David wakes up to the fact that other people exist in the world: day laborers, gay men pining for company, hyper-Christians … Oregon has it all, much to David's surprise. C.O.G. is a quiet, charming little movie about finding meaning and actually discovering it (which separates it from most “Sundance” dramas). (Available on Netflix)

Cutie and the Boxer
Artistic ambition can act as a stranglehold on life — just look at Llewyn Davis. But for Noriko Shinohara, wife of Japanese Dadaist Ushio Shinohara, art (in this case, painting) is both a ball and chain and fuel for survival. As documentarian Zachary Heinzerling explores the Shinoharas' 40-year marriage, it becomes apparent that the luster of Ushio's kinetic style — violently punching canvases with paint-slathered boxing gloves — masks a tenuous marriage. Noriko traveled to America in the '60s, dreaming of becoming an artist herself. Then she met Ushio, fell in love, and became his live-in assistant. Cutie and the Boxer finds Noriko at her lowest, spurring her to rediscover her artistic talents. Luckily, the film finds a little more hope for this Llewyn-esque lady. (Available on Netflix)

Computer Chess
This '80s-set, technologically-infused comedy aims for full immersion — and it might rub some the wrong way. Andrew Bujalski cobbled together old Sony tube cameras from the 1960s to shoot his chess convention docudrama. It's the driest, wryest man vs. machine movie of all time, spiraling into absolute weirdness as nerd-ass men and women are defeated by homegrown chess programs. When one of the lanky, socially disconnected programmers is seduced by a couple from a dueling encounter-therapy convention, Bujalski hits another level of uncomfortable. Good uncomfortable. (Available on Netflix, Hulu)

Also recommended:

A Teacher (Hulu)
Blackfish (Netflix)
Crystal Fairy
(Netflix)
Dirty Wars
(Netflix)
Lovelace
(Netflix)
Newlyweeds
(Netflix)
Prince Avalanche
(Netflix)
Sightseers
(Netflix)
Sound City
(Amazon Prime)
The Square
(Netflix)
This Is Martin Bonner
(Netflix)
Top of the Lake
(Netflix)
Touchy Feely
(Netflix)
Upstream Color
(Netflix)
V/H/S 2
(Netflix)
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
(Netflix)