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Stream This: 'Frank,' 'Fantasia' and 'The Interview'

Celebrate a Sundance fave from last year as the current festival rages.

Indie
‘Frank’
Netflix Instant

We’re in the midst of the Sundance Film Festival, where tiny films —or, usually, well-funded faux-indies with lots of familiar faces —get hyped, sometimes deservedly, sometimes not. Speaking of which, one film that a year ago looked like a massive crossover was this Irish musical dramedy, which largely obscures its most famous face: the one belonging to Michael Fassbender, who plays a vaguely troubled singer who fronts his avant-rock band underneath a fat papier-mache head.

But like its central musicians, it’s not a film for a mass audience. Viewed with expectations hovering around “normal,” it’s a weirdly charming (if not to say quirky) look at how bands are shaped by social media, and the damage never more dialed-up commercial awareness can do to delicate artists seeking only to ply their trade. Initially a very silly film, it definitely goes too far into darkness and pathos, only to rally with a final, unexpectedly moving final number.

Animation
‘Fantasia’
Netflix Instant

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Simultaneously one of the most pompous and most beautiful films ever made, Walt Disney’s opus was meant to class up a populist joint, using their name —and, briefly, Mickey Mouse —to lure the masses into gnawing on some cultural vegetables. It didn’t work, and plans for a constantly evolving franchise — with some segments dropped out for new ones every so often — were scuttled. (Six decades later “Fantasia 2000” picked up the mantle for an iffy one-off.)

What’s left, though, is some of the most beautiful animation, performed by a house working at their arguable creative zenith, one ready to show off the breadth of its powers: from pure abstraction to their usual cute animals to scary monsters to the very beginnings of the universe and infancy of the planet.

Would-be blockbuster
‘The Interview'
Netflix Instant

Remember when some claimed the Sony leak and subsequent almost international incident wrought by this Seth Rogen-James Franco assassination comedy was an inside job, meant to bolster box office? After making only its $40 million budget back from online rentals (impressive for the Internet, but a pittance for theatrical), it can now be streamed by anyone with an Instant subscription. So much for that theory.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 
 
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