What’s new to VOD and streaming this weekend: November 13 to 15

Including reviews of I Am Greta, Our Time Machine, and Werner Herzog's latest travel documentary

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      Once again, our critics pick what’s new to streaming and VOD for the weekend of November 13, and list everything new to VOD and streaming platforms.

      Dating Amber

      (David Freyne)

      In '90s Ireland, closeted teens Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew) arrange a fake relationship to put an end to rumours about their respective sexual orientations—and wind up getting entangled in one another’s lives in ways they couldn’t have expected. In a considerable pivot from his Ellen Page zombie thriller The Cured, writer-director Freyne gives his high-school dramedy premise a streak of rough anger that feels true to its repressed environment—we quickly understand why his heroes are so desperate to pass for straight—while still letting O’Shea (Normal People) and Petticrew (A Bump Along The Way) create moments of empowering connection. And the film builds a world around them that feels oppressive without overdoing it: Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan and Extra Ordinary’s Barry Ward do a fine job of showing us how Eddie’s parents are aware he’s different, but not quite willing to investigate how. In a normal year, this would have been one of the biggest breakouts of the queer film festivals…but this isn’t a normal year. But now that Dating Amber’s on VOD, the people who need it most should have no trouble finding it. 92 min. Now available on digital and on demand. (Norman Wilner)

      I Am Greta

      (Nathan Grossman)

      Greta Thunberg’s life feels like it was written for a film. The teenage environmentalist’s story, from her lone climate strikes outside Sweden’s parliament in 2018 to sailing across the Atlantic to attend the UN Climate Summit in 2019, is full of pathos, triumph, danger, death threats and breakdowns. Her speeches emboldened other young people to take to the streets and demand action to fix the world. Director Grossman captures the humanity of her larger-than-life tale with an unnervingly close look into her interior life. We’ve seen the viral speeches, but Grossman only includes clips of them. He is more focused on Thunberg as she reads hateful comments, listens to Trump and Putin spew venom about her,and has anxiety attacks before addressing the UN, all the while grown adults ask her for selfies that she uncomfortably agrees to. We also see as she laughs with her father, dances in an empty room and grooms her dog, Roxy. She says living with Asperger’s keeps her hyperfixated on the climate crisis. 

      Greta is an accidental hero of our times propelled to the world stage seemingly overnight, but that status suffocates and stifles her, as this doc highlights. She clearly feels an immense burden and responsibility but also seems uncomfortable being known so widely. Grossman positions her as a girl at odds with a hypocritical establishment. As all the summits and meetings with presidents and diplomats like Emmanuel Macron blur together, Greta feels burned out and used. The doc avoids revelling in the sappy, feel-goodness you might expect if a North American filmmaker were telling this story. As she sails from Plymouth to New York City to show the world how difficult it is to live sustainably, she’s not a triumphant champion but rather a girl on the edge of desperation, hoping someone will finally pay attention. 112 min. Available to stream on Crave on Friday (November 13). (Kelsey Adams)

      Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds

      (Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer)

      The latest in Herzog’s long line of globe-trotting documentaries about the natural world is ostensibly an investigation of humanity’s fascination with meteors and the craters they leave behind. Sharing directorial credit with volcanologist Oppenheimer, who previously assisted him on Into The Inferno, Herzog tours half a dozen meteor sites, talking to scientists and locals about their literal and metaphorical impact—and, because a Werner Herzog joint has certain expectations, occasionally grousing about the surroundings in his heavy Bavarian accent. (In Mexico, he notes that the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatán peninsula is “so godforsaken you want to cry.”) On the one hand, I can’t fault Herzog for finding a way to finance his curiosity. But as with many of his later documentaries—Into The Inferno included—Fireball feels somewhat tossed off, its occasional insights fighting to be noticed amongst a bunch of stuff Herzog thinks will please the punters who’ve come to watch him do his thing. The director’s access means he gets to see some interesting sights, and the researchers are clearly happy to talk to someone who genuinely listens, but there’s a lot of fat on this thing. 97 min. Some subtitles. Available to stream on Apple TV+ Friday (November 13). (NW)

      Our Time Machine

      (Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang)

      In Shanghai, visual artist Maleonn deals with his father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis by writing and designing an ambitious puppet play about a son who builds his ailing father a “time machine” designed to recapture the older man’s failing memories. Maleonn makes things even more personal by asking his dad—the once-revered Peking Opera director Ma Ke—to consult on the production. Directors Yang and Chiang don’t do quite as much with this premise as they could have, getting lost in the abstractions of the show’s metaphor rather than crafting one of their own. The world Maelonn creates is beautiful and strange, its tactile clockwork design functioning as a physical analogue for the mechanics of the human brain, and I can totally understand why the filmmakers are so beguiled by it. But when they focus on the artists at its core—one struggling to realize his vision and another gradually losing his—Our Time Machine tells a powerful, all too universal story. 80 min. Subtitles. Now available on digital and on demand. (NW)

      Film festivals

      European Union Film Festival

      The 15th annual celebration of cinema from the E.U.—screening one film from each member nation—moves online this year. November 13 to 29 at the Cinematheque

      Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

      The 24th edition of Reel Asian offers a wide mixture of documentaries, features and shorts—many with accompanying panels and Q&As—along with a selection of workshops and artist talks. We made some recommendations hereTo November 19 at reelasian.com

      What’s new to streaming

      November 13

      Almost Almost Famous (CBC Gem)

      Bee & Puppy Cat (Crave)

      Dark Waters (Crave)

      Das Boot (season 2) (CBC Gem)

      Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (Crave)

      The Fireflies Are Gone (CBC Gem)

      Fruitvale Station (Crave)

      Gone Baby Gone (Crave)

      How To With John Wilson (season 1, episode 4) (Crave)

      I Am Greta (Crave)

      Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix Canada)

      The Life Ahead (Netflix Canada)

      Mohawk Girls (season 5) (CBC Gem)

      The Minions Of Midas (Netflix Canada)

      (Not) Hero (Crave)

      The Outpost (Netflix Canada)

      Real Time With Bill Maher (season 18, episode 34) (Crave)

      Star Trek: Discovery (season 3, episode 5) (Crave)

      W5 (season 55, episode 7) (Crave)

      November 14

      Red 1 (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      Red 2 (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      The Current War (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      November 15

      Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Shitt’s Creek Farewell (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      Desus & Mero (season 2, episode 61) (Crave)

      Dr.Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      Flesh And Bones (season 1) (Crave)

      The Good Lord Bird (season 1, episode 7) (Crave)

      Hometown Holiday (Netflix Canada)

      Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (season 7, episode 30) (Crave)

      Love Actually (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      Murder On Middle Beach (season 1, episode 1) (Crave)

      The Reagans (season 1, episode 1) (Crave)

      Schitt’s Creek (season 6) (Amazon Prime Video Canada)

      The Spanish Princess Part 2 (season 2, episode 6) (Crave)

      A Very Country Christmas (Netflix Canada)

      The Undoing (season 1, episode 4) (Crave)

      Available on VOD


      Documentary directed by James Erskin

      Hot Docs Ted Rogers Virtual Cinema

      The Broken Hearts Gallery

      Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Bernadette Peters; directed by Natalie Krinskky

      Read our review 

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Chick Fight

      Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne Alec Baldwin; directed by Paul Leyden

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Come Away

      David Oyelowo, Anna Chancellor, Angelina Jolie; directed by Brenda Chapman

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Damnation (New 4K Restoration)

      Miklos B. Szekely, Vali Kerekes, Gyorgy Cserhalmi; directed by Bela Tarr

      At the Cinematheque on October 14

      Dating Amber

      Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Sharon Horgan; directed by David Freyne

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      The Dark Divide

      David Cross, Debra Messing, David Koechner; directed by Tom Putnam

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Dead Reckoning

      India Eisley, K.J. Apa, Scott Adkins; directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Dinner With Friends

      Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Aisha Tyler; directed by Nicol Paone

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      The Giant

      Odessa Young, Ben Schnetzer, Rachael Fung; directed by David Raboy

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      I Am Greta

      Documentary directed by Nathan Grossman

      Read our review

      Apple TVGoogle Play


      Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell, Jessica Barden; directed by Max Winkler

      Apple TVGoogle Play


      Yifei Liu, Jason Scott Lee, Li Gong; directed by Niki Caro

      Read our review

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Martin Eden

      Luca Marinelli, Jessica Cressy, VIncenzo Nemolato; directed by Pietro Marcello

      Read our review 

      Our Time Machine

      Documentary directed by Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      A Rainy Day In New York

      Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Jude Law; directed by Woody Allen

      Apple TVGoogle Play


      Alexander Ludwig, RJ Fetherstonhaugh, Mitch Ainley; directed by Robert David Port

      Apple TVGoogle Play

      Disc of the week

      Girlfriends (Criterion, Blu-ray)

      Nicole Holofcener’s Walking And Talking, Darren Star’s Sex And The City, Lena Dunham’s Girls—they all owe a debt to Claudia Weill’s 1978 indie, which starred Melanie Mayron as a young photographer who finds herself suddenly adrift in Manhattan when her best friend and roommate (Anita Skinner) gets engaged. It’s a charming, insightful relationship picture that now plays as a showcase for Mayron’s winning screen presence; the camera loves her, her timing is impeccable, and she never crosses the tonal line that separates “relatably anxious” and “cloyingly neurotic.” Criterion’s excellent disc—built around a new 4K restoration of the feature—includes new interviews with Weill, Mayron, and supporting players Christopher Guest and Bob Balaban, a new interview with screenwriter Vicki Polon, and a conversation between Weill and Transparent creator Joey Soloway—as well as two of Weill’s shorts from the early '70s: "Commuters" (codirected with Eliot Noyes) and "Joyce At 34" (codirected with Joyce Chopra).