Three of This Year's Most Talked About Movies Are Now on VOD

If you haven’t been paying attention to your video-on-demand options, now would be an excellent time to start. A few of this year’s best independent films that did not get a wide theatrical release are currently available to rent on VOD — and probably for less than the cost of two movie tickets. Here are three of summer’s best-reviewed and most ambitious movies, all of which are now available to stream in your living room (after the kids go to sleep).

(Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube)
Post-apocalyptic movies are all the rage right now, but this breathtaking action-thriller — directed by Bong Joon-ho — stands out from the pack. Seventeen years after a climate-change experiment wipes out life on Earth, the sole survivors take refuge on an enormous, globe-circling train called Snowpiercer. It’s an uneasy situation, with the passengers strictly segregated by class. The proles stage a revolt and attempt a move from the back of the train all the way to the front. The imaginative premise is elevated by strong visuals and a terrific cast that includes Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, and, most notably, Tilda Swinton, who plays a sadistic, yet weirdly hilarious, bureaucrat.

The Immigrant
(Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube)
Director James Gray’s sepia-tinted historical drama has been garnering enthusiastic praise from critics, who have compared it to such classic American-dream-gone-bad epics as The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, and Once Upon a Time in America. Marion Cotillard plays a Polish immigrant who arrives at Ellis Island in the early 1920s. Fearing deportation for herself and her ill sister, she makes a deal with a shady burlesque theater owner (Joaquin Phoenix). Jeremy Renner costars as a magician and rival love interest. Read our interview with director James Gray and star Joaquin Phoenix.

The Congress  
(Amazon, iTunes)
Think of The Congress as Robin Wright’s Being John Malkovich. Wright plays a version of herself in an alternate reality in which she falls off the map after 1987’s The Princess Bride, and must support a son with a degenerative disease. The actress undergoes a process in which her brain and body are scanned into a computer, generating a virtual “Robin Wright” who can be used at the studio’s whim. Eventually, “Wright” tries to break her contract, even as the movie vacillates between animated, live-action and fantasy worlds. The genre-bending film was directed by Ari Folman, the Israeli director behind 2008’s provocative animated documentary Waltz with Bashir.

Photos: Snowpiercer, Radius-TWC; The Immigrant, Anne Joyce/©Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection