Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2018, 5:46 AM
We’ve all had those days when nothing on Netflix seems interesting. But did you know that one of the perks you get with a Free Library membership is access to Kanopy, a video streaming service with 30,000 movies, documentaries, and TV shows?
To check out the available selections, all you have to do is visit KanopyStreaming.com and log in with your library card. However, keep in mind that Free Library cardholders can “check out” up to four movies a month.
A Free Library card is free to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes or goes to school in Philadelphia. You can sign up online — and can get an immediate temporary card — or in person at any Free Library location.
Here’s a list of movies and documentaries you can stream to get you started:
Before Christopher Nolan became an Oscar-nominated director for Dunkirk, he made Memento, a fast-paced thriller about a man with anterograde amnesia who is trying to track down his wife’s murderer. It was a critical success, and achieved two Academy Award nominations. If you’re a fan of Nolan’s unconventional storytelling style, you’ll love how Memento uses parallel scene sequences to build up to the reveal — one progressing chronologically and one in reverse.
Haunting and captivatingly strange, cult favorite Donnie Darko tells the story of a troubled teenager who begins to act strangely after meeting a mysterious figure in a rabbit costume. Expect fascinating performances from some of Hollywood’s best and brightest today, including siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, and Seth Rogen, who makes his big-screen debut here.
Centered around the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Gook, which made its debut at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, traces the friendship between two Korean-American brothers who run their father’s shoe store and an 11-year-old black girl in the neighborhood. A searing portrait of racial tensions coming to a head, Gook brings an angle on the riots not often seen onscreen.
Mother of George (2013)
Mother of George follows a newlywed Nigerian couple in Brooklyn as they struggle with fertility issues and the challenges of assimilating into American culture. Filled with vibrant cinematography and eloquent dialogue, Mother of George is a pleasure to watch, never becoming too melodramatic but tugging at your heartstrings just the same.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at last year’s Academy Awards, I Am Not Your Negro is a thought-provoking film based on novelist James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. Samuel L. Jackson narrates the documentary, which follows Baldwin’s friendships with civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers, who were all assassinated during the 1960s. Producer Hébert Peck, brother of director Raoul, is based in Voorhees, N.J., and works at Rutgers.
After Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lourdes Lee Vasquez met an immigrant crossing the Arizona desert, she set out to find out why people risk their lives to come to this country. Spanning seven years, Vasquez takes her audience on a journey through the polarizing, often thorny issue of immigration and brings to light issues never before considered in the immigration debate. Grounded in sociology, economics, philosophy, history, policy and activism, this documentary digs deeply into complexities and nuances of this emotional issue, more urgent today than ever.
A Suitable Girl (2017)
In A Suitable Girl, filmmakers Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra tackle a widely misunderstood topic — arranged marriages. Khurana and Mundhra follow three young Indian women of marriageable age over four years as they grapple with their independence, and how tradition plays into their identities. Expect your convictions to be challenged in this beautifully honest portrait of how arranged marriages work.
In Ida, a young nun learns of a dark family secret on the eve of taking her vows. Handled masterfully by Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida grapples with Poland’s darkest moments and unearths the intersection between Catholicism, Judaism, and communism in the 1960s. The film won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.
Based on director Wang Xiaoshuai’s biography, 11 Flowers tells the story of a young boy who encounters a criminal in the woods during the Cultural Revolution in China during the mid-1970s. Wang handles the story with a delicate touch, including small details that evoke life’s daily pleasures, creating a touching film about the loss of innocence during a unique period of time in China.
Seven Samurai (1954)
If you’re a movie enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about Seven Samurai, a samurai adventure that’s considered one of the greatest films ever made. Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai has influenced many famous films that came after it, including The Magnificent Seven, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and even A Bug’s Life.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Acclaimed New Zealand director Taika Waititi gained recognition last year for Thor: Ragnarok, a hilarious addition to the Marvel Universe. Dive into Waititi’s earlier work with Hunt for the Wilderpeople, about a young city kid on the run with his foster uncle in the New Zealand bush, an unpredictable and wild place.