by Sean Axmaker
What’s new for home viewing on video-on-demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services.
Top streams for the week
Claire Foy returns as Queen Elizabeth in the second season of “The Crown,” the impressive historical series from Oscar-nominated writer Peter Morgan. It’s one of the most acclaimed shows on Netflix and this season takes royal couple Elizabeth and Philip (Matt Smith) through the socially turbulent ’60s. Ten episodes are now streaming on Netflix.
“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017, PG-13) sends Marvel’s intergalactic team of misfit heroes on a colorful odyssey to the center of the universe with video game battles and hyperspace jumps to learn the meaning of family. With Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, guest star Kurt Russell, Baby Groot, and a jukebox collection of 1970s pop tunes. It’s now on Netflix.
TV is overwhelmed with superhero shows but “Legion,” drawn from the Marvel Comics Universe and developed for FX by “Fargo” showrunner Noah Hawley, offers a unique take on the genre, with a schizophrenic mutant hero (Dan Stevens), a mind-warping villain, and a maniacal performance from Aubrey Plaza. The first season is now on Hulu.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
The minions are back in “Despicable Me 3” (2017, PG), where reformed villain Gru (voice of Steve Carell) meets his long-lost twin brother Dru.
Also new: thriller “American Assassin” (2017, R) with Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton, comedy “Fits and Starts” (2017, not rated) with Wyatt Cenac, award-winning indie drama “Gook” (2017, not rated) set during the Rodney King riots, concert film “Living on Soul” (2017, not rated) with the late Sharon Jones, and documentary “Trophy” (2017, not rated) about the big business of big game hunting.
Foreign affairs: “Fast Convoy” (France, 2016, not rated, with subtitles) is an action picture about a team of dope smugglers in fast cars and “Dalida” (France, 2016, PG, with subtitles) dramatizes the life of the legendary French pop star.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is crime drama “Bullet Head” (2017, R) with Antonio Banderas and Adrien Brody and British psychological drama “Kaleidoscope” (2016, not rated) with Toby Jones and Anne Reid.
Steven Spielberg brings the beloved boy adventurer of Herge’s graphic novels to the big screen in the animated “The Adventures of Tintin” (2011, PG).
Tim Allen, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jessica Alba have an “El Camino Christmas” (2017, not rated) in the Netflix original comedy from writer Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”) and director David E. Talbert (“Almost Christmas”). For younger folks, “Trolls Holiday Special” (2017, not rated) arrives weeks after its TV debut.
Toby Maguire and Elizabeth Banks star in the black comedy “The Details” (2011, R) as a suburban Seattle couple who make some very bad choices and Q’orianka Kilcher is “Princess Kaiulani” (2009, PG) in the dignified but sanitized story of the last princess of Hawaii.
The concert special “Barbra: The Music … The Mem’ries … The Magic!” (2017, not rated) presents Streisand live in Miami.
True stories: “Winning” (2016, not rated) profiles five legendary athletes: tennis champion Martina Navratilova, golf great Jack Nicklaus, Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, track and field star Edwin Moses, and Dutch Paralympian Esther Vergeer.
Stand-up: “Craig Ferguson: Tickle Fight.”
Amazon Prime Video
“Holiday Inn” (1942), a musical for all seasons starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as buddies and romantic rivals, introduced the classic holiday song “White Christmas.”
Somewhat cheekier is the documentary “Jingle Bell Rocks!” (2014, not rated), which tracks down the most unusual, eccentric, and unbelievable Christmas songs ever released.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, and Kate Winslet headline the violent caper drama “Triple 9” (2016, R) set in Atlanta, while crime thriller “Gun Shy” (2017, R) with Antonio Banderas and Olga Kurylenko and survival horror “Aftershock” (2012, not rated) are set in Chile.
Streaming TV: “Class: Season 1” from BBC is a “Doctor Who” spin-off about time-travelling students (8 episodes) and “The Royals: Season 3” continues the trashy soap opera set in a fictional British monarchy.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
Michael Cera and Jonah Hill star in the raunchy high school comedy “Superbad” (2007, R) (Amazon Prime and Hulu) and Jason Statham returns in the extreme action thriller “Crank: High Voltage” (2009, R) (Amazon Prime and Hulu).
The contemplative indie drama “Columbus” (2017, not rated) stars John Cho as a man confronting the mortality of his father while touring the modernist architecture of Columbus, Indiana.
Steve McQueen stars in the original “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968, R) as a millionaire criminal mastermind who plots elaborate heists for the thrill and meets a worthy opponent in the elegant and relentless insurance investigator Faye Dunaway.
Streaming TV: Jeffrey Donovan’s psychic con man is back in “Shut Eye: Season 2” with all 10 episodes available to stream.
Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell star in the action thriller “Deepwater Horizon” (2016, PG-13), about the workers trying to survive an oil rig disaster.
Also new: comedy “Wilson” (2017, R) with Woody Harrelson as a neurotic curmudgeon who discovers he has a grown daughter and thriller “Unforgettable” (2017, R) with Katherine Heigl going psycho on Rosario Dawson.
True stories: “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” (2017, not rated) profiles the esteemed editor of The Washington Post and “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide” takes a personal approach to a story of mental illness and suicide.
A number of HBO International limited series, including mystery thriller “Wasteland” from the Czech Republic and horror-fantasy “Halfworlds” from Indonesia, are now available to subscribers on HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO On Demand.
Stand-up: “Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady.”
Arriving Saturday night is “Logan” (2017, R) starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart.
Kristen Stewart is an American “Personal Shopper” (France, 2016, R, English and French with subtitles) to a French celebrity in Paris in the enigmatic ghost story/murder mystery from filmmaker Olivier Assayas.
Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart are “Certain Women” (2016, R) in Kelly Reichardt’s trilogy of small-town lives.
And in the holiday spirit (sort of) is the comedy “Office Christmas Party” (2016, R) with Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston.
Stand-up: “Orny Adams: More Than Loud“
FilmStruck / Criterion Channel
FilmStruck celebrates the glory of the Chinese romantic martial arts genre known as wuxia with four films, including King Hu’s sweeping masterpiece “A Touch of Zen” (Hong Kong, 1971, with subtitles) and Zhang Yimou’s “House of Flying Daggers” (China, 2004, PG-13, with subtitles)
Director of the week is Bimal Roy, one of the successful and celebrated filmmakers in India through the 1950s and 1960s, and FilmStruck presents 9 films, including his epic musical melodrama “Devdas” (India, 1955).
Fourteen classic giant monster movies from Japan stomp into The Criterion Channel this week, from the original Japanese version of “Godzilla” (Japan, 1954), as well the American version featuring scenes with Raymond Burr, to the lizard-versus-robot battle “Terror of Mechagodzilla” (Japan, 1975).
“The Indian Doctor” (2010-2013) stars Sanjeev Bhaskar as the title character, newly arrived from New Delhi to small Welsh mining town in the 1960s. All three seasons of the award-winning BBC drama are available.
The quirky “The Brokenwood Mysteries” from New Zealand returns for a fourth series, with new episodes arriving each Monday.
New on disc this week:
“Despicable Me,” “American Assassin,” “Better Watch Out,” “Gook,” “Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series”
Now available at Redbox:
“Logan Lucky,” “American Assassin,” “Better Watch Out,” “Ingrid Goes West,” “Pitch Perfect”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.