By Sean AxmakerWhat’s new for home viewing on Video on Demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other streaming services, starting Friday.
Top streams for the week
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” (2017, R), a monster movie turned romantic fantasy about a mute janitor (Sally Hawkins) and an amphibious creature held captive in a government lab, won four Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. It’s now on cable and video on demand and on DVD.
More Oscar winners new to VOD: the darkly comic and ferociously satirical “I, Tonya” (2017, R) with Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding won best supporting actress for Allison Janney, and the lyrical gay love story “Call Me by Your Name” (2017, R) with Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet won for Oregon-raised James Ivory’s adapted screenplay. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
“Benji” (2018, not rated), a Netflix Original remake of the original adorable shaggy dog adventure, updates the family-friendly adventure for a new generation of kids. Director Brandon Camp is the son of Joe Camp, creator of the original 1974 movie, which is also streaming on Netflix.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
In “Justice League” (2017, PG-13), the D.C. Universe answer to “The Avengers,” Batman and Wonder Woman (Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot) join forces with The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to save the world after the death of Superman.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide are the comedies “Furlough” (2018, not rated) with Melissa Leo as a troublesome inmate and Tessa Thompson as a rookie guard and “Dear Dictator” (2018, not rated) with Michael Caine as an exiled Caribbean dictator in suburbia who helps an American teenager (Odeya Rush) overthrow the mean girls of her high school. Also new: “The Forgiven” (2018, not rated), a drama starring with Forest Whitaker as Desmond Tutu.
“The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter” (2018, not rated), a comedy about a father-son bonding weekend starring Josh Brolin and Danny McBride, comes direct to Netflix from its world premiere at SXSW.
True stories: “Take Your Pills” (2018, not rated) looks at the (ab)use of Adderall and Ritalin by students and high-pressure professionals and the documentary mini-series “Wild Wild Country” takes on the story of the Rajneesh commune created in Central Oregon in 1981 and the culture clash that turned into a hostile takeover.
Streaming TV: the international line-up grows with the Belgian thriller “Tabula Rasa” (with subtitles) and the Argentine melodrama “Edha” (with subtitles). Also new: “The Hollywood Masters: Season 2” offers more interviews with film professionals.
Kid stuff: “On My Block: Season 1,” a drama about four friends in South Central L.A., is a high school series for teens and tweens. Also new: animated fantasy “Children of the Whales: Season 1” from Japan (dubbed and subtitled versions) and animated superhero comedy “Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout” for younger kids.
Stand-up: “Ricky Gervais: Humanity” (2018, not rated)
Amazon Prime Video
Originally produced for Disney Channel, “Nightjohn” (1996, PG-13) is a powerful drama about an enslaved 12-year-old girl in the antebellum South who learns to read, a “crime” punishable by death. Director Charles Burnett won an honorary Oscar this year.
Ansel Elgort and Chloe Grace Moretz are high school kids who turn detective to solve a murder in “November Criminals” (2017, PG-13).
Amazon Prime and Hulu
Pioneering primatologist Jane Goodall tells her own story in the award-winning documentary “Jane” (2017, PG), which features recently-discovered footage of her first expeditions to Africa.
“Blade of the Immortal” (Japan, 2017, R, with subtitles), the 100th film from Miike Takashi, pushes samurai action to extremes.
Also new: Denzel Washington is the father of a dying boy who takes an emergency room hostage in “John Q” (2002, PG-13) and Hugh Grant is a cartographer in an eccentric Welsh village in the romantic comedy “The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain” (1995, PG).
Streaming TV: Pierce Brosnan is a ruthless oil baron in 19th century Texas in the AMC historical drama “The Son: Season 1.” Also new: 2010 revival of British series “Upstairs Downstairs,” comedy “Angie Tribeca: Season 3” with Rashida Jones and Scandinavian murder mystery “The Bridge: Season 4.”
Rachel Weisz is “My Cousin Rachel” (2017, PG-13) in the romantic drama turned Gothic thriller adapted from the Daphne Du Maurier novel.
Arriving Saturday night is Sofia Coppola’s remake of “The Beguiled” (2017, R) with Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Colin Farrell.
Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Bacon hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers “Patriots Day” (2017, R).
FilmStruck / Criterion Channel
Spencer Tracy is the exasperated “Father of the Bride” (1950) in the classic comedy co-starring Joan Bennett and Elizabeth Taylor.
The great French actor and cinematic icon Jean Gabin is FilmStruck’s Star of the Week and the service offers 17 of his films, from 1930s masterpieces “Pépé le Moko” (France, 1937, with subtitles) and “Grand Illusion” (France, 1937, with subtitles) to gangster classic “Touchez pas au grisbi” (France, 1954, with subtitles) to crime drama “Deux hommes dans la ville” (“Two Men in Town“) (France, 1973, with subtitles) with Alain Delon.
FilmStruck celebrates Director the Week Christopher Guest with his four comic mockumentaries, from “Waiting for Guffman” (1996, R) to “For Your Consideration” (2006, PG-13), and curates a collection of Texas films, including “Giant” (1956, G) with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean, and Wim Wenders’ “Paris Texas” (1984, R).
The lighthearted legal drama “Striking Out: Series 2” from Ireland and the first two seasons of “Goodnight Sweetheart,” the BBC sitcom with Nicholas Lyndhurst as an accidental time traveler are available to stream in their entirety. Additional seasons of “Goodnight Sweetheart” arrive in the coming weeks.
New on disc this week:
“The Shape of Water,” “Justice League,” “I, Tonya,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Jane”
Now available at Redbox:
“I, Tonya,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Wonder Wheel”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.