By Sean AxmakerWhat’s new for home viewing on video-on-demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other streaming services.
Top streams for the week
FilmStruck adds the full muscle of founding partner Turner Classic Movies to its service: you can now stream such classics as “Casablanca” (1942) with Bogie and Bergman, “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) with James Dean, “A Night at the Opera” (1935) with the Marx Brothers, “An American in Paris” (1951) with Gene Kelly, sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet” (1956), and every Astaire and Rogers musical, and that’s just in the first week. Look for hundreds of films from MGM, Warner Bros., and RKO studio libraries to be added over the next few months. That confirms FilmStruck, a partnership between TCM and The Criterion Collection, as the leading steaming service for classic movies. There’s a 14-day free trial if you want to try it out.
Four Oscar nominated films are newly arrived on Cable and Video On Demand in the final days before the Academy Awards are handed out, including three best picture nominees:
- The divisive “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017, R), nominated for seven Oscars, features best actress nominee Frances McDormand and supporting actor hopefuls Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.
- Coming-of-age dramedy “Lady Bird” (2017, R), nominated for five Oscars, is also up for actress Saoirse Ronan and filmmaker Greta Gerwig for directing and screenwriting.
- Gary Oldman is a best actor frontrunner for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” (2017, PG-13), one its six nominations.
- and Pixar’s animated feature nominee “Coco” (2017, PG).
Also on DVD, with “Darkest Hour” available at Redbox.
Hulu presents foreign language nominee “The Square” (Sweden, 2017, R, with subtitles), a dryly witty social satire set in the privileged world of high art and wealthy patrons that won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Kenneth Branagh directs “Murder on the Orient Express” (2017, PG-13) and stars as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot with a star-studded cast of suspects.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is offbeat high school comedy “Don’t Talk to Irene” (2018, not rated) with Michelle McLeod and Geena Davis and horror film “Midnighters” (2018, not rated).
Ethan Hawke is legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker in “Born to Be Blue” (2015, R).
French-Canadian zombie drama “Ravenous” (Canada, 2017, not rated, with subtitles) takes an intimate approach to surviving the undead apocalypse but doesn’t spare the gore.
Mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown shows how an ordinary person can be manipulated to commit a horrific act in his Netflix Original special “Derren Brown: The Push” (2018, TV-MA).
True stories: “Winnie” (2017, not rated) lets controversial South African activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandella tell her own story in.
Streaming TV: The CW musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 3” is now streaming just days after the TV finale. Also new:
- “Flint Town,” a Netflix original documentary series that follows the Flint, Michigan, police department over two difficult years;
- “Girls Incarcerated,” a non-fiction series about the lives of teenage inmates;
- Canadian sports drama “21 Thunder,” about a fictional under-21 soccer academy in Montreal.
The new month brings a new collection of movies. Here are a few highlights:
- indie science fiction “Moon” (2009, R) with Oscar nominee Sam Rockwell;
- family drama “People Like Us” (2012, PG-13) with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks;
- Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” (1995, R) with Robert DeNiro and Sharon Stone;
- the superb horror thriller “The Descent” (2005, R) from Neil Marshall;
- comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008, R) with Jason Segel and Mila Kunis;
Amazon Prime Video
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (2017, PG-13), Luc Besson’s lavish, candy-colored space opera based on the “Valerian and Laureline” French comics of the 1970s, is the most expensive French production ever made and it’s all up there is the film’s giddy visual imagination.
Ben Stiller faces a mid-life crisis when he meets successful old friends while visiting colleges with his teenage son in “Brad’s Status” (2017, R).
The LGBTQ romantic comedy “Signature Move” (2017, not rated) is set in the luchador world of masked wrestlers.
Cult: the short film “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” (1986, not rated), a DIY documentary featuring videotaped interviews with Judas Priest fans waiting for a concert, was the original a viral video, spread via bootleg videotapes in the days before streaming video.
True stories: “Spettacolo” (2018, not rated) reveals a small village in Tuscany with an unusual tradition: every year they turn their issues and anxieties and lives into an original play.
Among the new batch of films and TV shows this month are these family-friendly options:
- “Zathura: A Space Adventure” (2005, PG), the sequel to the original “Jumanji” from “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau;
- made-for-TV musical “Bye Bye Birdie” (1995, not rated) with Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams;
- British mini-series “The Color of Magic” (2008), a fantasy comedy based on the book by Terry Pratchett.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
The services share a number of notable new films this month. Here are some highlights:
- indie comedy “Jeff Who Lives at Home” (2012, R) with Jason Segel and Ed Helms (Prime Video and Hulu);
- Richard Linkater’s “Bad News Bears” (2005, PG-13) remake with Billy Bob Thornton (Prime Video and Hulu);
- extreme sports-meets-secret agent action film “xXx” (2002, PG-13) with Vin Diesel (Prime Video and Hulu);
- biopic “Chaplin” (1992, PG-13), which earned Robert Downey Jr. his first Oscar nomination (Prime Video and Hulu);
- con man comedy “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988, PG) with Michael Caine and Steve Martin (Prime Video and Hulu);
- “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” (1988, R), a spoof of seventies “blaxploitation” crime films (Prime Video and Hulu);
- “Earth Girls Are Easy” (1988, PG) with Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, and an early comedy turn by Jim Carrey (Prime Video and Hulu);
- cute puppy comedy “Fluke” (1995, PG) (Prime Video and Hulu) and animated adventure “The Secret of N.I.M.H.” (1982, G) (Prime Video and Hulu) for kids.
Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard star in “The Looming Tower,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning tome about how American intelligence missed the 9/11 attacks. The first three episodes are now available, new episodes arrive each Wednesday.
Foreign affairs: Pedro Almodovar directs the comedy “I’m So Excited!” (Spain, 2013, R, with subtitles) and “Nine Queens” (Argentina, 2000, R, with subtitles) is one of the sharpest con artist films ever made.
True stories: “We Blew It” (2017, not rated), named for a line from “Easy Rider,” explores how the idealism of the 1960s and 1970s ended up here.
“Notes from the Field” (2018, not rated) is a one-woman stage show written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith and recorded exclusively for HBO.
Available Saturday night is “Alien: Covenant” (2017, R), the sixth film in the science fiction series and the third directed by Ridley Scott. Katherine Waterston leads the mission and Michael Fassbender plays two roles.
Evan Peters is a rookie journalist who tries to go undercover with “The Pirates of Somalia” (2017, R) in the fact-based drama co-starring Al Pacino and Melanie Griffith.
Asa Butterfield and Britt Roberson star in “The Space Between Us” (2017, PG-13), a young adult science fiction romance.
FilmStruck / Criterion Channel
Along with an expanded classics library from TCM, FilmStruck adds a new weekly spotlight: Bette Davis is the Star of the Week. 23 films are now streaming, from tough pre-code films “Hell’s House” (1932) and “Three on a Match” (1932) to beloved romantic dramas “Dark Victory” (1939) and “Now Voyager” (1942) to “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” (1962) with Joan Crawford. My personal favorite of the line-up is “The Little Foxes” (1941) from director William Wyler, featuring a ferocious, Oscar-nominated performance from Davis.
Director of the Week is Fred Zinnemann and the collection includes his debut feature “Redes” (Mexico, 1936, not rated), hard-edge film noir “Act of Violence” (1949) with Robert Ryan and Van Heflin, and Oscar-winning classic “From Here to Eternity” (1953) with Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Deborah Kerr.
A cleverly-curated collection on the “The Art of the Con” includes such diverse selections as Mel Brooks’ original “The Producers” (1967, not rated), Orson Welles’ wily documentary/essay film “F for Fake” (1973, not rated), and Arturo Ripstein’s blackly comic true crime thriller “Deep Crimson” (Mexico, 1996, not rated, with subtitles).
And a collection of Neo-Noir crime thrillers includes British modern classics “Get Carter” (1971, R) and “Mona Lisa” (1986, R), both with Michael Caine, and American films “Night Moves” (1975, R) with Gene Hackman and “Body Heat” (1981, R) with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner.
New on Criterion Channel is the tender “The Spirit of the Beehive” (Spain, 1973, not rated, with subtitles), one of the favorite films of Oscar-nominated director Guillermo Del Toro, and four surreal French comedies films by Luis Bunuel, including Oscar-winner “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972, PG, with subtitles), presented with supplements featured on the Criterion disc releases.
New on disc this week:
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Lady Bird,” “Darkest Hour,” “Coco,” “Murder on the Orient Express”
Now available at Redbox:
“Darkest Hour,” “Just Getting Started,” “Hangman,” “Crooked House”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.