By Sean Axmaker
What’s new for home viewing on Video on Demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other streaming services.
Top streams for the week
Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried star in the sci-fi thriller “Anon” (2018, not rated), a murder mystery set in a future with no privacy or anonymity from “The Truman Show” writer and “Gattaca” director Andrew Niccol. It debuts directly to Netflix.
John Woo returns to gun-fu action with “Manhunt” (China, 2017, not rated, with subtitles), a bullet-riddle action thriller about a Chinese lawyer in Osaka on the run from cops and killers in a series of high-energy signature set pieces directed with self-parodying humor. Arrives on Netflix after playing cinemas in Asia.
Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne are three Vietnam vets on a road trip to bury the son of a friend killed in combat in “Last Flag Flying” (2017, R) from director Richard Linklater. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Helen Mirren stars in the haunted mansion horror “Winchester” (2018, PG-13), inspired by an American legend, and James Corden voices Beatrix Potter’s wily hare in the animated adventure “Peter Rabbit” (2018, PG) with live-action actors Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne. Also new:
- war drama “12 Strong” (2018, R) with Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon;
- indie comedy “Duck Butter” (2018, not rated) from director Miguel Arteta and actress/co-writer Alia Shawkat;
- Oscar-nominated foreign language drama “The Insult” (Lebanon, 2017, R, with subtitles);
- animated fantasy “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” (Japan, 2017, PG, English and Japanese language versions)
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the caper comedy “The Con is On“ (2018, not rated) with Uma Thurman, Maggie Q, Parker Posey, Alice Eve, Sofia Vergara, and Tim Roth.
“Black Lightning: Season 1,” the CW’s newest superhero series, adds yet more colors to the array of DC Comics characters on the screen, and I don’t just mean an empowered African-American hero. Jefferson Piece (Cress Williams) is a high school principal in a predominantly black neighborhood and a father of two grown daughters who dons the suit after years in retirement. This a hero dealing with age, parenting, community duty, and personal responsibility and the series speaks to the lives of black teens and young adults in urban America between comic book action scenes. It arrives on Netflix days after the season finale showed on TV.
“A Little Help with Carol Burnett: Season 1” is a new unscripted Netflix Original series that teams the comedy legend with a panel of children to offer advice to celebrities and everyday people. 12 half-hour episodes now available to stream.
The Oscar-winning animated comedy “Shrek” (2001, PG) features Mike Myers voicing a swamp ogre, Eddie Murphy as a talking mule, and Cameron Diaz as a fairy tale princess waiting for her happily ever after.
From England comes “God’s Own Country” (2017, not rated), a drama about a closeted Yorkshire farmer who begins an affair with a Romanian migrant worker.
The short documentary “End Game” (2018, not rated) follows visionary medical practitioners who are working on the cutting edge of life and death.
Foreign affairs: “Forgive Us Our Debts” (Italy, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), about a man deeply in debt forced to work as a debt collector, debuts on Netflix the same day it opens in Italy.
Also new in May are the family-friendly drama “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009, G) with Richard Gere and a collection of sequels:
- “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007, PG-13), the third film in the series with Matt Damon;
- “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” (2008, R) with John Cho and Kal Penn;
- Guillermo Del Toro’s “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008, PG-13) with Ron Perlman;
- “Red Dragon” (2002, R), the third film to feature Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter;
- Wes Craven horror film “Scream 2” (1997, R) with Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox;
- “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” (2008, G) with Disney Channel sweethearts Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens.
More streaming TV: science fiction thriller “The Rain: Season 1” is a Netflix Original from Denmark about life after a viral apocalypse. Also new:
CW comedy “Jane The Virgin: Season 4“;
Netflix Original “Dear White People: Volume 2“;
“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey,” featuring a performance by Buddy Guy.
True stories: “27: Gone Too Soon” (2018, not rated) looks at the musical greats who died at age 27: Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. Also new: “A Life of Its Own: The Truth about Medical Marijuana” (2017, not rated) puts a spotlight on new research.
Amazon Prime Video
John Hurt is “The Elephant Man” (1980, PG) opposite Anthony Hopkins in David Lynch’s haunting drama, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards.
John Wayne made his final film appearance in “The Shootist” (1976, PG), an elegiac sunset western with Lauren Bacall and James Stewart. Also new this month:
- Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” (2008, R);
- Tom Tykwer’s “Perfume: Story of a Murderer” (2006, R) with Ben Wishaw and Dustin Hoffman;
- Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia” (2002, R) with Al Pacino;
- Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001, PG-13), based on the Stanley Kubrick treatment;
- “Wonder Boys” (2000, R), based on the Michael Chabon novel, starring Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr.;
- country music drama “The Thing Called Love” (1993, PG-13) featuring the final screen performance by River Phoenix;
- Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” (1987, R) with Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro;
- Ridley Scott’s “The Duellists” (1978, PG) with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine.
Kid stuff: “The Golden Compass” (2007, PG-13), based on the novel by Philip Pullman, is a handsome, grandly-realized big screen fantasy but failed to launch a planned franchise. Dakota Blue Richards stars with Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and an army of ice bears. Also new: the animated comic adventure “The Wild Thornberrys Movie” (2002, PG).
Streaming TV: “Pride and Prejudice” (1995), the superb mini-series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, leads off a collection of BBC limited series and miniseries, including the original “The Office: Complete Series” with creator Ricky Gervais and future Bilbo and Dr. Watson Martin Freeman and the 1981 cult miniseries “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” based on the comic novel by Douglas Adams.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
The intimate and moving drama “Starting Out in the Evening” (2007, PG-13) stars Frank Langella as a once-celebrated author whose passion is rekindled by an appreciative graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) (Prime Video and Hulu).
“Men with Brooms” (2002, R) is an amiable underdog sports comedy from Canada about a misfit curling team that reunites to fulfill a dead man’s last request. Paul Gross and Molly Parker star (Prime Video and Hulu).
An awkward teenage girl moves to a new high school in the comedy “Permanent” (2017, PG-13) starring Patricia Arquette and Rainn Wilson.
The documentary “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene” (2017, not rated) looks at the impact of “Psycho” and the artistry behind the scene that shocked audiences in 1960.
Woody Allen’s romantic comedy “To Rome with Love” (2012, R) stars Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Roberto Benigni, and Penelope Cruz. Also new:
- Steven Soderberg’s Oscar-winning “Traffic” (2000, R) with Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Benicio Del Toro;
- “Bride and Prejudice” (2004, PG-13) combines Jane Austen and Bollywood musical comedy;
- British immigrant drama “Dirty Pretty Things” (2002, R) with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou;
- cyberthriller “The Matrix” (1999, R) and its two sequels with Keanu Reeves;
- original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984, R) plus five sequels;
- cult revenge fantasy “The Crow” (1994, R) plus three sequels.
The hit action comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (2017, R) stars Ryan Reynolds as the professional hired to protect the star witness (Samuel L. Jackson) in a big trial.
The five-part documentary miniseries “Being Serena” (2018, not rated) follows the tennis legend as she takes on motherhood while continuing to compete. The first episode now available, new episodes every Wednesday through May.
Other new arrivals include the British drama “Lady Macbeth” (2017, R), based on a classic Russian novel about a young bride in a loveless marriage, and David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood drama “Maps to the Stars” (2015, R) with Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska.
Available Saturday night is the animated adventure comedy “The Lego Ninjago Movie” (2017, PG) and you can stream the “2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” on Sunday, a day after its cable premiere.
Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake” (2017, R), a scathing social drama and a touching portrait of compassion, won the top prize at Cannes in 2016.
Also new to Showtime this month:
- comedy “Looking for Eric” (2010, not rated) from filmmaker Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty;
- sci-fi thriller “Children of Men” (2006, R) with Clive Owen;
- “Cloverfield” (2008, PG-13), a twist on the alien invasion thriller that launched a mini-universe of connected films;
- Oscar-winning drama “Terms of Endearment” (1983, R) with Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger;
- documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” (2010, not rated).
TCM Select Pick of the Week is “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), the Oscar-winning adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ stage hit that made a star of Marlon Brando and helped bring a new style of acting to Hollywood studios. Streaming through October 26
It launches the “Star of the Week: Marlon Brando” spotlight, which includes “Julius Caesar” (1953) with James Mason and John Gielgud and the Tennessee Williams adaptation “The Fugitive Kind” (1960) with Anna Magnani. Also new:
- a twenty-five-film salute to “Director of the Week: Yasujiro Ozu,” from his marvelous silent comedies and crime dramas to his masterpieces “There Was a Father” (Japan, 1942, with subtitles) and “Tokyo Story” (Japan, 1953, with subtitles);
- “The Brilliance of Busby Berkeley“: fifteen films choreographed and/or directed by the visionary dance man, including the definitive backstage musical “42nd Street” (1933) and the musical drama “For Me and My Gal” (1942) with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland.
New on disc this week:
“12 Strong,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Winchester,” “Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
Now available at Redbox:
“12 Strong,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Winchester,” “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” “Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.