By Sean AxmakerTop streams for the week
The miniseries “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (2018), based on the novel about four young women who vanish without a trace during an outing in the Australian outback in 1900, takes a darker, eerier approach than Peter Weir’s dreamy 1975 film. Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones”) stars as the mysterious headmistress of a boarding school filled with secrets and repressed emotions. Amazon Prime Video presents the American debut of the six-episode Australian series.
Salma Hayek is a massage therapist invited to a wealthy client’s dinner party in “Beatriz at Dinner” (2017, R), where her patience and generosity is tested by a brazen, bigoted billionaire (a swaggering John Lithgow) and the apathy of the guests who tolerate his toxic behavior. Director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White present a timely and discomforting satire for the age of Trump. Streaming on Prime Video and Hulu.
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile, 2017, R, with subtitles), starring real-life transsexual actress Daniela Vega as the lover of an older man forbidden by his family to pay her respects at his funeral, won the Academy Award for foreign language film. On Cable On Demand and VOD, plus Blu-ray and DVD.
Netflix presents “Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” (2018), a recording of the live 2018 comedy show featuring the longtime friends sharing anecdotes and performing new and classic skits.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a highly competitive couple who treat a kidnapping like an interactive game in the action comedy “Game Night” (2018, R). Also on disc and at Redbox.
Jennifer Lawrence is a Russian ballerina forced to become a spy and seduce a CIA agent (Joel Edgerton) in “Red Sparrow” (2018, R), a Cold War thriller based on the award-winning novel by Jason Matthews, who drew on his own knowledge as a CIA operative.
Also new: animated comedy “Early Man” (2018, PG) from “Wallace and Gromit” creator Nick Park;
- Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 to Paris” (2018, PG-13) featuring the three American men who thwarted a terrorist attack on a Paris train playing themselves;
- Sally Potter’s satirical “The Party” (2017, R) with Kristin Scott Thomas and Patricia Clarkson.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “In Darkness” (2018, not rated), a thriller starring Natalie Dormer as a blind musician in London who hears a murder in a neighboring apartment, and “Future World” (2018, R), a science fiction thriller in an environmentally ravaged world co-directed by and co-starring James Franco.
Gillian Jacobs stars in the Netflix Original romantic comedy “Ibiza” (2018, not rated) as a New York single who hits the party hub of Spain with her two best friends and falls for a handsome DJ (Richard Madden).
Also new: crime drama “Small Town Crime” (2017, R) with John Hawkes and Octavia Spencer.
Kid stuff: Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb star in “Bridge to Terabithia” (2007, PG), the smart screen adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s kid lit classic about the power of imagination and friendship and a tale of fantasy grounded in a very real and sometimes hard world.
True stories: Danny Trejo hosts the documentary “Survivors Guide to Prison” (2018, not rated).
Streaming TV: “Scandal: Season 7” is the final season of Shonda Rhimes’ addictive Washington D.C. soap opera starring Kerry Washington as a powerful political fixer.
More streaming TV: each episode of the weekly Netflix Original series “Explained” tackles a single issue in the news. New episodes arrive each Wednesday. Also new:
- “Dynasty: Season 1,” the CW’s revival of the eighties night time soap opera;
- young adult drama “13 Reasons Why: Season 2” plus the documentary “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons” featuring the cast and crew;
- conspiracy thriller “Shooter: Season 2” with Ryan Phillippe;
- drug trade thriller “Queen of the South: Season 2” with Alice Braga;
- “Mob Psycho 100: Season 1” (Japan, with subtitles), a live-action version of the manga about a covert group gathering people with psychic powers;
- thriller “Fauda: Season 2” (Israel, with subtitles), about an elite team working in Israeil intelligence;
- Netflix Original non-fiction series “The Toys That Made Us: Season 2“;
- animated fantasy “Trollhunters: Part 3” from Guillermo Del Toro.
Stand-up: “Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here” is the famed comic’s return to stand-up comedy after the end of her Amazon Prime series.
Amazon Prime Video
Daniel Radcliffe plays a drug smuggling pilot caught between the cartel and the DEA in the action thriller “Beast Of Burden” (2018, R).
Also new: indie comedy “Creedmoria” (2016, PG-13), about a teenage girl trying to escape her dysfunctional Brooklyn family, and James Franco’s adaptation of William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” (2015, not rated).
Streaming TV: revisit the coming-of-age series “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003) with James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, Joshua Jackson, and the rest of the kids from Capeside. Prime Video has the complete series: all 128 episodes of young adult romance and melodrama. This edition features the alternate theme song of the syndicated release (Jann Arden’s “Run Like Mad”) except for the series finale, which brings back the original theme “I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole.
Also new: BBC historical drama “Poldark: Season 3” with Adain Turner
“Mad to be Normal” (2017, not rated) stars David Tennant as real-life psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who took a revolutionary approach to treating the mentally ill with therapy and communal support.
Heather Graham directs and stars in the romantic comedy “Half Magic” (2018, R) with Angela Kinsey and Stephanie Beatriz, and Woody Harrelson directs and stars in the “Lost in London” (2017), a comedy filmed in a single long take.
Streaming TV: Julia Ormond, Mädchen Amick, and Jenna Dewan Tatum are “The Witches of East End” in the femme-centered supernatural melodrama about a family of witches beset by a curse that ran for two seasons on Lifetime. Hulu has the complete run of this sexy and somewhat cheeky series.
Kid stuff: “Doozers: Season 2” brings the “Fraggle Rock” characters back for more adventures for pre-school audiences.
Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon star in the new adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451” (2018, TV-14), based on the classic Ray Bradbury novel about a future where firemen are sent to burn books.
The HBO Original documentary “The Final Year” (2018, not rated) follows President Barack Obama’s foreign-policy team during his last year in office.
Arriving Saturday night is the HBO Original movie “The Tale” (2016, TV-MA), the feature debut of award winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox, starring Laura Dern as a woman who questions the memories of her first sexual experience.
Also arriving Saturday night is the indie drama “Patti Cake$” (2017, R) starring Danielle Macdonald as an aspiring rapper from New Jersey.
TCM Select Pick of the Week is “The Maltese Falcon” (1941), the iconic film noir starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and a great supporting cast: Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook Jr., and Ward Bond in a small role as a cop. It streams through November 16.
It was also the directorial debut of John Huston, who is FilmStruck’s “Director of the Week” with a selection of 12 features including the landmark documentary “Let There Be Light” (1946), Oscar-winning classic “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) with Bogart, “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975) with Sean Connery and Michael Caine, and the offbeat “Wise Blood” (1979) with Brad Dourif and Harry Dean Stanton.
Also new: Miguel Gomes’ dreamy memory drama “Tabu” (Portugal, 2012, with subtitles), eight films with “Star of the Week: Danny Kaye,” including “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1947), and a collection of films celebrating West African Cinema, including the landmark dramas “Touki Bouki” (1973, with subtitles) from Senegal and “Yeelen” (1987, with subtitles) from Mali and three films from and a documentary about the great Ousmane Sembene.
The Australian comedy “Sando” stars Sacha Horler as a disgraced CEO and a trainwreck of a mother who tries to reconnect with her family after she’s ousted from her business. All six episodes available
Also from Australia comes the TV movie “Sisters of War” (2010), a World War II drama about a group of Australian nurses and Catholic nuns captured as prisoners of war by the Japanese on a small Pacific island.
Ben Cross and Amy Irving star in the acclaimed British miniseries “The Far Pavilions” (1984), which originally played on HBO in the U.S. Also newly arrived from England are “Amnesia” (2004), a crime drama starring John Hannah, and the miniseries “Anna Karenina” (2000) with Helen McCrory and Kevin McKidd.
New on disc this week:
“Red Sparrow,” “Game Night,” “Early Man,” “The 15:17 to Paris,” “A Fantastic Woman”
Now available at Redbox:
“Game Night,” “Early Man,” “Bent”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.