Top streams for the week
The streetwise version of Marvel’s superhero universe continues on Netflix with the second season “Luke Cage,” starring Mike Colter as the bulletproof Harlem hero. The show steps up its game this season as Cage takes on crime queen Black Mariah (Alfre Woodard) and a new villain: Bushmaster (Mustapha Shakir). 13 episodes streaming on Netflix.
The Beatles don’t actually provide their own voices in the animated psychedelic fairy tale “Yellow Submarine” (1968, G) but they contribute songs and even a brief personal appearance at the end of the film. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
“In Bruges” (2008, R), the first feature from filmmaker Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), is a witty, dark-humored crime drama with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as hitmen hiding out in the magnificent ancient city in Belgium. Streaming on Netflix.
In the viciously funny “The Death of Stalin” (2018, R), filmmaker and savvy political satirist Armando Iannucci reimagines the scramble for power in the Soviet Union as a savage comedy of petty grudges, unstable alliances, and literal backstabbing. Steve Buscemi is master survivor Nikita Khrushchev and Jeffrey Tambor and Michael Palin co-star. On Cable On Demand and VOD, plus DVD and Blu-ray.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
John Boyega plays the street smart hustler turned giant robot pilot in the giant monster invasion sequel “Pacific Rim: Uprising” (2018, PG-13) from producer Guillermo Del Toro.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is techno-thriller “Distorted” (2018, R) with Christina Ricci and John Cusack.
See the rock ‘n’ roll remake of “A Star is Born” (1976, R) with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson before the Bradley Cooper / Lady Gaga version hits theaters this summer. Netflix also presents six classic TV specials showcasing Streisand, from the Emmy-winning “My Name Is Barbra” (1965) to “Barbra Streisand: Timeless – Live in Concert” (2001, TV-G)
Chloe Grace Moretz plays a reporter struck by a mysterious, mentally devastating illness in “Brain on Fire” (2017, PG-13), a disease-of-the-week drama inspired by a true story. It debuts directly to Netflix.
The romantic drama “Us and Them” (China, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), the debut feature from actress-turned-filmmaker Rene Liu, arrives on Netflix after a successful theatrical run in China.
Streaming TV: The Netflix reboot “Queer Eye: Season 2” and cannabis-themed culinary original “Cooking on High: Season 1” are now streaming. Arriving weeks after completing their network runs are “Grey’s Anatomy: Season 14” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 5.
Foreign language TV: “Club de Cuervos: The Ballad of Hugo Sanchez” (Mexico, with subtitles) is a spin-off of the soccer comedy from Mexico. Also new: “Club Friday The Series 7” (Thailand, with subtitles), featuring romantic stories inspired by a radio call-in show.
Available Saturday is Disney’s animated “Tarzan” (1999, G) featuring the voices of Tony Goldwyn and Minnie Driver and an Oscar-winning theme song.
Amazon Prime Video
The animated “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader” (2016, PG) channels the campy 1960s live-action series and features the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo and Julie Newmar as Catwoman.
Layers of reality blur and merge in Monte Hellman’s “Road to Nowhere” (2010, R), starring Shannyn Sossamon as an unknown actress who just may be recreating a role she played in real life.
Ryan Gosling plays a self-hating young Jewish man who becomes a Nazi skinhead in “The Believer” (2001, R), the award-winning controversial drama that launched Gosling’s career as an intense young actor.
“Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection” (1989-2008) collects all four short films created for Aardman Animation by Nick Park: Oscar-nominated “A Grand Day Out” (1989) and “A Matter of Loaf and Death” (2008) and Oscar-winning “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) and “A Close Shave” (1995).
Streaming TV: before she married into British royalty, Meghan Markle got a TV wedding in the USA legal melodrama “Suits: Season 7” as the show gave her a farewell episode.
Amazon adds a number of HBO original programs to its streaming line-up this summer. You can stream the entire runs of HBO’s best shows, from “The Sopranos” (1999-2007) and “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005) to “Deadwood” (2004-2006) and “Treme” (2010-2013) to the Emmy-winning miniseries “Mildred Pierce” (2011, TV-MA) with Kate Winslet. And for something a little more offbeat, try “Carnivale” (2003-2005), a show with supernatural elements that for just two seasons.
Also new: Emmy-winning sitcom “Frasier: The Complete Series” (1993-2004) with Kelsey Grammar;
Showtime comedy “Californication: The Complete Series” (2007-2014) with David Duchovny;
SyFy drama “Defiance: The Complete Series” (2013-2015) with Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas;
“Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series” (1966-1973) with Peter Graves, Martin Landau, and Leonard Nimoy;
the original “MacGyver: The Complete Series” (1985-1992) with Richard Dean Anderson;
Starz historical miniseries “The White Queen” (2013), based on the novel by Philippa Gregory.
Kid stuff: “Superman: The Complete Animated Series” (1996-2000) features the voices of Tim Daly as the Man of Steel and Dana Delany as Lois Lane in a bright, colorful alternative to the shadowy animated “Batman” revival.
Foreign affairs: “Gradiva” (France, 2007, not rated, with subtitles), the final film from nouvelle roman pioneer turned film director Alain Robbe-Grillet is a kinky, highly erotic, and narratively surreal tale of art, fantasy, sex and storytelling.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
“Punisher: War Zone” (2008, R), with Ray Stevenson in the title role, is a reminder of how much better the Netflix version of the character is than the movies, but Dominic West is a lot of fun chewing the scenery as gangster turned supervillain Jigsaw.
Streaming TV: Australian comedy “The Other Guy: Season 1” stars comedian Make Okine as a radio DJ back in the dating pool after years in a steady relationship.
Hulu brings the British forensic crime drama “Silent Witness” up to the present by adding a dozen seasons of the show.
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in “The Mountain Between Us” (2017, PG-13) as strangers who must work together to survive a plane crash.
The HBO Original documentary “It Will Be Chaos” (2018, not rated) looks at the European refugee crisis through the personal stories of displaced people risking all to escape war.
Available Saturday night is “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017, R), which partners the elite British spy organization with its American counterpart and adds Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, and Channing Tatum to the cast.
The fourth season of the Showtime Original drama “The Affair” with Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Laura Tierney, and Joshua Jackson is now underway.
TCM Select Pick of the Week is “Ninotchka” (1939), the sophisticated comedy from Ernst Lubitsch that was promoted with the tag line “Garbo laughs!” Swedish beauty Greta Garbo was the embodiment of Hollywood grace, glamour, and tragic romance when she turned her image upside down to play a humorless Russian bureaucrat sent to Paris to secure the return to the Russian crown jewels. Melvyn Douglas is the frivolous but debonair playboy lawyer who stops sparring and starts wooing the ice princess, melting her icy resolve and finding a romantic under all the practicality of Soviet sensibility. Garbo is never less than elegant even in drab working uniforms and she is born comedienne and Douglas is a charming romantic lead, even if he lacks the star wattage that makes Garbo glow. The deft screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett pokes fun at both sides of the cultural divide and Lubitsch affectionately makes the case that love conquers politics. Watch for Bela Lugosi in a minor role as a Soviet functionary seduced by French nightlife along with comrades in sin Sig Ruman and Felix Bressart. Streaming through December 14.
It’s one of fourteen films celebrating “Star of the Week: Greta Garbo,” which includes nine silent movies. Silent cinema is where she forged her enigmatic persona and FilmStruck presents her American debut “Torrent” (1926) and three lavish romantic melodramas co-starring her great screen partner John Gilbert: “Love” (1927), an adaptation of “Anna Karenina,” “Flesh and the Devil” (1926) and “A Woman of Affairs” (1928) (all silent with score). She also stars as “Mata Hari” (1932) and “Queen Christina” (1933) in the two grandly-mounted melodramas making their respective streaming debuts.
“Director of the Week: Derek Jarman” celebrates the renegade British filmmaker with nine features, including his debut feature “Sebastiane” (1976, X) and the newly restored “Edward II” (1991, R), and a 2008 documentary written and narrated by Tilda Swinton, his friend and frequent collaborator.
New on disc this week:
“Pacific Rim: Uprising,” “Unsane,” “The Death of Stalin,” “Paul, Apostle of Christ”
Now available at Redbox:
“Tomb Raider,” “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” “Love, Simon,” “Unsane,” “The Death of Stalin”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.