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
If you prefer your vampires young and sparkly, you can now stream the entire “Twilight” saga, starring Kristen Stewart as teenage human Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as the ageless, undead Edward Cullen, on Amazon Prime Video, from the original “Twilight” (2008, PG-13), shot in Oregon and Washington, through “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” (2011, PG-13) and “Part 2” (2013, PG-13), with a choice of theatrical versions or extended editions for most films.
“The Sinner,” starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman, was a sleeper summer surprise for the USA network. Based on the novel by Petra Hammesfahr, this compelling eight-episode limited series is a murder mystery by way of a psychological drama. Originally a self-contained mini-series, it was such a success that a second season is coming to cable on August. Netflix is now streaming the first season.
Shia LaBeouf is perfectly cast as brash American tennis player John McEnroe in “Borg vs McEnroe” (2017, R), a drama about the rivalry between the two young phenoms and their legendary 1980 Wimbleton match: the American volcano versus the Swedish iceberg (Sverrir Gudnason as Bjorn Borg). Streaming on Hulu.
“Beirut” (2018, R), a grown-up thriller about a political kidnapping in the violence of the undeclared warzone of 1982 Beirut, gives Jon Hamm a terrific role as a disillusioned diplomat pulled back in to service to save the life of a friend. Rosamund Pike, Mark Pellegrino, Dean Norris, and Shea Whigham co-star. Cable On Demand and VOD, plus DVD and Redbox.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
“Blockers” (2018, R), a spin on the teen sex comedy with Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena as parents determined to keep their teenage daughters from losing their virginity on prom night, was a surprise hit. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
Also new: “7 Days in Entebbe” (2018, PG-13), a thriller about the 1976 hijacking and rescue mission starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl, and “Sunset” (2018, PG-13), a drama about strangers waiting for a possible nuclear.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “Bleeding Steel” (2017, Hong Kong, R, with subtitles), with Jackie Chan as a police inspector on the trail of a technologically-enhanced madman.
Josh Brolin and Danny McBride star in “The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter” (2018, not rated), a comedy about a father-son bonding weekend that premiered at the SXSW Film Festival.
Steven Spielberg’s original “Jurassic Park” (1993, PG-13) and two sequels make a timely return to Netflix as the latest “Jurassic World” plays theaters.
More streaming TV: say farewell to Pauley Perrette’s Abby in “NCIS: Season 15” as TV’s most excitable forensics expert leaves the military-themed procedural. Also new:
- political drama “Madam Secretary: Season 4” with Téa Leoni and Tim Daly;
- New York cop drama “Blue Bloods: Season 8” with Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, and Tom Selleck;
- cops-in-paradise reboot “Hawaii Five-O: Season 8” with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan;
- Hallmark Channel romantic fantasy “Good Witch: Season 4” with Catherine Bell;
- British family drama “Free Rein: Season 2” about a girl and her horse;
- the final dozen episodes of the FreeForm family drama “The Fosters: Season 5.”
Foreign affairs: the Netflix India original mini-series “Sacred Games” (India, with subtitles) features Bollywood superstar Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a crime lord and Saif Ali Khan as a Mumbai cop on his trail. Also new:
- frontier drama “The Skin of The Wolf” (Spain, 2017, not rated, with subtitles) set on the mountains of 19th century Spain;
- “King of Peking” (China, 2017, not rated, with subtitles), a drama about a theater projectionist who sells bootleg DVDs to support his son;
- comedy “Samantha! Season 1” (Brazil, with subtitles) about a 1980s child star trying to make a comeback.
Kid stuff: the new animated version of Jack London’s “White Fang” (2018, not rated) features the voices of Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, and Paul Giamatti.
The new month brings a new batch of movies. Here are some of the highlights in the new arrivals:
- “The Voices” (2014, R), a dark comedy with Ryan Reynolds who hears his pets telling him to do despicable things;
- “Blue Valentine” (2010, R) with Ryan Gosling and an Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams;
- crime drama “We Own the Night” (2007, R) with Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix;
- “Finding Neverland” (2004, PG) with Johnny Depp as “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barry;
- Adam Sandler in a rare dramatic role in “Spanglish” (2004, PG-13) from James L. Brooks;
Family friendly picks include “The Princess Diaries” (2001, G) with Anne Hathaway as an American teenager who discovers she is heir to the throne of a small European country;
- romantic fantasy “Penelope” (2006, PG) with Christina Ricci;
- the live-action “Scooby-Doo” (2002, PG) and “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” (2004, PG) with Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, and Matthew Lillard as Shaggy.
Amazon Prime Video
Oscar-nominated foreign language drama “The Insult” (Lebanon, 2017, R, with subtitles) uses the escalating legal battle between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee in Beirut as a metaphor for simmering conflicts in the Middle East.
Joan Plowright is a widow who finds a powerful friendship with an aspiring writer and street busker (Rupert Friend), in the delightful, low-key British drama “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont” (2005, not rated).
Classics: Audrey Hepburn is Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), which won two Oscars for composer Henry Mancini, and “The Graduate” (1967, PG) made a star of Dustin Hoffman and earned director Mike Nichols an Oscar.
Streaming TV: Patrick McGoohan created and stars in “The Prisoner: The Complete Series” (1968), a heady, surreal twist on the spy drama and one of the great cult TV shows of all time. Prime Video also has McGoohan in “Secret Agent: The Complete Series,” the deft British spy drama that inspired him to made “The Prisoner.” Also new:
“Burn Notice: The Complete Series” (2007-2013) with Jeffrey Donovan as an abandoned CIA agent working as a freelancer in Miami;
police detective drama “The Closer: The Complete Series” (2005-2012) with Kyra Sedgwick and J.K. Simmons;
legal drama “Damages: The Complete Series” (2007-2012) with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne.
True stories: Al Gore returns in “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (2017, PG), which looks at how we’ve responded to the climate change crisis in the past decade and what we challenges we face ahead.
More new arrivals for July: Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” (2008, R), featuring the actor in one his last screen roles as a crusty retired auto worker;
- American indie “Sun Don’t Shine” (2013, not rated), the directorial debut of actress Amy Seimetz;
- David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” (2001, R) with Naomi Watts;
- Tim Burton’s “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” (1985, PG) with Paul Ruebens as the giggly child-man Pee-Wee Herman;
- military comedy “Stripes” (1981, R) with Bill Murray, John Candy, and Warren Oates (also in an extended version);
Foreign affairs: martial arts movie legend Jet Li stars in “Fearless” (Hong Kong, 2006, PG-13, with subtitles), the story of real-life Chinese martial arts master Huo Yuanjia.
Prime Video and Hulu
Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, and Rachel Weisz star in “The Brothers Bloom” (2009, PG-13), a modern screwball caper/con-artist comedy from “Return of the Jedi” director Rian Johnson (Prime Video and Hulu).
Christopher Reeve is an ambitious journalist who fakes a source in “Street Smart” (1986, R), a drama that earned Morgan Freeman an Oscar nomination and a career reboot for his supporting performance as a charming but ruthless pimp (Prime Video and Hulu).
- mockumentary “Incident at Loch Ness” (2004, PG-13) with Werner Herzog (Prime Video and Hulu);
- dark comedy “Cadillac Man” (1990, R) with Robin Williams and Tim Robbins (Prime Video and Hulu);
- cult adventure “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” (1984, PG) with Peter Weller and Jeff Goldblum (Prime Video and Hulu).
Katharine McPhee is “The Lost Wife of Robert Durst” (2017, TV-14) in the TV movie made for the Lifetime network.
Streaming TV: the Emmy-nominated “UnREAL: Season 3” starring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer is a witty and wily satire reality TV.
“Before Midnight” (2013, R) reunites filmmaker Richard Linklater with actors / co-screenwriters Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for the third film in their chronicle of a relationship over the decades.
Foreign affairs: “The Treasure” (Romania, 2016, not rated, with subtitles), a comedy about two men on a desperate search for a rumored buried fortune, is from the award-winning director of “Police, Adjective.”
True stories: “Closing Gambit: 1978 Korchnoi versus Karpov and the Kremlin” (2018, not rated) chronicles the battle—personal and political—between the loyal Soviet champion and the outspoken Soviet defector for the World Chess Championship.
More streaming TV: Hulu has “M*A*S*H: The Complete Series“: all 11 seasons and 256 episodes of the acclaimed comedy with Alan Alda and Loretta Swit. Also new:
- “The Librarians: Season 4,” the final series of the colorful TNT adventure;
- new seasons of reality shows “Hoarders” from A&E, “Pawn Stars” from History Channel, and “Project Runway” from Lifetime.
“IT” (2017, R), based on the Stephen King novel about adolescent best friends battling a demonic clown, was the sleeper horror hit of 2017.
Also new: “Goodbye Christopher Robin” (2017, PG) with Domhnall Gleeson as “Winnie the Pooh” author A.A. Milne;
- wedding comedy “Table 19” (2017, PG-13) with Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, and Lisa Kudrow;
- social experiment-turned-bloodthirsty thriller “The Belko Experiment” (2017-PG-13) with John Gallagher Jr. and Tony Goldwyn.
Arriving Saturday night is “Justice League” (2017, PG-13) with Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot as Batman and Wonder Woman, the veteran heroes who join forces with The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to save the world after the death of Superman.
James Cagney is FilmStruck’s Star of Week and there are over 20 movies with the Hollywood legend, from gangster classic “The Public Enemy” (1931) to musical biopic “Love Me or Leave Me” (1955) with Doris Day. Other highlights include musicals “Footlight Parade” (1933) and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942), which showcase the actor’s song-and-dance origins, and explosive crime classic “White Heat” (1949).
FilmStruck presents “Director of the Century: Ingmar Bergman” with 31 features directed by Bergman, from his directorial debut “Crisis” (Sweden, 1946) to his Oscar-winning “Fanny and Alexander” (Sweden, 1982). The collection includes “Summer Interlude” (Sweden, 1951) and “Summer with Monika” (Sweden, 1953), allegorical classic “The Seventh Seal” (Sweden, 1957), ruminative road movie “Wild Strawberries” (Sweden, 1957), and intense psychodrama “Persona” (Sweden, 1966), plus longer TV versions of “Scenes from a Marriage” (1973) and “Fanny and Alexander” and three documentaries on the filmmaker. All films with subtitles and are streaming for a month only, so start your exploring now.
Also new: “Directors of the Week: Alexander and Zoltan Korda” with 17 features directed by the filmmaking brothers, and “The Mysteries of Sicily,” with seven Italian movies set in the southern region of Italy.
New on disc this week:
“Blockers,” “Beirut,” “7 Days in Entebbe,”
Now available at Redbox:
“Blockers,” “Beirut,” “7 Days in Entebbe,” “Borg vs. McEnroe,” “Finding Your Feet”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.