By Sean Axmaker
Top streams for the week
John Krasinski is the fifth actor to play “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” the CIA analyst turned reluctant field agent, and Wendell Pierce his mentor in the debut season of the Prime Original series based on Clancy’s bestselling novels. Set in the post-9/11 world, it presents a single mission over the eight-episode season. Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland (both veterans of “Lost”) developed the series and Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”) directs the pilot. The entire season now streaming Amazon Prime Video, with a second season confirmed for next year.
Also on Prime Video is “Disobedience” (2018, R) stars Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams as women in love in London’s Orthodox Jewish community. The English language debut of award-winning Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio (“A Fantastic Woman”) is less a romance than a compassionate story of family and identity.
The Netflix crime thriller “Ozark: Season 2” sends its urban couple (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) deeper into the Missouri crime world as they launder money for the mob. Ten episodes streaming on Netflix.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen are best friends whose new “Book Club” (2018, PG-13) choice recharges their sex lives in the romantic comedy for the retirement set. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
“The Padre” (2018, R), starring Tim Roth as an American con man posing as a priest in a small Colombian town, comes to VOD a month before theaters.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is horror film “Boarding School” (2018, R) with Will Patton and Samantha Mathis and documentary “Pick of the Litter” (2018, not rated) on training guide dogs for the blind.
A nerdy astrophysicist (Vito Sanz) literally collides with a gorgeous model (Berta Vazquez) in filmmaker Mateo Gil’s bubbly love story “The Laws of Thermodynamics” (Spain, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), which combines romantic comedy conventions with scientific theory. It comes direct to Netflix from Spanish theaters.
Streaming TV: the second season of “The Good Place” with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, the smartest, funniest comedy on network TV, streams a month before the new season debuts on NBC. Also new:
- the animated “Paradise PD: Season 1” is an adult-oriented comedy about inept cops in a backwater southern town;
- “The Comedy Lineup: Part 2,” presenting short stand-up sets from eight up-and-coming comedians;
- “Ultimate Beastmaster: Survival of the Fittest,” the third season of the obstacle course competition show;
- “Inside the Criminal Mind: Season 1,” a non-fiction series about criminal psychology.
Foreign TV: for fans of Nordic noir there is “Deadwind: Season 1” (Finland, with subtitles), a twelve-episode murder mystery. Also new:
- “Undercover Law: Season 1” (Colombia, with subtitles), featuring a female intelligence agent infiltrating a drug cartel;
- “Take My Brother Away: Season 1” (China, with subtitles), a wacky high school comedy based on a popular manga.
True stories: “Inequality for All” (2013, PG) looks at growing economic gap with former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
Amazon Prime Video
Two new takes on the American western are now streaming: Jessica Chastain is a 19th century portrait painter who befriends Sitting Bull in “Woman Walks Ahead” (2018, R) and Ron Perlman and Martin Starr are lawmen in the comic modern western “The Escape of Prisoner 614” (2018, R).
The second season of “Victoria,” starring Jenna Coleman as young Queen Victoria, takes on real-life historical touchpoints while continuing the upstairs-downstairs royal drama.
Steve McQueen became Hollywood’s coolest superstar in the grand western “The Magnificent Seven” (1960) and World War II prison break classic “The Great Escape” (1963), both with Charles Bronson and James Coburn and directed by John Sturges.
More classics: also newly arrived are the big Oscar winners “In the Heat of the Night” with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger (1967) and “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971, G) with Topol, both multiple Oscar winners;
- blended family comedy “Yours, Mine and Ours” (1968) with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball;
- Douglas Sirk’s suburban melodrama “All that Heaven Allows” (1955) with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman;
- casino heist noir “5 Against the House” (1955) with Kim Novak and Brian Keith;
- melodrama “Beyond the Forest” (1949) with scheming Bette Davis;
- offbeat crime drama “Crime Without Passion” (1934) with Claude Rains as a lawyer covering up a murder.
Cult movies: drag queen road movie comedy “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (1994, R) with Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp;
- original “Mad Max” (1980, R) with Mel Gibson;
- subway heist thriller “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” (1974, R) with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw (reviewed on Stream On Demand here).
Prime Video and Hulu
Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star in “Mother!” (2017, R), Darren Aronofsky’s passionate but polarizing allegory that mixes the Bible and creation myths with themes of artistic creation, feminism, and environmentalism. On Prime Video and Hulu.
The documentary “Active Measures” (2018, not rated) investigates the Russian interference of the 2016 American presidential election.
Martin Scorsese’s 19th century crime epic “Gangs of New York” (2002, R), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis, earned ten Oscar nominations.
“Father Figures” (2017, R) stars Owen Wilson and Ed Helms as brothers on a road trip to track down their mother’s old boyfriends and find their biological father. Glenn Close plays their mother, who they discover has a wild side in her youth, and Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames, J.K. Simmons, and Harry Shearer co-star.
Stand-up: “Drew Michael” (2018, TV-MA)
Viggo Mortensen is a devoted father home-schooling his kids off the grid in “Captain Fantastic” (2016, R), a drama of an alternative family coming to grips with loss, rebellion, and the world outside their little Walden. It was partially shot in Washington and Oregon.
Alfred Hitchcock never made a more purely entertaining film than “North by Northwest” (1959), a classic “wrong man” thriller with a romantic cast and a breathless series of adventures on a cross-country romp. Cary Grant, long past his days as a matinee idol, is effortlessly suave and charming and completely convincing as a glib, sheltered New York businessman who, in a purely random twist of fate, is mistaken for a master spy. Suddenly his safe routine is turned upside down by armed thugs, foreign agents and a beautiful femme fatale (Eva Marie Saint, utterly seductive). Everything clicks and sly fox Hitch slides more sexual innuendo and erotic flirtation into the film than most R-rated films accomplish, while the breezy smoothness hides an undercurrent of tension and a complete mistrust of authority. It features some of Hitchcock’s greatest set pieces (from fleeing a malevolent crop duster in a remote cornfield to scrambling across the faces of Mount Rushmore) plus sparkling dialogue and a magnificent score by Bernard Herrmann.
It’s the TCM Select Pick of the Week and one of thirteen features in the “Star of the Week: Cary Grant” spotlight, which also includes screwball classic “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) with Katharine Hepburn, brawny adventure “Gunga Din” (1939) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and romantic drama “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947) with Loretta Young.
Also new: “Soviet Perspectives on WWII,” which includes Cannes Film Festival winner “The Cranes are Flying” (Soviet Union, 1957, with subtitles) and Oscar nominee “Ballad of a Soldier” (Soviet Union, 1959, with subtitles), and “Double Takes,” nine films featuring identical twins and lookalikes, including “The Prisoner of Zenda” (1937) with Ronald Colman, Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” (1940), and “Dead Ringers” (1988, R) with Jeremy Irons.
“A Place to Call Home: The Final Chapter” is the sixth and final season of the Australian drama starring Marta Dusseldorp as a nurse working for a wealthy family in post-World War II Australia. The first two episodes are now available, new episodes roll out each Monday starting September 10.
Also new is the Italian crime drama “Tangled Lies” (Italy, with subtitles). All six episodes now streaming.
Douglas Henshill stars in the miniseries “In Plain Sight” (2016), based on the true story of the hunt for Scotland’s first serial killer in the 1950s. Now streaming on BritBox.
Broadway HD presents the Olivier Award-winning musical “Jerry Springer: The Opera” featuring the original London cast in a performance recorded at the Cambridge Theatre in 2005.
New on disc this week:
“Book Club,” “Tag,” “American Animals,” “Upgrade,” “RBG”
Now available at Redbox:
“Deadpool 2,” “Book Club,” “Tag,” “American Animals,” “Upgrade”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.