By Sean AxmakerTop streams for the week
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018, PG-13) lightens the apocalyptic tone of Marvel’s big screen superhero universe with this comic adventure starring Evangeline Lilly in the shrinking suit partnering with Paul Rudd’s disaster prone superhero. Director Peyton Reed has a lot of fun with the incredible shrinking (and growing) spectacle and balances the heroics with deft character humor and visual gags. Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
“Wanderlust: Season 1” stars Toni Collette as a therapist who tries to recharge her midlife sexual doldrums with an experiment in open marriage. Steven Mackintosh co-stars in the Netflix coproduction with BBC. All six episodes now streaming.
Also on Netflix are returning shows “Daredevil: Season 3,” with Vincent D’Onofrio returning as crime boss Wilson Fisk, and non-fiction series “Making a Murderer: Season 2.”
The Prime Original series “Lore: Season 2” returns with more dramatizations of real-life horrors drawn from history. Six episodes now streaming on Amazon Prime in time for Halloween.
Classic pick: Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot” (1959), starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as hapless musicians hiding from mobsters in an all-girl band and Marilyn Monroe as the band’s bubbly singer, was chosen as the best American comedy in a poll by the American Film Institute. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The free streaming service Kanopy (available through most library systems) has a month-long tribute to German cinema in a partnership with the Goethe Institute. The line-up of 48 features films spans from such silent movie landmarks as the original “Nosferatu” (1922) and the restored version of “Metropolis” (1927) through Werner Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) to award-winning contemporary movies “Barbara” (2012, PG-13), “A Coffee in Berlin” (2012, not rated), and “Victoria” (2015, not rated). Browse the complete line-up here. All with subtitles.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
The documentary “Whitney” (2018, R) profiles the life and music of the recording superstar.
Also new: horror sequel “Unfriended: Dark Web” (2018, R) and road movie drama “Boundaries” (2018, R) with Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the documentary “Transformer” (2018, not rated) about Janae Marie Kroczaleski, a trans woman who was once the world record holder in men’s powerlifting.
Also debuting is indie drama “Nigerian Prince” (2018, not rated), funded by a Nigerian-American teen who teams up in a scam with his Nigerian cousin, and “Galveston” (2018, not rated), a thriller starring Ben Foster and Elle Fanning and directed by Mélanie Laurent.
“Best.Worst.Weekend.Ever.: Limited Series” is a comedy for teens and tween from New Zealand about best friends facing one crazy mishap after another in their final week of high school. It makes its US debut on Netflix.
Illusionist Derren Brown puts his mix of psychology and sleight of hand to work in the special “Derren Brown: Sacrifice.”
Streaming TV: “Knightfall: Season 1” is a drama from The History Channel set in the final days of Knights Templar in 14th century.
True stories: “Haunted: Season 1” interviews people who have witnessed supernatural events and other unexplained phenomenon. Also new:
- “Ask the Doctor: Season 1,” featuring a team of doctors taking on
- From exercise to infertility to sleep, a team of doctors share expert advice, bust medical myths and test the latest treatments.
- “Hip-Hop Evolution: Season 2,” which traces the growth of hip-hop subcultures in the ’80s and ’90s.
Foreign affairs: the thriller “The Night Comes For Us” (Indonesia, with subtitles, not rated) sends a Triad killer on the run for showing mercy during an assignment and “Wild District: Season 1” (Colombia, with subtitles) follows a former guerrilla soldier as he tries to reintegrate into Colombian society.
Kid stuff: the Netflix Original animated feature “Gnome Alone” (2018, not rated) teams up a high school boy with living garden gnomes to save the world. Also new:
- animated shows “Larva Island: Season 1” and “Octonauts: Season 4” for pre-schoolers;
- live action adventure “Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Season 2.”
Stand-up: “Ron White: If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up” (2018)
Amazon Prime Video
“Slice” (2018, R) is a horror comedy with extra toppings starring Chance Bennett (aka Chance the Rapper), Zazie Beetz, and Paul Scheer.
Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig star in “The Humbling” (2014, R), based on the Philip Roth novel.
Cult: Jake Gyllenhaal is “Donnie Darko” (2001, R), a weird, darkly oddball high school student who starts to see the fabric of the universe after surviving a freak near-death disaster. Prime Video presents the original theatrical cut.
Also new: science fiction action spectacle “Bleeding Steel” (China, 2017, R, with subtitles) with an aging Jackie Chan;
- war drama “The Yellow Birds” (2017, R) with Alden Ehrenreich and Jennifer Aniston;
- high school mystery “Assassination of a High School President” (2008, R) with Bruce Willis and Mischa Barton;
- thriller “Mr. Brooks” (2007, R) with Kevin Costner as a family man hiding a secret life as a serial killer;
- “Find Me Guilty” (2006, R) with Vin Diesel as a low-level mobster pressured to rat on his bosses;
- modern comedy classic “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988, R) written by and starring John Cleese;
- Oscar-winning romantic comedy “Moonstruck” (1987, PG) with Cher and Nicolas Cage;
- “Movie Movie” (1979, PG), a loving spoof of old Hollywood double features starring George C. Scott;
- epic war drama “A Bridge Too Far” (1977, PG) with Sean Connery and Robert Redford.
Western classics: John Wayne and William Holden star in the Civil War drama “The Horse Soldiers” (1959) directed by John Ford;
- sweeping cattle country epic “The Big Country” (1958) with Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, and Burl Ives;
- Anthony Mann’s stark outlaw drama “Man of the West” (1958) with Gary Cooper;
- “Vera Cruz” (1954) with Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper as American mercenaries in Mexico.
Horror: M. Night Shyamalan produces “Devil” (2010, PG-13), a horror film set in the confines of an elevator. Also new for the Halloween season:
- “The Exorcist III” (1990, R), a terrific sequel directed by author William Peter Blatty;
- “Slumber Party Massacre” (1982, R), a cult slasher film with a feminist twist from director Amy Holden Jones and author Rita Mae Brown;
- Werner Herzog’s “Nosferatu the Vampyre” (1979, PG) with Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani;
- Hammer Films horrors “Vampire Circus” (1972, PG) and “Twins of Evil” (1971, R);
- killer rat horror “Ben” (1972, PG) with a theme song by little Michael Jackson;
- William Castle’s “Psycho” knock-off “Homicidal” (1961).
Kid stuff: the animated “Tumble Leaf: Trick-or-Treat Trek” (2018) and “The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?” (2012) are for preschool-aged kids.
Helen Hunt stars in “The Miracle Season” (2018, PG), an inspirational sports drama based on a true story. Also new:
- romantic drama “At Middleton” (2014, R) with Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga as strangers who connect when they visit the college campus of their respective children;
- thriller “Birthday Girl” (2002, R) with Nicole Kidman as a Russian mail-order bride;
- romantic comedy “Next Stop Wonderland” (1998, R) with Hope Davis.
Streaming TV: Ioan Gruffudd is a maverick doctor in the Australian medical drama “Harrow: Season 1.” Also new:
- Antonio Banderas is “Genius: Picasso” in the second season of the National Geographic anthology series;
- the complete run of the sitcom “The Bernie Max Show” from the 2000s;
- the offbeat comedy “Wilfred: Complete Series” with Elijah Wood;
- “Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots: Season 5” from the cable channel OWN.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” (2018, PG-13) completes the young adult trilogy starring Dylan O’Brien as a teenager fighting the adults who made him a lab rat in the dystopian future.
The HBO original series “Camping,” a comedy starring Jennifer Garner and David Tennant as a longtime married couple on a disastrous birthday weekend trip, rolls out new episodes every Sunday.
The documentary “The Sentence” (2018, not rated) takes on the effects of mandatory minimum sentencing.
Arriving Saturday night is the HBO Original movie “My Dinner with Hervé” (2018, TV-MA) starring Peter Dinklage as actor Hervé Villechaize.
Stand-up: “Finesse Mitchell: The Spirit Told Me To Tell You” (2018, TV-MA)
TCM Select Pick of the Week is the original “King Kong” (1933), king of the jungle of giant creature features. Real-life adventure filmmaking pioneers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack created a spectacle the likes audiences had never seen, and if the acting and the dialogue verges on kitsch, the production is still awe-inspiring and the special effects of Willis O’Brien, groundbreaking in their day, are beautifully crafted. Movie magic elevates this puppet into a towering beast who fights giant predators in primeval battles over blonde beauty Fay Wray and wreaks havoc in the urban jungle of New York to find her once again. Like Frankenstein’s monster, Kong was ostensibly the monster of the movie, but the power of his presence made him a tragic hero in the greatest beauty and the beast tale in the movies. After all these years, Kong still reigns supreme. Streaming through December 27.
“Star of the Week: Lon Chaney” gathers 16 films featuring the Man of a Thousand faces, from his legendary performances in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925) to lesser-known classics “He Who Gets Slapped” (1924) with John Gilbert and Norma Shearer and “The Unknown” (1927) with Joan Crawford. All silent with musical score.
“Spotlight: Women Directors” features over 20 films spanning 100 years, among them:
- pioneering silent director Alice Guy-Blaché’s “The Ocean Waif” (1916)
- animation landmark “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” (1926) from Lotte Reiniger;
- Shirley Clarke’s non-fiction classic “Portrait of Jason” (1967);
- Oscar-winner “Harlan County, U.S.A.” (1976, not rated) from Barbara Kopple;
- Claire Denis’ intense drama “Nenette et Boni” (France, 1996, not rated, with subtitles);
- Agnés Jaoui’s romantic drama “The Taste of Others” (France, 2000, not rated, with subtitles).
Also new: four films from “Director of the Week: Jerry Schatzberg” and “The Young and the Restless,” a collection that includes “Quadrophenia” (1979, R) and “Drugstore Cowboy” (1989, R).
The Off-Broadway “Harry Potter” spoof “Puffs” finds comedy among the students of a certain school of magic who are *not* destined to become heroes. Available to stream on BroadwayHD while the play continues its run in New York.
The Canadian crime drama “Bang: Series 1” makes its U.S. debut on Acorn TV. All eight episodes now streaming.
All eight episodes of the 2006 British detective series “The Gil Mayo Mysteries” are streaming on BritBox.
Criterion Channel presents “Olympic Glory,” a collection of dozens of short films and features chronicling over 100 years of the Olympic Games.
New on disc this week:
“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Whitney,” “Unfriended: Dark Web,” “Boundaries,” “Down a Dark Hall”
Now available at Redbox:
“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Unfriended: Dark Web,” “Arizona,” “Down a Dark Hall,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.