Top streams for the week
Peter Jackson brings history to life in “They Shall Not Grow Old” (2018, R), a documentary on the experience of British soldiers in World War I created entirely from archival footage and interviews. The film, which uses state-of-the-art digital effects to restore damaged film footage, was a hit on special event screenings and eventually earned a brief, successful theatrical run. Jackson’s transformation of the footage is incredible and the soundtrack of World War I veteran interviews is compelling. On Cable On Demand and VOD.
Amy Poehler directs and stars in the comedy “Wine Country (2019, not rated) with Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey, playing longtime friends on a weekend getaway where tensions flare. Debuts directly to Netflix.
Science fiction epic “The Wandering Earth” (China, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), based on a story by Cixin Liu (“The Three Body Problem”), was barely released in the U.S. but became one of the biggest blockbuster hits around the world. It’s now streaming on Netflix.
“Chernobyl” (2019) dramatizes the 1986 USSR nuclear disaster and its aftermath. Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, and Emily Watson star. New episodes of the miniseries on HBO and all streaming services each Monday.
Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd star in “State of the Union,” a marital comedy with a serious undercurrent from director Stephen Frears and writer Nick Hornby. New ten-minute episodes each weekday on Sundance Now and SundanceTV.
Classic pick: Michael Caine is ruthless as the cockney thug out for revenge in “Get Carter” (1971, R), a hard-edged thriller that made British crime cinema cool again. On Netflix.
Foreign language pick: Jean Gabin awaits his doom in Marcel Carne’s poetic masterpiece “Le Jour se Leve” (France, 1939, with subtitles). On Amazon Prime Video.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” (2019, PG) animates the world of interlocking toys for a new adventure. Also new:
- comedy “What Men Want” (2019, R) with Taraji P. Henson and Tracy Morgan;
- horror film “The Prodigy” (2019, R) with Taylor Schilling;
- seventies-style action comedy “’79 Parts” (2016, not rated);
- Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” (Spain, 2018, R, with subtitles) with Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “Her Smell” (2019, R) with Elizabeth Moss as a self-destructive punk rocker attempting a comeback and “The Professor and the Madman” (2019, not rated), an historical drama about compiling the first Oxford dictionary starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn.
Along with its signature original series, Netflix has picked up network shows with devoted followings that were cancelled. “Lucifer: Season 4” with Tom Ellis as the ruler of Hell now solving crimes in Los Angeles with a police detective (Lauren German), is their latest rescue.
“John Carter” (2012, PG-13) was a financial flop but this adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs series is actually quite entertaining.
More streaming TV: “The Society: Season 1” follows a group of New England teens in a world without adults. Also new:
- “Pose: Season 1,” the FX drama set in the fashion world of 1987 New York
- reality series “Jailbirds: Season 1“;
- crime drama “Queen of the South: Season 3“;
- romantic drama “Easy: Season 3.”
Foreign affairs: a teenage ex-con falls in love with a young streetwalker in Marseilles in “Shéhérazade” (France, 2018, not rated, with subtitles). Also new is sexy drama “Dry Martina” (Chile, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) and comedy “In Family I Trust” (Spain, 2019, not rated, with subtitles). All played theaters overseas but debut stateside on Netflix.
Foreign language TV: in the romantic fantasy “Abyss: Season 1” (South Korea, with subtitles), a man and a woman are given a second chance at life in new bodies. Also new is the miniseries “Crime Diaries: Night Out” (Mexico, 2019, with subtitles).
True stories: “The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution” (2018, not rated) profiles seven women chefs. Also new:
- “Bathtubs Over Broadway” (2018, not rated), a look at industrial musicals never meant to be seen by the general public;
- “ReMastered: The Lion’s Share” (2019, not rated), on the story behind the hit song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”;
- survival documentary “Last Breath” (2019, not rated).
Kid stuff: the teenage mutant ninja turtles returned to the big screen in the animated feature “TMNT” (2007, PG) featuring the voices of Chris Evans and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Also new: Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” (2011, PG-13) with Emily Watson and David Thewlis;
- horror film “Insidious” (2010, PG-13) with Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne;
- Oscar-winning drama “As Good As it Gets” (1997, PG-13) with Jack Nicholson;
- classic romantic drama “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947) with Cary Grant and Loretta Young.
Amazon Prime Video
Rosamund Pike plays real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin in “A Private War” (2018, R), which dramatizes her efforts to cover the most dangerous conflicts in the world.
Before Hulu’s new miniseries debuts, you can see the original “Catch-22” (1970, R) with Alan Arkin, from “The Graduate” director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Buck Henry.
Streaming TV: Giovanni Ribisi returns in the crime drama “Sneaky Pete: Season 3.” Also new:
- crime procedural “Crossing Jordan: Complete Series” with Jill Hennessy;
- crime tech spinoffs “CSI: Miami – Complete Series” with David Caruso and “CSI: NY – Complete Series” with Gary Sinise;
- miniseries “Titanic: Blood and Steel” (2012) with Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell, and Chris Noth.
True stories: “Somm: Into the Bottle” (2016, not rated) delves into the history and culture of winemaking. Also new: “The Tillman Story” (2010, R) profiles NFL star Pat Tillman who was killed serving in Afghanistan.
Kid stuff: Robin Williams stars in the fantasy adventure “Jumanji” (1995, PG) with Kirsten Dunst.
Foreign affairs: Jean Dujardin, Tim Roth, and Cécile De France star in the spy thriller “Möbius” (France, 2013, R, with subtitles). Also new:
- violent cop thriller “Elite Squad” (Brazil, 2008, R, with subtitles);
- romantic thriller “The Phantom Lover” (Hong Kong, 1995, not rated, with subtitles), a twist on “Phantom of the Opera” with Leslie Cheung.
- offbeat modern western “Rancho Deluxe” (1975, R) with Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston;
- “The Alamo” (1960) directed by and starring John Wayne;
- “The Unforgiven” (1960) with Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn.
Also new: comedy “Dinner for Schmucks” (2010, PG-13) with Paul Rudd and Steve Carell;
- “Julia & Julia” (2009, PG-13) with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams;
- crime drama “We Own the Night” (2007, R) with Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg;
- Richard E. Grant’s autobiographical comic drama “Wah-Wah” (2005, R);
- historical adventure “Four Feathers” (2002, PG-13) with Heath Ledger;
- Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001, PG-13);
- Oscar-winning “Fargo” (1996, R) from the Coen Bros.;
- “Little Man Tate” (1991, PG) from director/star Jodie Foster
- Oscar-winning “Rain Man” (1988, R) with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise;
- eighties teen thriller “WarGames” (1983, PG) with Matthew Broderick;
- “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982, PG), still the best big screen “Trek” ever made;
- Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic “1900” (Italy, 1977, R) with Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Burt Lancaster, and Donald Sutherland;
- the original “Alfie” (1966) with Michael Caine.
Prime Video and Hulu
Also new: “Action Point” (2018, not rated) with Johnny Knoxville as a self-styled daredevil theme park entrepreneur (Prime Video and Hulu) and documentary “Dinosaur 13” (2014, not rated), the strange story of a rare fossil find seized by the U.S. government (Prime Video and Hulu).
Naomi Watts is Valerie Plame in “Fair Game” (2010, PG-13), costarring Sean Penn.
A family faces the evil within in “The Clovehitch Killer” (2018, not rated), a horror film with Dylan McDermott and Charlie Plummer.
Streaming TV: “Drunk History: Season 6A” offer more inebriated lessons with tipsy comedy stars.
The documentary “Foster” (2019, not rated) explores the foster care system in America, both its successes and failures, while celebrating the people who try to do good in an often impersonal system.
Boyd Holbrook and Keegan-Michael Key star in the science fiction thriller “The Predator” (2018, R), another sequel about the alien trophy hunters who use Earth as their game preserve.
The four-part documentary series “Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men” is now streaming in its entirely on Showtime Anytime.
Made-for-BBC film “Mother’s Day” (2018, not rated), starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Vicky McClure as mothers who reach across the border to protest the terrorist violence over the Irish independence fight, debuts on Britbox.
The Criterion Channel celebrates “George Cukor’s Women” with 10 films, from the all-star “Dinner at Eight” (1933) and “The Women” (1939) to lesser-known greats “What Price Hollywood?” (1932) and “Sylvia Scarlett” (1935) to his Hitchcockian classic “Gaslight” (1944) with Ingrid Bergman. Exclusive to this presentation is an archival interview with Cukor conducted by Peter Bogdanovich. And the recently added film noir masterpieces “The Night of the Hunter” (1955) and “In a Lonely Place” (1950) are presented with commentary, featurettes, and other revealing supplements from the special edition DVD releases.
New on disc and at Redbox this week:
“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part,” “What Men Want,” “The Prodigy,” “Everybody Knows”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.