What’s new for home viewing on video-on-demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services.
by Sean Axmaker
Top streams for the week
Jean-Claude Van Damme spoofs his image and his career in “Jean-Claude Van Johnson,” a spy comedy about a retired action star who used his movie career as cover for his real work: an international black ops agent. Van Damme has no problem satirizing his rocky past or his aging body as he returns to the field not quite in peak condition. 6 episodes on Amazon Prime.
The non-fiction mini-series “Wormwood” from Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris follows one man’s obsessive search through government secrets for the truth about father’s mysterious death and uncovers a labyrinthine story involving the CIA, LSD experiments, and conspiratorial theories. Peter Sarsgaard stars in the dreamlike dramatic recreations. 6 episodes on Netflix.
The touching “Marjorie Prime” (2017, not rated) stars Lois Smith as an elderly widow with a fading memory and Jon Hamm as the holographic companion who channels her dead husband. This sci-fi tinged drama of mortality, memory, and loss also stars Geena Davis and Tim Robbins.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Reese Witherspoon is a single mother who invites a handsome twentysomething (Nat Wolff) and his two brothers to share her vast Los Angeles home in the romantic comedy “Home Again” (2017, PG-13). Michael Sheen is the ex-husband who tries to woo her back from her hunky young live-in lover.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017, R) partners the elite British spy organization with its American counterpart and adds Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, and Channing Tatum to the cast.
Also new: Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” (2017, R), starring John Boyega and based a true story, faith-based drama “All Saints” (2017, PG) with John Corbett, and Chinese action thriller “Wolf Warrior 2” (China, 2017, not rated).
True stories: “Apache Warrior” (2017, not rated) profiles an Apache helicopter crew in the front lines of the invasion of Iraq, “School Life” (2017, not rated) follows a year in the life of two passionate teachers in an Irish primary boarding school, “For Ahkeem” (2017, not rated) takes you to a court-supervised high school for delinquent teens in St. Louis, and “Love and Saucers” (2017, not rated) tells the strange story of David Huggins who claims to have been abducted numerous times by aliens.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the comedy “Permanent” (2017, PG-13) with Patricia Arquette and Rainn Wilson as the parents of an awkward teen struggling as the new girl in school.
The holiday films keep coming: romantic drama “Christmas Inheritance” (2017, not rated) stars Eliza Taylor as an heiress stranded in a small town and Michael Shannon stars in the comedy “Pottersville” (2017, PG-13) with Christina Hendricks, Judy Greer, and Ian McShane.
Tim Allen turns into Saint Nick in the comedy “The Santa Clause” (1994, PG), finds a Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell) in “The Santa Clause 2” (2002, G), and takes on Jack Frost (Martin Short) in “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” (2006, G).
“The Trip to Spain” (2016, not rated) is the third comic journey for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon bickering through an epicurean tour.
Streaming TV: “Halt and Catch Fire: Season 4” is the final season of the AMC series about entrepreneurs in the early days of the Internet explosion and Bruce Campbell returns to the demon-fighting role that made him famous in the Starz horror comedy “Ash vs Evil Dead: Seasons 1 & 2.”
From Netflix Japan comes the time travel series “Erased: Season 1” (Japan), based on the best-selling manga.
- “The Magicians: Season 2” about a more grown-up school for magic;
- Netflix sitcom “The Ranch: Part 4” with Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson (his final episodes before he was fired);
- Guillermo Del Toro’s animated “Trollhunters: Part 2“;
- British nonfiction series “Reggie Yates Outside Man: Volume 2.”
Foreign affairs: “The Unknown Girl” (Belgium, 2016, not rated, with subtitles) from the Dardenne Bros. follows a young doctor really exploring the neighborhood she serves.
- romantic drama “A Five Star Life” (Italy, 2013, not rated, with subtitles) with Margherita Buy as a luxury hotel inspector;
- black comedy “The Mafia Kills Only in Summer” (Italy, 2013, not rated, with subtitles); epic Bollywood musical “Lagaan” (India, 2001, PG, with subtitles) about an epic cricket match between Indian villagers and occupying British soldiers.
Stand-up: “Judd Apatow: The Return” (Netflix Original)
Amazon Prime Video
Also new: “Nightcrawler” (2014, R) with Jake Gyllenhaal as a ruthless freelance video newsman and “Rosewater” (2014, R) with Gael García Bernal as a journalist imprisoned in Iran, directed by Jon Stewart.
Foreign affairs: a disenchanted architect and the elephant he grew up with as a child hit the road in “Pop Aye” (Thailand, 2017, not rated, with subtitles).
True stories: “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” (2017, not rated) looks at the contributions of Native Americans to American popular music and “Buena Vista Social Club: Adios” (2017, PG) revisits the legendary Cuban group two decades after the original documentary brought them an international audience.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
“Foreman” (2017, not rated) profiles the champion boxer George Foreman, who returned to the ring after a ten-year retirement to become the oldest heavyweight champion in history (Amazon Prime and Hulu).
Sam Elliott is an aging, ailing movie star coming to terms with his legacy and his mistakes in “The Hero” (2017, R), co-starring Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, and Krysten Ritter.
“The Limehouse Golem” (2017, not rated), a British thriller with Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke, takes on an unsolved killing spree before Jack the Ripper.
- slacker comedy “Dave Made a Maze” (2017, not rated) with Nick Thune;
- time travel romance “Kate and Leopold” (2001, PG-13) with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman;
- cult supernatural thriller “The Crow” (1994, R) with Brandon Lee.
Streaming TV: Sutton Foster is a Vegas showgirl turned small-town ballet teacher in the family friendly dramedy “Bunheads: Season 1.” The acclaimed series never got a second season but Sutton is now in “Younger: Season 4.”
“Logan” (2017, R), starring Hugh Jackman in his final screen appearance as X-Men hero Wolverine, shows that superhero movies can tell a human story. This near-future thriller delivers gritty action and ruthless R-rated battles, but at heart it’s about mortality, aging, and what we do for family. Patrick Stewart co-stars.
Idris Elba is a CIA agent in Paris who uncovers a conspiracy in “The Take” (2016, R).
True stories: “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution” (2017, not rated) puts its description in the title.
Arriving Saturday night is the comedy “Going in Style” (2017, PG-13) with Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin are retired buddies who plot a bank robbery.
“You, Me and Him” (2017, not rated) is a British comedy with Lucy Punch and David Tennant and Rachel Weisz stars in “The Whistleblower” (2011, R) as a UN peacekeeper who uncovers a network of corruption.
FilmStruck / Criterion Channel
FilmStruck presents the films of Bill Morrison, including his new documentary “Dawson City: Frozen Time” (2016, not rated), which combines Klondike history and film history in the story of a great “Dawson Film Find” of 1978. Other films include the impressionistic “Decasia” (2002, not rated) and the World War I documentary “Beyond Zero: 1914-1918” (2014, not rated) featuring rare archival footage of the war.
Also new are two American classics: the boxing drama “The Harder They Fall” (1956) with Humphrey Bogart’s final film and Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd” (1957) with Andy Griffith as a populist media star with a ruthless drive under his folksy charm.
Criterion Channel adds Christian Petzold’s superb drama “Phoenix” (Germany, 2014, not rated), set in Germany after World War II, and seven films by Japanese director Juzo Itami, including “The Funeral” (Japan, 1984, not rated) and “Minbo, or The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion” (Japan, 1992, not rated), to join his previously-available films “Tampopo” (Japan, 1985) and “A Taxing Woman” (Japan, 1987, not rated). All with subtitles.
New on disc this week:
“Home Again,” “Kingsmen: The Golden Circle,” “Detroit,” “All Saints,” “Games of Thrones: Season 7”
Now available at Redbox:
“Atomic Blonde,” “Kingsmen: The Secret Service,” “All Saints,” “True Detective: Seasons 1 & 2”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.
Jean-Claude Van Damme goes undercover in “Jean-Claude Van Johnson.” Photo credit: Amazon Prime Video
Peter Sarsgaard in “Wormwood.” Photo credit: Mark Schafer/Netflix
John Hamm and Lois Smith in “Marjorie Prime.” Photo credit: FilmRise
Pico Alexander and Reese Witherspoon in “Home Again.” Photo credit: Open Road Films
Hugh Jackman in “Logan.” Photo credit: Twentieth Century Film Corporation