By Sean AxmakerTop streams for the week
Emma Stone and Jonah Hill play traumatized test subjects in a pharmaceutical trial that promises to take away their pain in “Maniac” (2018), a Netflix Original limited series that combines science fiction, psychodrama, and black comedy. Justin Theroux and Sally Field co-star in the series loosely adapted from a Norwegian show by creators Amelia Gray (“Mr. Robot”) and Patrick Somerville (“The Leftovers”) and director Cory Fukanaga (“True Detective”). All ten episodes streaming on Netflix.
“The Witch” (2015, R), subtitled “A New England Folktale,” is a primal horror film rooted in fear and superstition. A family of Puritans in the new world of 17th century America beset by hardships and tragedy become convinced that they’ve been cursed and it’s hard not to see every unsettling act of nature as a sign of evil. It’s dark and spooky and suggestive and leaves you wondering what’s real, what’s imagined, and how much belief guides our perceptions. Streaming on Netflix.
Foreign language pick: Jean-Louis Trintignant stars in Bernardo Bertolucci’s award-winning “The Conformist” (Italy, 1971, R, with subtitles), a stylized drama of collaboration and moral compromise in late 1930s Fascist Italy. Bertolucci’s fluid camera glides and dances through art deco sets which cinematographer Vittorio Storaro bathes in soft nostalgic colors, while Trintignant stands apart, alienated and aloof from it all. Dominique Sanda and Stefania Sandrelli co-star. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The most vibrant thrilling of the three collaborations between director Carol Reed and writer Graham Greene, “The Third Man” (1949) stars Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist who searches through the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna to uncover the truth about the death of his best friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), and discovers that his pal is a ruthless black marketeer with blood on his hands. Quaint old-country clichés collide with the reality of the devastation of the war and German expressionist exaggeration mixes with droll, understated British wit to create a continental crime classic, a rogues gallery of profiteers and petty crooks wandering a cinematic landscape of cant angles and long shadows. Welles steals the show with barely ten minutes of screen time and Alida Valli and Trevor Howard co-star. Streaming on Netflix.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Chris Pratt and Bruce Dallas Howard are back in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018, R) to save the genetically-resurrected dinosaurs from a volcano and from international arms dealers. Jeff Goldblum also makes a return appearance. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikoswka star in “Damsel” (2018, R), an offbeat frontier comedy from indie filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the end-of-the-world drama “I Think We’re Alone Now” (2018, R) with Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, which won a prize as Sundance, and hostage thriller “Bel Canto” (2018, not rated) with Julianne Moore and Christopher Lambert.
Sanaa Lathan gets back in touch with her cultural roots in “Nappily Ever After” (2018, not rated), a romantic comedy directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia. Debuts directly to Netflix.
Streaming TV: Josh Groban is “The Good Cop” in the first season of the Netflix Original comedy and Tony Danza is his corrupt father, a retired NYPD officer who is full of dubious advice.
Also newly arrived: high school comedy “Class Rank” (2018, not rated) with Olivia Holt;
- playful romantic comedy “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010, PG-13) with Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead;
- bad behavior comedy “Role Models” (2008, R) with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott;
- horror film “As Above, So Below” (2014, R), set in the catacombs below Paris.
True stories: the Netflix Original documentary “Reversing Roe” (2018) traces the politicization of an issue that is becoming more immediate to many Americans. Also new is “Quincy” (2018, not rated), a portrait of legendary music producer Quincy Jones directed by his daughter, Rashida Jones.
Non-fiction TV this week includes “Battlefish: Season 1,” following the fishing culture competing to catch albacore tuna off the Oregon Coast, and British documentary series “Inside the Freemasons: Season 1.”
Stand-up: “D.L. Hughley: Contrarian.”
Amazon Prime Video
Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle are idealistic but unprepared young newlyweds in “On Chesil Beach” (2018, R), Ian McEwan’s adaptation of his own novel.
Foreign language TV: “The Adventures of Captain Alatriste” (Spain, with subtitles) is a historical swashbuckler based on the international best-sellers by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
Local alert: indie steampunk web series “Rocketmen” (2018, not rated), set and shot in Seattle, has been edited into a short feature.
Foreign affairs: “The Fencer” (2018, Finland, not rated, with subtitles), based on a true story, was Finland’s official selection for the Academy Award for best foreign language film and Isabelle Huppert is “Mrs. Hyde” (France, 2018) in the horror comedy co-starring Romain Duris.
True stories: “Black Code” (2018, not rated) examines how government control the Internet to limit citizens’ access to information and “Our Blood is Wine” (2018) looks at winemaking traditions in the Republic of Georgia revived after the end of Soviet rule.
Prime Video and Hulu
With royalty coming to the big screen this season, revisit Helen Mirren’s Oscar-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth in “The Queen” (2006, PG-13).
Also newly arrived: Wes Anderson’s sweet and playful “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012, PG-13) with Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis;
romantic drama “The Shipping News” (2001, R) with Bill Murray and Julianne Moore;
offbeat “She’s So Lovely” (1997, R) with Sean Penn and Robin Wright.
Streaming TV: Michelle Dockery is back as a con woman in love with a hitman in “Good Behavior: Season 2.”
Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and the a cappella gang are back in “Pitch Perfect 3” (2017, PG-13) for one more chorus.
Arriving Saturday night is Guillermo Del Toro’s Cold War romantic fantasy “The Shape of Water” (2017, R), which won four Oscars including best picture.
The true-life World War II thriller “Anthropoid” (2016, R), starring Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan, dramatizes the mission to kill Reinhard Heydrich in Czechoslovakia.
True stories: “Cradle of Champions” (2018, TV-14) takes viewers through the New York Golden Gloves championship.
TCM Select Pick of the Week is Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” (1941), so longed hailed as “the greatest film ever made” that’s it’s become a dry truism. The legends surrounding the film have long overshadowed the actual production and its reputation is in serious danger of becoming the least seen masterpiece around. Above all, Welles was a showman and “Citizen Kane” a three ring circus of cinematic ingenuity, a startlingly entertaining blend of dime store melodrama, historical biography, detective story, political drama, storytelling confabulation, and plain old theatrical flourish. Years ahead of its time in its layered use of sound and score, stunningly designed and brilliantly conceived, “Citizen Kane” is a vital, moving, exciting moment of American cinema brought back to life with every screening. Streaming through December 27.
It’s part of the collection “Deep Focus: The Cinematography of Gregg Toland,” a tribute to the pioneering director of photography that includes the romantic classic “History Is Made at Night” (1937) and his work with directors John Ford (“The Long Voyage Home,” 1940) and William Wyler (“Wuthering Heights,” 1939; “The Little Foxes,” 1941), all streaming through March 14, 2019.
Also new: “Star of the Week: James Mason” collects 20 features from across the actor’s rich career, including such lesser-seen classics “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman” (1951) and “The Man Between” (1953), and “Director of the Week: Eric Rohmer” presents all six “Moral Tales” and the sublime “The Green Ray” (aka “Summer”) (France, 1986, with subtitles).
All ten seasons of “The Octopus” (Italy, 1984-2001, with subtitles), an epic Mafia drama on the battle against the global criminal network centered in Sicily, debut on MHz.
The first two seasons of the British mystery series “Wire In the Blood: Series 1-2” (2002-2004) with Robson Green as a criminal profiler now available on Acorn TV, with additional seasons on the way.
Sarah Parish stars in the British cop drama “Bancroft,” making its stateside debut on BritBox.
“Sorry For Your Loss,” a half-hour drama with jabs of dark humor starring Elizabeth Olson as a young widow working through her grief, begins on Facebook Watch. Four episodes now streaming, new episodes on Tuesdays. Also new are the adult animated comedies “Human Kind Of” and “Liverspots and Astronots.”
New on disc this week:
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Damsel,” “Siberia,” “Billionaire Boy’s Club,” “Gotti”
Now available at Redbox:
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Siberia,” “Billionaire Boy’s Club”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.