By Sean AxmakerTop streams for the week
Sandra Oh is a bored, whipsmart MI-5 agent assigned to track down a brilliant, unpredictable Russian assassin (scene stealer Jodie Comer) in “Killing Eve” (2018, PG-14), a clever, compelling, mordantly funny spy thriller from BBC America. It was one of the best new shows of 2018 but not widely seen. You can now stream the edgy, offbeat first season on Hulu.
A little too much holiday cheer in your Christmas viewing? “Happy!: Season 1” (2018, TV-MA), a mix of crime thriller, dark comedy, and holiday fantasy, stars Christopher Meloni as a suicidal ex-cop searching for his kidnapped daughter with a tiny, flying, blue unicorn (voiced by Patton Oswalt). It’s definitely not for kids. Originally made for SyFy, it’s now streaming on Netflix.
After winning eight Emmy awards for its debut season, the much anticipated “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2” (2018, TV-MA) is finally here for holiday binge watching. Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein star. Prime Video.
“Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” (2018, PG-13), a new take on Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” directed by motion capture acting pioneer Andy Serkis, features Serkis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the jungle creatures. This version, rated PG-13 for violence, may be too intense for young kids.
Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (2018, PG-13), the sixth film in the globetrotting spy franchise and possibly the best to date. Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Oscar Isaac stars as a Mossad agent assigned to bring Adolph Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) to trial for war crimes in “Operation Finale” (2018, PG-13), based on a true story. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
Also new: raunchy cop comedy “The Happytime Murders” (2018, R) with Melissa McCarthy and a cast of Muppets;
- documentary “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” (2018, PG) from filmmaker Wim Wenders;
- horror film “The Nun” (2018, R), a prequel to “The Conjuring”;
- faith-based drama “God Bless the Broken Road” (2018, PG);
- indie comedies “Tyrel” (2018, not rated) with Jason Mitchell and Christoffer Abbot and “Song of Back and Neck” (2018, not rated) with Paul Lieberstein and Rosemarie DeWitt;
- foreign language dramas “Martyr” (Lebanon, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) and “The Marriage” (Kosovo, 2018, not rated, with subtitles).
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “Asher” (2018, R), a thriller starring Ron Perlman as an aging hitman on a mission of redemption.
The comedy “Dumplin’” (2018, PG-13), starring Danielle Macdonald as the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston), debuts direct to Netflix.
“The Lobster” (2015, R), a melancholy love story with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in a strange alternate reality where single people are transformed into animals, is from “The Favourite” director Yorgos Lanthimos.
Holiday treats: along with the family film “Free Rein: The Twelve Neighs of Christmas” (2018, not rated) and mordant comedy “5 Star Christmas” (Italy, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) come the dessert competition special “Nailed It! Holiday!” and the animated “Super Monsters and the Wish Star” for kids.
- Also new: “Masterminds” (2016, PG-13), a heist comedy inspired by a true story, starring Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, and Owen Wilson;
- comedy “Rock the Kasbah” (2015, R) with Bill Murray;
- action sequel “Terminator Salvation” (2009, PG-13) with Christian Bale;
- sci-fi drama turned social satire “District 9” (2009, R);
- drama “Seven Pounds” (2008, PG-13) with Will Smith;
- the original “Hellboy” (2004, PG-13) from filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro;
- cult comedy “The Big Lebowski” (1998, R) with Jeff Bridges;
- comedies “The Man Who Knew Too Little” (1997, PG) with Bill Murray and “Friday” (1995, R) and its sequels with Ice Cube;
- cult martial arts comedy “The Last Dragon” (1985, PG-13).
Foreign affairs: “Battle” (Norway, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) drops the familiar tale of a teen dance student rediscovering her passion in hip-hop into Northern Europe. Also new:
- “The Cakemaker” (Germany, 2017, not rated, with subtitles), the drama of a gay baker visiting his dead lover’s family in Jersusalem;
- “Operation Red Sea” (China, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), a military action spectacle inspired real events;
- “Accident” (China, 2009, not rated, with subtitles), a mind game of a hitman thriller starring Louis Koo;
- Jackie Chan in “The Legend of Drunken Master” (Hong Kong, 1994, R, with subtitles), one of his most impressive action films.
- reality series “The American Meme: Season 1” with Paris Hilton;
- animated spy drama “Hero Mask: Season 1 (Japan);
- sitcom “The Ranch: Part 6” with Ashton Kutcher, Debra Winger, and Sam Elliott;
- acclaimed BBC natural history series “Blue Planet II” (2017)
Foreign language TV: a pair of compromised detectives get mired in the Berlin underworld while trying to solve the murder of a Turkish-German soccer player in “Dogs of Berlin: Season 1” (Germany, with subtitles). Also new:
- romantic comedy “The Hook Up Plan: Season 1” (France, with subtitles);
- comedy “The Sound of Your Heart Reboot: Season 2” (Korea, with subtitles).
True stories: “ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?” delves into the unsolved murder the DJ from ’80s rap act Run-D.M.C.
Kid stuff: before “The Lego Movie,” filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wrote and directed the animated comedy “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (2009, PG).
Stand-up: “Russell Brand: Re:Birth” (2018, TV-MA)
Amazon Prime Video
“Groundhog Day” (1993, PG), starring Bill Murray as a smug, self-centered weatherman doomed to relive the same day over and over and over again, is a rare comedy that is both hilarious and heartfelt. And while it isn’t set at Christmas, it’s perfect for the holidays: an almost spiritual story of rebirth refreshingly free of preachy moralizing and mawkish sentimentality. It’s also available on 4K UHD format.
Two major Oscar winners arrive this month: Alan J. Pakula’s “All the President’s Men” (1976, PG-13) with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman won four Academy Awards, including prizes for supporting actor Jason Robards and for William Goldman’s screenplay, and musical “Cabaret” (1972, PG) earned eight awards, including statues for director Bob Fosse and stars Liza Minelli and Joel Grey.
Also new: Francis Ford Coppola’s “Youth Without Youth” (2007, R) with Tim Roth;
- Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble drama “Boogie Nights” (1997, R);
- Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal” (1982, PG), a fantasy epic with Muppet characters;
- suburban horror classic “Poltergeist” (1982, PG) from director Tobe Hooper and writer/producer Steven Spielberg;
- Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1972, R) with Malcolm McDowell;
- cop thriller “Bullitt” (1968, PG) with Steve McQueen and a landmark car chase;
- rebel gangster classic “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967, R) with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway;
- thriller “Wait Until Dark” (1967, not rated) with Audrey Hepburn;
- prison drama “Cool Hand Luke” (1967, PG) with Paul Newman;
- British film noir classic “It Always Rains on Sunday” (1947);
- Oscar-winning comedy “Born Yesterday” (1950) with Judy Holliday and William Holden.
Cult: Bruce Lee became an international action star with “Enter the Dragon” (1973, R), which was also the final film he completed before his untimely death.
True stories: Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” (2002, R) won the Academy Award for best documentary.
Foreign affairs: crime movie master Johnnie To directs the unusual musical drama “Office” (Hong Kong, 2015, not rated, with subtitles) with Chow Yun-fat and Sylvia Chang. Also new: Venice Film Festival winner “Legend of the Holy Drinker” (1988) with Rutger Hauer.
Kid stuff: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990, PG) brought the heroes in the half shell to the big screen for their first live action outing.
Prime Video and Hulu
Leslie Nielsen stars in “The Naked Gun” (1988, PG-13), the wildly cartoonish big screen version of the cult comedy series “Police Squad!” from the creators of “Airplane!” (Prime Video and Hulu), and the sequels “The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear” (1991, PG-13) (Prime Video and Hulu) and “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” (1994, PG-13) (Prime Video and Hulu).
Also new: thriller “Scenic Route” (2013, R) with Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler as best friends who turn on one another when stranded in the desert (Prime Video and Hulu) and drama “Ulee’s Gold” (1997, R) with a powerful performance by Peter Fonda (Prime Video and Hulu).
“Tangerine” (2015, R), shot on the streets of Los Angeles with an iPhone by filmmaker Sean Baker, is an unconventional Christmas tale about two transgendered friends (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor) on an odyssey across Los Angeles to find a cheating boyfriend. The offbeat indie drama won awards from film festivals and critics groups across the country.
“Sideways” (2004, R), an Oscar-winner for best screenplay, is a road movie with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as buddies on a trip through California wine country.
Nacho Vigalondo (“Colossal”) directs “Into The Dark: Pooka!,” the third feature-length episode in the Hulu Original horror series from Blumhouse.
“Lane 1974” (2017, not rated), based on the memoir by Clane Hayward, is a coming-of-age drama about growing up in the instability of communes in 1970s Northern California.
Streaming TV: Kiefer Sutherland races the clock in eight seasons of “24: Complete Series.” Also new:
- nostalgic family sitcom “The Wonder Years: Complete Series” with Fred Savage;
- animated shows “The Powerpuff Girls: Season 3A” and “Adventure Time: Season 10“;
- teen werewolf drama “Wolfblood: Season 4.”
Also new: Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” (2013, PG-13), featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Cate Blanchett;
- romantic comedy “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” (2008, R) with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings;
- Tim Burton’s film of the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007, R) starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter;
- “Bride and Prejudice” (2004, PG-13), a Bollywood-influenced take on the Jane Austen classic;
- Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” (2002, R) with Matt Damon and Daniel Day-Lewis;
- “Apollo 13” (1995, PG) with Tom Hanks;
- western drama “Tombstone” (1993, R) with Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday;
- David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” (1986, R).
Foreign affairs: “With a Friend Like Harry” (France, 2000, R, with subtitles) is a modern thriller with a Hitchcockian quality. Also new: Jackie Chan in the globetrotting adventures
The HBO Original drama “Icebox” (2018, TV-14) stars Anthony Gonzalez (the voice of “Coco”) as a 12-year-old Honduran boy incarcerated in the U.S. Immigration system when he seeks asylum.
Dwayne Johnson and his gorilla buddy battle genetically modified giant animals in “Rampage” (2018, PG-13).
Available Saturday night is “Ready Player One (2018, PG-13), the dazzling virtual reality adventure directed by Steven Spielberg.
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn return in the moms-gone-wild comedy sequel “A Bad Moms Christmas” (2017, R) with Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, Cheryl Hines as their moms.
“Denial” (2016, PG-13) dramatizes the true story of historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), who was sued for libel by Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) in the British courts.
Amy Huberman (of “Striking Out) writes and stars in “Finding Joy: Season 1,” a new comedy from Ireland. Six episodes.
Also new: “Vidago Palace: Season 1” (Portugal, with subtitles), set in Portugal during the Spanish Civil War, and the first episode of “The Brokenwood Mysteries: Series 5” from New Zealand (new episodes arrive each Monday).
New on disc and at Redbox week:
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “Operation Finale,” “The Happytime Murders,” “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” “The Nun.”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.