Top streams for the week
Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical “ROMA” (Mexico, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), about growing up in Mexico City in the early 1970s, has won awards from film festivals and critics groups and is an early Oscar favorite. It arrives on Netflix while playing in select theaters around the country.
Keira Knightley is “Colette” (2018, R) in the biographical drama about the early years of the great French author from award-winning director Wash Westmoreland. On Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
Classic pick: “The Great Escape” (1963) is the exemplar of the World War II adventure, with Steve McQueen leading a massive cast of individualists working on the ultimate heist: escaping an inescapable German POW camp. It’s a lot of fun but still grounded in a serious reality, and director John Sturges reminds us that there are consequences to these actions. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Free streams: Every episode of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” and Firefly” is now streaming for free on Facebook Watch and HBO is streaming “Icebox” (2018, TV-14) for free for nonsubscribers through January 10, 2019.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
The animated comedy “Smallfoot” (2018, PG) follows the adventure of a Yeti in a remote Himalayan mountain discovering that the legend is true: humans do exist! Also new:
action drama “The Equalizer 2” (2018, R) with Denzel Washington back to get justice for the oppressed;
revenge thriller “Peppermint” (2018, R) with Jennifer Garner;
“Lizzie” (2018, R) starring Chloë Sevigny as Lizzie Borden and Kristen Stewart as Bridget Sullivan;
“Galveston” (2018, not rated) with Ben Foster and Elle Fanning, based on the novel by “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is Lars von Trier’s contentious serial killer thriller “The House That Jack Built” (2018, R) with Matt Damon and “Maine” (2018, R) starring Laia Costas a Spanish woman hiking the Appalachian Trail.
“Tidelands” is a supernatural crime drama miniseries set in an Australian fishing village that is home to a race of half human/half-Sirens.
Also from Australia is the gritty murder mystery “Goldstone” (2016, R) with Aaron Pedersen in his second appearance as Detective Jay Swan.
Kurt Russell leads a crew for one last heist in the comic caper “The Art of the Steal” (2013, R), co-starring Matt Dillon and Jay Baruchel.
Two Netflix series returnwith special holiday episodes: “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale” set on the Winter Solstice and the family sitcom “Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle.”
True stories: the six-part documentary series “The Innocent Man,” based on the true crime best-seller by John Grisham, looks at the case of Ron Williamson, who was sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. Also new:
“Out of Many, One,” a short documentary featuring the stories of immigrants preparing for American citizenship;
“Michael Jackson’s This Is It” (2009, PG), a behind-the-scenes portrait of the concert that Jackson was rehearsing before his death;
“Susanne Bartsch: On Top” (2017, not rated), a portrait of the famous event planner and activist.
Streaming TV: Comedians Jimmy Carr, D.L. Hughley and Katherine Ryan join a panel of experts in “The Fix: Season 1” to help solve major crises and minor problems. Also new:
family sitcom “Fuller House: Season 4“;
Australia crime drama “Wanted: Season 3“;
British comedy “Cuckoo: Season 4“;
time travel adventure “Travelers: Season 3“;
sport documentary series “Sunderland Til I Die: Season 1” about an English football club.
Foreign language TV: “The Protector: Season 1” (Turkey, with subtitles), a fantasy about a young shopkeeper in modern Istanbul who discovers he is part of an ancient order of mystical protectors, is the first Netflix Original series from Turkey. Also new:
“Back Street Girls – Gokudols: Season 1” (Japan), an animated farce about three Yakuza hoods transformed into young girl pop stars.
Kid stuff: more short episodes of the animated music series “Dance & Sing with True: Songs” for young children.
Stand-up: “Vir Das: Losing It.”
Amazon Prime Video
A teenage girl (Zoey Deutch) relives the same day over and over again in “Before I Fall” (2017, PG-13), a young adult drama twist on “Groundhog Day” and Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones are Americans on the run from German criminals in the action thriller “Collide” (2017, PG-13).
Foreign affairs: “Paris, je t’aime” (2007, R, with subtitles) celebrates the City of Lights in eighteen short vignettes set in different districts of Paris and three filmmakers set more substantial short films in “Tokyo!” (2008, not rated, with subtitles). Also new:
“Gabbeh” (Iran, 1996, not rated, with subtitles) from Mohsen Makhmalbaf;
two non-narrative films from Jean-Luc Godard and his radical Dziga Vertov Group: “British Sounds” (aka “See You at Mao”) and “Le Vent D’Est” (“Wind from the East”) (both France, 1970, not rated, with subtitles).
Classics: Faye Dunaway and Max von Sydow headline the all-star cast of “Voyage of the Damned” (1976, PG), based on the true story of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany that no nation would take in. Also new:
romantic spy drama “The Tamarind Seed” (1974, PG) with Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif;
Oscar winning musical “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971, G);
Oscar winning crime drama “In the Heat of the Night” (1967) with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger;
“The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965, G) with Max Von Sydow as Jesus Christ;
musical drama “Pal Joey” (1957) with Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth;
romantic comedy “The Young in Heart” (1938) about a family of con artists.
True stories: Oscar-nominated documentary “Spellbound” (2002, G) follows eight teenagers competing in the 1999 National Spelling Bee.
Cult: Teruo Ishii’s “Horrors of Malformed Men” (Japan, 1969, with subtitles), based on stories by Edogawa Rampo, is one of the weirdest films to come out of the Japanese horror genre. And that’s saying something. Also new: juvenile crime dramas “The Boy Who Came Back” (Japan, 1958, with subtitles) and “Teenage Yakuza” (Japan, 1962, with subtitles) and underworld thriller “Smashing the 0-line” (Japan, 1960, with subtitles) from director Seijun Suzuki.
Prime Video and Hulu
Indie drama “Say You Will” (2017, TV-14) follows a recent high school grad (Travis Hope) as he cares for his mother and navigates his first relationship in the wake of his father’s suicide (Prime Video and Hulu).
Taraji P. Henson stars in Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” (2009, PG-13) as a reckless nightclub singer suddenly responsible for three troubled teenage kids.
A teenager (Max Record) fights his own homicidal impulses while investigating a string of murders in “I Am Not a Serial Killer” (2016, not rated).
“Deutschland 86” (Germany, with subtitles), the second season of the series begun as “Deutschland 83,” jumps ahead three years in the drama set in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
More streaming TV: “Zac & Mia: Season 1” stars Kian Lawley and Anne Winters as the only teenagers in the cancer ward of a hospital. Also new:
satirical comedy “Graves: Season 2” starring Nick Nolte as a former American President.
True stories: “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow” (2018) looks at the future of the American space program.
Steven Spielberg directs the dazzling virtual reality adventure “Ready Player One” (2018, PG-13), based on the young adult sci-fi novel by Ernest Cline and starring Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke as teens battling a ruthless corporate power to save their virtual oasis. Spielberg stuffs the colorful (if thin) underdog thriller full of pop-culture references.
“Momentum Generation” (2018, TV-14) looks at the young surfers who transformed the sport in the 1990s.
Available Saturday night is “Blockers” (2018, R), a prom night comedy starring Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena as the parents of three teenage girls.
Three music documentaries debut this week: “Jeff Beck: Still on the Run” (2018, not rated), on the life and career of the legendary rock guitarist, plus “Agnostic Front: The Godfathers of Hardcore” (2017, not rated) and “GG Allin: All in the Family” (2017, not rated).
New on disc and at Redbox this week:
“The Equalizer 2,” “Colette,” “Smallfoot,” “Peppermint,” “Lizzie.”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.