By Sean AxmakerTop streams for the week
Nicole Kidman delivers a ferocious performance as a damaged police detective in Karyn Kusama’s hard-edged “Destroyer” (2018, R), a neo-noir crime thriller with a sun-blasted look and a sleek narrative that jumps back in time to revisit the undercover case that haunts the drama. Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, and Sebastian Stan costar but Kidman dominates this savage film. Streaming on Hulu.
Netflix launches a half-dozen new shows this week but I call your attention to “Special,” a semi-autobiographical comedy created by and starring Ryan O’Connell as a young gay man with cerebral palsy (8 episodes under 15 minutes apiece), and “Huge in France” with Gad Elmaleh as a French comedy star (which in fact he is) who moves to Los Angeles and becomes an instant nobody. Elmaleh developed the Netflix Original Series for his English language debut.
“Queens of Mystery” stars Olivia Vinall as a newly promoted police detective who gets unsolicited help from her three aunts (Sarah Woodward, Julie Graham, and Siobhan Redmond), all successful crime writers eager to dive into real-life cases. The first two-part mystery is now streaming on Acorn TV and new mysteries debut each Monday through April 22.
Appointment TV becomes appointment streaming as the eighth and the final season of “Game of Thrones” begins Sunday night on all HBO services.
The Criterion Channel has relaunched as a new streaming service spotlighting classic and contemporary films from around the world, from international masterpieces to Hollywood classics to American independent visions.
The opening launch spotlights a trove of American film noir classics from “Mildred Pierce” (1945) and the newly-restored “Detour” (1945) to “The Big Heat” (1954) and “Murder by Contract” (1958), plus a collection of films from David Lynch, a selection of Italian masterpieces scripted by Suso Checci d’Amico including “Bicycle Thieves” (Italy, 1948, with subtitles) and “Rocco and His Brothers” (Italy, 1960, with subtitles), and the landmark American independent drama “Wanda” (1970, not rated) from director Barbara Loden. That is in addition to hundreds of classics from such filmmakers as Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Satyajit Ray, Michael Powell, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Agnes Varda.
The Criterion Channel is $10.99 a month or $99.99 a year (after a 14-day free trail) and is available via Roku, Amazon Fire, and AppleTV as well as browsers and mobile devices.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Felicity Jones is Ruth Bader Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex” (2018, PG-13), which dramatizes her early career as an equal rights champion, and Steve Carell stars in “Welcome to Marwen” (2018, PG-13), based on the true story of artist Mark Hogancamp (the subject of the superb documentary “Marwencol”). Both also DVD and at Redbox. Also new:
- family friendly adventure “A Dog’s Way Home” (2018, PG);
- disappointing spoof “Holmes & Watson” (2018, PG-13) with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly;
- animated time-traveling fantasy “Mirai” (Japan, 2018, PG).
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “Crypto” (2019, R), a Wall Street cybercrime drama with Kurt Russell and Luke Hemsworth, and crime thriller “A Dark Place” (2019, not rated) with Andrew Scott.
Kiernan Shipka is a deaf teenager and Stanley Tucci her father in a world invaded by creatures who hunt humans by sound in the Netflix Original film “The Silence” (2019, PG-13), which takes a similar premise to “A Quiet Place” and adds a sinister human cult to the mix.
Zoe Lister-Jones and Adam Pally star in “Band Aid” (2017, R), a comedy about a married couple who start a band as a form of therapy.
Streaming TV: Jamie King stars a mother searching for her daughter in the new zombie drama “Black Summer: Season 1.” Also new:
- “New Girl: Season 7” concludes the hit sitcom starring Zoey Deschanel and Jake Johnson;
- Bravo’s “Imposters: Season 2,” a dark comedy about con artists;
- foreign language thriller “Tango: Season 1” (Lebanon, with subtitles).
Foreign affairs: a police detective searches for a missing Chinese migrant worker in the award-winning “A Land Imagined” (Singapore, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), which makes its US debut on Netflix. Also new:
- “Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island?” (Spain, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a drama of longtime friends and flatmates on their final evening together;
- “The Great Battle” (South Korea, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), a medieval battle epic inspired by a true story;
- “14 Blades” (China, 2010, R, with subtitles) starring Donnie Yen as martial arts-wielding agent during the Ming Dynasty.
Also new: high school romantic comedy “The Perfect Date” (2019, not rated) costarring “Riverdale”‘s Camila Mendes;
- Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert” (2015, PG-13) starring Nicole Kidman as real-life early-20th century adventurer Gertrude Bell;
- Franco Zeffirelli’s “Hamlet” (1991, PG) with Mel Gibson and Glenn Close.
Amazon Prime Video
The original “Cloverfield” (2008, PG-13), directed by Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) from a screenplay by Drew Goddard (“The Martian”), is a 21st century Godzilla movie for the camcorder generation.
Foreign language TV: crime procedural “Spiral: Seasons 1-6” (France, 2005-2017, with subtitles) is the most celebrated crime drama on French TV. Also new:
modern fantasy drama “The Secret City: Complete Series” (Russia, 2014-2016, with subtitles) about a hidden civilization in Moscow;
crime thriller “Diablo Guardian: Season 2” (Mexico, with subtitles).
Nostalgia TV: “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp: Seasons 1-3” (1955-1958) presents over 100 episodes of the half-hour western starring Hugh O’Brien and sitcom “The Joey Bishop Show: Complete Series” (1961-1965) features the stand-up comic as a TV talk show host.
Kid stuff: “Bug Diaries: Season 1” is an animated show for young children.
Also new: heist drama “The Score” (2001, R) with Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, and Marlon Brando;
- Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” (1997, R) with Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins;
- Robert Altman’s “Streamers” (1983, R) with Matthew Modine;
- “The Plague Dogs” (1982, PG-13), a dark animated drama based on the novel by Richard Adams;
- spaghetti western comedy “My Name is Nobody” (Italy, 1973) with Henry Fonda and Terence Hill.
Prime Video and Hulu
Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall star in “Finding Your Feet” (2018, PG-13), a British comedy of starting over (Prime Video and Hulu). Also new is the micro-budget horror sequel “Paranormal Activity 2” (2010, R) (Prime Video and Hulu).
Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish play a married couple in “The Oath” (2018, R), a comedy set a politically-polarized Thanksgiving family dinner.
Streaming TV: the final season of the TNT drama “The Last Ship” is now available.
The new screen adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” (2019, TV-MA), starring Ashton Sanders as Bigger Thomas and updated to contemporary Chicago, comes straight to HBO from the Sundance Film Festival.
Kid stuff: the “Sesame Street” special “Julia’s Haircut” features Elmo and Abby.
Available Saturday night is the hit romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018).
New this month is the classic courtroom drama “Rumpole of the Bailey: Series 1 & 2” (1978-1980) with Leo McKern (additional seasons roll out every couple of weeks) and the BBC documentary “Bollywood: The World’s Largest Film Industry” (2018).
New on disc this week:
“On the Basis of Sex,” “Welcome to Marwen,” “Holmes and Watson,” “A Dog’s Way Home,” “Mirai”
Now available at Redbox:
“Welcome to Marwen,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “Holmes and Watson,” “A Dog’s Way Home”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.