By Sean Axmaker
Top streams for the week
“Mary Poppins Returns” (2018, PG) stars Emily Blunt as Britain’s most famous nanny, who floats back into the lives of the now-grown Jane and Michael Banks (Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw) to help with Michael’s children. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Meryl Streep co-star in the musical sequel. Now streaming on Netflix.
Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” (2017, PG-13), a legal drama about the future Supreme Court Justice when he was an NAACP attorney in 1940 fighting a seemingly unwinnable case. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Looking for something more educational to occupy kids in the summer break? Some of the most visually engaging natural history documentaries from BBC Earth are on Netflix, including “Planet Earth” (2006) and follow-up “Planet Earth II” (2016), “Frozen Planet” (2011) about life at the poles, and “Life Story” (2014) about the life cycle of animals across the globe. All are hosted by David Attenborough. Now on Netflix.
Foreign language pick: dry wit and playful storytelling help make “Woman at War” (Iceland, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) both a serious drama of ecological activism and a warm, winning story of devotion, sacrifice, and family. Streaming on Hulu.
Free pick: Before she was Captain Marvel, Brie Larson won an Oscar in the gripping and emotionally layered drama “Room” (2015, R). Streaming on Hoopla, which is available through most public library systems.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
A bullying CEO (Regina Hall) wakes up as her young self in “Little” (2019, PG-13), a comedy costarring Issa Rae and Marsai Martin. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the comedy “Miss Arizona” (2019, not rated) with Johanna Braddy, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, and Missi Pyle.
Anthony Mackie is an ER nurse who teams up with a wounded criminal (Frank Grillo) to take on corrupt cops and save his kidnapped wife in “Point Blank” (2019, not rated), an American remake of a 2011 French thriller.
More streaming TV: a Seattle family adjusts to life in a small town in Georgia in the family-friendly sitcom “Family Reunion: Season 1” with Anthony Alabi and Loretta Devine. Also new:
- foodie series “Taco Chronicles: Season 1” (Mexico, with subtitles) on the history and culture of the taco;
- competition show “Blown Away: Season 1” featuring a glassblowing sculpture challenge’
- reality show “Extreme Engagement: Season 1” that sends an engaged couple around the world to explore different marriage customs;
- foreign language family dramedy “Bonus Family: Season 3” (Sweden, with subtitles).
Kid stuff: the animated “True Tunes: Songs” creates colorful music videos for classic nursery rhymes. Also new: equestrian drama “Free Rein: Season 3” for teens and tweens and animated sci-fi adventure “3Below: Tales of Arcadia: Part 2” for adolescent audiences.
Foreign affairs: crime thriller “Cities of Last Things” (Taiwan, 2019, with subtitles), a dystopian drama set in near-future Taiwan, comes to Netflix direct from the film festival circuit. Also new:
- award-winning crime drama “Sicilian Ghost Story” (Italy, 2017, with subtitles, not rated), a mix of true-life crime drama and supernatural fantasy;
- abduction thriller “Kidnapping Stella” (Germany, 2019, not rated, with subtitles) about a victim who fights back with her wits;
- road movie dramedy “4L” (Spain, 2019, not rated, with subtitles) with Jean Reno;
- musical biopic “El Potro: Unstoppable” (Argentina, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) about superstar singer Rodrigo Bueno;
- documentary “Parchís: The Documentary (Spain, with subtitles) profiles the boy/girl pop band that became a phenomenon in Spain in the 1980s.
Stand-up: “Aziz Ansari: Right Now” (2019, TV-MA).
Amazon Prime Video
Robert Pattinson plays a magazine photographer assigned to cover James Dean (Dane DeHaan) in “Life” (2015, R), directed by Anton Corbijn (“A Most Wanted Man”).
“Journey’s End” (2018, R), based on the classic play by R.C. Sherriff, transports viewer into the horrors of trench warfare in World War I. Paul Bettany, Sam Claflin, and Asa Butterfield star.
Streaming TV: “Magnum, P.I.: Seasons 1-5 & 7-8” (1980-1988) offers almost the complete run of the original hit series starring Tom Selleck as a private detective in Hawaii.
Foreign affairs: “Sobibor” (Russia, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), Russia’s official submission to the 2019 Academy Awards, dramatizes the only successful escape from a Nazi concentration camp. Also newly arrived is another World War II true story: “Downfall” (Germany, 2005, R, with subtitles), with Bruno Ganz as Hitler in the final days of the war.
Cult movies: horror legend George Romero reworks the King Arthur story in “Knightriders” (1981, R), starring Ed Harris as the idealistic leader of a troupe of cycle-riding gypsies in a traveling Renaissance Fair, and the dystopian science fiction drama “A Boy and His Dog” (1975, R) with Don Johnson remains the best adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s work.
American comedy director Frank Oz captures the British comic sensibility in the farce “Death at a Funeral” (2007, R) and American actor Alan Tudyk practically steals the film from the British cast. Also newly arrived:
- thriller “The Deep” (1977, PG) with Jacqueline Bisset and Nick Nolte;
- classic courtroom drama “Inherit the Wind” (1960) with Spencer Tracy and Fredric March;
- the Tony-nominated production of “Macbeth” (2010, not rated) with Patrick Stewart, filmed for the PBS showcase “Great Performances.”
Prime Video and Hulu
Ben Affleck adapts Dennis Lehane’s mystery novel for his directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone” (2007, R), starring his brother (and future Oscar-winner) Casey Affleck and featuring Amy Ryan in an Oscar-nominated performance (Amazon Prime and Hulu).
James Badge Dale stars in the acclaimed crime thriller “The Standoff at Sparrow Creek” (2018, not rated) as an ex-cop ferreting out a killer in a militia group. Also newly arrived:
- Sam Elliot in “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot” (2018, not rated), a mix of tall tale, action movie, and character study;
- “Lords of Chaos” (2018, R), a dark drama set in Norway’s Black Metal culture starring Rory Culkin;
- indie science fiction drama “Prospect” (2018, R) about a father/daughter team on a mercenary moon.
The Hulu Original series “Harlots: Season 3” is now underway with new episodes each Wednesday.
Rami Malek won an Academy Award playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018, PG-13).
The two-part documentary “I Love You, Now Die” (2019, TV-MA) examines the suicide of 18-year-old Conrad Roy and the trial of his girlfriend Michelle Carter, who encouraged him to kill himself with texts.
Available Saturday night is the “Harry Potter” prequel “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018, PG-13) with Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp.
Showtime debuts the documentaries “General Magic” (2019, TV-PG), about the rise and fall of the 1990s Silicon Valley start-up that created the first viable smartphone, and “Shangri-La” (2019, not rated), which profiles legendary music producer and Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin.
The Criterion Channel presents “Directed by Pedro Almodóvar,” a collection of nine films from the acclaimed Spanish filmmaker including the Oscar-nominated “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (Spain, 1988, R, with subtitles), and four classic musicals starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers including a special edition of “Swing Time” featuring commentary, interviews, and a documentary on the musical numbers.
Timothy Spall and Brian F. O’Byrne star in “The Heist at Hatton Garden” (2019, not rated), a limited series based on the real-life diamond robbery launched by four elderly men. The British TV production makes is U.S. debut on Britbox.
Free on Hoopla: Ryan Reynolds is a traveling gambler in the buddy road movie “Mississippi Grind” (2015, R) and Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain star in the superb drama “A Most Violent Year” (2015, R). Also new to Hoopla:
- Lynn Shelton’s Seattle-shot comedy “Laggies” (2015, R) with Keira Knightley and Chloë Grace Moretz;
- Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” (2013, R) with Emma Watson and “The Virgin Suicides” (2000, R) with Kirsten Dunst;
- Harmony Korine’s day-glo crime romp “Spring Breakers” (2013, R) with James Franco and Selena Gomez.
New on disc this week:
“Little,” “Pet Sematary,” “After,” “High Life,” “Transit”
Now available at Redbox:
“Little,” “Pet Sematary,” “After,” “The Professor”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.