Top streams for the week
The new Netflix original crime drama “Criminal” (with subtitles) is a police procedural that spans multiple stories across four countries (France, Spain, Germany and the UK) yet takes place almost entirely inside the interrogation room as investigators probe stories and challenge suspects. Among the suspects grilled are David Tennant, Hayley Atwell, Nathalie Baye, and Jérémie Renier. 12 episodes streaming on Netflix.
Peter Jackson brings history to life in “They Shall Not Grow Old” (2018, R), a documentary on the experience of British soldiers in World War I created entirely from archival footage and interviews. The film, which uses state-of-the-art digital effects to restore damaged film footage, was a hit on special event screenings and eventually earned a brief, successful theatrical run. Jackson’s transformation of the footage is incredible and the soundtrack of World War I veteran interviews is compelling. Available on all HBO platforms.
“Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates” (2019, not rated) is a three-part documentary from Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim that focuses on the passions and philanthropy of the Microsoft billionaire and features extensive interviews with Gates himself. Streaming on Netflix.
“Surviving R. Kelly” (2019, TV-MA) gives voice to the women abused by the R&B superstar and explores the culture that protected him. The six-episode documentary led to criminal investigations after it aired on Lifetime. It’s now streaming on Netflix.
BET+, a new streaming service devoted to programming from black creators for African American audiences, launches this week with hundreds of hours of movies and TV shows (including the hit sitcom “Martin“) and two new original comedies exclusive to BET+. “First Wives Club,” a TV adaptation of the 1996 movie from “Girls Trip” writer Tracy Oliver, stars Jill Scott, Ryan Michelle Bathe, and Michelle Buteau as best friends in New York City. “Bigger” stars Tanisha Long as a single black woman in East Atlanta. Three episodes of each show are available at launch with new episodes arriving on a weekly basis. BET+ is $9.99 per month.
Cult pick: “Shadow of the Vampire” (2000, R) reimagines the making of the landmark horror classic “Nosferatu” with a real vampire (Willem Dafoe in an Oscar-nominated performance) in the leading role. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
“Dark Phoenix” (2019, PG-13), the latest of the “X-Men” superhero films, stars Sophie Turner as a young telepath who becomes an all-powerful being and costars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jessica Chastain. Also new:
- “Wild Rose” (2019, R) starring Jessie Buckley as a young Scottish women who aspires to become a country star in Nashville;
- romantic drama “In The Aisles” (Germany, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) about a relationship that blossoms over night shifts at a box store.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is crime thriller “Running with the Devil” (2019, R) starring Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne as agents of a cocaine cartel investigating hijacked drug shipments.
Zach Galifianakis is back as the most wince-inducing talk show host ever in “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” (2019, not rated), a Netflix Original comedy based on the “Funny or Die” show. Keanu Reeves, Brie Larson, Matthew McConaughey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tiffany Haddish, John Legend, and others appear as themselves.
“Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison” (2019, TV-PG) is a concert special featuring the band performing on the 50th Anniversary of Johnny Cash’s famous prison concert.
Taissa Farmiga and Crispin Glover star in the gothic horror “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” (2019, not rated), based on the Shirley Jackson novel.
True stories: “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” (2019, not rated) surveys the life and career of the music producer who signed Janis Joplin, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, and others. Also newly arrived is ecological documentary “Oceans” (2009, G) from “Winged Migration” director Jacques Perrin;
Streaming TV: “Disenchantment: Part 2 (TV-14) continues Matt Groenig’s animated fantasy comedy.
International TV: a movie stuntman stumbles into a political conspiracy in “Vagabond: Season 1” (South Korea, with subtitles). Also new:
- young adult drama “The Hockey Girls: Season 1” (Spain, with subtitles);
- “Monarca: Season 1” (Mexico, with subtitles), a melodrama about the struggle over a family Tequila empire.
Kid stuff: school kids take on zombies and monsters in “The Last Kids on Earth: Book 1,” a new animated series based on the bestselling novels for middle school readers.
Amazon Prime Video
“Savage X Fenty Show” (2019) takes audiences behind the scenes of the star-studded 2019 fashion and music event produced by Rihanna and featuring performances by Halsey, Migos, DJ Khaled, and others.
Simon Pegg stars in the comedy “Absolutely Anything” (2015, R) directed by Monty Python’s Terry Jones. Also newly arrived:
romantic drama “At Middleton” (2014, R) with Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga (which was partly filmed in 2012 at Washington State University and in Spokane).
“Solitary Man” (2010, R), a droll comedy of desperation starring Michael Douglas.
International affairs: Japanese genre madman Sion Sono directs “Tag” (Japan, 2015, not rated, with subtitles), a surreal horror comedy of homicidal high school girls. Also newly arrived is “In a Year with 13 Moons” (Germany, 1978, not rated, with subtitles), one of the most personal films from director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
True stories: “Citizenfour” (2014, R), Laura Poitras’ documentary on Edward Snowden, won the Academy Award for best documentary. Also newly arrived:
- “The People vs. George Lucas” (2011, not rated), an exploration of the complicated relationship between “Star Wars” fans and the film’s creator;
- “CSNY / Déjà Vu” (2008, R), a chronicle of the band’s 2006 tour directed by Neil Young.
A ship transporting people from the dying Earth to a Mars colony goes off course in “Aniara” (Sweden, 2019, R, with subtitles), a science fiction thriller turned social commentary.
Kurt Russell and Luke Hemsworth star in the Wall Street cybercrime drama “Crypto” (2019, R).
Kid stuff: “Curious George” (2006, G) brings the storybook monkey to the big screen with a voice cast that includes Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore. Also new are more episodes of the Cartoon Network revival of “The Powerpuff Girls” (Cartoon Network)
“Welcome to Marwen” (2018, PG-13) uses animation and fantasy to dramatize the real-life story of artist Mark Hogancamp (played by Steve Carell), who lost his memory after a brutal beating and created his own elaborate healing world through art and storytelling. Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis directs.
Available Saturday night is the animated adventure comedy “The Lego Movie 2: The 2nd Part” (2019, PG).
Acorn TV presents the American debut of Irish crime drama “Taken Down: Series 1”
All six episodes available.
The Criterion Channel presents “Starring Laurence Olivier,” a collection of 14 films spanning more than 50 years, including William Wyler’s “Wuthering Heights” (1939) with Merle Oberon and David Niven, Tony Richardson’s “The Entertainer” (1960) co-starring Alan Bates and Albert Finney, and his Oscar-winning role as “Hamlet” (1948), which he also directed.
New on disc this week:
“X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” “Wild Rose”
Now available at Redbox:
“X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” “Above the Shadows,” “Awake,” “The Operative”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.