Top streams for the week
“Toy Story 4” (2019, G) reunites the toybox gang for a road trip with new friends. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, and Annie Potts headline the returning voice cast and Tony Hale is Forky, an arts and crafts project made from a plastic spork who suffers from an identity crisis. Like the previous installments, it’s both funny and poignant and great for the whole family. On Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
Also family friendly is “Missing Link” (2019, PG), an animated adventure about a lonely Sasquatch (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) who goes is search of long-lost relatives across the globe with the help a famous 19th century explorer (Hugh Jackman) and a lady adventurer (Zoe Saldana). The stop-motion comedy is from Portland’s Laika Studios. Streaming on Hulu.
“Midsommar” (2019, R), Ari Aster’s follow-up to “Hereditary,” sends a quartet of American students to a Swedish commune for its annual solstice celebration. More unsettling than horrific, it’s filled with loss, anxiety, and pagan rituals, and delivered with an edge of absurdist dark humor. It was one of the most polarizing films of the summer. On Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
The Halloween-themed horror originals keep arriving. Hulu offers zombie comedy “Little Monsters” (2019, R), starring Lupita Nyong’o as a ukulele-playing elementary schoolteacher protecting her kids from an undead attack during an amusement park field trip. Genre veteran Brad Anderson directs “Fractured” (2019, not rated), about a husband and father (Sam Worthington) who battles hospital bureaucracy to find a wife (Lily Rabe) and child who have literally gone missing in the system. It debuts directly to Netflix.
Netflix has kept details of “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (2019, not rated) under wraps with no advance screenings as of this writing. We do know that it is written and directed by “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan and it follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after his escape at the end of the series. Jonathan Banks and Charles Baker are also back. Streaming on Netflix.
Classic pick: in advance of Martin Scorsese’s new crime epic “The Irishman,” Netflix adds another of his classics to the library. “Raging Bull” (1980, R) won Oscars for actor Robert De Niro and editor Thelma Schoonmaker and was named the best America film of the eighties in an AFI poll. Streaming on Netflix.
International pick: Luis Bunuel’s surreal social satire “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (France, 1972, PG, with subtitles) won the Oscar for best foreign language film. Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Bulle Ogier, Stephane Audran, and Jean-Pierre Cassel star. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Free Pick: “Country Music: The History of an American Art Form” (2019), the eight-part documentary series from Ken Burns, is now streaming in Kanopy, which is available through most library systems.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Judi Dench is “Red Joan” (2019, R) in the drama based on the real-life story of the KGB’s longest-serving British spy. Also new:
- “Annabelle Comes Home” (2019, R), the third film in the “The Conjuring” spinoff horror series;
- “The Death of Dick Long” (2019, R), a “backwoods noir” crime comedy of small town stoners;
- indie drama “Hamlet in the Golden Vale” (2018, not rated) about an acting troupe taking on the play in a remote Irish castle;
- indie drama “Entangled” (2019, not rated) starring Ana Girardot as a French woman in New York.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is crime drama “Lucky Day” (2019, R) from writer/director Roger Avary with Luke Bracey, Nina Dobrev and Crispin Glover. Also new are three horror films:
- horror-on-a-boat “Mary” (2019, R) with Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer, and Jennifer Esposito;
- psychological horror “The Dead Center” (2018, not rated) with Shane Carruth;
- zombie horror comedy “Harpoon” (2019, R) with Brett Gelman.
Cult Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono unleashes his mix of extreme violence, black comedy, and bizarre storytelling twists in “The Forest of Love” (Japan, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), which he made as a Netflix Original.
A nurse (Manuella Velles) battles a sinister force in her childhood home in “The Influence” (Spain, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a horror film that comes direct to Netflix from theaters in Spain.
Russell Crowe directs and stars in “The Water Diviner” (2014, R) as an Australian farmer who travels to Turkey after World War I to find for his three missing in action sons. Also newly arrived:
- survival drama “Walking Out” (2017, PG-13) with Matt Bomer and Bill Pullman;
- stoner comedy “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” (2008, R) with John Cho and Kal Penn;
- Noah Baumbach’s painfully funny “The Squid and the Whale” (2005, R) with Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, and Jesse Eisenberg;
- cult horror film “Candyman” (1992, R) from author Clive Barker, with Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd.
Streaming TV: the music competition show “Rhythm + Flow: Season 1” features Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and Tip “T.I.” Harris as judges in the search for the next hip hop star. Four episodes now available, new episodes each Wednesday. Also new:
- Emmy-nominated comedy “Schitt’s Creek: Season 5” with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara;
- teen beauty pageant comedy “Insatiable: Season 2“;
- reality series “Haunted: Season 2” (Netflix Original)
- sci-fi adventure anime “Ultramarine Magmell: Season 1” (Japan, with subtitles).
Kid stuff: “The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween” (2019, not rated) offers a seasonal special for the animated superhero comedy. Also new:
- animated adventure “Legend Quest – Masters of Myth: Season 1” (TV-Y7);
- “YooHoo to the Rescue: Season 2” (TV-Y) for young kids.
International affairs: the cult comedy “The Cruise” (Poland, 1970, with subtitles) satirizes the Polish life under Communism through the absurdist antics on a cruise ship. It debuts on Netflix along with the satirical comedy “Escape from the ‘Liberty’ Cinema” (Poland, 1990, PG, with subtitles) with movie characters who defy state censors and take to audience.
International TV: two friends become enemies in the period action drama “My Country – The New Age: Season 1” (South Korea, 2019, with subtitles). New episodes roll out each Friday. Also new:
- romantic comedy series “The Hookup Plan: Season 2 (France, with subtitles);
- “Tunnel: Season 1” (South Korea, 2017, TV-MA, with subtitles) and “Signal: Season 1” (South Korea, 2016, TV-14, with subtitles), two crime dramas with a time travel twist;
- action drama “The K2: Season 1” (South Korea, 2016, TV-14, with subtitles) about a bodyguard for a presidential candidate;
Stand-up: “Deon Cole: Cole Hearted” (2019, not rated).
Amazon Prime Video
“To Dust” (2019, R), starring Géza Röhrig as a Hasidic cantor and Matthew Broderick as biology professor, deals with death, loss, and faith in the Hassidic community with an edge of offbeat humor. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Charlotte Rampling stars in the neo-noir thriller “I, Anna” (2012, not rated), directed by her son Barnaby Southcombe and costarring Gabriel Byrne as a police detective.
The animated crime drama “Babylon” (Japan, 2019, with subtitles), adapted from the novel by Mado Nozaki, is a limited series about a pharmaceutical scandal with far-reaching aftershocks.
More streaming TV: Simon Baker is a former stage psychic who uses his talents for observation and reading people to help an elite crime squad in “The Mentalist: Complete Series” (2008-2015), costarring Robin Tunney. Also new
- Canadian drama “Da Vinci’s City Hall: Season 1” (2006), a spin-off of the crime procedural “Da Vinci’s Inquest”;
- Irish crime drama “Proof: Season 1” (2004) with Finbar Lynch, Orla Brady, and Sidse Babett Knudsen.
True stories: “Funke” (2019, not rated) profiles chef Evan Funke as he stages a comeback with a new Los Angeles restaurant. Also new:
- “Seasons” (France, 2016, PG), which focuses on wildlife over a year in the forest;
- “The Legend of Dolemite” (1994, not rated), about the famed comedian and “Godfather of Rap.
International affairs: Volker Schlöndorff’s “The Legend of Rita” (Germany, 2001, not rated, with subtitles) revisits the legacy and contradictions of the Baader-Meinhof gang, the notorious revolutionaries of Germany’s volatile 1970s.
Kid stuff: “Costume Quest: Season 1, Part 2” continues the animated fantasy series. Also new is the feature-length animated adventure “Asterix and Cleopatra” (France/Belgium, 1968, not rated), presented in the English language version.
Also new: Mel Gibson is a career criminal in a Mexican prison in the action thriller “Get the Gringo” (2012, R), which Gibson co-wrote and produced;
- FBI tracker Tommy Lee Jones goes after rogue army assassin Benicio Del Toro in “The Hunted” (2003, R), an action thriller directed by William Friedkin;
- David Fincher directs “Seven” (1995, R) with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey;
- Patrick Swayze is a “Ghost” (1990, PG-13) in the romantic drama with Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg;
- “The Three Musketeers” sequel “Man in the Iron Mask” (1998, PG-13) with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, and John Malkovich;
- cult drive-in thriller “Macon County Line” (1974, R);
- the original slapstick mystery “The Pink Panther” (1964) with Peter Sellers, David Niven, and Robert Wagner.
Kate Mara is “Megan Leavey” (2017, PG-13), a misfit soldier in the K-9 unit whose bond with her IED-sniffing dog saved lives in Iraq and became national news back home.
Streaming TV: “The Bravest Knight: Season 1, Part 2” (TV-PG) continues the animated adventure series for kids. Also new:
- comic history lessons in “Drunk History: Season 6, Part 2” (TV-14);
- reality series “The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Season 9” (TV-14).
The darkly comic crime drama “Cold Pursuit” (2019, R) stars Liam Neeson as a grieving father who takes revenge on a gang of drug dealers with a snowplow.
A paralyzed man walks again but discovers the technological cure has its own agenda in the violent tech-noir revenge thriller “Upgrade” (2018, R).
Stand-up: “Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh” (2019, TV-MA)
Available Saturday night is the horror comedy sequel “Happy Death Day 2U” (2019, PG-13)
On the Criterion Channel, “Val Lewton Presents” presents nine smart, psychologically dense horror classics produced by Lewton in the 1940s, including the classics “Cat People” (1942) and “I Walked with a Zombie” (1942) from director Jacques Tourneur and the noir-ish “The Seventh Victim” (1943) directed by Mark Robson, plus the insightful documentary “Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows” (2007, not rated).
Also new and in the Halloween spirit on Criterion Channel is the cult classic “Freaks” (1932) from Tod Browning, featuring a cast of real-life sideshow performers.
True crime series “No One Saw a Thing,” about the unsolved 1981 vigilante murder of Ken Rex McElroy in Missouri, begins on Sundance Now. New episodes arrive Thursdays.
Acorn TV debuts the drama “Back Home” (Italy, 2017, with subtitles), about a husband and father (Alessio Boni) who awakens from a five-year coma and finds that life has gone on without him. Also newly arrived is third and final season of the stylish Australian period mystery “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” (2015).
Britbox presents the U.S. premieres of the second seasons of the comedy “Hold the Sunset” with John Cleese and Alison Steadman and mystery series “Shakespeare and Hathaway” with Jo Joyner and Mark Benton.
Free streams: Willem Dafoe plays the legendary Italian filmmaker, poet, and essayist in Abel Ferrara’s “Pasolini” (2014, R). It’s streaming on Kanopy along with:
- Jia Zhangke’s award winning drama “Ash Is Purest White” (China, 2018, not rated, with subtitles);
- Emir Kusturica’s raucous political satire “Underground” (Yugoslavia, 1995, with subtitles), which won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival;
- “Sidewalk Stories” (1989, R), a modern silent movie by Charles Lane;
- Philip Kaufman’s “The Wanderers” (1979, R), adapted from the novel by Richard Price;
- Buster Keaton’s comedies “Sherlock Jr.” (1924, silent with score) and “Seven Chances” (1925, silent with score).
Kanopy is a free streaming service available through most library systems.
New on disc this week:
“Toy Story 4,” “Midsommar,” “Red Joan,” “The Wedding Guest,” “Light of My Life”
Now available at Redbox:
“Toy Story 4,” “Midsommar,” “Light of My Life,” “Annabelle Comes Home”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.