Top streams for the week
Disney brings photo-realistic 3D animation to its remake of the animated musical “The Lion King” (2019, PG), featuring the voices of Donald Glover, Beyoncé, and James Earl Jones (reprising his role as Mufasa). Critics found the adaptation lackluster but audiences embraced it and made it one of the year’s biggest hits. Jon Favreau (“The Jungle Book”) directs and Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Alfre Woodard costar. On Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
Eddie Murphy takes on his best role in years in “Dolemite Is My Name” (2019, R) as the notorious comedian and rap pioneer Rudy Ray Moore, who adopted the flamboyant alter-ego Dolemite in his nightclub act and low budget movies in the 1970s. Directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow”) from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (“Ed Wood,” “Man on the Moon”), it comes direct to Netflix from a brief theatrical run.
“Watchmen” reimagines Alan Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel as a dystopian nightmare in a U.S. simmering with unrest where police have to don masks. This dense, dark, complex take on the superhero genre was developed for HBO by Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) and stars Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Don Johnson. New episodes Sunday nights on all HBO platforms.
Helen Mirren is “Catherine the Great” in the lavish four-part miniseries about the Russian monarch. New episodes Monday nights on all HBO platforms.
Lizzy Caplan takes the lead as young Annie Wilkes (of “Misery”) in the second season of “Castle Rock,” Hulu’s anthology horror series built on the fictional world of Stephen King. Four episodes available now, new episodes each Wednesday.
Shudder is devoted to horror movies and TV, including Shudder Original anthology series “Creepshow,” the gory thriller “Haunt” (2019, R) from the writers of “A Quiet Place,” and British Gothic horror “Gwen” (2019, not rated) with Maxine Peake. You can try a free 7-day trial at shudder.com.
Classic pick: Tobe Hooper’s original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974, R) is a brutal, primal landmark of transgressive 1970s horror. Streaming on Netflix.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Kiersey Clemons stars in the desert island survival / horror film “Sweetheart” (2019, PG-13), produced by Blumhouse. Also new:
- psychological thriller “Angel of Mine” (2019, R) with Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, and Luke Evans;
- urban sports drama “Sprinter” (2018, not rated) with Lorraine Toussaint and David Alan Grier;
- social documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” (2018, not rated) about five Zulu women on a journey of self-discovery.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “The Kill Team” (2019, R), a military drama based on a true story, starring Nat Wolff and Alexander Skarsgård.
High school students face a world without adults in “Daybreak,” an apocalyptic action comedy set in a Los Angeles turned into a “Mad Max”-like wasteland. 10 episodes now streaming.
A mother (Carmen Ejogo) must murder a stranger to save the life of her dying daughter in the thriller “Rattlesnake” (2019, not rated).
Natalie Portman directs and stars in “A Tale of Love and Darkness” (Israel, 2015, PG-13, with subtitles), adapted from the autobiographical novel by Amos Oz set during the birth of Israel.
Streaming TV: Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin are back in the comedy “The Kominsky Method: Season 2.” Also new:
- “Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner: Season 1” with David Chang exploring the cuisine of a new city each episode with a different celebrity guest;
- “Prank Encounters: Season 1” hosted by “Stranger Things star Gaten Matazzaro.
International affairs: Matthias Schoenaerts, Léa Seydoux, and Colin Firth star in the military thriller “The Command” (Belgium, 2018, PG-13) about a crew trapped on a sunken nuclear submarine. Also new:
- martial arts action spin-off “Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy” (China, 2019, not rated, with subtitles) features Jin Zhang, Dave Bautista, and Michelle Yeoh;
- the horror film “Revenge of Pontianak” (Malaysia, 2019, not rated, with subtitles).
International TV: four maverick cops in 1970s Spain form a special narcotics unit to battle drug trafficking in “Brigada Costa del Sol: Season 1” (Spain, not rated). Also new:
- crime thriller “Brotherhood: Season 1” (Brazil, with subtitles) about a lawyer pressured to inform on her criminal brother;
- biographical drama “Monzon: A Knockout Blow” (Argentina, with subtitles) about Argentine boxing champion Carlos Monzón;
- baking series “Nailed It! France” (France, with subtitles) and “Nailed It! Spain” (Spain, with subtitles) .
True stories: “It Takes a Lunatic” (2019, not rated) profiles acting teacher Wynn Handman, whose students include Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, and Joanne Woodward and “Dancing with the Birds” (2019, not rated) observes mating rituals in the avian world.
Stand-up: “Jenny Slate: Stage Fright” (2019, not rated).
Amazon Prime Video
Cynthia Nixon is Emily Dickinson in “A Quiet Passion” (2017, PG-13), an intimate drama from Terence Davies. Also newly arrived:
- Oscar-winning mother-daughter drama “Terms of Endearment” (1983, PG) with Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger;
- crime drama “Another Man’s Poison” (1952) with Bette Davis and her (then) real-life husband Gary Merrill.
Streaming TV: “Blackstone: Complete Series” (2011-2015) is a Canadian TV drama set in a Blackstone First Nations community.
- Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” (2019, PG-13) features Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson reprising their roles from “Unbreakable” as they meet the numerous identities of James McAvoy’s villain from “Split.”
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return in “The Conjuring 2” (2016, R) to investigate a haunting in London.
True stories: “Saudi Women’s Driving School” (2019, TV-PG) looks at a generation of women embracing a right and newfound freedom previously denied them.
Jessica Biel plays a journalist investigating the disappearance of over 300 people at a research community in Tennessee in “Limetown,” adapted from the hit podcast created by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie. Four episodes available on Facebook Watch, new episodes each Wednesday.
The five-part true crime series “Leavenworth” (TV-MA) examines the story of First Lt. Clint Lorance, who was court-martialed for the murder of Afghan civilians. On Starz cable and streaming, with new episodes each Sunday. Also on Starz is the documentary “The River and the Wall” (2019, TV-14).
Morven Christie is a cop in a small seaside town investigating a disappearance in “The Bay: Season 1,” a British crime drama with echoes of “Broadchurch.” It makes its U.S. debut on Britbox, new episodes each Tuesday. Also new at Britbox is the comedy “Blandings” (2013-2014) with Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders, a series based on the stories of P.G. Wodehouse.
Criterion Channel presents two vintage horror comedies starring Raymond Massey. James Whale’s “The Old Dark House” (1932), costarring Boris Karloff and Melvyn Douglas, adds a sly comic dimension to Gothic horror and Cary Grant presides over a family with murderous history in “Arsenic and Old Lace” (1944), directed by Frank Capra.
Also new to Criterion Channel is “Directed by Errol Morris,” a collection of seven documentaries, including the deadpan cult classic of eccentric Americana “Vernon, Florida” (1981, not rated) and the Oscar-winning “The Fog of War” (2003, PG-13) with Robert S. McNamara, plus a selection of archival interviews with Morris.
Free: Emmanuelle Devos is revered French author Violette LeDuc in “Violette” (France, 2013, not rated, with subtitles), a drama set in the post-war Paris. It’s now streaming on Kanopy. Also newly arrived:
- award-winning drama “The Third Wife” (Vietnam, 2018, R, with subtitles) about a 14-year-old bride in 19th century Vietnam;
- war drama “Girls of the Sun” (France, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) centered on a female battalion of Kurdish soldiers;
- Hong Sang-soo’s dry comedy “Claire’s Camera” (South Korea, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) with Isabelle Huppert;
- “Cosmos” (France, 2015, not rated, with subtitles), an absurdist intellectual comedy and the final film from Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski;
- Elia Suleiman’s wry, sometimes unsettling comedy “Divine Intervention” (Palestine, 2002, with subtitles);
- Amos Gitai’s “Kippur” (Israel, 2000, not rated, with subtitles), a personal take on the 1973 Yom Kippur War;
- James Ivory’s British dramas “Quartet” (1981, R) with Isabelle Adjani and Maggie Smith, based on the novel by Jean Rhys, and “Autobiography of a Princess” (1975, not rated) with James Mason.
New on disc this week:
“The Lion King,” “Angel of Mine,” “The Dead Center,” “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines”
Now available at Redbox:
“The Lion King,” “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.