Top streams for the week
After the major film studio passed, Martin Scorsese turned to Netflix to finance “The Irishman” (2019, R) his latest and last mob epic and a long-awaited reunion with actors Robert De Niro (their first collaboration in over 20 years), Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel. De Niro delivers his most committed and moving performance in decades as Teamster turned mob hitman Frank Sheeran, Pesci (lured out of retirement) offers quiet power and gravitas as the mobster who recruits Frank, and Al Pacino turns down his usual volume to play Jimmy Hoffa. Scorsese plays down the cinematic fireworks for a melancholy portrait of a man who loses his compassion and his family in a life of impersonal violence. Now on Netflix after a brief theatrical run.
Adam Driver plays the congressional aid assigned to investigate the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture) in the post-9/11 war against terror in “The Report” (2019, R). Scott Z. Burns (screenwriter of “The Informant!” and “The Laundromat”) writes and directs this season’s deep dive into real-life government scandal and cover-up, effectively dramatizing a complicated subject, and a superb cast helps him, including Jon Hamm, Corey Stoll, and Annette Benning as Dianne Feinstein
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video after a brief theatrical run.
Also new to Amazon Prime is “Brittany Runs a Marathon” (2019, R), a comedy about self-esteem, self-image, and commitment starring Jillian Bell in the title role. The marathon of the title is a symbol of sorts, but it is also a physical challenge to be conquered.
A severed hand goes on an odyssey to reunite with the rest of itself in “I Lost My Body” (France, 2019, not rated), an offbeat, fable-like animated film based on a novel by “Amelie” author Guillaume Laurant. Dev Patel, Alia Shawkat, and George Wendt headline the English language voice cast. Streaming on Netflix.
Apple TV+ debuts “Servant” (TV-MA), a psychological thriller about a couple (Toby Kebbell and Lauren Ambrose) surviving a terrible loss and a new nanny with a secret. Created and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Three episodes now available, new episodes each Thursday.
Holiday trimmings: Romany Malco is a radio DJ and single father in the family comedy “Holiday Rush” (2019, not rated) on Netflix, and James Corden and Lana Del Rey are guests on “The Lacey Musgraves Christmas Show” (2019, TV-Y) on Amazon Prime Video.
Classic pick: Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich spar in “Witness for the Prosecution” (1958), Billy Wilder’s entertaining screen adaptation of the Agatha Christie play. On Amazon Prime Video
Free pick: “Tel Aviv on Fire” (Palestine, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) uses comedy to look at the tensions in modern Israel. On Kanopy, a free streaming service available through most library systems.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Cate Blanchett stars as the wife and mother swamped by life and struggling to find her happiness in “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (2019, PG-13), Richard Linklater’s disappointing adaptation of Maria Semple’s hilarious novel.
Keira Knightley is a British whistleblower in the based-on-a-true-story thriller “Official Secrets” (2019, R), co-starring Matt Smith and Ralph Fiennes. Also new:
- action thriller “Angel Has Fallen” (2019, R) with Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman;
- “Ophelia” (2019, PG-13) starring Daisy Ridley in a different on “Hamlet”;
- “Edie” (2018, not rated) with Sheila Hancock as an 83-year-old mountain climber;
- “Freaks” (2018, R), a twist on the superhero drama with Emile Hirsch and Bruce Dern;
- “Greta” (Brazil, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a drama set in the LGBTQ community of Brazil.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the animated adventure “Away” (Latvia, 2019).
Dennis Quaid stars in the holiday-themed sitcom “Merry Happy Whatever: Season 1” as the strong-willed father who meets the new boyfriend (Brent Morin) of his youngest daughter (Bridgit Mendler) over a long Christmas visit. 8 episodes now streaming.
Connie Britton and Eric Bana headline “Dirty John: Season 1” (2018), a romantic thriller based on a true-crime podcast. More streaming TV:
- docuseries “Broken: Season 1” on the stories behind some of the worst consumer product disasters;
- “The Movies That Made Us: Season 1,” with looks back at eighties hits “Dirty Dancing, “Home Alone, ” “Ghostbusters, ” and “Die Hard”;
- competitive baking show “Sugar Rush Christmas: Season 1.”
International affairs: “Atlantics” (France, 2019, TV-14, with subtitles), the feature directorial debut from actress Mati Diop, takes audiences into the lives of impoverished women in Senegal.
International TV: a burned-out working mother (Marina Hands) fakes an illness in “Mythomaniac” (France, 2019, with subtitles). Also new:
- costume drama “Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain: Season 1” (China, 2019, TV-PG, with subtitles), with eight episodes now available and more episodes each Saturday until Christmas;
- animated action drama “Levius: Season 1” (Japan, 2019, with subtitles);
- three-part drama “Holiday Secrets” (Germany, 2019, TV-MA, with subtitles);
- true crime docuseries “Who Killed Little Gregory?” (France, 2019, TV-MA, with subtitles);
- crime telenovela “La Reina del Sur: Season 2” (Mexico, 2019, TV-MA, with subtitles).
Also newly arrived: crime drama “Shot Caller” (2017, R) starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a gangster trying to survive prison;
- “Adore” (2013, R), Anne Fontaine’s adaptation of the Doris Lessing novel with Naomi Watts and Robin Wright;
- cop drama “End of Watch” (2012, R) with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña;
- “The Rainmaker” (1997, R), based on the John Grisham novel and starring Matt Damon and Danny DeVito.
Stand-up: “Mike Birbiglia: The New One” (2019) presents the comedian’s one-man Broadway show.
Amazon Prime Video
“The Feed” offers a near future where people can plug their minds directly into the data network, and the reverberations of a power struggle within the family that controls it all. David Thewlis and Michelle Fairley star in the Amazon Original science fiction series. 10 episodes.
More streaming TV: Amazon now streams all seven seasons of “True Blood” (2008-2014, TV-MA), the sexy southern vampire melodrama with Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, and the first five seasons of Lena Dunham’s “Girls” (2012-2016, TV-MA).
Werner Herzog directs and narrates “Meeting Gorbachev” (2019, TV-PG), a documentary portrait of the final leader of the Soviet Union.
“Mike Wallace is Here” (2019, PG-13) profiles the influential TV journalist.
Paul Dano and John Cusack play Brian Wilson (young and middle-aged) in “Love & Mercy” (2015, PG-13), a perceptive and engaging drama about the rock legend’s odyssey from visionary creator to troubled, drug-addicted prisoner of a controlling therapist.
Streaming TV: Zachary Quinto plays an immortal who feeds on the souls of children in the horror series “NOS4A2: Season 1,” adapted from the novel by Joe Hill.
A family faces dark, twisted, shadow versions of themselves in “Us” (2019, R), Jordan Peele’s eerie, ambitious social satire through a horror movie lens starring Lupita Nyong’o.
True stories: “Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season” (2019, TV-PG) follows the Olympic skier as she competes in her final world championship.
Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated feature “Coco” (2017, PG) draws from Mexican folklore and music for the colorful adventure of a boy’s journey through the Land of the Dead to contact his ancestors. Now streaming on Disney+.
Criterion Channel offers movies about food, shared meals, and the joys of eating with a cinematic buffet of a dozen choice dishes, from “Tom Jones” (1963) and “My Dinner With Andre” (1981, PG) to “Tampopo” (Japan, 1985, not rated, with subtitles) and “Big Night” (1996, R), starring Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci restaurateur brothers in 1950s New Jersey.
Also new on Criterion Channel are Kathryn Bigelow’s “Near Dark” (1987, R), a ferocious yet lyrical take on the vampire movie, and Leslie Harris’s “Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.” (1992, R), which won a special jury prize at Sundance in 1993.
And for a holiday movie for all seasons, Criterion Channel has “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944) a nostalgic musical starring Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien and featuring “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Raphaël Balthazar plays an unconventional forensic pathologist in the mystery series “Balthazar: Series 1” (France, with subtitles), one of the top rated dramas in France. It makes its U.S. debut on Acorn TV, which also has new seasons of “The Good Karma Hospital” and “Mount Pleasant” and the second season of the superb Canadian comedy “Slings & Arrows.”
“The New Nurses: Season 1” (Denmark, with subtitles) offers an interesting twist on the classic hospital drama; it follows the first class of men admitted to the nursing ranks in 1950s Denmark. It streams on foreign language TV service MHz Choice, as does the crime comedy “Triggermen: Season 1” (Sweden, with subtitles).
New on disc and at Redbox:
“Angel Has Fallen,” “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” “Official Secrets,” “Ophelia”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.