Top streams for the week
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star in “Marriage Story” (2019, R), Noah Baumbach’s unflinching drama of a grueling divorce as a professional couple (a New York theater director and an actress working in Los Angeles) battle for custody of their child. Baumbach surely drew from his own divorce but his film doesn’t take sides. He has empathy for everyone involved. Now streaming on Netflix after a brief theatrical release.
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (2019, R) is a poetic and personal drama about family, legacy, and our connections to our roots in the era of gentrification, offers a new perspective on the beauty of San Francisco. It won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival and is nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Hulu’s new original series “Reprisal” (TV-MA) is a dark modern noir thriller starring Abigail Spencer as a woman out for revenge after her brother and his gearhead gang double cross her and leave her for dead. Her vengeance is violent and the show is for adults. All ten episodes of the debut season on Hulu.
Amazon Prime’s most popular show is back. The third season of the award-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” sends the taboo-breaking comedienne (Rachel Brosnahan) out of New York for a national tour. On Amazon Prime Video.
An ancient virus unleashed by the melting ice caps turns humans into vampires in “V Wars: Season 1” (TV-MA), a new series based on the graphic novel series by Johnathan Mayberry. Ian Somerhalder, Adrian Holmes, and Laura Vandervoort star. On Netflix.
Classic pick: Rod Steiger earned an Oscar nomination as “The Pawnbroker” (1964, not rated) of a Harlem pawnshop in the first American film to really take on the legacy of the Holocaust on a personal level (Prime Video and Hulu).
Cult pick: “Phase IV” (1974, PG), the only feature film directed by design legend Saul Bass, is an unusual and inventive science fiction thriller that pits scientists against a colony of intelligent ants. On Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Hide and seek is a killer in “Ready or Not” (2019, R), a darkly comic thriller starring Samara Weaving as a bride marked for sacrifice by her new family. Also new:
- “The Goldfinch” (2019, R), an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel starring Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, and Jeffrey Wright;
- “Edie” (2018, not rated) with Sheila Hancock as an 83-year-old mountain climber;
- romantic drama “Only You” (2019, not rated) with Laia Costa and Josh O’Connor;
- documentary “To Kid or Not to Kid” (2019, not rated) about couple who choose to live child free.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “After Class” (2019, not rated), a comic drama with Justin Long, Fran Drescher, and Richard Schiff and “Daniel Isn’t Real” (2019, not rated), a horror film about an imaginary friend that debuted at SXSW.
The five-part true crime documentary “The Confession Killer” (2019, not rated) explores the story of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who confessed to hundreds of murders, including many that he never actually committed. The show unravels the truth and the failures in the legal system that enabled his confessions to be so quickly accepted.
A nurse practitioner (Alexandra Breckenridge) moves to a small California town in “Virgin River: Season 1,” a romantic drama based on the novels of Robyn Carr. Martin Henderson, Annette O’Toole, and Annette O’Toole costar. Nine episodes now streaming.
Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Pena are corrupt cops the dark-humored crime comedy “War on Everyone” (2016, R).
Holiday trimmings: Rose McIver and Ben Lamb are back for “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” (2019, TV-PG), the third film in the series of holiday romances. Also new for the holidays:
Streaming TV: “Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show” features the New York comedy group showcasing their skits in six episodes. Also new:
- “Fuller House: Season 5,” which adds a new baby to the mix;
- reality show “Glow Up: Season 1,” a competition series featuring aspiring make-up artists;
- “Greenleaf: Season 4” from Oprah’s OWN channel.
International TV: the daughter of a mob boss rebels from the family business and takes a job as the bodyguard to a celebrity in “Triad Princess: Season 1” (Japan, with subtitles). Also new:
- “Suits: Season 1” (South Korea, TV-14, with subtitles), a Korean remake of the American legal melodrama;
- “The Road to Love: Season 1” (Colombia, with subtitles), about a female trucker navigating the macho world of her new profession.
Mike Myers is “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997, PG-13) in the swinging sixties secret agent movie spoof and the sequels “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999, PG-13) with Heather Graham and “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002, PG-13) with Beyoncé.
Sixties classics: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967, R) in the Oscar-winner from director Arthur Penn, plus there’s “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) with Paul Newman and the World War II caper “The Dirty Dozen” (1967) with Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson
Also new this month: Oscar-winning music documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012, PG-13);
- “Hustle & Flow” (2005, R) with Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, and an Oscar winner for its original song;
- sports drama “Love & Basketball” (2000, PG-13) with Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps;
- Spike Lee’s Oscar-nominated “Malcolm X” (1992, PG-13) with Denzel Washington.
Stand-up: “Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah” (2019)
Amazon Prime Video
Three teenage buddies on the Jersey shore turn to petty crime and then turn on each other in “Low Tide” (2019, R), a coming of age drama set in the 1980s.
International affairs: an adolescent endures the horror of the Holocaust in “Fateless” (Hungary, 2005, R, with subtitles), a haunting adaptation of Imre Kertész’s autobiographical novel.
Streaming TV: the Cinemax series “Banshee: Complete Series” (2013-2016, TV-MA) is a highly entertaining pulp thriller about a career criminal (Antony Starr) who takes the identity of a dead lawman and becomes the sheriff of a small Pennsylvania town. This is as bingeworthy as action/crime TV gets.
International TV: the second season of “Inside Edge: Season 2” (India), Amazon’s Emmy nominated sports melodrama set in the high stakes world of professional cricket, is now available.
Kid stuff: “Clifford the Big Red Dog: Season 1” (2019) is a new animated kid’s show based on the picture books about the biggest pooch in the world.
Prime Video and Hulu
True stories: “Havana Motor Club” (Cuba, 2015, TV-14, with subtitles) chronicles the legacy of underground racing and the first government sponsored car race in Cuba since the revolution (Prime Video and Hulu).
- Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” with Leonard DiCaprio as Howard Hughes (2004, PG-13) (Prime Video and Hulu);
- Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical “Almost Famous” (2000, R) (Prime Video and Hulu);
- superb sports drama “Downhill Racer” (1969, PG) with Robert Redford and Gene Hackman (Prime Video and Hulu).
“Nobody’s Fool” (1995, R) offers Paul Newman one of his greatest roles as an easy-going screw-up who finally starts to grow up. It is grown-up storytelling and an affirming tale perfectly suited to the season.
Michael Pfeiffer is aging courtesan “Cheri” (2009, R) in this deft adaptation of two Colette novels of love and life in La Belle Epoque Paris from director Stephen Frears.
Streaming TV: Kristin Kreuk is a corporate lawyer digging into a conspiracy in the Canadian legal drama “Burden of Truth: Season 2.” Also new:
- TV Land comedy “Younger: Season 6” with Sutton Foster;
- cooking competition series “Top Chef: Season 16“;
- reality show “Vanderpump Rules: Season 7“;
- “Fruits Basket: Season 1” (Japan), a new version of the animated fantasy (dubbed in English).
True stories: “This One’s For the Ladies” (2018, R) looks at the underground world of exotic dancing in contemporary black America.
The superhero movie gets a blast of adolescent energy in “Shazam!” (2019, PG-13) when a troubled foster kid is zapped by a magical thunderbolt and transformed into a musclebound man with godlike powers (Zachary Levy) which he wields with childish glee.
“Shadows” (Romania, with subtitles), a crime drama about a taxi driver working as a mob collector, comes from HBO Europe. Two seasons available on all HBO cable and streaming platforms.
“Diamantino” (Portugal, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a whimsical comedy about a naïve soccer star (Carloto Cotta), his thieving twin sisters, and an adopted refugee who is actually an undercover tax agent, took home two awards at the Cannes Film Festival. It makes its streaming debut on Criterion Channel.
“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017, PG-13) teams the Norse God of Thunder (played by Chris Hemsworth) with The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and gives him a sense of humor missing from previous solo films. On Disney+.
DC Universe gives supervillain sidekick “Harley Quinn: Season 1” (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) her own adult-audience animated series. New episodes each Friday.
Sundance Now presents the U.S. debut of the six-part New Zealand detective thriller “The Gulf” (2019) starring Kate Elliott as a police officer who starts losing her memory after a car crash. New episodes each Wednesday.
Acorn TV presents the stateside debut of the popular British mystery series “Midsomer Murders: Series 21” (2019). All four feature-length episodes now available.
Also new on Criterion Channel this week are an impressive 18-film collection of classics “Starring Bette Davis” all made between 1932 and 1944, plus 7 films featuring Humphrey Bogart before his breakout in the 1940s (many repeated from the Davis set), three features from British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” (1986, R) presented with bonus filmmaker interviews, and a double feature of Fritz Lang’s film noir matched set “The Woman in the Window” (1944) and “Scarlet Street” (1945), both starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, and Dan Duryea.
New on disc and at Redbox:
“The Goldfinch,” “Ready or Not”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.