The gentle indie comic-drama “The Farewell” (2019, PG, with subtitles) follows the story of a Chinese-American woman (Awkwafina) who can’t understand why her family won’t tell her Chinese grandmother she has cancer. Filmmaker Lulu Wang uses humor and culture clash to explore death, grieving, and family relations. It was snubbed at the Oscars but won a Golden Globe and two Film Independent Spirit Awards. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (2019, G), a sequel to the Aardman Animation comedy, delivers hilarious visual gags and absurd humor as the farmyard animals help an adorable alien that crash lands in rural England. Netflix gives the all ages comedy its U.S. debut.
Zoë Kravitz takes the lead as a record store owner with a bumpy love life in “High Fidelity: Season 1” a remake/reworking of Nick Hornby’s novel and the 2000 movie adaptation that references pop music to navigate the difficulties of relationships. All ten episodes streaming on Hulu.
Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Arquette, and Paul Dano star in “Escape at Dannemora” (2018, TV-MA), a limited series based on the true story of a notorious 2015 New York prison break. Ben Stiller directs the seven-episode drama that earned twelve Emmy nominations and won a Golden Globe for Arquette’s performance. Originally produced for Showtime, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Free pick: “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. It also offers a new perspective on the beauty of San Francisco. It won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Streaming on Kanopy, which is available through most library systems.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in “Ford v Ferrari” (2019, PG-13), which retells the true story of the Ford Racing Team taking on the Italian champions at the 1966 Le Mans race. It won Oscars for film editing and sound editing. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
Miike Takashi’s “First Love” (Japan, 2019, not rated, with subtitles) does indeed have a gentle love story, but it’s caught between warring gangs in very entertaining and very violent crime thriller.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “Olympic Dreams” (2020, PG-13), a romantic comedy with Nick Kroll and Alexi Pappas shot on location at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and road movie/caper comedy “Come as You Are” (2019, TV-MA).
Other Oscar winners available on VOD: best picture winner “Parasite“(South Korea, 2019, R, with subtitles), which also took home trophies for best director Bong Joon-ho, original screenplay, and best international film;
- “Joker” (2019, R) with best actor Joaquin Phoenix and best original score;
- “Judy” (2019, PG-13) with best actress Renée Zellweger;
- “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood“ (2019, R) with best supporting actor Brad Pitt.
“Good Time” (2017, R) gives Robert Pattinson a deliciously mercenary role as a scuzzy, jittery small-time thief trying to score bail money to get his mentally disabled brother out of jail. The jittery thriller is directed by Benny and Josh Safdie, who went to make “Uncut Gems.”
“Captain Underpants Epic Choice-o-Rama” (2020) is an interactive animated comedy for kids based on the best-selling storybooks.
Two additional Netflix Original movies debut: Bill Pullman in Cold War espionage thriller “The Coldest Game” (2019, TV-MA), and “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” (2020, not rated), a sequel to the 2018 high school romantic comedy.
The first five episode of reality dating show “Love is Blind” are now available, with five more arriving over the next weeks.
More streaming TV: “Better Call Saul: Season 4” (TV-MA), which chronicles events and characters before “Breaking Bad,” and “Arrow: Season 8” (2019-2020, TV-14), the final season of the superhero show that launched the interconnected DCU on CW.
International affairs: a billionaire’s daughter fakes a relationship with a struggling boxer in the romantic comedy “Isi & Ossi” (Germany, 2020, not rated).
International TV: “Taj Mahal 1989: Season 1” (India, with subtitles) follows the love lives of various couples living in and around Lucklow University. Also new:
- romantic drama “Cable Girls: Final Season” (Spain, TV-MA, with subtitles) set in 1930s Spain;
- crime thriller “Narcos: Mexico: Season 2” (Mexico, TV-MA, with subtitles) set in 1980s Guadalajara.
True stories: “Camino a Roma” (2020, not rated, with subtitles) takes viewers behind the scenes of the creation of Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning “Roma.”
Kid stuff: “Dragon Quest: Your Story” (Japan, 2019, not rated) adapts the video game into an animated adventure.
Amazon Prime Video
Kelly Reichardt’s low-key thriller “Night Moves” (2014, R) stars Jesse Eisenberg as an idealistic eco-terrorist in Southern Oregon whose actions have unexpected consequences. Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, and Alia Shawkat costar.
International TV: the limited series “Afsos” (India, 2020, not rated with subtitles) is a darkly comic thriller about a suicidal young man (Gulshan Devaiah) who has a change of heart after hiring a hitman to kill him. 8 episodes.
Prime Video and Hulu
“Utopia Falls: Season 1” (2020), which bills itself as “the first ever sci-fi hip-hop series,” is a young adult drama where teens in a seemingly utopian future question their authoritarian leaders after discovering suppressed music and art of the past. 10 episodes.
Cate Blanchette stars as a neurotic Seattle wife and mother who reconnects with the passions she put on hold in the comedy “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (2019, PG-13), adapted from the bestselling novel by Maria Semple and directed by Richard Linklater. Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig, and Laurence Fishburne costar.
In the darkly comic thriller “Villains” (2019, R), two amateur criminals (Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe) break into the suburban home of a deadly couple (Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick).
And in case you missed it, you can watch “The 92nd Oscars” ceremony, complete with the Red Carpet prologue.
“Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes” (2018, not rated) offers a portrait of the boxing legend through his many appearances on “The Dick Cavett Show.”
The eighth and final season of “Homeland,” starring Claire Danes as a brilliant but bipolar CIA analyst and Mandy Patinkin as her mentor, is now running on all Showtime platforms. New episodes every Sunday. Also now running is the offbeat comedy “Kidding: Season 2” starring Jim Carrey as a children’s TV show host.
Peter Sarsgaard, Kyle Gallner, and David Strathairn star in “Interrogation: Season 1,” a “non-linear” crime drama that digs into a decade-old murder case. The show is designed to be viewed in any order, according to the creators. All ten episodes available to stream on CBS All Access.
“Agatha Raisin & The Deadly Dance” launches the third season of the comic mystery series starring Ashley Jenson as a London PR professional turned small-town detective. New episodes each Monday on Acorn TV. Also new: “Lovejoy: Series 1 and 2” (1986-1991) starring Ian McShane as the charming rogue of an antique hunter.
“Splash” (1984, PG), the romantic fantasy starring young Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, is now on Disney+.
“Mustang” (Turkey, 2015, not rated, with subtitles), Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s powerful and touching drama of five teenage sisters in Northern Turkey cut off from the outside world by their guardians, was an Oscar nominee and a big winner at European film awards. Streaming on Criterion Channel.
New on disc this week:
“Ford v Ferrari,” “First Love,” “Roma (Criterion Collection)”
Oscar winners available at Redbox:
“Parasite,” “Joker,” “Judy,” “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” “Ford v Ferrari”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.