Top streams for the week
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019, PG-13) brings the final trilogy in the odyssey begun by George Lucas in the original 1977 “Star Wars” to its conclusion with a rollercoaster ride of a science fiction adventure. JJ Abrams directs the finale, which brings Skywalker apostle Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Vader acolyte Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) together to save… well, the universe. No, it’s not the best of the series, and Abrams relies on cliché over invention, but it sure does move as a breakneck pace. Now available on Disney+, making the entire nine-movie series (plus the two spin-offs) available to subscribers.
Music, family, and the French underworld collide in “The Eddy” (2020, not rated, with subtitles), a limited series starring André Holland as a retired American musician who opens a jazz club in modern-day Paris. As he attempts to put together a house band that he can be proud of, his business manager (Tahar Rahim of “A Prophet”) keeps the criminal world at bay. Joanna Kulig (“Cold War”) costars as the club chanteuse and Amandla Stenberg is Holland’s teenage daughter, who unexpectedly shows up. Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle coproduces and directs the first two episodes of the lavish, music-filled production created by Jack Thorne (who adapted “His Dark Materials” for HBO). Eight episodes streaming on Netflix.
“The Hustle” (2019, PG-13) reworks “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” for Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, who play con artists on the French Riviera who target men and go to war with each other in a comic battle of wiles. It streams on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
The documentary “Spaceship Earth” (2020) chronicles the story of the eight volunteers who spent two years isolated inside Biosphere 2, a giant replica of the earth’s ecosystem, in 1991. On Cable On Demand and VOD and streaming 0n Hulu.
“Solar Opposites“ (2020, not rated), an animated comedy from “Rick & Morty” veterans Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan, follows a family of aliens who take refuge in suburban America. Eight episodes on Hulu.
“Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill” (2020, not rated), the latest comedy special from stand-up comedy legend, is on Netflix.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Vin Diesel plays a soldier brought back from the dead in the comic book action thriller “Bloodshot” (2020, PG-13), costarring Eiza Gonzalez and Guy Pearce. Also new:
- satirical comedy “Greed” (2020, R) with Steve Coogan and Isla Fischer;
- revisionist fairy tale horror “Gretel & Hansel” (2020, PG-13) with Sophia Lillis and Alice Krige;
- music drama “I Still Believe” (2020, PG) with Britt Robertson and “Riverdale” star K.J. Apa as Christian music celebrity Jeremy Camp.
Available direct to VOD is “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” (2019, not rated), a crime thriller from Northern Ireland starring Sarah Bolger as a single mom battling a gangster who invades her home.
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini return in the second season of “Dead to Me” (TV-MA), where the two women are now bound by a mortal secret. More streaming TV:
- Canadian comedy “Workin’ Moms: Season 4” (TV-MA);
- reality shows “Restaurants on the Edge: Season 2” (TV-14) and “Rust Valley Restorers: Season 2” (TV-14).
International cinema: a pregnant mother with terminal cancer leaves “18 Presents” (Italy, 2020, not rated, with subtitles) for her unborn child in this sentimental drama.
International TV: romantic comedy “Valeria: Season 1” (Spain, not rated, with subtitles), based on the novels by Elisabet Benavent, follows a writer and her three best friends as they navigate personal and creative struggles.
True stories: “Blackfish” (2013, PG-13) take a hard look at the ordeal of killer whales in captivity.
Kid stuff: “Chico Bon Bon – Monkey with a Tool Belt: Season 1” (TV-G) is an animated show for young kids and the animated adventure “The Hollow: Season 2” (TV-Y7) follows three teenagers through a dark reality.
Amazon Prime Video
Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, and Jeffrey Wright star in “The Goldfinch” (2019, R), an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel.
The fourth and final season of the British series “The Durrells: Season 4” (TV-14) brings the story of the British family in Greece to its conclusion as World War II draws near.
Kirsten Dunst is Marion Davies and Eddie Izzard plays Charlie Chaplin in “The Cat’s Meow” (2002, PG-13), Peter Bogdanovich’s dramatic take on a true Hollywood story of jealousy and murder.
Cate Blanchett earned an Academy Award for her performance in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” (2013, PG-13).
International cinema: “At War” (France, 2019, not rated, with subtitles) takes a documentary-like approach to a drama about a labor strike in a French manufacturing town and Zhang Ziyi stars in “Dangerous Liaisons” (China, 2012, not rated, with subtitles), which relocates the classic French novel to 1930s Shanghai.
Stand-up: “Jimmy O. Yang: Good Deal” (2020, not rated).
“Vikings: Season 6, Part 1” (TV-14) arrives before the series completes its run on History Channel later this year.
Also newly arrived are the comedies “Men with Brooms” (2002, R), a Canadian film about an underdog curling team, and “Slums of Beverly Hills” (1998, R) with Natasha Lyonne, Alan Arkin, and Marisa Tomei.
The documentary “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind” (2020, TV-14), produced by Wood’s daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner, looks at the life and career of the legendary actress. Also new:
- “The Art of Racing in the Rain” (2019, PG), a family drama narrated by the dog (voiced by Kevin Costner);
- “Western Stars” (2019, PG), a cinematic companion piece to Bruce Springsteen’s 2019 album codirected by Springsteen.
Among the films returning to HBO this month are Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” (2018, R);
- hit romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018, PG-13) based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Kevin Kwan;
- modern musical “La La Land” (2016, PG-13), which earned Oscars for star Emma Stone and director Daniel Chazelle.
Debi Mazar plays Hollywood movie star Ava Gardner in “Arde Madrid: Burn Madrid Burn” (Spain, with subtitles), a limited series set in 1961 Spain costarring Inma Cuesta as a spy posing as Gardner’s maid. Two episodes on MHZ with new episodes each Tuesday.
“Beanpole” (Russia, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), the award winning drama set in the ruins of postwar Leningrad, makes its streaming debut on MUBI, a curated service for cinephiles that offers 30-day streams of a new film every day.
Criterion Channel presents two landmarks of African-American cinema set in the Mississippi Delta. The recently rediscovered and restored “Cane River” (1982, not rated), the sole feature from documentary director Horace B. Jenkins, is a love story produced with an entirely African-American cast and crew. “Down in the Delta” (1998, PG-13), starring Alfre Woodard and Al Freeman Jr., is the only film directed by writer, poet, and activist Maya Angelou. Also new:
- three films by Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang starring Lee Kang-sheng, including his feature debut “Rebels of the Neon God” (Taiwan, 1992, not rated, with subtitles) and the devastating “Stray Dogs” (Taiwan, 2013, not rated, with subtitles);
- a double feature of maternal sacrifice in the original silent version of “Stella Dallas” (1925, silent with score) and the “Stella Dallas” (1937) remake with Barbara Stanwyck.
The documentary series “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” (TV-PG) goes behind the scenes of the first live-action “Star Wars” series. New episodes debut on Disney+ each Friday.
Julia Ormond and Ben Barnes star in the limited series “Gold Digger” (2019, not rated), a romantic thriller originally made for BBC. Two episodes now available on Acorn TV, new episodes each Monday.
“Bad Mothers” (2020, not rated), described as “Australia’s version of ‘Desperate Housewives’,” is now streaming on Sundance Now. New episodes each Thursday.
New on disc and available at Redbox:
“Bloodshot,” “Gretel & Hansel,” “I Still Believe,” “Arkansas”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.