What to stream: ‘Bright Star’ on Netflix, ‘Images’ and ‘Sophie’s Choice’ on Amazon

Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish star in Jan Campion's drama about John Keats and Fanny Brawne

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …

Lose yourself in the romantic passions of Jane Campion’s Bright Star (2009, PG), the love story of impoverished poet John Keats (a frighteningly fragile Ben Whishaw) and the self-assured and fashionable Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), who became his muse and inspired some of the most romantic verses (and lover letters) in the English language. Campion’s presentation of their passion under the restraint of 19th century decorum is both lush and delicate. Queue it up on Netflix.

Susannah York won the Best Actress award at Cannes for her performance as a deeply schizophrenic woman who can’t sort out her hallucinations from real life in Images (1972, R), Robert Altman’s richly textured psychological thriller. Leave it to Altman, however, to forgo the “thrills” and suspense and concentrate on the complex intertwining of realities in an unusually reserved, removed style far different than his usual ensemble energy. Shot in the cool colors of the foggy hills of Ireland by Vilmos Zsigmond and accompanied by a discordant score by John Williams, it’s an often overlooked classic in Altman’s oeuvre. Add to Amazon Prime watchlist.

Meryl Streep won her second Academy Award for the heart-wrenching drama Sophie’s Choice (1982, R), co-starring Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol. Alan J. Pakula directs and adapts the novel by William Styron. Add to Amazon Prime watchlist.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoë Kravitz, and friends have a Rough Night (R) in the comedy of a bachelorette party god terribly wrong. Available on VOD with a bonus gag reel of outtakes. Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.

Kate Mara is Megan Leavey (PG-13), a misfit soldier in the K-9 unit whose bond with her IED-sniffing dog saved lives in Iraq and became national news back home. Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.

Also new: romantic comedy Paris Can Wait (PG) with Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, comedies The Wedding Plan (PG, with subtitled) from Israel and Lost in Paris (not rated, with subtitles) from France, unsetting drama Harmonium from Japan (not rated, with subtitles), and non-fiction feature Score: A Film Music Documentary (G), all also on disc.

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the Belgian social drama The Unknown Girl (not rated, with subtitles), about a young doctor (Adele Haenel) haunted by a dead woman she could have saved, from acclaimed filmmakers the Dardenne Bros.

Also new: historical thriller The Limehouse Golem (not rated) from Britain with Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke, action comedy Gun Shy (R) with Antonio Banderas and Olga Kurylenko, romantic drama The Good Catholic (PG-13) with Zachary Spicer and Danny Glover, and the documentary Fallen (not rated) about police deaths in the line of duty.

Netflix

Noah Baumbach directs Nicole Kidman in Margot at the Wedding (2007, R) and Ben Stiller in Greenberg (2010, R), two comic dramas about troubled souls with spiky edges, and Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried star in the sexy psychological thriller Chloe (2009, R).

The Netflix Original Film #realityhigh (2017, not rated) is a high school romance in the modern culture of social media celebrity and cyber-bullying.

Streaming TV: The zombie apocalypse is back in The Walking Dead: Season 7, streaming a month before the new season debuts on cable TV. Also new: conspiracy thriller The Blacklist: Season 4, historical drama Reign: Season 4, and Netflix original BoJack Horseman: Season 4.

True stories: Facing Darkness (2017, not rated) takes us to the front lines of the Ebola with a Christian missionary and A Good American (2015, not rated) looks at a code breaking program called ThinThread. Also new: the Netflix Original true crime series The Confession Tapes: Season 1.

Foreign affairs: The drama Graduation (Romania, 2016) won the Best Director prize at Cannes for filmmaker Cristian Mungui. Also new: caper film Bitcoin Heist (Vietnam, 2016, not rated, with subtitled), revenge drama I Am Not Madame Bovary (China, 2016), and road comedy Like Crazy (Italy, 2016). All not rated and with subtitles.

Kid stuff: The young adult Netflix original Greenhouse Academy: Season 1 is an American adaptation of an Israeli show moved to an elite Southern California boarding school. For younger kids there’s the animated series Spirit: Riding Free: Season 2 and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Season 7.

Theater: Newsies: The Broadway Musical (2017, not rated) was filmed live on stage at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

Stand-up: Marc Maron: Too Real and Spanish language Fabrizio Copano: Solo Pienso En Mi and Joaquín Reyes: Una y no más.

Amazon Prime

Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie play a homeless couple on the streets of New York City in Shelter (2015, not rated).

Also new: revenge thriller The Hunter’s Prayer (2017, R) with Sam Worthington as a veteran assassin, haunted inn tale The Innkeepers (2012, R) with Sara Paxton and Pat Healy, and time-travel thriller The Final Countdown (1980, PG) with Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, and a modern aircraft carrier sent back to Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Tig Notaro is back for a second of her semi-autobiographical comedy series One Mississippi.

Cult TV: you can stream hundreds of episodes of the 1960s supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows. The collection of episodes now available to Prime subscribers begin with the debut of Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), the show’s iconic vampire anti-hero, in 1967 and span over two and a half years.

True stories: Oscar-winning The Cove (2009, PG-13) exposes the brutal slaughter of dolphins in a hidden cove in Japan. Also new:

Cult movies: Takashi Miike’s deliriously bizarre musical The Happiness of the Katakuris (Japan, 2001, R, with subtitles) is a bright, energetic, gonzo comedy about a dysfunctional family-run inn where guests check in but they don’t check out.

Daughters of Darkness (Belgium, 1971, not rated) is one of the sexiest and sleekest films of the seventies Euro-horror wave and the award-winning Bad Boy Bubby (1993, not rated) from Australia is the surreal odyssey of a man-child misfit in a strange new world.

More cult arrivals:

Amazon Prime / Hulu

Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell square off in the chariot race in the remake of Ben-Hur (2016, PG-13). (Amazon Prime and Hulu)

Hulu

The ambitious and often overreaching Crash (2004, R), a drama of racism, hypocrisy, and desperation in urban America with Don Cheadle, Thandie Newton, and Matt Dillon, won three Academy Awards.

Kid stuff: swap places in Freaky Friday (1977, G) with Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris and remake Freaky Friday (2003, PG) with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Also new: animated Disney films The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, G) and Lilo & Stitch (2002, G) and Cartoon Network’s tribute to imagination Adventure Time: Season 8.

True stories: Returning Citizens (2017, not rated) charts the efforts of former incarcerated individuals trying to start over.

HBO Now

Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver star in A Monster Calls (2016, PG-13), a drama of loss and healing featuring the voice of Liam Neeson as a (possible?) imaginary playmate.

Colombian superstar J Balvin returns home for the all-star concert special J Balvin: Bruuttal.

Arriving Saturday night is the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures (2016, PG).

Showtime Anytime

Hailee Steinfeld is a teenage mess in The Edge of Seventeen (2016, R), a perceptive and sympathetic coming-of-age comedy co-starring Woody Harrelson. Or watch it via Hulu or Amazon Prime subscription.

Stand-up: Gary Owen: I Got My Associates.

Sports: A Season with Navy Football begins.

FilmStruck / Criterion Channel

New to Criterion Channel: René Clair’s spirited comedy Le million (1931) bursts with visual and auditory invention. Also new:

  • the hilarious The In-Laws (1979, PG) with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin
  • Wes Anderson offbeat film debut Bottle Rocket (1996, R)
  • André Téchiné’s Rendez-vous (France, 1985, not rated) with Juliette Binoche
  • ecological horror film The Last Winter (2006, not rated)
  • Anthony Mann’s jagged western The Naked Spur (1953) with James Stewart and Robert Ryan

New arrivals to FilmStruck include the debut features of four directors:

  • Steve McQueen’s Hunger (2008, not rated) with Michael Fassbender in his breakthrough role
  • Guillermo del Toro’s offbeat vampire film Cronos (Mexico, 1993, R, with subtitles)
  • Gus Van Sant’s indie drama Mala Noche (1986, not rated) shot on the streets of Portland, Oregon
  • Ridley Scott’s The Duellists (1977, PG) with Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel

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About Sean Axmaker

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears in Vulture, Turner Classic Movies online, Keyframe, and Parallax View.

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