What to stream: Writing the ‘Obit.’ on Amazon and a ‘Little Evil’ on Netflix

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 …

The documentary Obit. (2016, not rated) profiles the staff obituary writers of The New York Times, one of the last papers in the country to support a staff of writers dedicated to remembering the lives and accomplishments of the recently deceased: the famous, the infamous, and others who has an impact on our world. It’s not just journalism but an art form in its own right, at least as practiced by Bruce Weber, Margalit Fox, William Grimes, and the team at the Times who check the facts, confirm the details, vet the pictures, and turn a death notice into a celebration of a life. Vanessa Gould directs this engaging film.

Adam Scott as the new stepdad to the Antichrist in the horror comedy Little Evil (2017, not rated) from Eli Craig, the director of the hilarious horror spoof Tucker and Dale vs Evil (which is also on Netflix here). The spoof of The Omen and other devil children horror films co-stars Evangeline Lilly, Clancy Brown, Tyler Labine, and Owen Atlas as the little Satan spawn. It makes its debut on Netflix with no advance reviews.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Baywatch (R) brings the surf, sand, and swimsuits of the eighties TV series to the big screen as an action comedy on the beach starring Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, and Alexandra Daddario.

Rachel Weisz is My Cousin Rachel (PG-13) in the romantic drama turned Gothic thriller from Britain. Sam Claflin and Iain Glen co-star and director Roger Michell adapts the novel by Daphne Du Maurier.

Also new: the comic drama Dean (PG-13) with writer/director Demitri Martin and co-stars Kevin Kline and Gillian Jacobs, Tupac Shakur bio-pic All Eyez On Me (R) with Demetrius Shipp Jr., and nature documentary Born In China (G) from Disney.

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the slapstick sex comedy The Layover (R) with Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario, historical drama Viceroy’s House (not rated) with Gillian Anderson and Hugh Bonneville, and thriller Unlocked” (R) with Noomi Rapace and Michael Douglas.

Netflix

Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, and Susan Sarandon are the 3 Generations (2015, PG-13) in the modern family drama and Rami Malek stars in the thriller Buster’s Mal Heart (2016, not rated).

Streaming TV: the Japanese miniseries Final Fantasy XIV Dad of Light is a drama about a father who uses the video game to connect with his son (eight episodes, with subtitles). Also new is the third season of the Netflix original thriller Narcos.

True stories: The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (2016, R) comes from documentary legend Errol Morris and Resurface (2017, not rated) looks at war vets who find some peace in surf therapy.

Kid stuff: LEGO Elves – Secrets of Elvendale: Season 1 is an animated fantasy based on the web series. Also newly arrived are the animated Disney features Hercules (1997, G) and Mulan (1998, G).

Foreign affairs: the gritty dramas Amores Perros (Mexico, 2000, R, with subtitles) and City of God (Brazil, 2002, R, with subtitles) were both nominated for Oscars.

Also new: Ben Affleck’s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone (2007, R), Noah Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical The Squid and the Whale (2005, R), Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated Gangs of New York (2002, R), Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning Pulp Fiction (1994, R), Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It (1986, R), and Steven Spielberg’s original summer blockbuster Jaws (1975, PG).

Stand-up: Ryan Hamilton: Happy Face.

Amazon Prime

The BBC historical drama Victoria: Season 1 stars Jenna Coleman as the British queen who ascended the throne at the age of 18 and battled men who presumed to make decisions for her. It’s a smart, worthy series in its own right but fans of The Crown may be particularly interested as they await the next season. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are the Wedding Crashers (2005, R) who woo vulnerable bridesmaids in the raunchy comedy.

Patrick Warburton was the first actor to play The Tick in the short-lived 2001 superhero comedy that has since been a cult favorite. With the new remake streaming on Amazon, you can compare the two and pick your favorite.

True stories: No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo and Vilmos (2012, not rated) profiles two legendary cinematographers, The Revisionaries (2012, not rated) tackels the battle over teaching creationism in Texas schools, and from France comes In the Land of the Deaf (1994, not rated, with subtitles) and La Maison de la Radio (2013, not rated, with subtitles) from filmmaker Nicolas Philibert.

Also new: offbeat and bittersweet coming-of-age comic drama Boy (2010, not rated) from New Zealand, teen drama River’s Edge (1987, R) with Crispin Glover and Keanu Reeves, and cult horror film Ganja & Hess (1973, R).

Foreign affairs: Mohammad Rasoulof’s Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Iran, 2013, not rated, with subtitles) confronts authoritarian oppression with a brutal directness. On a lighter side is the comic fantasy The Fairy (France, 2011, not rated, with subtitles).

Amazon Prime / Hulu

Meryl Streep is the worst singer who ever lived in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), a comedy with a tender compassion based on a true story (PG-13) (Amazon Prime and Hulu). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Also new: hitman thriller Best Seller (1987, R) with James Woods (Amazon Prime and Hulu), high school horror Carrie (1976, R) with Sissy Spacek (Amazon Prime and Hulu), and family-friendly “boy and his horse” adventure The Black Stallion (1979, G) with Mickey Rooney (Amazon Prime and Hulu).

Hulu

Defiance (2008, R), a World War II drama starring Daniel Craig as a real-life hero who created a sanctuary for thousands of Jews, and George Clooney’s satirical The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009, R) with Jeff Bridges are both based on true stories.

Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson star in Last Chance Harvey (2008, PG-13) and Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid star in Something to Talk About (1995, R), two romantic dramas for grown-up audiences.

The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, not rated) is a science-fiction classic and both a timeless and timely commentary on society.

True stories: Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth (2006, PG), which brought his Al Gore’s message of climate change to millions, is streaming while the sequel is in theaters.

Also arriving for September: Tim Burton’s Batman (1989, PG-13) and Batman Returns (1992, PG-13) with Michael Keaton, the original Robocop (1987, R), the Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991, R) with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, and Contact (1997, PG), based on the Carl Sagan novel and starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey.

HBO Now

Natalie Portman earned an Oscar nomination in Jackie (2016, R) as the widow of JFK in the days after his assassination. Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain brings his passion for political and social history to his American film debut and his perspective is illuminating. Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt co-star. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

David Simon’s new HBO series The Deuce officially debuts next weekend but you can see the pilot early on HBO Go.

Arriving Saturday night is A Monster Calls (2016, PG-13), a drama of loss and healing starring Felicity Jones and the voice of Liam Neeson.

Older films returning to HBO include the sports biographic drama The Express (2008, PG) the spy movie spoof Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999, PG-13), the original Tron (1982, PG), the science fiction classic Fantastic Voyage (1966, not rated), and the Al Pacino films Scarface (1983, R), Sea of Love (1989, R) and Scent of a Woman (1992, R).

And, in case you missed the hype, the finale of the seventh season of Game of Thrones is now streaming. The eighth and final season debuts in 2018.

Showtime Anytime

On Sunday, the Twin Peaks revival comes to its conclusion with a two-part finale.

FilmStruck / Criterion Channel

Marcel Pagnol’s “Marseilles Trilogy” spins one of the great love stories of cinema across three films: Marius (1931), Fanny (1932), and César (1936). Criterion Channel presents the newly restored editions of all three classics of French cinema (not rated, with subtitles).

FilmStruck celebrates the work of French filmmaker Jacques Tati with seven films, including his Oscar-winning Mon Oncle (1958, not rated, with subtitles) and his masterpiece Playtime (1974, not rated, with subtitles), which is reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Acorn TV

The Good Karma Hospital, a British drama set in a rural hospital in South India, stars Amrita Acharia as a young doctor and co-stars British TV vets Amanda Redman, Philip Jackson, Neil Morrissey, and Phyllis Logan. Four episodes now available, new episodes each Monday.

Britcom Whites stars Alan Davies as a once-famous head chef in a country house hotel.

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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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