What to stream: ‘Stranger Things 2’ on Netflix, ‘Too Funny to Fail’ on Hulu, ‘Fearless’ on Amazon and more

Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp in the second of Netflix's Stranger Things

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 boys are back for Halloween in the second season of Stranger Things, the wonderfully weird Netflix original spooky series about a group of school friends who face strange doings in their rural town in 1984 Indiana.

The original series was a surprise hit turned cult phenomenon. Can season two possibly live up to the promise of that first breakout run? “It’s my pleasure to inform you that the answer is yes, it does live up to expectations,” writes Jen Chaney for Vulture. “It might even exceed them. Though it takes two or three episodes for the various story lines to fully kick into gear, Stranger Things 2 is a suspenseful, thoroughly satisfying follow-up that goes to emotionally deeper places than its predecessor did.”

It’s set a year after the events of the first series and we drop into October, so it all plays out in the shadow of Halloween, fittingly enough. The four best friends are back as is Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), though not in the first episode, Winona Ryder and David Harbour provide the adult supervision in a kid-centric cast, and Paul Reiser and Sean Astin are among the new members of the cast.

9 episodes now streaming on Netflix. Queue ’em up!

The documentary Too Funny To Fail (2017, not rated) looks back at the short-lived The Dana Carvey Show, which brought Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell to TV and Louis C.K., Robert Smigel, and Charlie Kaufman to the writer’s room. The absurdist sketch comedy series was out of step with prime time network TV in 1996 but the anarchic humor stands the test of time… mostly.

“The cast and writers speak about the experience with a befuddled reverence, and the youthful determination captured in the old clips radiates so powerfully it almost sends us all back to our didn’t-know-better-yet selves of 20 years ago,” writes Margaret Lyons for The New York Times.

Watch it on Hulu, which also has all eight episodes of the original The Dana Carvey Show.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017, PG-13) the third and ostensibly final entry in the franchise reboot, pits the peaceful ape civilization in a last-stand battle for survival against a fanatical renegade militia leader (Woody Harrelson). Andy Serkis once again delivers an expressive and nuanced motion-capture performance in the unexpectedly touching story. Also on DVD and Blu-ray. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Al Gore takes stock of the state of climate change a decade after his Oscar-winning documentary in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017, PG). Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.

Also new: horror film Annabelle: Creation (2017, R), animated comedy The Emoji Movie (2017, PG), comedy caper Where’s the Money (2017, R), and romantic comedy The Truth About Lies (2017, not rated).

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is action film Acts of Vengeance (2017, R) with Antonio Banderas.

Netflix

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015, R), an epic widescreen western in the intimate quarters of a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard, is filled with violence, cruelty, racism, and the storytelling verve and narrative twists that made Tarantino’s reputation. Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins stand out is a terrific cast that also includes Kurt Russell, Jenifer Jason Leigh, and Tim Roth (reviewed in Stream On Demand here).

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts try to keep up with twentysomething couple Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried in the comedy While We’re Young (2014, R) and Holly Hunter stars in the road movie drama Strange Weather (2016, R).

Foreign affairs: The Final Master (China, 2015, not rated, with subtitles) is a martial arts drama about the politics of rival schools (reviewed on Stream On Demand here).

Kid stuff: the animated Disney comedy Meet the Robinsons (2007, G) sends an orphan on a time travel adventure with flying cars and singing frogs.

True stories: at the center of Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (2017, not rated) are intimate interviews with the author and journalist herself.

Streaming TV: The Mist: Season 1 from Spike TV turns the Stephen King story into a series and Wanted: Seasons 1 and 2 is a crime drama from Australia.

Stand-up: Jack Whitehall: At Large.

Amazon Prime

Helen McCrory is a human right lawyer out to save an unjustly convinced man in the British legal drama Fearless, which makes its American debut streaming on Amazon. Six episodes.

Brie Larson and Armie Hammer star in the action comedy Free Fire (2017, R), a feature-length gunfight co-starring Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy.

Also new: Decoding Annie Parker (2014, R) with Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt, Nicholas Nickleby (2002, PG) with Charlie Hunnam and Christopher Plummer, and The Man in the Moon (1991, PG-13) featuring the debut of Reese Witherspoon.

True stories: The Liberators (2016, not rated) traces a trove of looted Nazi art treasures to a small town in Texas.

Foreign affairs: Diabolique (France, 1955, not rated, with subtitles) with Simone Signoret and Véra Clouzot is a thriller on par with Hitchcock (reviewed on Stream On Demand here).

Hulu

The Rocketeer (1991, PG) is a charming comic book movie with the nostalgic charge of an old Hollywood adventure.

George Clooney leads an odyssey through the old South in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, PG-13) from the Coen Bros.

Kid stuff: classic Disney animated films Robin Hood (1973, G), featuring the songs of Roger Miller, and The Fox and the Hound (1981, G) and live-action drama Tuck Everlasting (2002, PG) based on the award-winning children’s novel.

Foreign affairs: romantic drama meets magic realism in Like Water for Chocolate (Mexico, 1992, R), based on the beloved novel by Laura Esquivel.

Streaming TV: from Cartoon Network comes Adventure Time: Season 9 for kids of all ages and Neon Joe: Season 2 for older kids.

HBO Now

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017, R) sends brings the retired hitman (Keanu Reeves) back for one more job—this time in Rome—in the stunt-filled sequel to the bullet-riddled action thriller. Ian McShane and Common co-star (reviewed on Stream On Demand here).

Arriving Saturday night is M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2017, PG-13) starring James McAvoy is a kidnapper with multiple personalities.

Showtime Anytime

Jay Pharoah stars as rising young comedian on the verge of cross-over success in the new comedy series White Famous. New episodes arrive Sunday nights.

FilmStruck / Criterion Channel

The baroque Italian horror films of Maria Bava are featured on FilmStruck for Halloween, including his Gothic debut Black Sunday (Italy, 1960), horror trilogy Black Sabbath (Italy, 1963), and dreamy ghost story Kill, Baby, Kill (Italy, 1966).

New to Criterion Channel is Michael Powell’s ruggedly beautiful breakthrough drama The Edge of the World (1937) and Henri-Georges Clouzot’s paranoid mystery Le Corbeau (France, 1943), a subversive thriller made during the Nazi Occupation of France.

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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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