The new Netflix comedy series Haters Back Off!: Season 1 watches the singularly untalented web celebrity Miranda Sings (Colleen Ballinger) become a viral superstar through the power of denial. Ballinger created the character in a series of YouTube shorts and expands her world in a half-hour comedy series costarring Angela Kinsey (The Office) as her enabling mother, Steve Little (The Grinder) as her uncle and her manager, and Francesca Reale as her far more realistic sister.
“[C]ould a shtick so dependent upon and steeped in the world of the video-sharing platform survive when taken off of it?,” asks The Guardian TV critic Brian Moylan. “It not only survives, but it also thrives…. The comedy comes not only from Miranda’s delightfully awful performances (a slapstick rendition of All That Jazz at a Seattle gay bar karaoke contest is a series standout) but how Miranda treats each indignity as a triumph and each tiny triumph – like winning that karaoke contest – as an insult.”
8 episodes. Queue it up!
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Ghostbusters, the 2016 reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, has been subtitled Answer the Call for home video. The theatrical version is PG-13, the extended version is nearly 20 minutes longer, and it is available on 3D on participating systems. Also on Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
The Infiltrator stars Bryan Cranston as real-life federal agent Robert Mazur, who went deep undercover into Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking business in the 1980s. John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, and Amy Ryan costar. R. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.
Also new: Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie are Tarzan and Jane in The Legend of Tarzan, a new take on the classic story (PG-13), the animated features Ice Age: Collision Course with the voices of John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, and Queen Latifah (PG) and Blinky Bill the Movie from Australia (PG), the horror film Jack Goes Home with Britt Robertson and Natasha Lyonne (not rated), the drama Les Cowboys from France (R), and the documentary Breaking a Monster (not rated).
Available weeks before select theaters nationwide is the real-life World War II drama USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage with Nicolas Cage and Thomas Jane (R).
And the documentary Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four, about the 1990s film that has still never been released, is on Amazon Video and other digital VOD services.
Mascots (2016), the first new mockumentary from Christopher Guest in a decade, is built around a (completely fictional) competition for professional sports team mascots. It reunites Guest with some of his regular collaborators (Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Fred Willard) and comes straight to Netflix from the Toronto International Film Festival (not rated).
Also original to Netflix: the concert film Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (2016) directed by Jonathan Demme and the documentary Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai GuoQiang (2016), plus the young teens and tweens series Project MC2: Season 3 and the animated Kuromukuro: Season 2.
More streaming TV: the superteam series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, the young adult supernatural soap operas Vampire Diaries: Season 7 and its spin-off The Originals: Season 3, and the young adult royal melodrama Reign: Season 3 all arrive from the CW.
True stories: Best of Enemies (2015) looks at the legendary 1968 televised debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal (R, reviewed on Stream On Demand here), Presenting Princess Shaw (2015) chronicles the story of aspiring YouTube singer Samantha Montgomery and Israeli producer Kutiman, who discovered her music on YouTube (not rated), and Love Between the Covers (2015) looks at the industry of romance novels (not rated).
The Amazon original series Goliath, a courtroom drama from Ally McBeal and Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley, stars Billy Bob Thornton as an alcoholic, burned-out lawyer taking an underdog case against a powerful firm run by his ruthless former partner (William Hurt). Maria Bello co-stars. Eight episodes.
The Dark Horse (2014) is a New Zealand drama starring Cliff Curtis as a troubled chess champion who finds purpose teaching underprivileged children (R).
Foreign affairs: from France comes the dramas For a Woman (2013) with Benoît Magimel and Mélanie Thierry, Grigris (2013) from Souleymane Démé, and Marie’s Story (2014) with Isabelle Carré, from Germany comes The Chambermaid (2015), and from Italy comes The Dinner (2015) with Alessandro Gassman. All subtitled and not rated.
Foreign classics: Eric Rohmer’s Full Moon in Paris (1984) is one of his “Comedies and Proverbs” (R, reviewed on Stream On Demand here) and The Marquise of O… (1976) is a rare period piece from the director, adapted from a Heinrich von Kleist story and starring Bruno Ganz (PG). Both subtitled.
Hulu’s new horror series Freakish pits high schools students against bloodthirsty mutants. All ten episodes available to stream.
New movies: Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls (2007) stars Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba (PG-13), Roman Polanski directs Venus in Fur (France, 2013) starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric (subtitled, not rated), and Álex de la Iglesia directs the horror comedy Witching and Bitching (Spain, 2014), about a gang of jewel thieves trapped by a coven of witches (subtitled, not rated).
Two new original comedies are now rolling out on HBO: Divorce with Sarah Jessica Parker and Insecure from comedienne Issa Rae. Also new is VICE News Tonight, which airs new episodes five nights a week.
New movies: the action comedy Ride Along 2 (2016) starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart as Atlanta cops in Miami (PG-13) and Angelina Jolie’s By the Sea (2015), starring Brad Pitt and Jolie as a married couple in crisis (R).
Two acclaimed Oscar nominees are new this week.
Todd Haynes directs Carol (2015), a love story between a society woman (Cate Blanchett) separated from her husband and a department store shopgirl and budding photographer (Rooney Mara) in 1950s New York City. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including acting nods for Blanchett and Mara, and it is a lovely evocation of the time and place and social fabric (R).
The regal Charlotte Rampling earned an Oscar nomination for 45 Years (2015) a portrait of a long, happy marriage suddenly jolted when the distant past of the devoted husband (Tom Courtenay) suddenly resurfaces. A hushed British drama of powerful feelings under placid surfaces (R).
Also new: the corporate thriller Paranoia (2013) with Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman (PG-13).
Stand-up: Martin Lawrence Doin’ Time: Uncut (2016).
The Australian political thriller The Code: Season 2 begins on Acorn, with two episodes now available and new episodes arriving each Monday.