What to stream: ‘Free Guy’ on Disney+ and HBO Max, ‘The French Dispatch’ on HBO Max, a ‘Vikings’ sequel on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  

The action comedy Free Guy (2021, PG-13) stars Ryan Reynolds as a wildly optimistic, utterly cheerful fellow who discovers he’s a background character in a violent video game, thanks to the intervention of a rebellious player (Jodie Comer) who prods him to self-awareness and inspires him to take charge of his own story. Imagine “The Matrix” by way of “The Lego Movie.” It’s a crazed parody of a video game movie anchored by the total commitment of Reynolds to bringing a gee-whiz joy to character surrounded by mayhem, murder, and epic destruction. (Disney+ and HBO Max)

Wes Anderson pays tribute to a vanishing breed of magazine journalism in The French Dispatch (2021, R), a playfully comic anthology of stories from a fictional French city in the late 1960s. It’s an overstuffed bonbon of witty dialogue, playful imagery, whimsical humor, fabulous production design, and a magnificent cast that includes Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Tilda Swinton, and (as the unexpected beating heart of the film) Bill Murray. (HBO Max)

In Vikings: Valhalla: Season 1 (TV-MA), a sequel to the hit cable adventure set 100 years later, the legendary Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett) and his sister Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) leaving Greenland to take vengeance on Viking invaders in Europe. While the original series streams on Prime Video and Hulu, this sequel was developed for Netflix by “Die Hard” and “The Fugitive” screenwriter Jeb Stuart. (Netflix)

Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penélope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, and Fan Bingbing play top agents from rival national agencies who team up in The 355 (2022, PG-13), an all-woman spy squad spectacle directed by Simon Kinberg. Streams on Peacock same day it arrives on VOD and DVD. (Peacock)

The end-of-the-world comedy How It Ends (2021, R) counts down the last days through the feel-good odyssey of a young woman (Zoe Lister-Jones, also co-director and co-writer) making amends. It was shot during early days of the pandemic and uses the empty streets of L.A. to good effect. Bradley Whitford, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris, and Fred Armisen costar. (Hulu and Paramount+)

The supernatural thriller From: Season 1 (TV-MA) stars Harold Perrineau as a sheriff protecting the citizens of a mysterious small town that won’t let anyone leave from vicious creatures that attack at night. Three episodes available, new episodes on Sundays. (Epix)

NBC revives Law and Order (TV-14), one of the TV’s landmark crime dramas, with returning stars Sam Waterston and Anthony Anderson joined by Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim, Hugh Dancy, and Odelya Halevi as the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. Chong-chong! New episodes stream on Fridays. (Hulu and Peacock)

The Endgame: Season 1 (TV-14) is a new heist thriller starring Morena Baccarin as a criminal mastermind in New York City and Ryan Michelle Bathé as the FBI agent obsessed with stopping her. “Fast and Furious” director Justin Lin helms the debut episode, new episodes stream on Tuesdays. (Hulu and Peacock)

News: Netflix and Amazon Prime Video subscribers will both be paying more for their service starting in March. Monthly plans at Netflix increase $1 to $2, depending on their plan. The popular Standard plan will jump 50¢/month. Prime membership increases $2 on the monthly plan and $20/year on the annual plan.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and Al Pacino star in House of Gucci (2021, R), the scandalous story of scheming, betrayal, and murder in the famous fashion family. Ridley Scott directs the mix of crime thriller and overheated high society melodrama. Also on DVD and at Redbox.

Joaquin Phoenix is a radio journalist who temporarily takes in his rambunctious nephew in C’mon C’mon (2021, R). Also new:

  • sports drama American Underdog (2021, PG), based on the story of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, starring Zachary Levi and Anna Paquin;
  • A Journal for Jordan (2021, PG-13), directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan.

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is The Desperate Hour (2022, PG-13), a thriller starring Naomi Watts that plays out in real time, and I’ll Find You (2022, not rated), a “Romeo and Juliet” tale set in World War II Europe and starring Adelaide Clemens.


Madea returns in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming (2022, TV-MA), a new comedy directed and written by and starring Tyler Perry in drag.

Rob Zombie’s grisly Halloween (2007, R) remake stars Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, and Malcolm McDowell.

True stories: the limited series documentary Race: Bubba Wallace (2022, TV-MA) chronicles the life and career of the only full-time Black driver in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series.

Interactive programming: the animated quiz show Cat Burglar: Season 1 (TV-14) arrives from the creators of “Black Mirror.”

International passport: the life of a corrupt cop (Frank Gastambide) spirals out to control in the crime thriller Restless (France, TV-MA, with subtitles).

International TV: a blind date gets complicated in the workplace rom-com Business Proposal: Season 1 (South Korea, TV-MA, with subtitles). Also new:

  • a 30-year-old woman is turned into a teenager in the young adult comedy Back to 15: Season 1 (Brazil, TV-14, with subtitles);
  • a tough judge tackles complex cases involving minors in Juvenile Justice: Season 1 (South Korea, TV-MA, with subtitles).

Reality TV: Love is Blind Japan: Season 1″ (Japan, TV-MA, with subtitles) and Love Is Blind: Season 2 (TV-MA) stream new episodes weekly.


A young woman (Havana Rose Liu) stranded in a highway rest area by a blizzard finds an abducted girl in a van and realizes the kidnapper is among the strangers in the shelter in No Exit (2022, R). Danny Ramirez, Dale Dickey,  and Dennis Haysbert costar.

Streaming TV: Snowfall: Season 5 (TV-MA), the FX crime drama set in the drug trade in 1980s Los Angeles, picks up in the summer of 1986. Two episodes available, new episodes on Thursdays. Also new:


The documentary Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches (2022, TV-MA) features Nicole Beharie, Colman Domingo, Jonathan Majors, Denzel Whitaker and Jeffrey Wright bringing to life excerpts from the speeches of the anti-slavery activist.

Las Bravas: Season 1 (Mexico, with subtitles) follows the journey of a struggling women’s soccer team in Mexico aiming to win its regional championship with the help of its new trainer, a former soccer star forced into retirement.

Last Week Tonight: Season 9 (TV-MA) returns with new episodes Sunday nights.


The animated The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder: Season 1 (TV-G) continues the adventures of Penny Proud and her very large family. Two episodes available, new episodes on Wednesdays.

Amazon Prime Video

Maggie Q stars as a contract killer raised by a master assassin (Samuel L. Jackson) in the action thriller The Protégé (2021, R), costarring Michael Keaton. It’s directed by Bond movie veteran Martin Campbell.

International passport: Gehraiyaan (India, 2022, TV-MA, with subtitles) is a dramatic journey into the romantic heartache and infidelity.


The sitcom Remember WENN: Complete Series (1996-1998, not rated) celebrates the days of live radio drama and comedy through the travails of a Pittsburgh radio station in the late 1930s. Created and written by Tony-winning writer and composer Rupert Holmes, it was the first original series produced for AMC.

Ewen Bremner is rock impresario Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records and the Brit Pop sound, in Creation Stories (2021, not rated).


Wasteland: Season 1 (not rated) is a docuseries that examines America’s polluted waterways.

Acorn TV

The three-part limited series Conviction: The Case of Stephen Lawrence (not rated) dramatizes the efforts to bring justice 18 years after Stephen Lawrence was murdered. Sharlene Whyte, Hugh Quarshie, and Steve Coogan star. It was simply titled “Stephen” when it ran on British TV.

The Criterion Channel

Black History Rising: Documentaries by Stanley Nelson” collects five standout films from the Emmy-winning filmmaker, including the Sundance winning The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (1999, not rated) and Emmy-nominated Freedom Summer (2014, not rated).

The four films in the “Douglas Sirk Melodramas” collection includes All That Heaven Allows (1955), his first collaboration with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, and Imitation of Life (1959) with Lana Turner and Oscar nominees Susan Kohner and Juanita Moore.

A companion to that collection is Far from Heaven (2002), Todd Haynes’ tribute to “All That Heaven Allows” starring Julianne Moore.

Elegance Bratton’s documentary Pier Kids (2019, not rated) caries viewers in to a community of homeless queer and transgender youth in downtown Manhattan.

The Roku Channel

Reno 911! Defunded: Season 1 (2022, TV-14) reunites the original cast members of the Comedy Central sitcom for a new season of crime fighting without a budget. Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Niecy Nash and Cedric Yarbrough star and Jamie Lee Curtis, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and George Lopez are among the guest cast. Free with ads.

The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers.

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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 at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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