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 …
Matt Bomer is The Last Tycoon, a visionary movie producer who collides with the studio boss (Kelsey Grammer), in the Amazon original series adapted from the unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about 1930s Hollywood.
“As re-created by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games), the Amazon Tycoon borrows characters and situations from the novel and has its own way with them,” explains Los Angeles Times TV critic Robert Lloyd. “Melodrama has its pleasures, and some viewers will doubtless happily be caught in the stories’ myriad threads.… And the series does look very good, from its hairdos down to its shoes. If nothing else, The Last Tycoon gets my personal thanks for its digital re-creation of a local landscape uninfected by skyscrapers.”
Lily Collins, Dominique McElligott, and Rosemarie DeWitt co-star in the lavish period piece developed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Billy Ray. 9 episodes.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
The American live-action version of Ghost in the Shell, based on the Japanese animated feature and set in a Blade Runner-esque future, stars Scarlett Johansson as a cybernetically-enhanced government agent whose latest case leads to the secret behind her identity. The film was tangled in controversy for the casting of Johansson in a role that was originally created as an Asian character but the casting (purposefully or not) plays into the film’s exploration of alienation and identity. The multi-national cast includes ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Danish star Pilou Asbæk (PG-13). Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.
Alec Baldwin voices The Boss Baby in the animated comedy based on the illustrated book by Marla Frazee (PG). Also on DVD and Blu-ray.
Also new: the drama Gifted with Chris Evans as a single father raising a child prodigy (PG-13), thriller Unforgettable with Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson (R), and celebrity chef documentary Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (R).
Available same day as select theaters nationwide are dramas The Last Face with Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem and Strange Weather with Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon (both R), ensemble comedy Person to Person with Michael Cera (not rated), and French romantic drama From The Land Of The Moon with Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel (R, with subtitles).
Jessica Williams is The Incredible Jessica James, an aspiring New York playwright who stumbles into a romance with a recent divorcee (Chris O’Dowd), in the romantic comedy that comes to Netflix direct from the film festival circuit (not rated). “It doesn’t have much meat to it, and it borrows from various young-artist narratives, so that in some cases you might think, ‘I’ve seen this all before,'” writes Sheila O’Malley for RogerEbert.com. “Yes. You have. But not with a leading lady like Jessica Williams. She’s something else entirely.”
The action comedy Railroad Tigers (China, 2016) stars Jackie Chan as a railroad worker who heists a Japanese train in World War II (not rated, with subtitles).
The superior Canadian crime drama Intelligence: The Complete Series (2006-2007) is rooted in the intersection between the Vancouver crime underworld and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
More streaming TV: the nonfiction series Daughters of Destiny follows a group of disadvantaged children in India for seven years, and for kids there’s the animated The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Season 5.
Stand-up: Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special
New episodes of the end-of-the-world thriller Salvation stream on Amazon Prime a week after they debut on CBS.
Our Kind of Traitor, the John Le Carre adaptation with Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris, was originally slated for early in the month. It finally arrived on Amazon Prime the week. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Jon Favreau directs and stars in the indie comic drama Chef (2014), about a four-star restaurant chef who starts again with a gourmet food truck managed with friends and family. He made this small, personal film between the Iron Man movies and The Jungle Book (R).
John Wayne is Big Jake (1971) in his final western with co-star Maureen O’Hara (re-rated PG-13) and Alejandro Jodorowsky directs the surreal cult psychodrama Santa Sange (Mexico, 1979, R) (reviewed on Stream On Demand here).
Also new: The Other Half (2017) with Emmy-winning actress Tatiana Maslany as a bi-polar woman (not rated), comedy The Perfect Family (2011) with Kathleen Turner and Emily Deschanel (PG-13), and Australian D.H. Lawrence adaptation Kangaroo (1986) with Judy Davis (R).
Elijah Wood and Samuel Barnett star in the second TV version of Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Season 1, this one developed by Max Landis for BBC America.
Andrew Garfield stars in Hacksaw Ridge (2016), Mel Gibson’s Oscar-nominated World War II drama inspired by the true story of a pacifist who saved the lives of countless men as a battlefield medic (R).
The sons of Princess Diana pay tribute to their mother in the documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy (2017) on the 20th anniversary of her death (not rated).
Arriving Saturday night is the dysfunctional family comedy Almost Christmas (2016) with Danny Glover and Omar Epps (PG-13).
Risk is a documentary portrait of Julian Assange from Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras (not rated).
FilmStruck / Criterion Channel
Two of the great big screen fairy tales come to FilmStruck: Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes (1948), starring Moira Shearer as a ballerina torn between art and love, and Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast (France, 1946), a lush fantasy poised between poetry and horror (with subtitles).