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 …
Amazon presents the science fiction anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.
Dick’s novels and stories have been turned into numerous films, from Blade Runner to Total Recall to Minority Report, often with his unconventional stories completely rewritten for the screen. In this series, different directors and screenwriters take on the short stories of the influential and conceptually creative author. Among the screenwriters are Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and Tony Grisoni (the Red Riding trilogy) and the directors include Dee Rees (Mudbound), Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones and The Sopranos), and Michael Dinner (Justified).
“It boasts strong actors and a creative generosity that enables different directors and writers… to steer the ships of their respective adaptations,” observes Jen Chaney for Vulture. “While, overall, it is not as consistently compelling as Black Mirror, Electric Dreams is a worthy addition to a genre—the anthology series—that is in the midst of a renaissance.”
Bryan Cranston, Terrence Howard, Anna Paquin, Timothy Spall, Steve Buscemi, and Janelle Monae are among the stars of the season’s 10 episodes now streaming on Amazon Prime.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman marks the late night legend’s return to the small screen in a monthly talk show that focuses on a single guest each episode. Barack Obama is his first guest. New episodes debut each month on Netflix.
Jack Black is The Polka King (2017, not rated), a bandleader who creates a Ponzi scheme to further his career, in the Netflix original comedy. Netflix also has The Man Who Would Be Polka King (2009, not rated), the documentary that inspired the film.
A Ghost Story (2017, R) is not a horror film but an intimate drama of loss and grief. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara star in the odd but touching drama with the most unconventional special effect of the year: the ghost is an actor under a simple bedsheet with cut-out eyeholes. It is curiously effective and sneakily haunting. Now streaming for Amazon Prime members.
Hulu has all six seasons and 121 episodes of Lost, the dense, richly-woven conspiracy drama / metaphysical mystery that became a mainstream hit with a cult following and still holds a spell over its fans. This show, from creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindeloff, almost demands repeat viewings to explore the mysteries. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
IT (2017, R), based on the Stephen King novel, is the sleeper hit of the year: an R-rated horror film about a group of children haunted and hunted by a demonic clown (Bill Skarsgard). Also on DVD and Blu-ray.
Jackie Chan takes a rare dramatic role in the thriller The Foreigner (2017, R) as a widower who loses his daughter to a terrorist bombing in London and puts his unique set of skills (he was trained as a special ops soldier by the American military before emigrating to England) to work pressuring a former IRA officer (Pierce Brosnan) to giving up the bombers. Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.
Two dramas based on true stories: Chadwick Boseman plays young Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017, PG-13) from filmmaker Reginald Hudlin and Liam Neeson is Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017, PG-13). Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.
Also new: sex trafficking drama Trafficked (2017, not rated) with Ashley Judd; coming-to-America comedy The Tiger Hunter (2016, not rated) with Danny Pudi; horror film Friend Request (2016, R), and animated My Little Pony: The Movie (2017, PG).
True stories: Human Flow (2017, PG-13), a documentary about forced migration around the world from artist Ai Weiwei, is on the shortlist for the Academy Award. Also new:
- No Stone Unturned (2017, not rated) from Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney;
- Take My Nose… Please! (2017, not rated) on women and plastic surgery;
- Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking (2017, not rated) from Jain monk turned filmmaker Sadhvi Siddhali Shree.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is action thriller Acts of Violence (2018, R) with Bruce Willis, retirement comedy Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game (2017, not rated) with Martin Landau (in his final screen role) and Paul Sorvino, and teen rebel comedy Freak Show (2017, not rated) with Alex Lawther and Abigail Breslin.
Claire Holt and Mandy Moore are divers stranded in a shark cage at the bottom of the sea in the thriller 47 Meters Down (2017, PG-13) (also known as In the Deep) and Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play paranormal investigators in the horror film The Conjuring (2013, R).
Kid stuff: the animated Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017, PG) based on the whimsical children’s books by Dav Pilkey.
Streaming TV: Somebody Feed Phil” the latest entry in the Netflix “Foodie TV” collection, sends producer Phil Rosenthal around the globe to sample local cuisine. Also new:
- the Showtime comedy Episodes: Season 1-5 with Matt LeBlanc and Stephen Mangan;
- USA sci-fi invasion drama Colony: Season 2 with Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies;
- Netflix original pot-shop comedy Disjointed: Part 2 with Kathy Bates.
True stories: The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (2017, not rated) profiles the “Tales of the City” author.
Ethan Hawke plays Hamlet (2000, R) in the modern dress adaptation set in New York City. Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora, and Bill Murray star and Michael Almereyda directs.
Also new: Saturday Night Fever: Director’s Cut (1977, R) with John Travolta as a Brooklyn kid turned disco dancing king and conspiracy thriller Capricorn One (1977, PG) with Elliot Gould and James Brolin.
Streaming TV: Tennison, the prequel to Prime Suspect, stars Stefanie Martini as young Jane Tennison in her first days on the police force in 1973 England. Also new is Grimm: Season 6, the final season of the colorful supernatural series set and shot in Portland, Oregon.
Amazon Prime / Hulu
You won’t recognize Michael Fassbender in the oddball comedy Frank (2014, R) because he wears a giant paper maché mask throughout the entire film.
True stories: Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait (2017, not rated) looks at the life and career of the New York artist and filmmaker.
Foreign affairs: Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse (Japan, 2015, R, with subtitles) pits Japanese gangsters against vampires in a wild, weird action blast with surreal humor. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Streaming TV: The season one finale of Runaways, Hulu’s entry into the superhero genre, is now live, making the entire debut season available to binge. Also new:
- espionage thriller Homeland: Season 5 with Claire Danes from Showtime;
- Israeli conspiracy thriller False Flag: Season 1(with subtitles);
- complete collections of the animated comedies Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain for kids young and old alike.
The new documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years (2018, TV14) chronicles the rock legend’s return to recording after years retirement in the final years before his untimely death.
Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson are star-crossed teenagers in love in Everything, Everything (2017, PG-13), the romantic drama based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon.
Arriving Saturday night is an extended version of the high-octane The Fate of the Furious (2017, not rated), the eighth film in the car caper franchise with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, featuring footage not seen in theaters.
Liev Schreiber is Chuck (2017, R) in a drama based on the story of the real-life underdog boxer who inspired “Rocky.”
Jackie Chan does Indiana Jones in the comic globetrotting adventure Operation Condor (Hong Kong, 1991, PG-13).
Music: the documentary XTC: This Is Pop (2017, TV14) looks at the British band that channeled sixties pop and psychedelia into the British New Wave, plus the concert film Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun – Hyde Park Live (2013, TV14).
FilmStruck / Criterion Channel
FilmStruck’s director of the week is the polarizing Lars von Trier and they’ve added eight of his films to the catalog, from his breakthrough murder mystery The Element of Crime (Denmark, 1984, not rated) to his Oscar nominated Breaking the Waves (Denmark, 1996, R) with Emily Watson to the dark psychodrama Antichrist (Denmark, 2009, R) with Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Also newly added are four French films starring Josephine Baker, including Zou Zou (France, 1934, with subtitles) and Princess Tam Tam (France, 1935, with subtitles), and a collection of films about the dark side of married life, among them Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage (Sweden, 1973, with subtitles) with Liv Ullman, Michelangelo Antonioni’s La notte (Italy, 1961, with subtitles) with Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau, and John Cassavettes’s Faces (1968, R) with Gena Rowlands.
New to the Criterion Channel is Lukas Moodysson’s Together (Sweden, 2000), set in a 1970s commune, and The Complete Mr. Arkadin (1955), featuring three different versions of the labyrinthine thriller directed by Orson Welles plus bonus radio plays and other supplements.
The 1998 British cop drama Supply & Demand features Miriam Margolyes as the head of a special undercover unit and Eamonn Walker as a streetwise detective. Acorn presents the U.S. debut of the show created by Lynda La Plante.
Brenda Blethyn returns as curmudgeonly Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in the U.S. debut of Vera: Season 8.