What to stream: Pilot season on Amazon and ‘The Most Hated Woman’ on Netflix

Pilot Season is back on Amazon Prime, which means viewers can watch and vote on five shows under consideration for futures Amazon Prime series. And remember, you don’t have to be a member to watch the pilots. You can treat it as a free sample.

The most promising is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of Gilmore Girls), with Rachel Brosnahan as a devoted housewife in the Upper West Side who, after supporting her husband’s amateur comedy fling in the Village, tries her hand in the stand-up comedy culture of the late 1950s.

There’s also Legend of Master Legend, a comedy starring John Hawkes as a self-made superhero in Las Vegas; science fiction drama Oasis, set on the first human colony on another planet and starring Game of Thrones alums Richard Madden and Mark Addy; the dope comedy Budding Prospects about three buddies (Joel David Moore, Brett Gelman, and Will Sasso) starting a marijuana grow operation in 1980s San Francisco; and the animated adult comedy The New V.I.P.s from Steve Dildarian, creator of HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Sing presents a cast of animated animals singing their hearts out with the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly. Matthew McConaughey is your impresario and master of ceremonies for this jukebox musical and Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Saunders co-star (PG).

Jessica Chastain is Miss Sloane, a high-powered lobbyist who takes on the gun lobby in this drama of cold-blooded politics and morality for sale. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, and Mark Strong co-star (R).

Also new: the video game actioner Assassin’s Creed with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard (PG-13), the depression-era gangster film Live By Night with Ben Affleck (who also directs) and Zoe Saldana (R), Pedro Almodovar’s mother-daughter drama Julieta (R, with subtitles), the operatic British musical London Road with Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy (not rated), and the science fiction adventure Atomica with Dominic Monaghan (not rated).

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the comedy All Nighter with J.K. Simmons as a father who teams up with his daughter’s ex-boyfriend (Emile Hirsch) to find his missing daughter (R). Also new: the science fiction thriller Bokeh with Maika Monroe and Matt O’Leary and horror film From a House on Willow Street (not rated).


Melissa Leo is The Most Hated Woman in America: Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder and president of “American Atheists” who took her fight against religion in schools to the Supreme Court, in the Netflix exclusive feature that premiered earlier this year at SXSW. “[I]t’s hard to believe that The Most Hated Woman is the first movie that’s been made about the Murray family’s remarkable lives or their outsized impact on our sociopolitical landscape,” writes IndieWire critic David Ehrlich. “By that same token, however, it’s even harder to believe that the first such movie could be this spectacularly inert and uninteresting — seldom has a biopic done so little with so much.” Juno Temple, Vincent Kartheiser, and Josh Lucas co-star (not rated).

Gerard Depardieu stars in Welcome to New York (2014), Abel Ferrara’s fictional take on the real-life scandal involving IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid (R).

Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) is a terrific zombie thriller with its heart on its sleeve along with the obligatory blood and guts (not rated, with subtitles). Reviewed in Stream On Demand here.

True stories: the Oscar nominated documentary Fire at Sea (Italy, 2016) looks at the front lines of the refugee crisis on the Mediterranean from the Italian island of Lampedusa, where the local coast guards rescues thousands from migrants from failing boats (not rated, with subtitles). Also from Italian documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi is his award-winning Sacro GRE (Italy, 2013).

Streaming TV: frenemies Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are back in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie: Season 3. Also new: How to Get Away with Murder: Season 3 with Viola Davis and The Vampire Diaries: Season 8, the final season of the CW show, available days after concluding its network run.

Also new: the cartoons-in-the-real-world comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988, PG), the romantic thriller Déjà Vu (2006) with Denzel Washington (PG-13).

More foreign affairs: the French horror fantasy Evolution (2015, not rated, with subtitles) and the romantic drama Ali and Nino (2016) from Azerbaijan (not rated, with subtitles).

Stand-up: Dave Chappelle returns in two new comedy specials exclusive to Netflix.

Amazon Prime

William Shatner spoofs his own persona in Free Enterprise (1999), a romantic comedy set in the depths of sci-fi fandom (R).

True stories: Jim Jarmusch profiles punk pioneer Iggy Pop and The Stooges in Gimme Danger (2016, R) and Andrew Dominik explores the creative process of Nick Cave in One More Time with Feeling (2016, not rated).

And there’s more rockumentary this week: New York Doll (2005) about early punk pioneer Arthur “Killer” Kane (PG-13) and The Glamour and the Squalor (2015) about the influential deejay Marco Collins (not rated).

Stand-up: Andrew Dice Clay: Indestructible (2013).


Streaming TV: the AMC zombie spin-off Fear the Walking Dead: Season 2 and the Cartoon Network’s revival The Powerpuff Girls: Season 1. The complete classic Powerpuff series is also available.


Ice Age: Collision Course (2016), the fifth installment of the animated series, features the prehistoric buddies facing a meteor (PG).

Also new: Vin Diesel is The Last Witch Hunter (2015, PG-13), a medieval warrior in the modern world, and the horror film Within (2016, R).

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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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