Suburban sitcom meets zombie comedy in the new Netflix original series Santa Clarita Diet, created by Victor Fresco (Better Off Ted). Drew Barrymore stars as a suburban wife and mother who wakes from a fatal fit with a sudden craving for human flesh and Timothy Olyphant as her resigned husband who is roused from apathy by his wife’s sudden rejuvenation. All he has to do is help her secure a steady diet of neighbors and cover up the corpses.
“Think of it as ‘Ozzie and Harriet and Zombies,'” writes Mike Hale for The New York Times. “Ms. Barrymore and Mr. Olyphant work well together — despite the archness of the humor, their marriage seems more real than most television unions. She reprises the intelligent ditz she has played frequently in films, and he plays against his Deadwood and Justified tough-guy type, reminding us that he first got noticed as a malleable young stud in an episode of Sex and the City.”
It’s gory and gooey and played for dark humor.
10 episodes. Queue it up!
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Queen of Katwe dramatizes the true story of an unschooled girl (Madina Nalwanga) from an impoverished village in Uganda whose nurtures a talent for chess to become a world class chess champion. David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o star in the uplifting and colorful Disney drama (PG). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Tom Cruise is back in the action thriller Jack Reacher: Never Go Back to save a friend (Cobie Smulders) framed for treason (PG-13).
Finding Dory (2016) reunites the aquatic pals of “Finding Nemo” for an animated odyssey across the sea to reunite the memory-challenged Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) with her long lost parents. Sweet, funny, gorgeous, and family friendly (PG). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Helen Mirren plays a Holocaust survivor who battles the Austrian government to retrieve a family treasure looted by the Nazis in Woman in Gold (2015), a drama based on a true story (PG-13).
Orson Welles is black marketeer Harry Lime in The Third Man (1949), Carol Reed’s European film noir classic set in the divided city of Vienna in the aftermath of World War II, starring Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard, and Alida Valli (not rated).
The Pioneers of African-American Cinema collection presents over 20 feature films and short films produced for African-American audiences in the first half of the 20th Century, newly preserved for home video.
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (2016), starring Sarah Paulson, John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Courtney B. Vance, won nine Emmy awards including Outstanding Limited Series.
More for kids and families: the new batch of family movies include Tim Burton’s animated holiday mash-up musical The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, PG) and playfully macabre Corpse Bride (2005, PG), farmyard storybook fantasy Babe (1995, G) and sequel Babe: Pig in the City (1998, PG), and action fantasy The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005, PG).
More movies: David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. (2001) with Naomi Watts (R), indie horror film Antibirth (2016) with Natasha Lyonne and Chloe Sevigny (not rated), Seattle-set political satire Swing State (2016, R), street gang drama Imperial Dreams (2015) with John Boyega (not rated), Channing Tatum and friends in Magic Mike (2012, R), and sparkling vampires in love in Twilight (2008) with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (PG-13),
More streaming TV: the first season of the CW science fiction drama Frequency is available eight days after the network broadcast the season finale, plus the historical crime drama Ripper Street: Season 4 from Britain.
Swiss Army Man (2016) is a buddy movie with Paul Dano as a lonely shipwreck survivor and Daniel Radcliffe as a flatulent corpse that becomes his best friend (R).
New episodes of the Civil War drama Mercy Street: Season 2 are available a week after they show on PBS.
More movies new to Amazon Prime this month: Sean Penn’s Oscar-nominated Into the Wild (2007, R), Frankie & Johnny (1991) with Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer (R), French drama My King (2015) with Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel (not rated, with subtitles), the documentary Nuts! (2016) about the 1920s answer to Viagra, and another batch of James Bond films including Goldfinger (1965, PG).
Foreign affairs: from Italy comes the cult satire La Grande Bouffe (Italy, 1973) with Marcello Mastroianni and Michel Piccoli (NC-17, with subtitles) and the spaghetti western Requiescant (Italy, 1967, with subtitles) (reviewed on Stream On Demand here) and from Japan comes the gangster thrillers Retaliation (Japan, 1968) with Jo Shishido (not rated, with subtitles) and Shinjuku Triad Society (Japan, 1995) from cult director Miike Takashi (not rated, with subtitles).
Amazon Prime / Hulu
The documentary The Dog (2013) tells the story of the real-life inspiration for Dog Day Afternoon, a story even stranger than the Oscar-winning movie (not rated).
More new movies cycling through the line-up: Oscar winner There Will be Blood (2007) with Daniel Day-Lewis (R), offbeat crime comedy I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, warm character drama The Station Agent (2003) written for Peter Dinklage by Tom McCarthy (R), and classy romantic confection Chocolat (2000) with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp (PG-13).
The Nice Guys (2016) is a throwback to action comedies of the seventies with tough guy Russell Crowe and soused private detective Ryan Gosling teaming up to find a kidnapped girl (R). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Older films returning to HBO include a collection of Spike Lee films, including Do The Right Thing (1989, R) and Clockers (1995, R) and the crime dramas Mystic River (2003) with Sean Penn and Tim Robbins (R) and Road to Perdition (2002) with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman (R).
The new BBC TV version of Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution (2016), with Toby Jones and Kim Cattrall in the roles played by Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich in the 1957 film, makes its stateside debut on the streaming service.