The Little Prince (2016), an animated feature based on the beloved novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda), is a big-budget American production from a major studio and played in theaters around the world (where it was a success) but Sony dumped it straight to Netflix in the U.S. Apparently they did not have confidence that American audiences would respond to something a little more delicate than the usual bombastic, brightly-colored animated comedies.
It is “a lovely, big-hearted tale of adventure, friendship and imagination,” writes Brian Tallerico for RogerEbert.com. “Without a single pop song to be heard or a bodily humor joke to be endured, The Little Prince doesn’t talk down to its audience, treating them with the respect that so few American family films bother to do.”
Features the voices of Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, and others. PG.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Mother’s Day, the final film from director Garry Marshall, features Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, and Julia Roberts among the mothers and daughters. PG-13. Also on DVD and Blu-ray.
Keanu is the name an adorable kitten that best friends Keegan-Michal Key and Jordan Peele vow to rescue from an inner city gangster in this urban comedy. R. Also on DVD and Blu-ray.
The Lobster is a melancholy love story with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in a strange alternate reality where single people are transformed into animals. R. Also on DVD and Blu-ray. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
April and the Extraordinary World is an animated steampunk adventure from France (PG, English language version) and Schneider vs. Bax is a drama about contract killer from The Netherlands (not rated, subtitled).
Also new: the comedies The Bronze with Melissa Rauch (R) and Meet the Blacks with Mike Epps (R), the Biblical drama Last Days in the Desert with Ewan McGregor (PG-13), and the R-rated, direct-to-home video animated feature Batman: The Killing Joke.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is the documentary Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny (not rated), the drama Five Nights in Maine with David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest (not rated), and the crime drama The Brooklyn Banker with Tony Garity and Paul Sorvino (R).
Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie, a 50-minute spoof of Trump’s 1987 book produced as a lost movie-of-the-week rediscovered on a VHS tape, stars Johnny Depp as the blowhard mogul. It was originally produced for the “Funny or Die” website but was pulled soon after it premiered. It is now exclusively on Netflix.
Netflix has a film called Mothers Day (2016) starring Christina Ricci, Mira Sorvino, Sharon Stone, and Susan Sarandon that was originally released under the name Mothers and Daughters. A coincidence that it was retitled just as Garry Marshall’s movie arrives on VOD? R.
Also new this month: Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth (2006) (PG), the franchise-launching action hit The Fast and the Furious (2001) with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (PG-13), the crime drama Deadfall (2012) with Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde (R), and the Paul Newman dramas From the Terrace (1960, not rated) with Joanne Woodward and the Oscar-nominated The Verdict (1982) with James Mason (R).
Cult movies: Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999) with Johnny Depp (R), the drive-in action film Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) with Peter Fonda (PG), and The Naked Prey (1966) with Cornel Wilde on the run for his life (not rated).
Streaming TV: Hit Record on TV with Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Season 2 continues the crowd-sourced series and Roseanne Collection: Collection 3 features episodes from the final seasons of the sitcom.
Kid stuff: the new Netflix animated series Beat Bugs: Season 1, about the adventures of five insect buddies in a suburban backyard, features the songs of Lennon and McCartney covered by contemporary artists. Also new: Ever After High: Epic Winter and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Season 6: Part 1.
Amazon Prime Video
The Coen Bros.’s Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), a sardonic character piece set in the coffee-house folk scene of Greenwich Village in the early sixties, features Oscar Isaac in his breakthrough role. R. Reviewed in Stream On Demand here.
Also new: the Oscar-winning The Piano (1993) with Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel (R), the elegant ghost story The Others (2001) with Nicole Kidman (PG-13), Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey (1999) with Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda (R), and the influential science-fiction classic The Matrix (1999) and sequels The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003) (all R).
Cult movies: from Italy comes three very interesting seventies films from the violent crime genre known as poliziotteschi: Play Cop (1974) aka Shoot First, Die Later with Luc Merenda as a corrupt cop, Killer Cop (1975) with Arthur Kennedy, and Rulers of the City (1976) with Jack Palance. All rated R.
Amazon Prime and Hulu
Mr. Holmes (2015) stars Ian McKellen as the iconic detective in retirement at age 93, trying to recall his fateful final case while tending his bees and facing his greatest challenge ever: old age and memory loss. McKellan brings out the fragility and vulnerability behind the imperious manner and Laura Linney co-stars. Rated PG. On Amazon Prime and Hulu. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Also new: the original Cloverfield (2008) (Amazon / Hulu), a 21st century Godzilla movie for the camcorder generation (PG-13), and Jim Jarmusch’s deadpan comedy anthology Coffee and Cigarettes (2003, R) (Amazon / Hulu).
Mark Feuerstein is Larry Gaye: Renegade Flight Attendant (2015) in the R-rated comedy.
In the HBO original documentary Meet the Donors: Does Money Talk? (2016), Emmy-nominated filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi visits the big-money donors on both sides of the political spectrum to ask them what they get from their contribution. Not rated.
New movies: Youth (2015) starring the not-at-all young Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, and Jane Fonda (R) and The 33 (2015) about the Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days in a mine collapse (PG-13).
Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014). PG-13.
Three of Al Pacino’s best films join the HBO line-up this month: the Oscar-winning Dog Day Afternoon (1975) from director Sidney Lumet and Brian DePalma’s flamboyant Scarface (1983) and his low-key follow-up Carlito’s Way (1993). All rated R.
A.R.C.H.I.E. (2016) is a direct-to-cable family friendly adventure about an orphaned girl and a robot dog with the voice of Michael J. Fox. Not rated.
Also new: Stake Land (2010), a survival drama set after the vampire apocalypse (R), and Sofia Coppola’s feature debut The Virgin Suicides (1999) with Kirsten Dunst, James Woods, and Kathleen Turner (R).
Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death is a British TV Movie based on a novel by MC Beaton and starring Ashley Jensen as a PR professional who moves from London to the kind of sleepy little British town where murders are as common as gardens. So she turns sleuth. This is the launching pad a new mystery series and the first season follows with new episodes arriving Mondays through August.