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 …
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017, PG-13), the middle chapter of the third trilogy of the interstellar saga, sends Rey (Daisy Ridley) in search of Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Writer/director Ryan Johnson brings heart to the spectacle and impresses with some stunning imagery and he guides Hamill and Carrie Fisher (who died soon after completing her scenes) to performances weighted with gravitas. Johnson comes to the film as a fan as well as a filmmaker eager to bring his own vision to the series and he creates one of the best chapters in the science fiction epic to date. This may be your antidote to the disappointment over Solo. Now streaming on Netflix.
Hugh Grant is Jeremy Thorpe, the British political leader accused of conspiring to murder his gay ex-lover (Ben Wishaw), in A Very English Scandal, a BBC miniseries inspired by the salacious 1979 scandal and courtroom trial. Writing for The New York Times, Margaret Lyons proclaims it “a juicy, wild lesson in British queer history, a story that’s able to hold a sense of moral fury toward the hatred that gay and bisexual men (and women) faced while still finding the tabloid outrageousness at hand titillating. A Very English Scandal is a dazzling three hours and in pace and potency puts The Crown to shame.”
Stephen Frears directs the satirical drama written by Russell T. Davies (creator of Queer as Folk and the Doctor Who revival), which debuts on Amazon Prime Video.
With the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor inspiring audiences in theaters, revisit original episodes of the gentle children’s show with The Best of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2000). Episodes spanning over three decades of the series are available on Amazon Prime Video.
There’s a world of TV out there and MHz Choice offers some of the best dramas, mysteries, comedies, and crime thrillers from Europe. Their offerings include the World War II drama A French Village and cop thriller Spiral from France, Scandinavian crime dramas Arne Dahl and Beck from Sweden, and Detective Montalbano from Italy. Recently added to the service are Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games (adapted from Christie’s stories) and the three-part nature documentary Antarctica from France. All shows presented with subtitles. There’s a 30-day free trial if you’d like to sample the international menu.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Tyler Perry directs Taraji P. Henson in Acrimony (2018, R), a thriller about a wronged woman who wants payback.
Also new are three thrillers: Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018, not rated) with Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista, Gemini (2018, R) with Lola Kirke and Zoe Kravitz, and sci-fi oriented The Endless (2017, not rated).
Available same day as select theaters nationwide are two films with “Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd: LGBT-themed comedy Ideal Home (2018, not rated) with Steve Coogan and real-life spy drama The Catcher Was a Spy (2018, R) with Sienna Miller and Mark Strong. There’s also the action film Black Water (2018. not rated) with Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
GLOW: Season 2 brings Allison Brie and her crew of 1980s women wrestlers back for more comic melodrama in and out of the ring as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling pilot gets shopped around to TV stations.
Disney’s animated Tarzan (1999, G) features the voices of Tony Goldwyn and Minnie Driver and an Oscar-winning theme song.
Cyber thriller TAU (2018, R), starring Maika Monroe as the prisoner of a malevolent AI (voiced by Gary Oldman), debuts direct to Netflix.
True stories: Recovery Boys (2018, not rated) follows the efforts of four men to recover from opioid addiction and reenter society. Also new:
- The Last Laugh (2016, not rated), with comedians and writers talking about confronting tragedy and evil with humor;
- epic miniseries The Vietnam War (2017) from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
Streaming TV: Anna Torv is a journalist taking on government lies in Secret City, an Australian thriller co-starring Jacki Weaver, and Alan Dale. Also new:
- Kiss Me First (2018), a British teen drama of loneliness and escape in virtual world;
- CW superhero series Supergirl: Season 3 with Melissa Benoist;
- Life Sentence, the CW dramedy starring Lucy Hale;
- reality competition shows Churchill’s Secret Agents: The New Recruits and Nailed It! Season 2.
Foreign affairs: in the romantic comedy To Each, Her Own (France, 2017, with subtitles, not rated), a lesbian woman (Sarah Stern) struggles with her attraction to a man just as she’s ready to come out to her conservative Jewish family. Also new:
- miniseries The Forest (France, with subtitles), a crime drama about a missing girl in a rural French town;
- comedy Paquita Salas: Season 2 (Spain, with subtitles).
Kid stuff: Netflix debuts the new animated shows Hotel Transylvania and Harvey Street Kids.
Amazon Prime Video
The sweetly offbeat The Strange Little Cat (Germany, 2014, with subtitles) celebrates the strange magic of everyday life and the odd dimensions of human behavior that arise in the close quarters of family apartment in Berlin.
A UN secretary (Ben Kingsley) gives lessons in Backstabbing for Beginners (2018, R) to a young diplomat (Theo James) in the drama about international corruption inspired by real events.
Streaming TV: The Wire, created by David Simon for HBO, is one of the most intelligent and complex shows ever made and Prime Video has the entire five-season series once again. Also new:
- more episodes of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, an animated series for young children based on the books by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond;
- The Newsroom: The Complete Series (2012-2014), created for HBO by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jeff Daniels;
- the first six seasons of HBO’s sexy vampire drama True Blood with Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse;
- eight seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm from creator/star Larry David;
- pioneering sitcom The Best of I Love Lucy: Seasons 1-5 with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz;
- 1980s hit sitcom Family Ties: The Complete Series that launched Michael J. Fox.
Cult: Giulio Questi’s Death Laid an Egg (Italy, 1968), with Jean-Louis Trintignant as a serial killer running a high-tech chicken farm, is one of the strangest mixes of murder mystery and social satire to come out of Italy. Also newly arrived:
- erotic horror film Baba Yaga (Italy, 1973) with Carroll Baker;
- hot rod action comedy Eat My Dust! (1976, PG) with Ron Howard.
Prime Video / Hulu
Martin Scorsese directs the riveting thriller Shutter Island (2009, R) with Leonard DiCaprio investigating the disappearance of an inmate on an island hospital for the criminally insane (Prime Video and Hulu).
Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots star in I Kill Giants (2018, not rated), a drama about a teenage girl who escapes loneliness in a world of fantasy. Also new:
- 10×10 (2018, not rated), a thriller starring Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly;
- Hesher (2011, R) with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a headbanging blast of anarchy with a healing presence.
Streaming TV: Rick & Morty: Season 3 offers more animated absurdity from the Adult Swim hit on Cartoon Network.
True stories: Ballet 422 (2014, PG) follows choreographer Justin Peck as he develops a new work at the New York City Ballet.
Foreign affairs: Hong Kong movie legends Tsui Hark and Yuen Woo-ping team up again for The Thousand Faces of Dunjia (China, 2017, not rated, with subtitles), a fantasy about warriors defending Earth from giant invaders.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017, R) partners the elite British spy organization with its American counterpart and adds Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, and Channing Tatum to the cast.
The HBO Original documentary Believer (2018, TV-14) follows Mormon musician Dan Reynolds as he confronts his church’s treatment of LGBT members.
Available Saturday night is IT (2017, R), the hit horror film based on the Stephen King novel about adolescent best friends battling a demonic clown.
Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig star in the romantic drama Cairo Time (2009, PG).
TCM Select Pick of the Week is John Ford’s western classic The Searchers (1956). Ford directed John Wayne in thirteen films over the course of their careers, but they reached their respective creative pinnacles with this tormented epic starring Wayne as Ethan Edwards, a dark, vengeful drifter on an obsessive mission of vengeance against the renegade Indian chief who slaughtered his family and kidnapped his niece. Jeffrey Hunter, as his part-Indian adoptive nephew, joins the search for his sister (Natalie Wood) and becomes the hateful Ethan’s conscience. It’s Ford’s frontier American Dream at its most ambivalent, an epic journey imbued with sadness and saved by love. It’s been called the greatest American movie ever made and Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Milius and many others have paid homage to it in their films. Ford and Wayne pay tribute to the great silent star Harry Carey, who starred in Ford’s earliest westerns and inspired Wayne’s acting style, in the film’s legendary final image. Streams through December 20, 2018.
Co-star Natalie Wood is FilmStruck’s “Star of the Week” with a spotlight on 13 features starring the actress, from The Star (1953) with Bette Davis to final film Brainstorm (1983, PG) with Christopher Walken.
“The Marvelous Miss Marple” presents five films featuring Agatha Christie’s spinster detective, including Murder She Said (1961) and three sequels starring Margaret Rutherford, and FilmStruck celebrates Gay Pride Month with “Classics of Lesbian Cinema” from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Germany, 1972, not rated, with subtitles) through the landmark American indie Desert Hearts (1985, R) to the Cannes Palm d’Or winning Blue is the Warmest Color (France, 2013, NC-17, with subtitles).
The British comedy Trivia: The Complete Series follows a pub quiz team as they compete for the trivia championship.
Also new: Australian dramedy Bed Of Roses: Series 2 with Kerry Armstrong and the Italian drama The Ladies’ Paradise: Series 2.
The second season of the Facebook Watch original dramedy Strangers moves to New York City and a whole new culture of roommate situations to navigate.
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