What to watch: Netflix ‘Spotlight’ on ‘Fundamentals’ and ‘Room’ for ‘Punch Drunk Love’ on Amazon

Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, and Craig Roberts in 'The Fundamentals of Caring'

Paul Rudd stars in the American indie drama The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), playing a rookie caregiver who bonds with his 18-year-old charge (Craig Roberts). Adapted from the Jonathan Evison novel by writer-director Rob Burnett, it also stars Selena Gomez, Jennifer Ehle, and Bobby Cannavale. It was picked up after its Sundance debut and premieres on Netflix, skipping theaters entirely. Los Angeles Times critic Gary Goldstein calls it “a strained, overly familiar tale of catharsis and redemption.” PG-13.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Midnight Special is a mix of science fiction odyssey and conspiracy thriller grounded in the devotion of a father (Michael Shannon) determined to save a son with inexplicable powers from everyone who would exploit him. An intimate and moving alternative to the bombastic superhero adventures dominating the movies. Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, and Adam Driver co-star. PG-13. Also on Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Stream On Demand.

Boorish soccer hooligan Sacha Baron Cohen teams up with his secret agent brother Mark Strong in the action comedy The Brothers Grimsby, a film that attempts to milk more comedy out of gay panic, sodomy, and bestiality than you ever thought possible. R. Includes bonus outtakes.

Also new: the romantic comedy sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with Nia Vardalos and John Corbett (PG-13) and Terrence Malick’s drama Knight of Cups with Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett (R).

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is sports drama The Phenom with Ethan Hawke and Paul Giamatti (not rated), the drama Septembers of Shiraz with Salma Hayek and Adrien Brody (PG-13), and the western The Duel with Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth (R).


Spotlight (2015), the story of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child molestation by priests, won the Oscar for Best Picture. Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton star. Rated R. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Also new: Oscar-nominated foreign language film Theeb from Jordan (2014, not rated, with subtitled), martial arts drama Ip Man 3 from Hong Kong (2015, PG-13, with subtitles), and the stylized comic book noir Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014, R) with Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, and Eva Green (R).


The natural history series Life Story: Series 1 (2014), produced by BBC and Discovery Channel, charts the journey from birth to adulthood throughout the animal kingdom. 6 episodes.

More streaming TV: the romantic dramas Grey’s Anatomy: Season 12 and Cedar Cove: Season 3 with Andie MacDowell.

For the kids there’s the animated series Dragons: Race to the Edge: Season 3 and the Disney channel shows Bunk’d: Season 1 and Best Friends Whenever: Season 1.


Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The seventh and final season of The Good Wife: Season 7, which concluded last month, is now available, which means the entire series is on both Amazon Prime and Hulu. More on Stream On Demand here.

Mulholland Falls (1996), a stylish gangster drama set in 1950s Los Angeles, stars Nick Nolte as the tough but compromised leader of an elite police unit called the Hat Squad, and they have a way with the haberdashery. Jennifer Connelly, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, and John Malkovich co-star. R. Pick your stream: Amazon Prime or Hulu.

Stand Up Guys (2012) is as geriatric gangster buddy film with Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. R. Pick your stream: Amazon Prime or Hulu.

Amazon Instant Prime

Brie Larson won the Oscar for Best Actress in Room (2015), the stirring drama of a young mother who devotes herself to nurturing the spirit of her young son while help captive, transforms a potential horror story into a celebration of love and courage. R. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Adam Sandler harnesses the boy-man persona of his crude comedies for Punch Drunk Love (2002), a role written for him by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson for this unexpected and offbeat romantic comedy with dark edges. R.

Southbound (2015) is another anthology horror film, with five stories told by travelers in the desert. R.

From Japan comes Ten Nights of Dreams (2006), an anthology films featuring 11 directors (among them Kon Ichikawa and Takashi Shimizu) adapting 10 short stories written by 19th century author Natsume Soseki. Japanese with English subtitles.

Spring in a Small Town (China, 1948) was voted The Greatest Chinese-Language Film of All Time by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society in 2002 and the Hong Kong Film Academy in 2004, which I guess makes it official. Unfortunately the version available on Amazon Prime (courtesy of Cinema Epoch) is standard definition and in need of restoration, or at least remastering. Mandarin with English subtitles.


The first episode of the eight-part limited series The Night Of officially premieres on cable on Sunday, July 10 but subscribers can watch it now on HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO On Demand. Created by Oscar-winning writers Steven Zaillian and Richard Price and starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed, the eight-hour drama follows a complex murder case in the New York City through the investigation, the legal proceedings, and the incarceration of the accused at Rikers Island as he awaits trial.

The new sports talk show Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons debuts this week, with new episodes every Wednesday.

Ted 2 (2015) reunites Mark Wahlberg with his foul-mouthed talking Teddy Bear. It’s definitely R.

Also new: the original documentary Suited and the Oscar-winning short documentary Freeheld (2007).

Available Saturday, June 25 is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

And on Sunday, June 26, the final episodes of Game of Thrones: Season 6, Silicon Valley: Season 3, and Veep: Season 5 debut.

Showtime Anytime

Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis star in the R-rated romantic comedy Sleeping with Other People (2015).


Hong Sang-Soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then (South Korea, 2016) streams exclusively on Fandor as it opens in theaters in the U.S. Not rated, with subtitles.


Raised by Wolves: Series 1, a raunchy comedy of family dysfunction written by and based on the childhood of noted British author Caitlin Moran, makes it American debut on AcornTV. 6 episodes.

Also making its American premiere is the British miniseries Cilla, starring Sheridan Smith as British singer Cilla Black who rose fame in the sixties. 3 episodes.

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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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