What to stream: animated ‘Spider-Man’ on VOD, ‘Cold War’ on Amazon, ‘The Act’ on Hulu

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 …

Oscar-winning animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, PG) offers up a new take on the classic story with Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) getting bitten by the radioactive spider and a whole team of Spider-People from alternate dimensions helping him master his new powers. It also adds new dimensions to animation style that draws directly from comic book style. The voice cast also includes Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, and Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali. Cable On Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.

Cold War (Poland, 2018, R, with subtitles), Pawel Pawlikowski’s seductive romantic drama of two musicians falling in and out of love in the oppressive culture of Soviet-controlled Poland over two decades, won the best director award at Cannes 2018 and was nominated for three Academy Awards. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The first season of the Hulu Original series The Act, an anthology dramatizing stranger-than-fiction true crime stories, stars Joey King as Gypsy Blanchard, a chronically ill teenage girl trying to escape a toxic relationship with her manipulative mother (Patricia Arquette). The real life story was examined in the HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest” (2017, TV-MA).

“The mix of melodrama and sometimes grisly details gives The Act the vibe of an old-fashioned thriller….,” observes Jen Chaney for Vulture. “But whenever the series feels like it might get too over-the-top or tip too close into Grand Guignol territory, it reins itself in and plants its feet back on earth.”

Two episodes now streaming on Hulu, new episodes each Wednesday.

Brit Marling jumps into an alternate dimension in the Netflix Original science fiction series The OA: Part II, becoming a Russian heiress and investigating a new mystery with the help of a private detective (Kingsley Ben-Adir).

“All wide-eyed innocence, sparking massive ideas that come off as existentially awe-inspiring or laughably silly, depending, the hourlong Netflix drama doubles down in a longer, more pretentious, and less vigorous follow-up season that’s part puzzle box, part romance, and wholly insane,” celebrates Ben Travers at IndieWire.

Marling created the series with director and cowriter Zal Batmanglij and Jason Issaacs costars. All 8 episodes now streaming on Netflix.

The Dirt (2019, TV-MA) is a raunchy biopic of the notorious glam-metal band Mötley Crüe, a no-holds portrait of sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle excess based on their 2001 memoir. Colson Baker (aka rapper Machine Gun Kelly) and Douglas Booth star as Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx.

“Despite the darker elements of Mötley Crüe’s story, filmmaker Jeff has made a movie that’s fun to watch and stays true to the book’s freewheeling humor,” writes Rolling Stone journalist Kory Grow. “The shenanigans that made it from the book to the screen, whether it’s the group attempting to out-crazy Ozzy Osbourne or an over-the-top sequence depicting the madness that was a day in Lee’s life, show just how much joy the four underdogs in Mötley Crüe got out of their rise to fame.”

“Jackass” veteran Jeff Tremaine directs the Netflix Original film, which is not for kids

Classic pick: Ernest Borgnine plays good-natured but lonely Brooklyn butcher Marty (1955) in the low-key character drama that swept the top prizes at the Oscars. On Amazon Prime Video.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Emily Blunt takes over the role of Britain’s most famous nanny in Mary Poppins Returns (2018, PG), the musical sequel costarring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, and Emily Mortimer. Also on DVD and at Redbox. Also new:

  • Gaspar Noé’s hallucinatory horror film Climax (France, 2018, R, with subtitles) with Sofia Boutella;
  • biopic Becoming Astrid (Sweden, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) about Astrid Lindgren, creator of Pippi Longstocking;
  • boxing documentary Cradle of Champions (2018, not rated).

Netflix

Mirage (Spain, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) is a time-travel drama about a mother who saves the life of a boy from 25 years ago and then fights to bring back the daughter lost in the new reality she has created.

Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton star in the romantic drama 5 Flights Up (2014, PG-13) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays an acerbic, self-destructive stand-up comic in the indie drama All About Nina (2018, R) costarring Common.

Streaming TV: Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Collection 3 presents ten more episodes of the original comedy series built on heckling bad movies. Also new:

Foreign language TV: Green Door: Season 1 (Taiwan, with subtitles) is a horror series about a psychologist who returns to Taiwan from the U.S. but can’t outrun his past. Also new:

  • Carlo & Malik: Season 1 (Italy, with subtitles), a crime drama about a veteran cop in Rome paired with a rookie born in the Ivory Coast;
  • Delhi Crime: Season 1 (India, with subtitles) dramatizes the investigation of a real-life gang rape in India;
  • true-crime drama Crime Diaries: The Candidate (Mexico, with subtitles) is based on the 1994 assassination of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo;
  • romantic drama Most Beautiful Thing: Season 1 (Brazil, with subtitles) about a housewife in 1950s Brazil who opens a nightclub with her friends;
  • sitcom Millennials: Season 1 (Argentina, with subtitles) about young adults grappling with the adult world.

True stories: Antoine Griezmann: The Making of a Legend (France, 2019, not rated) profiles the French soccer superstar and ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre investigates the 1975 killing of three members of an Irish cabaret band by paramilitary group.

Kid stuff: Charlie’s Colorforms City: Season 1 (Netflix Original Series) is an animated show for pre-school age kids.

Stand-up: Amy Schumer: Growing presents the comedian live in concert in Chicago. Also new:

Italian comedian Edoardo Ferrario: Temi Caldi (Italy, 2019, TV-MA, with subtitles) and a four specials featuring ventriloquist Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself (2006, not rated), Very Special Christmas Special (2008, TV-MA), Controlled Chaos (2011, TV-MA), and Minding the Monsters (2012, TV-MA).

Amazon Prime Video

The documentary The King (2018, R) uses the life and legacy of Elvis Presley as both a roadmap for a cultural road trip and a metaphor for the rise and fall of the American Dream. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (1987, R) pushed the envelope of sadomasochism and gore in mainstream horror and introduced Pinhead to the cannon of horror villains.

Foreign affairs: the comic drama Truman (Spain, 2015, not rated, with subtitles), starring Ricardo Darín and Javier Cámara as best friends who hit the road for one last adventure after one man is diagnosed with a terminal illness, swept Spain’s Goya awards.

Also new is The Net (South Korea, 2016, not rated, with subtitles), Kim Ki-duk’s harrowing drama about a poor North Korean fisherman used as a propaganda tool after his boat drift into South Korean. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

True stories: Lumière! (France, 2016) presents a selection of restored short films produced by cinema pioneers the Lumière brothers between 1895 and 1905. Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux produces and provides commentary.

Streaming TV: the sixties British espionage drama Man in a Suitcase: Complete Series (1967-1968) follows a disgraced American spy (Richard Bradford) turned free agent in the lucrative European market. Also new:

Hulu

Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith discuss their careers in the documentary Tea with the Dames (2018, not rated) from filmmaker Roger Michell.

Odessa Young and Suki Waterhouse are high school girls who take extreme measures against cyberbullying in the bloody action comedy Assassination Nation (2018, R).

Kristen Wiig stars as a failed playwright in the comedy Girl Most Likely (2013, PG-13) with Annette Bening and Matt Dillon.

Streaming TV: Juda: Season 1 (Israel, with subtitles) follows an Israeli gambler in Romania who is bitten by a vampire and ends up hunted by the French mob, the Israeli police, and a clan of Romanian vampires. Also new:

True stories: Divide and Conquer (2018, not rated) profiles the rise and fall of the late Roger Ailes, who masterminded the Fox News brand and groomed Donald Trump for politics and The Last Race (2018, not rated) looks at the struggle to keep a small town stock car racing track in Long Island alive.

HBO Now

The First Purge (2018, R) is the prequel to the hit horror franchise and The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018, not rated) stars Chloë Grace Moretz as a teenager forced into a gay conversion therapy center.

True stories: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019, TV-14) looks at the rise and fall of one-time multibillion-dollar healthcare company Theranos. Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney directs.

Available Saturday night is The Meg (2018, PG-13) with Jason Statham battling a giant prehistoric shark.

Showtime Anytime

John Malkovich and Clancy Brown join Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis in the high finance drama Billions: Season 4 on Showtime. New episodes arrive Sunday nights.

Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi star in Ghost World (2001, R), directed by Terry Zwigoff from the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes.

MHz

Heino Ferch is an art thief turned amateur detective in Allmen: Season 1 (Germany, with subtitles), based on the novels by Martine Suter. Two feature-length TV mysteries streaming on MHz.

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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 in Vulture, Turner Classic Movies online, Keyframe, and Parallax View.

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