Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
The Jungle Book continues Disney’s run in remaking their animated classics as live-action films, though to be fair, man cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is the only live actor in the computer generated jungle kingdom with animals voiced by Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Idris Elba. It’s a well-told tale and an imaginatively-made movie for all ages, and it even incorporates a few songs from the 1967 version. PG. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.
The documentary De Palma, a career retrospective interview with director Brian De Palma conducted fans and fellow film directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow and illustrated with generous film clips, arrives on VOD before disc. R.
Also new: the sleight-of-hand caper Now You See Me 2 with Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo (PG-13), the comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone (R), the romantic drama Me Before You with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin (R), the comedy Ghost Team with Jon Heder and David Krumholtz (PG-13), and the documentary My Love, Don’t Cross That River from South Korea (not rated, with subtitles).
Available same day as select theaters nationwide: the action comedy Skiptrace with Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville (PG-13), the horror film Antibirth with Natasha Lyonne and Chloe Sevigny (not rated), the comedy Zoom with Alison Pill and Gael Garcia Bernal (not rated), and the action film Kickboxer: Vengeance with Dave Bautista and Jean-Claude Van Damme (not rated).
The new month brings plenty of new arrivals, from the Oscar-winning Babel (2006) with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett (R) and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) with Tom Hanks (R) to eighties flashbacks Footloose (1984, PG) and Top Gun (1986, PG) to Steven Spielberg’s original summer blockbuster Jaws (1975, PG) and its three increasingly unnecessary sequels to the original True Grit (1969) with John Wayne and Glen Campbell (G).
Non-fiction: The State of Marriage (2015) examines the long struggle of the marriage equality movement (not rated), I Am Ali (2014) profiles the life and career of the boxing legend (not rated), and Man on Wire (2008) tells the story behind Philippe Petit’s guerilla high-wire walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974 (PG-13).
Foreign affairs: The President (2014), which dramatizes the fall of a dictator, is a Georgian film from Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Rams (2015) is an offbeat comedy of feuding brothers from Iceland, and Man on High Heels (2014) is a South Korean cop thriller by way of a sex reassignment drama (reviewed on Stream On Demand here). All not rated and subtitled.
Streaming TV: The BBC mini-series Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015) is a handsome and intelligent mix of fantasy and historical fiction adapted from Susanna Clarke’s acclaimed novel. Reviewed on Stream On Demand.
Amazon Instant Prime
Bronson (2008), a cinematically flamboyant portrait of the real-life criminal known as “Britain’s most violent prisoner,” gave Tom Hardy his big break-out role and he make the most of it, playing the self-made outlaw celebrity with a gusto that verges on sheer insanity. R.
It’s from Nicolas Winding Refn, who also directs the jittery underworld thriller Pusher (1996) and its grim sequels Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands (2004) and Pusher III: I’m the Angel of Death (2005). Mads Mikkelson stars in the first two. All unrated and with subtitles.
Also new: the real life disaster drama Apollo 13 (1995) with Tom Hanks (PG), Oscar winner Good Will Hunting (1997) with Matt Damon and Robin Williams (R), and the snobs-vs-slobs comedy Caddyshack (1980) with Chevy Chase and Bill Murray (R).
Streaming TV: The Kettering Incident, an 8-part British murder mystery set in Tasmania, stars Elizabeth Debicki as a British doctor who returns home to New Zealand and finds herself linked to the disappearance of two girls, fifteen years apart.
Kid stuff: The Stinky & Dirty Show: Season 1 debuts with 10 episodes of animated trucks in action.
Amazon Prime Video and Hulu
Young Adult (2011), from “Juno” director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, is a caustic dark comedy starring Charlize Theron in a brilliant performance as a self-absorbed author of juvenile fiction (R). Amazon Prime and Hulu.
In the horror comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015), schoolboys with survival skills team up with a stripper during an undead outbreak (R). Amazon Prime and Hulu
Classics: Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn will always have Rome in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday (1953, not rated) (Amazon Prime and Hulu) and Vincent Price hams it up as a stage actor taking Shakespearean vengeance on his critics in Theater of Blood (1973, R) (Amazon Prime and Hulu).
Three Charles Bronson pictures from the seventies show the action star at his best. He’s a veteran assassin mentoring Jan Michael-Vincent in The Mechanic (1972, PG) (Amazon Prime and Hulu), a farmer who takes on the mob in Mr. Majestyk (1974, PG) (Amazon Prime and Hulu), and a secret agent in the old west in Breakheart Pass (1976, PG) (Amazon Prime and Hulu).
George Clooney is born to be a candidate in The Ides of March (2011), a political thriller that can’t compete with the real-life insanity of the current political season (R). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Also new: Matt Damon is The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, R), John Travolta is out to Get Shorty (1995, R), and Steve Martin and Michael Caine are Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988, PG), and Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, and Leonard Nimoy star in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (PG).
Kid stuff: Bella and the Bulldogs: Season 2 of the Nickelodeon series about a cheerleader who tries out as quarterback of her middle school football team.
In the Heart of the Sea (2015), a survival drama based on a true story of 19th century whalers, stars Chris Hemsworth. PG-13.
You can now watch the mini-series The Night Of a superb crime story created by Oscar-winning writers Steven Zaillian and Richard Price and starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed, in its entirely.
The original webisode version of the series High Maintenance is now streaming on HBO in advance of the new season.
Farewell, My Lovely (1975), starring Robert Mitchum as an aging Phillip Marlowe, is a faithful adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel (R).
Janet King: Series 2 makes its U.S. debut with two episodes now available and new episodes arriving each Monday.