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 …
The moody new Netflix Original series The Innocents: Season 1 is a young adult superhero drama about a teenage girl (Sorcha Groundsell) who manifests the power to shape-shift while on the run with her boyfriend (Percelle Ascott). The production, set and shot in the north of England and in Norway, “is a moody, misty drama that stays compelling even when it veers toward the obvious, with characters you care about even without knowing them well because they come across, most of them, as soulful even when they are not particularly nice,” observes Los Angeles Times TV critic Robert Lloyd. Guy Pearce costars. Eight episodes on Netflix.
Aaron Pedersen reprises his role as Detective Jay Swan, an Aboriginal cop in the Australian Outback, in Mystery Road, a TV miniseries spin-off of the 2013 film of the same name. Judy Davis co-stars in the lean, sun-baked mystery as the police chief in a remote community roiling with tensions. She calls for help and struggles with Swan, who doesn’t work well with others but does get results, as they look for two missing young men, one an Aboriginal soccer player working a ranch job in the off-season, the other a trouble-making white drifter. It’s a top-notch drama anchored by two superb performances. All six episodes now streaming on Acorn TV.
Also from Australia is Safe Harbour (2018), a miniseries thriller about a group of friends on a sailing holiday who find a sinking boat overloaded with asylum seekers. The series jumps back and forth in time as it charts the consequences of actions and decisions. “The cast are uniformly excellent, led by nuanced, complex, thoroughly engrossing performance from [Ewen] Leslie,” praises Luke Buckmaster for The Guardian. “There’s a lot of water under the bridge as well as profound, unresolved events whose consequences ripple across time.” All four episodes streaming on Hulu.
Claire Foy is a career woman committed to a mental institution after a routine counselling session and identifies a member of the staff as a her stalker in Unsane (2018, R), an unnerving, claustrophobic thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Ryan Reynolds is back as the wisecracking mercenary in Deadpool 2 (2018, R), a cheeky, self-aware, and extremely violent superhero movie hit. A longer, unrated “Super Duper $@%!#& Cut” is also available on Cable On Demand, VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray.
Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Ethan Hawke is a priest facing a spiritual crisis in the provocative First Reformed (2018, R), a personal drama from filmmaker Paul Schrader. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
Also new: comedies Action Point (2018, R) with Johnny Knoxville and Show Dogs (2018, PG) with Will Arnett and a cast of talking dogs and faith-based drama God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (2018, PG), the third in the series.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is action comedy Arizona (2018, not rated) with Danny McBride and Rosemarie DeWitt.
Year One (2009, PG-13) sends a pair of philosophical cavemen misfits (Jack Black and Michael Cera) out of the jungle and into the Biblical world in the final comedy directed by Harold Ramis.
Follow This: Season 1 is an irreverent non-fiction series following reporters from Buzzfeed investigating new fads and internet crazes. More streaming TV:
- NBC sitcom Great News: Season 1 with Andrea Martin;
- family friendly sitcom Young & Hungry: Season 5 from Freeform;
- real-life detective series The Investigator: A British Crime Story: Season 2 with criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas;
- Ghoul (India, with subtitles), a horror miniseries set in a military detention camp in India, produced by American horror powerhouse Blumhouse.
Kid stuff: animated shows Ask the StoryBots: Season 2 and Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 3 for young audiences.
Stand-up: Bert Kreischer: Secret Time.
Amazon Prime Video
Julianne Moore earned an Oscar nomination for her performance opposite Ralph Fiennes and Stephen Rea in the romantic drama End of the Affair (1999, R), Neil Jordan’s screen adaptation of the Graham Greene novel.
Cult movie Liquid Sky (1982, R) is a bizarre artifact of sex, drugs, and UFOs in the eighties New York underground art scene. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.
The documentary Crime + Punishment (2018, not rated) puts a spotlight on the fight to expose the illegal policing quotas and the systematic targeting of minority communities in the NYPD.
More true stories: To The Moon and Back (2016, not rated) investigates the Russian adoption ban and Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011, PG) profiles a master sushi chef in Tokyo.
The coming-of-age drama A Ciambra (Italy, 2017, not rated, with subtitles) casts non-actors in a story of life in a Romani gypsy community in Southern Italy.
Gary Oldman won an Oscar for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017, PG-13), which also earned an award for its astonishing make-up.
Esme & Roy, an animated series set in a world of friendly monsters from the makers of Sesame Street, offers educational fun for viewers aged four to six years old.
Available Saturday night is the comedy Father Figures (2017, R) with Owen Wilson and Ed Helms as brothers on road trip to track down their mother’s old boyfriends to find their biological father.
The documentary Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow (2018, TV-14) profiles the American band famed for their Southern fried rock style.
TCM Select Pick of the Week is the original The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) with Lana Turner as a restless sexpot stuck in a roadside diner and John Garfield as drifter who blows into her life. It’s lust at first sight and before long they’re plotting the demise of her frumpy husband, and even under the heavy censorship of 1946 Hollywood their libidinous desires burn up the screen. Turner, in her first femme fatale role, radiates repressed sexuality and uncontrollable passion while Garfield’s smart-talking loner mixes street-smart swagger and scrappy toughness with vulnerability and sincere intensity. Tay Garnett’s direction of James M. Cain’s torrid crime melodrama is subdued compared to the more expressionistic film noirs of the period, but he’s at no loss when he films the luminous Turner in her milky-white wardrobe. It streams through December 27, 2018.
It’s one of a dozen films in the “Star of the Week: Lana Turner” spotlight, which also includes Ziegfeld Girl (1941) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941). Other spotlights this week:
- “Director of the Week: Gillian Armstrong” with her early Australian breakthrough My Brilliant Career (1979, G);
- “Franklyn Schaffner at Studio One,” a collection of five live TV dramas from the 1950s including the original version of Twelve Angry Men (1954);
- “Places in the Sun,” seven films of sunny reverie, including romantic dramas Summertime (1955) with Katharine Hepburn in Venice and A Room with a View (1986, not rated) with Helena Bonham Carter in Florence.
The coming-of-age comedy Mafia Only Kills in Summer (Italy, with subtitles) begins, with four episodes now available and new episodes each Tuesday. Also underway are new seasons of the crime dramas Johan Falk (Sweden, with subtitles) and Homicide Unit Istanbul (Germany, with subtitles) and culture-clash comedy Turkish for Beginners (Germany, with subtitles).
PBS Masterpiece / PBS Passport
Lauren Lee Smith and Chantal Riley operate an all-female detective agency in 1920s Toronto in Frankie Drake Mysteries, a Canadian series from “Murdoch Mysteries” writers/producers Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci that debuts in the U.S. on PBS Masterpiece and PBS Passport. Two episodes now available, new episodes arrive each Monday.
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