Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand
Helen Mirren stars in “Woman in Gold,” inspired by a true story of a Jewish woman who took the Austrian government to court to recover a painting looted from her family by the Nazis. The landmark case is simplified into an underdog drama with underdog good guys (Ryan Reynolds is her novice American lawyer), establishment villains, and a rousing blow for justice. It’s PG-13 for flashbacks of Nazi brutality and language. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is a strange and entrancing vampire movie from an Iranian-born, American-based filmmaker that stirs American movie references into a stylized Iranian film noir. Long available on VOD through iTunes, Amazon Instant, and Xbox, not to mention streaming on Netflix, it’s now on Cable On Demand. No rating, features some violence and drugs. Reviewed here (with Netflix link).
“’71” stars Jack O’Connell as a British soldier left behind on the violent streets of 1971 Belfast after a riot separates him from his platoon. He has to survive the night in what is, to him, enemy territory. Rated R, also on DVD.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide are the thriller “Strangerland” with Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes (rated R), the comedy “What We Did on Our Holiday” with Rosamund Pike and David Tennant (PG-13), and the documentary “Do I Sound Gay?” (no rating).
“NCIS,” a spin-off of “JAG,” became the top-rated scripted show on TV in 2009, beating out the slick, tech-savvy “CSI” in the alphabet soup of TV crime procedurals. Netflix now has “NCIS: Seasons 1-11,” with Mark Harmon and his rather genial crew of agents and experts investigating crimes connected to armed forces personnel that they would rather keep out of civilian jurisdiction. Unlike the “CSI” squad, these guys have a sense of humor and a life outside their job. More on Stream On Demand here.
Netflix also added “Hell on Wheels: Season 4” a week before the fifth season rolls out (queue it up), and the final seasons of two more cable shows: the “White Collar: Season 6” with a con artist helping the FBI (queue it up) and the Lifetime series “Witches of East End: Season 2” (queue it up).
With the “Rocky” spin-off “Creed” set to open this fall, Netflix has the first generation of the boxing movie dynasty, from the Oscar-winning underdog drama “Rocky” (1976) through the cold warrior America-vs.-Russia battle “Rocky IV” (1985) with future “Expendables” co-star Dolph Lundgren as the brutal Soviet champ to “Rocky V” (1990), with the champ broke and reluctantly retired.
Amazon Instant Prime
In “The Expendables 3” (2014), Sylvester Stallone leads his geriatric squad to save the new blood from supervillain Mel Gibson. Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Kelsey Grammer get in on the PG-13 action this time around, joining regulars Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and of course Jason Statham, who is still a couple of years shy of AARP eligibility. Add to watchlist.
“Extant: Season 2” is now running on CBS but Prime subscribers can see new episodes the day after their network premiere. Two episodes are currently available. Add to watchlist.
“Prime Suspect: Series 1-7” is not just a great British TV crime drama. The original 1991 mini-series gave Helen Mirren her best role to date and relaunched her career at an age when most actresses find their options narrowed. Six more series followed over the course of 15 years. Hulu has them all and Stream on Demand revists the entire run here.
Fox.com is streaming the entire run of “The X-Files” one episode a day until the new series debuts in January, 2016, all for free. It’s more gimmick than service but that’s fine because, as I say, it’s free. Meanwhile, if you subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, you have access to the entire 201-episode run of the series and can view at your leisure. Details here.