August 29, 2014 in Features, Seven

Vacation gets dose of intrigue in ‘January’

Sean Axmaker

What’s new to watch this week on pay-per-view and streaming services:


“The Two Faces of January” stars Viggo Mortenson as an American con man in Italy with his young bride (Kirsten Dunst) and Oscar Isaac as the expatriate tour guide who gets pulled into his crimes. Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, who wrote the books that “Strangers on a Train” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” were based on, it turns a sunny holiday into a dangerous triangle filled with power games and lies. You can see it on cable pay-per-view before it hits theaters.

Also new this week: the comedies “Blended” with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore and “Life of Crime” with Jennifer Aniston and John Hawkes (that latter same day as theaters), and the sports drama “Draft Day” with Kevin Costner.


Netflix now has its own profane animated series: “BoJack Horseman,” a show-biz satire with Will Arnett (“The Millers”) as a washed-up TV star attempting a comeback. He’s also a horse in a world where animals talk and interact with humans. Not exactly “Mr. Ed,” it is raunchy and cynical and full of bad behavior and worse decisions, but it is funny. Twelve episodes are now available.

Netflix also has the American debut of the British cop drama “Happy Valley,” a six-part series about a Yorkshire policewoman who goes after the man she blames for her daughter’s suicide.

Amazon Instant

The third wave of Amazon Instant Video original shows is now available. All Amazon customers are invited to watch the pilot episodes of five different shows and give feedback to help decide which ones will move forward to full series.

There are two hourlong dramas – “Hand of God,” with Ron Perlman as a corrupt judge who hears the voice of God and goes vigilante, and “Hysteria,” about a virtual virus spread through social media – and three half-hour comedies. These are “The Cosmopolitans,” a continental romantic comedy with Adam Brody and Chloe Sevigny; “Red Oaks,” a coming-of-age piece set in 1985 New Jersey from director David Gordon Green and producer Steven Soderbergh; and “Really,” about a tight-knit group of married couples in Chicago.


Hulu Plus is now streaming the first season of the cult hit “Sleepy Hollow,” giving viewers a month to catch up on the supernatural series before the second season debuts in late September.

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His work appears in Parallax View, Turner Classic Movies online and the “Today Show” website. Visit him online at

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