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Sci-fi new releases top paid options

There’s little doubt that Netflix has changed the way we watch movies and television. Of course, finding something good to watch on the various streaming services isn’t always easy. Beginning this week, we present Streaming, a column from Seattle film critic Sean Axmaker designed to help navigate the world of online or on-demand viewing.

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“Snowpiercer,” the wild, ferocious end-of-the- world science fiction allegory starring Chris Evans leading a revolution on a perpetual motion train in a frozen world, opened in theaters the same weekend as the new “Transformers.” Now you can see it at home on Cable On Demand and iTunes.

The trippy, trancelike science-fiction mystery “Under the Skin,” starring Scarlett Johansson as a man-eating alien, is now on Cable On Demand as well as iTunes, Amazon Instant and other VOD services. It’s also on Blu-ray and DVD this week.

Also new this week: “The Congress,” starring Robin Wright (of the Netflix drama “House of Cards”) arrives before it opens in theaters.


The big draw right now on Netflix is the second season of its original series “Orange is the New Black,” by all accounts its most popular offering, but another one of its originals also just debuted: the second season of “Hemlock Grove,” a gory horror series created by Eli Roth. Just like Netflix’s other shows, the entire season is available for binge viewing.

“The Immigrant,” starring Marion Cotillard as a Polish immigrant in 1921 New York and Joaquin Phoenix as a burlesque producer, got good reviews but didn’t play many theaters. You can see it on Netflix before cable or disc.

Also newly available: “The Master” with Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the romantic comedy “Hitch” with Will Smith, and the entertaining submarine thriller “Crimson Tide” (1995) with Denzel Washington butting heads with Gene Hackman.

Amazon Instant

If you missed the new show “Extant” with Halle Berry, Amazon is offering the first episode free for Amazon Prime members. It also has new episodes of “Under the Dome: Season Two” days after its TV showing.

And if “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has inspired you to go ape, the original 1968 “Planet of the Apes” and its sequels are all available for free on Amazon Prime.


Hulu and Hulu Plus have just started running the hit Australian soap opera “Neighbours.” It’s been playing in Australia for almost 40 years, and Hulu is jumping right into the current storyline, providing recaps to help out. Friday’s episode features a guest appearance by Paula Abdul.

Also debuting this week is the Hulu original series “The Hotwives of Orlando,” a parody of the “Housewives” reality shows starring Casey Wilson (“Happy Endings”) and Angela Kinsey (“The Office”). The first two episodes are now available.

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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