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Monday, April 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stream on Demand: Libraries give free access to online movies

By Sean Axmaker For The Spokesman-Review

What’s new for home viewing on video-on-demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other streaming services.

Top streams for the week

Free streams: If you have a library card, you may be able to watch movies, documentaries, and other programs through Kanopy and Hoopla. Most major library systems in the country (college and public both) offer access to one or the other, some offer both.

Kanopy,which is available to students and staff at Gonzaga, Eastern and Washington State universities, includes a big selection of international classics from the Criterion Collection and offers up to five free streams a month. Hoopla favors recent foreign and independent films and British TV and offers up to 10 titles a month. Both include plenty of family-friendly programs. Visit or for more information.

The great character actor Harry Dean Stanton stars in Lucky (2017, not rated), a charming little character piece about a laconic old man confronted with his mortality. He was 90 when he played the role, which was only his second turn as a lead in his long career, and it’s a lovely tribute to the actor who died soon after completing the film. David Lynch takes a rare acting role in another filmmaker’s movie as his best friend and Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant, and James Darren co-star. Now streaming on Hulu.

The regal Charlotte Rampling earned an Oscar nomination for 45 Years: (2015, R), a portrait of a long, happy marriage suddenly jolted when the distant past of the devoted husband (Tom Courtenay) resurfaces. A hushed British drama of powerful feelings under placid surfaces. Now streaming on Netflix.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Willem Dafoe earned an Oscar nomination playing the manager of a low-rent hotel in the American indie drama The Florida Project (2017, R). Available on VOD before DVD.

Josh Brolin and Miles Teller are elite firefighters battling an epic wildfire in Only the Brave (2017, PG-13), inspired by a true story. Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.

Also new: moms-gone-wild comedy sequel A Bad Moms Christmas (2017, R) with Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, dark comedy Suburbicon (2017, R) from director George Clooney, historical drama LBJ (2017, R) with Woody Harrelson, and horror thriller Thelma (Norway, 2017, not rated, with subtitles).

Available same day as select theaters nationwide are the romantic comediesBasmati Blues (2017, not rated) with Brie Larson, Permission (2018, not rated) with Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens, The Female Brain (2018, not rated) with Whitney Cummings and Sofia Vergara, and the LGBTQ Signature Move (2017, not rated) set in the world of masked wrestlers.


Netflix announced the secretive sci-fi project The Cloverfield Paradox (2018, not rated) during the Super Bowl and released it directly after the game. Too bad the secretive third film set in J.J. Abrams’ loose science-fiction invasion franchise didn’t live up to the excitement.

Two more films debut directly to Netflix this week: When We First Met (2018, not rated), a romantic comedy with a time travel twist starring Adam Devine and Alexandra Daddario, and British horror film The Ritual (2017, not rated).

Alternate awards season: The animated The Emoji Movie (2017, PG) is a Razzie nominee for worst picture of 2017.

Kid stuff: “Woody Woodpecker (2017, PG) gets a computer animation makeover in a live action comedy.

Streaming TV: Queer Eye: Season 1 reboots the makeover reality series for Netflix. Also new: the second installment of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman with George Clooney and the CW military melodrama Valor: Season 1,” just days after the season finale aired.

Foreign affairs: Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts star in Rust and Bone (France, 2012, R, with subtitles), a hard-edged romantic drama from Jacques Audiard. Also new: The Wound (Inxeba) (South Africa, 2017, not rated), set in the Xhosa community in rural South Africa, and the short documentary The Trader (Sovdagari) (Republic of Georgia, 2018, with subtitles).

True stories: “Seeing Allred (2018, not rated) profiles lawyer and women’s right advocate Gloria Allred. Also new: Before the Flood (2016, PG) on the effects of global warming, and Alex Gibney’s The Armstrong Lie (2013, R) on the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Stand-up: “Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers.”

Amazon Prime Video

Inspired by a true story, 50/50 (2011, R) mines comedy from the ordeal of a young man ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt) diagnosed with cancer.

Also new: the original Steel Magnolias(1989, PG) with Sally Field, Shirley Maclaine, Dolly Parton, and Julia Roberts; the cult science fiction drama The Man From Earth (2007, not rated), based on an original screenplay by “Star Trek” veteran Jerome Bixby; and the 1968 TV movie The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Jack Palance.

Streaming TV: The Amazon Prime original series GRAND PRIX Driver goes behind the scenes of Formula 1 racing with the legendary McLaren race team. 4 episodes available to stream. Also new: the smartest space opera on TV The Expanse: Season 2 from SyFy and the British mystery Grantchester: Season 3.”


Get into the Olympic spirit with Downhill Racer (1969, PG) starring Robert Redford as ferociously competitive skier.

True stories: Weiner (2016, R) chronicles the 2013 mayoral campaign of New York politician Anthony Weiner as he attempts to resurrect his image after his sexting scandal.

Foreign affairs: Based on a true story, A Taxi Driver (South Korea, 2017, with subtitles) follows a Korean driver (Song Kang Ho of “Snowpiercer”) and a German journalist in the chaos of the 1980 uprising in Gwangju.

Streaming TV: Hank Azaria is minor league baseball announcer Brockmire in the first season of the IFC comedy.

Also new: Broad City: Season 4 from Comedy Central; Archer: Dreamland: Season 8,” which takes the animated spy spoof into old school private eye territory; the TNT crime drama Perception: Complete Series,” starring Eric McCormack as a crime-solving neuropsychiatrist; and complete runs of the ABC sitcoms Gary Unmarried with Jay Mohr and animated The PJ’s from Eddie Murphy.


Chris Evans is a single father trying to give a child prodigy a normal childhood in Gifted (2017, PG-13).

Arriving Saturday night is Wonder Woman (2017, PG-13), the superhero hit of 2017 with Gal Gadot as the original comic book super heroine, and on Sunday HBO launches its new original drama Here and Now with Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins as parents of multi-ethnic family in Portland, Oregon.

Showtime Anytime

Jamie Foxx stars in the crime thriller Sleepless (2017, R).

Standup: Eddie Griffin: Undeniable (2018, TV-MA)

FilmStruck / Criterion Channel

The Criterion Channel celebrates the Olympics with a collection of documentaries chronicling almost a century of the event, including Leni Riefenstahl’s epic Olympia (Germany, 1938, with subtitles) and the international anthologyVisions of Eight (1973).

FilmStruck presents a collection of City Symphony movies, from Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Germany, 1927, silent with score) to London Symphony (2017, not rated). It includes two of my favorites: Dziga Vertov’s dizzying Man with a Movie Camera(USSR, 1929, silent with score) and Jean Vigo’s poetic A Propos de Nice (France, 1930, silent with score).

For a more modern urban experience, FilmStruck offers two great triad thrillers from Hong Kong crime movie master Johnnie To: The Mission (Hong Kong, 1999, not rated, with subtitles) and Vengeance (Hong Kong, 2009, not rated, with subtitles) featuring French icon Johnny Hallyday, who died in December.

Acorn TV

Miranda Richardson, Phyllis Logan, and Zoe Wanamaker are old friends in the British drama Girlfriends,” which makes its U.S. debut on Acorn TV. New episodes arrive each Monday.

Also new: the second season of the Australian medical dramedy The Heart Guy (new episodes arrive each Monday), and 1990s dramaDoctor Finlay: Series 1,” based on the stories by A.J. Cronin.


BritBox prepares for Valentine’s Day with a week of romantic programming, including the 2002 mini-series Doctor Zhivago with Keira Knightley and the time-travel comedyLost In Austen.”

At Redbox: “Only the Brave,” “A Bad Moms Christmas,” “Suburbicon,” “24 Hours to Live,” “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight”

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at

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