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Wednesday, February 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  TV

Stream on Demand: Letterman returns to TV with monthly Netflix show

By Sean Axmaker For The Spokesman-Review

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

Top streams for the week

A Ghost Story (2017, R) is not a horror film but an intimate drama of loss and grief. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara star in the odd but touching drama with the most unconventional special effect of the year: the ghost is an actor under a simple bedsheet with cut-out eyeholes. It is curiously effective and sneakily haunting. Now streaming for Amazon Prime members.

The science-fiction anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams takes on the short stories of the influential and ingenious author. Bryan Cranston, Terrence Howard, Anna Paquin, Timothy Spall, Steve Buscemi and Janelle Monae are among the stars of the 10 episodes now streaming on Amazon Prime.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman marks the late night legend’s return to the small screen in a monthly talk show that focuses on a single guest each episode. Barack Obama is his first guest. New episodes debut each month on Netflix.

Hulu has all six seasons and 121 episodes of Lost,” the dense, richly-woven conspiracy drama/metaphysical mystery that became a TV sensation and still holds a spell over its fans. This show, from creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindeloff, invites repeat viewings to explore the mysteries.

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

IT (2017, R), based on the Stephen King novel, was the sleeper hit of 2017: an R-rated horror film about a group of children haunted and hunted by a demonic clown (Bill Skarsgard). Also on DVD and Blu-ray.

Chadwick Boseman plays young Thurgood Marshall inMarshall (2017, PG-13) from filmmaker Reginald Hudlin, and Liam Neeson is Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017, PG-13). Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.

Also new: action drama The Foreigner (2017, R) with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan; sex trafficking drama Trafficked (2017, not rated) with Ashley Judd; coming-to-America comedyThe Tiger Hunter (2016, not rated) with Danny Pudi; and animated My Little Pony: The Movie (2017, PG).

True stories: Human Flow (2017, PG-13), a documentary about forced migration around the world from artist Ai Weiwei, plus No Stone Unturned(2017, not rated) from Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, Take My Nose… Please! (2017, not rated) on women and plastic surgery, and Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking(2017, not rated) from Jain monk turned filmmaker Sadhvi Siddhali Shree.

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is action thriller Acts of Violence (2018, R) with Bruce Willis, retirement comedy Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game (2017, not rated) with Martin Landau (in his final screen role) and Paul Sorvino, and teen rebel comedy Freak Show (2017, not rated) with Alex Lawther and Abigail Breslin.


Jack Black is The Polka King (2017, not rated), a bandleader who creates a Ponzi scheme to further his career, in the Netflix original comedy. Netflix also has The Man Who Would Be Polka King (2009, not rated), the documentary that inspired the film.

Claire Holt and Mandy Moore are divers stranded in a shark cage at the bottom of the sea in the thriller 47 Meters Down (2017, PG-13) and Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play paranormal investigators in the horror film The Conjuring (2013, R).

Kid stuff: the animated Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017, PG) based on the whimsical children’s books by Dav Pilkey.

Streaming TV:Somebody Feed Phil,” the latest entry in the Netflix “Foodie TV” collection, sends producer Phil Rosenthal around the globe to sample local cuisine. Also new: the Showtime comedy Episodes: Season 1-5 with Matt LeBlanc and Stephen Mangan; USA sci-fi invasion drama Colony: Season 2 with Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies; and Netflix original pot-shop comedy Disjointed: Part 2 with Kathy Bates.

True stories: The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (2017, not rated) profiles the “Tales of the City” author.

Stand-up: Tom Segura: Disgraceful and Spanish-language Alejandro Riaño Especial de stand up.”

Amazon Prime Video

Ethan Hawke plays Hamlet (2000, R) in the modern dress adaptation set in New York City. Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora, and Bill Murray star and Michael Almereyda directs.

Also new: Saturday Night Fever: Director’s Cut(1977, R) with John Travolta as a Brooklyn kid turned disco dancing king, and conspiracy thriller Capricorn One (1977, PG) with Elliot Gould and James Brolin.

Streaming TV: Tennison,” the prequel to “Prime Suspect,” stars Stefanie Martini as young Jane Tennison in her first days on the police force in 1973 England. Grimm: Season 6 brings the colorful Portland-based supernatural series to its conclusion.

Amazon Prime and Hulu

“Shirley Valentine” (1989, R) earned actress Pauline Collins Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as a British housewife who runs off to Greece (Amazon Prime and Hulu).


You won’t recognize Michael Fassbender in the oddball comedy Frank (2014, R) because he wears a giant paper maché mask throughout the entire film.

True stories: Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait (2017, not rated) looks at the life and career of the New York artist and filmmaker.

Foreign affairs: Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse (Japan, 2015, R, with subtitles) pits Japanese gangsters against vampires in a wild, weird action blast with surreal humor.

Streaming TV: The season one finale of Runaways,” Hulu’s entry into the superhero genre, is now live, making the entire season available to binge. Also new: espionage thriller Homeland: Season 5 with Claire Danes from Showtime, Israeli conspiracy thriller False Flag: Season 1 (with subtitles), and complete collections of the animated comedies Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain for kids young and old alike.


The new documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years (2018, TV14) chronicles the rock legend’s return to recording after years retirement in the final years before his untimely death.

Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson are star-crossed teenagers in love in Everything, Everything(2017, PG-13), the romantic drama based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon.

Arriving Saturday night is an extended version of the high-octane The Fate of the Furious (2017, not rated), the eighth film in the car caper franchise with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, featuring footage not seen in theaters.

Showtime Anytime

Liev Schreiber is Chuck (2017, R) in a drama based on the story of the real-life underdog boxer who inspired “Rocky.”

Jackie Chan does Indiana Jones in the comic globetrotting adventure Operation Condor (Hong Kong, 1991, PG-13).

Music: the documentary XTC: This Is Pop (2017, TV14) looks at the British band that channeled ’60s pop and psychedelia into the British New Wave, plus the concert filmRolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun - Hyde Park Live(2013, TV14).

FilmStruck / Criterion Channel

FilmStruck’s director of the week is the polarizing Lars von Trier and they’ve added eight of his films to the catalog, from his breakthrough murder mystery The Element of Crime (Denmark, 1984, not rated) to his Oscar-nominated Breaking the Waves (Denmark, 1996, R) with Emily Watson, to the dark psychodrama Antichrist (Denmark, 2009, R) with Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Also newly added are four French films starring Josephine Baker, including Zou Zou (France, 1934, with subtitles) and Princess Tam Tam (France, 1935, with subtitles), and a collection of films about the dark side of married life, among them Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage(Sweden, 1973, with subtitles) with Liv Ullman, Michelangelo Antonioni’s La notte(Italy, 1961, with subtitles) with Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau, and John Cassavettes’s Faces (1968, R) with Gena Rowlands.

New to the Criterion Channel is Lukas Moodysson’s Together (Sweden, 2000), set in a 1970s commune, and The Complete Mr. Arkadin(1955), featuring three different versions of the labyrinthine thriller directed by Orson Welles plus bonus radio plays and other supplements.

Acorn TV

The 1998 British cop drama Supply & Demand features Miriam Margolyes as the head of a special undercover unit and Eamonn Walker as a streetwise detective. Acorn presents the U.S. debut of the show created by Lynda La Plante.

Also new: 1990s crime dramaMcCallum: Series 1 & 2 with John Hannah and documentary series The Yorkshire Vet: Series 3.”


Brenda Blethyn returns as curmudgeonly Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in the U.S. debut of Vera: Season 8.”

Also new: mystery Ruth Rendell: The Next Chapters: Seasons 4-7with George Baker as Inspector Reg Wexford, and comedy Rev.: Seasons 1-3with Tom Hollander and Oliva Colman.


“Battle of the Sexes,” “Marshall,” “Home Again,” “The Foreigner,” “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House”

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

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