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Thursday, April 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stream On Demand: Soderbergh scores on Netflix with sports drama ‘High Flying Bird’

Melvin Gregg as Erick Scott and André Holland as Ray Burke in “High Flying Bird,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. It’s coming to Netflix this week. (Peter Andrews)
Melvin Gregg as Erick Scott and André Holland as Ray Burke in “High Flying Bird,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. It’s coming to Netflix this week. (Peter Andrews)
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

Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh directs “High Flying Bird” (2019, not rated), a Netflix original sports drama about “the game on top of the game.” Written by “Moonlight” screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney and starring André Holland as sports agent fighting back during an NBA lockout, it takes on race, money and the business of professional sports with a lively plot and a radical proposal. Zazie Beetz, Bill Duke, Sonja Sohn, Melvin Gregg, Zachary Quinto, and Kyle MacLachlan co-star in the film that Soderbergh shot on an iPhone. The Netflix Original Movie debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Joaquin Phoenix is John Callahan in “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” (2018, R), Gus Van Sant’s film about the Portland artist who recreated himself as a cartoonist after a car wreck left him quadriplegic. More to the point, it takes on the battle with alcoholism Callahan wrote about in his memoir. Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black co-star. On Amazon Prime Video.

A middle-school comedy for adults, the Hulu Original series “PEN15: Season 1” stars 30-something creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as 13-year-old outcasts navigating those awkward years. All 10 episodes now on Hulu.

Classic picks: Orson Welles’ elegiac drama “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), about the decline of a powerful family stuck in the past while the world passes them by, and the Oscar-winning musical “West Side Story” (1961), timely once more with Steven Spielberg’s remake now in production, are both streaming on Netflix.

The Criterion Channel (re)launches in April but if you sign up now to 30-day trial you get a free streaming movie each week until the site officially debuts.

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

Viola Davis leads a team of amateurs in “Widows” (2018, R), a gritty heist drama set in the corrupt culture of Chicago crime and politics. Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) directs and Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo co-star with Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson. Also on DVD and at Redbox.

John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix are frontier assassins in “The Sisters Brothers” (2018, R), an offbeat Western based on the cult novel by Patrick Dewitt. Also on DVD and at Redbox.

Also new:The Grinch” (2018, PG), a new animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch; mystery thriller “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (2018, R) with Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander; “A Private War” (2018, R) with Rosamund Pike as real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin; and modern folktale “A Boy Called Sailboat” (2018, not rated) about a boy and his ukulele.

Available same day as select theaters nationwide are the films “Berlin I Love You” (2019, R) an anthology with Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jim Sturgess and Diego Luna; the romantic drama “Untogether” (2019, R) with Jamie Dornan and Jemima Kirke; and the adventure drama “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” (2019, not rated) with Sam Elliot.


The Netflix Original Special “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History” uses comic re-enactments to teach lessons from history.

Helen Mirren headlines “The Hundred-Foot Journey” (2014, PG), a cross-cultural foodie drama set in the world of French cuisine with Indian spices.

Daniel Craig took on the mantle of James Bond in “Casino Royale” (2006, PG-13), a gritty reboot that revitalized the series.

The laconic, offbeat comic drama “Get Low” (2009, PG-13) stars Robert Duvall as a cantankerous hermit who stages his own funeral before he dies. Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray co-star.

Ruth Bradley plays mystery author Agatha Christie in the BBC television film “Agatha and the Truth of Murder” (2018, TV-14), a fictional drama inspired by her real-life 11-day disappearance.

Foreign affairs: a young couple discovers buried secrets as they explore their entwined family tree in “The Tree of Blood” (“El árbol de la sangre”) (Spain, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) from award-winning filmmaker Julio Medem.

True stories:ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke” looks into the murder of the legendary singer.

Streaming TV: from the National Geographic Channel comes “Mars: Season 1,” which imagines the first manned spaceflight to the red planet through a mix of science fiction drama and science documentary. Also new: the modern sitcom reboot “One Day at a Time: Season 3” with Justina Machado and Rita Moreno; “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Seasons 1 & 2” and “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman: Season 1,” also from National Geographic; and the animated comedy “The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: Season 2.”

Foreign language TV: A drug lord hides his Alzheimer’s disease while his right hand man schemes to steal his empire in “Unauthorized Living: Season 1” (Spain, with subtitles). Also new: the romantic drama “Romance is a Bonus Book: Season 1” (South Korea, with subtitles), with four episodes now available and new episodes streaming every Saturday; the crime drama “Bordertown: Season 2” (Finland, with subtitles); and baking competition show “¡Nailed It! México” (Mexico, with subtitles).

Oscar seasoning: Ease into awards season with the newly arrived, multiple Academy Award winners Jonathan Demme’s “Silence of the Lambs” (1991, R) with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Costner’s frontier Western “Dances With Wolves” (1990, PG-13), and Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” (1977, PG).

More new arrivals: buddy/survival movie “Swiss Army Man” (2016, R) with Paul Dano as a lonely shipwreck survivor and Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse that becomes his best friend; the Oscar-nominated drama “The Master” (2012, R) with Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman; “The Soloist” (2009, PG-13) with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.; the baseball romance “Bull Durham” (1988, R) with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon; the “The Terminator” (1984, R) with Arnold Schwarzenegger; “Poltergeist” (1982, PG) from producer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper; and the cult science fiction adventure “Logan’s Run” (1976, PG).

Stand-up:Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner” is the comedian’s first stand-up special in over 20 years.

Amazon Prime Video

Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek star in “Papillon” (2018, R), a remake of the prison break classic based on the true story of Henri Charrière’s escape from Devil’s Island.

White Dragon,” a crime miniseries originally made for British TV (where it was called “Strangers”), stars John Simm as a British professor in Hong Kong looking into his wife’s death and discovering her secret life. The eight-part series debuts on Amazon in the U.S.

Cult: Violent crime thriller “Let the Corpses Tan” (Belgium, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) is a tribute to Italian gangster movies with intertwining storylines, double-crossing characters, and flamboyant direction with a dash of spaghetti western style.

Classic: “Holiday” (1938) stars Cary Grant as a free-thinker with a hearty appetite for life whose impending marriage to an image-conscious socialite threatens to douse his independent spirit and Katherine Hepburn as the sister of the bride inspired by his passion.

More streaming TV: Amazon releases the SyFy series “The Expanse: Season 3” in advance of taking over the show for its upcoming fourth series. Also new: “X-Files: Seasons 1-9” (1993-2002), the complete original run of classic conspiracy show with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson; “21 Jump Street: Complete Series” (1987-1991), the undercover cop drama starring Johnny Depp; “The Tunnel: Season 3,” the final season of the British crime drama; and “Hillary,” a documentary miniseries about Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Oscar seasoning: newly arrived Oscar-winning pictures “Marty” (1955) with Ernest Borgnine, “All the King’s Men” (1949) with Broderick Crawford, and “Hamlet” (1948) with Laurence Olivier all won best picture and best actor awards. More Oscar winners include: “Lilies of the Field” (1963) with best actor Sidney Poitier; “The Miracle Worker” (1962) with best actress winner Anne Bancroft and supporting actress (and longtime Coeur d’Alene resident) Patty Duke; “Elmer Gantry” (1960) with best actor Burt Lancaster and supporting actress Shirley Jones; “The Defiant Ones” (1958), winner of screenplay and cinematography prizes; “The Barefoot Contessa” (1954) with supporting actor winner Edmond O’Brien.

Also newly arrived: the thriller “The Gift” (2000, R) with Cate Blanchett and Katie Holmes; psychological drama “Jacob’s Ladder” (1990, R) with Tim Robbins; Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry V” (1989, PG-13) with Derek Jacobi and Emma Thompson; the western “The Shootist” (1976, PG) with John Wayne’s final performance; the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1966) with Zero Mostel; kidnapping thriller “Experiment in Terror” (1962) with Glenn Ford; “Walk on the Wild Side” (1962) with Laurence Harvey, Jane Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck; the mystery comedy “The Notorious Landlady” (1962) with Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon; John Huston’s “Moulin Rouge” (1953) with Jose Ferrer as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; “Sahara” (1943) with Humphrey Bogart as a World War II tank commander; and Barbara Stanwyck in the pre-code dramas “Ladies of Leisure” (1930) and “Forbidden” (1932) directed by Frank Capra.


Peter Sarsgaard is Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist whose experiments in human behavior shocked America, in Michael Almereyda’s inventive “Experimenter” (2015, PG-13).

Nina Dobrev and Vanessa Hudgens star in the romantic comedy “Dog Days” (2018, PG).

True stories: “Pick of the Litter” (2018, not rated) is a warm and fuzzy documentary that follows five puppies training to become guide dogs for the blind.

Streaming TV:Legion: Season 2,” starring Dan Stevens as a mutant with incredible mental powers, takes the comic book superhero show into even more surreal territory. Also new is late night soap opera “Saints & Sinners: Seasons 1-3” from Bounce TV, about the greed, lust, and crime under the surface of a churchgoing community.


NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving puts on old-age makeup to play “Uncle Drew” (2018, PG-13), a movie inspired by a series of Pepsi commercials.

Streaming TV: a new season of “2 Dope Queens” live comedy specials with Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams debuts with new episodes each Friday.

Available Saturday night is Morgan Neville’s touching documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018, PG-13), which celebrates the life and legacy of Fred Rogers.

Showtime Anytime

Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl star in “7 Days in Entebbe” (2018, PG-13), a thriller about the 1976 hijacking and rescue mission.

True stories:Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me” (2019, TV-MA) profiles the legendary soul singer.

Other streams

New to Acorn TV this week is the 2015 romantic comedy series “Together” (2015) with Jonny Sweet and Cara Theobold and the made-for-TV BBC feature “Cider With Rosie” (2015, not rated) with Samantha Morton.

BroadwayHD presents “The Sound of Music Live” starring Kara Tointon and Julian Ovenden, originally presented on British TV in 2015, and the modern opera “Brokeback Mountain.”

New on disc and at Redbox

“The Grinch,” “Widows,” “The Sisters Brothers,” “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” “A Private War”

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

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