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Wednesday, October 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stream on Demand: ‘Late Night’ stars add sharp wit to story

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

Emma Thompson plays a TV talk show veteran with a prickly personality and falling ratings in “Late Night” (2019, R), written by Mindy Kaling, who co-stars as a neophyte comedy writer on the show’s all-male writing staff. The comedy’s take on sexism, ageism and other issues isn’t as sharp as it could be, but it is funny thanks to the stars, especially Thompson’s crisply acerbic performance as a comedienne who has lost touch with what inspired her initial success. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video before VOD and DVD.

Emmy-winning actors Toni Collette and Merritt Weaver play police detectives on the trail of an elusive serial rapist in “Unbelievable,” a Netflix Original limited series based on a true story. Created and co-written by Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) with Michael Chabon, the drama focuses on how the system fails one tormented young victim (“Booksmart” star Kaitlyn Dever), as well as on the small details of real detective work. Eight episodes streaming on Netflix.

The Amazon Original series “Undone” uses rotoscope animation (which essentially draws over live action footage) to create a slightly surreal, off-kilter reality for a story that is part psychodrama and part time-travel thriller. Rosa Salazar stars as an aimless young woman who starts having visions of her dead father (Bob Odenkirk) after a car accident. From Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy, the creators of “BoJack Horseman.” Eight episodes on Amazon Prime Video.

The five-part true crime documentary series “Murder in the Bayou” (2019, TV-MA), about the unsolved murders of eight women over four years in Jennings, Louisiana, puts the focus on the victims and the culture of their town. New episodes each Friday on all Showtime platforms.

Free pick:Ex Machina” (2015, R) is science fiction as chamber drama, a clever game of wiles between a socially naïve programmer (Domhnall Gleeson), a sophisticated artificial intelligence (Alicia Vikander) and a manipulative software genius (Oscar Isaac). It won an Oscar for its quietly impressive special effects. Streams on Hoopla, which is available through most public library systems.

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

Will Smith is the big blue genie in “Aladdin” (2019, PG), Disney’s live-action version of its 1992 animated musical. Guy Ritchie directs the family-friendly musical fantasy co-starring Mena Massoud as street urchin Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019, R) expands the assassin universe once more as the titular hitman (played by Keanu Reeves) takes on hundreds of professional killers in what seems like a nonstop action spectacle.

Jim Jarmusch’s laid-back zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die” (2019, R) plays like an excuse to reunite old friends (including Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton) for a little goofy fun.

All three on VOD, Cable On Demand and DVD and at Redbox.

Also new: thriller “Strange But True” (2019, PG-13), based on the novel by John Searles and starring Amy Ryan and Greg Kinnear;

· road movie comedy-drama “Head Full of Honey” (2019, PG-13) with Nick Nolte, Matt Dillon and Emily Mortimer;

· family drama “The Parting Glass” (2019, not rated) with Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon and Ed Asner;

· comedy drama “Papi Chulo” (2019, R) with Matt Bomer;

· “Cargo” (2019, not rated), an indie drama about human trafficking in the Caribbean;

· historical drama “The Third Wife” (Vietnam, 2018, R, with subtitles).

· documentary “Hesburgh” (2019, not rated) about educator and civil rights activist Rev. Theodore Hesburgh.

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is Morgan Spurlock’s documentary “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!“ (2019, PG-13), which follows the director opening a fast-food restaurant, and romantic comedy “The Weekend” (2018, R) with Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell and DeWanda Wise.


“Lost” meets “Survivor” when 10 strangers awaken on a deadly tropical island with no memory in the limited series “The I-Land” (2019, TV-14), created by Neil LaBute (who grew up in Spokane Valley) and starring Natalie Martinez, Kate Bosworth, Ronald Peet and Alex Pettyfer. All seven episodes now streaming.

The Mind, Explained” uses animation to explore and explain the science behind dreams, memory, anxiety and mindfulness. Emma Stone narrates the documentary series.

Julia Roberts searches for self-enlightenment and sensual connection in “Eat Pray Love” (2010, PG-13), adapted by Ryan Murphy from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir.

Ava Michelle is the “Tall Girl” (2019, not rated) in the high school romantic comedy debuting directly to Netflix.

Streaming TV:Top Boy: Season 1” revives the 2013 British crime drama set in the drug trade of South London with the two former drug kingpins (Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson) returning from exile to find a ruthless new gang leader (Michael Ward) in charge. Also new:

· Netflix Original sitcom “The Ranch: Part 7” with Ashton Kutcher, Elisha Cuthbert and Sam Elliott;

· Dysfunctional family comedy-drama “Shameless: Season 9” (TV-MA) with William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum in the final season of the Showtime series;

· Sitcom “I’m Sorry: Season 2” with Andrea Savage;

· Foodie series “The Chef Show: Volume 2” with Jon Favreau and Roy Choi.

International TV: A horror author (Victoire Du Bois) who keeps her nightmares at bay through her stories finds them coming to life when she takes a break from writing in “Marianne: Season 1” (France, with subtitles). Also new:

· Reality series “Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020” (Japan, with subtitles) ;

· “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: The Battle of Unato: Season 1” (Japan), an animated action-horror series.

True stories: Comedienne Chelsea Handler confronts white privilege with the humor-laced documentary “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea” (2019, not rated) and “Evelyn” (2019, not rated) offers a personal odyssey by Oscar-winning filmmaker Orlando von Eisendel to heal the wounds of his brother’s suicide.

Kid stuff: Ryan Reynolds voices a speedy garden snail in the animated comedy “Turbo” (2013, PG).

Standup:Bill Burr: Paper Tiger” (2019, not rated) presents the politically incorrect American comedian performing in London.

Amazon Prime Video

Julianne Moore is “Gloria Bell” (2019, R) in Sebastián Lelio’s American remake of his award-winning Chilean drama of a free-spirited middle-aged woman.

Streaming TV:El Corazón de Sergio Ramos: Season 1” follows Spanish soccer superstar Sergio Ramos, captain of Real Madrid and the Spanish National Team, on and off the field.

Cult:C.H.U.D.” (1984, R), a low-budget horror-conspiracy film with John Heard and Daniel Stern battling “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers” in the sewers of New York, is suitably gory, appropriately paranoid, briskly paced and plenty fun.


Dev Patel and Armie Hammer star in “Hotel Mumbai” (2019, R), which dramatizes the real-life 2008 terrorist attack on the Taj Hotel in India.

Josh Hamilton, Eric Stoltz and Parker Posey are college graduates unable to move on in the comedy “Kicking and Screaming” (1995, R), the directorial debut of Noah Baumbach.

Kid stuff:Curious George: A Royal Monkey” (2019, G) is a direct-to-video animated feature for young kids.


The third and final season of “The Deuce” (TV-MA), David Simon’s drama about crime, pornography and the transformation of urban New York in the 1970s, jumps ahead to 1985 and the era of video and AIDS. Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco star. New episodes each Monday.

Saoirse Ronan is “Mary Queen of Scots” (2018, R) in the historical drama co-starring Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth II. It earned Oscar nominations for costume design and makeup and hair.

More streaming TV: Anthology series “Room 104: Season 3” (TV-MA) from Jay and Mark Duplass returns with new episodes Friday nights.

Available Saturday night is “Welcome to Marwen” (2018, PG-13), which uses animation and fantasy to dramatize the real-life story of artist Mark Hogancamp (played by Steve Carell). Robert Zemeckis directs.

Other streams

The new family sitcom “Mr. Mom” (TV-PG), based on the 1983 Michael Keaton comedy, is the first original series from video-on-demand service Vudu. Hayes MacArthur takes the Keaton role of the hapless house husband, and Andrea Anders plays the career mom suddenly facing the modern workplace culture. You can watch the first episode for free.

Starz debuts the award-winning documentary “Out of Omaha” (2018, not rated), which follows two young black men coming of age in Omaha, the same week it becomes available on VOD.

All nine episodes of nonfiction series “Couples Therapy: Season 1” are available to stream on Showtime Anytime and Showtime On Demand. Seattle writer and advice columnist Dan Savage is a consulting producer on the show.

The four-part BBC miniseries “The Victim” (2019, not rated), starring Kelly Macdonald as a bereaved mother seeking justice for her murdered son 14 years after his death, makes its stateside debut on BritBox.

Pasquale Aleardi is “Inspector Dupin” (Germany, with subtitles), a Paris cop sent to the rural Brittany region, in this German crime drama. Two episodes available on MHz Choice, new episodes each Tuesday. Also new to MHz are new seasons of “Spring Tide” (Sweden, with subtitles) and “Tatort: Borowski” (Germany, with subtitles) and the feature-length murder mystery “The Berken Case” (France, 2017, with subtitles) with Audrey Fleurot and Philippe Lefebvre.

The eight films in the “Jailbreak!” spotlight on the Criterion Channel include the Criterion debuts of “Stalag 17” (1953), Billy Wilder’s barbed POW drama with William Holden and Jacques Becker’s brilliant prison drama “Le Trou” (France, 1960, with subtitles).

Also new on Criterion is the documentary “David Lynch: The Art Life” (2016, not rated), which focuses on his painting, and a double feature celebrating iconoclastic British stage director Joan Littlewood: World War I musical satire “Oh! What a Lovely War” (1960, G), adapted from her experimental stage production, and “Sparrows Can’t Sing (1963, not rated), her only directorial feature.

Free streams: Emma Thompson is superb as a judge facing a conflict between the professional and personal in “The Children Act” (2018, R), a powerful drama adapted by Ian McEwan from his novel. It’s new to Hoopla along with:

· Oscar-nominated coming-of-age comedy-drama “20th Century Women” (2017, R) with Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig;

· Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young” (2015, R) with Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried;

· “Under the Skin” (2014, R), a heady and visceral science-fiction odyssey with Scarlett Johansson as a mysterious visitor in Scotland;

· “Mandy” (2018, not rated), a violent, nightmarish thriller featuring an intense performance by Nicolas Cage.

New on disc and at Redbox

“Aladdin,” “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” “The Dead Don’t Die”

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

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