What’s new for home viewing on Video on Demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other streaming services.
Top streams for the week
Cable-cutters can keep up with many primetime network series on Hulu. Among the new shows now available are legal drama “Bluff City Law” with Jimmy Smits, mystery thriller “Emergence” with Alison Tollman, serial killer drama “Prodigal Son” with Michael Sheen, comedy “Perfect Harmony” with Bradley Whitford, melting pot comedy “Sunnyside” with Kal Penn, sitcom spin-off “Mixed-ish” and Portland-set private eye drama “
You also can see more than two dozen returning shows, including “This Is Us,” “Modern Family,” “The Good Doctor,” “New Amsterdam,” “Empire,” “The Good Place,” “The Voice” and warhorses “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Law & Order: SVU.”
Episodes arrive on Hulu (with limited commercial interruption) a day after their respective network debuts.
“The Politician” is a musical melodrama starring Ben Platt as a wildly ambitious high school kid running for class president of his elite private school. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange co-star in the satirical series created for Netflix by Ryan Murphy.
An underpaid spy (Manoj Bajpayee) keeps his dangerous life a secret in “The Family Man: Season 1” (India, with subtitles), an espionage thriller with a twist of workplace comedy. Ten episodes on Amazon Prime Video.
Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Judith Light carry the tunes in “Transparent: Musicale Finale,” which brings the Emmy-winning Amazon Original comedy to an end without its original star Jeffrey Tambor (who left the show after harassment allegations). On Amazon Prime Video.
Great music sustains “Yesterday” (2019, PG-13), a romantic comedy about a failed singer-songwriter (Himesh Patel) who wakes up in a world where the Beatles never existed and performs their songs as his own. Lily James and Ed Sheeran co-star, Danny Boyle directs from an original script by England’s romcom king Richard Curtis (“Love Actually”). On Cable on Demand, VOD, DVD and at Redbox.
Classic pick: Buster Keaton’s action-packed comedy “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928, silent with score) is hilarious and warmhearted and features some of the most amazing stunts captured on camera. Streams free on Kanopy, free through most library systems.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
“Shaft” (2019, R) is a multi-generational sequel to the private eye classic with Usher joining previous “Shaft” stars Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree. Also new:
· Horror reboot “Child’s Play” (2019, R) with Aubrey Plaza and the voice of Mark Hamill;
· Luc Besson’s action film “Anna” (2019, R) with Sasha Luss as a supermodel/assassin;
· Documentary “Pavarotti” (2019, PG-13) from director Ron Howard;
· Essay film “Around India With a Movie Camera” (2018, not rated) created from archival footage of India from 1899 to independence in 1947.
Available same day as select theaters nationwide is “10 Minutes Gone” (2019, R) with Bruce Willis and Michael Chiklis, from direct-to-video veteran Brian A. Miller. Also new are two horror films:
· Logan Miller in “Prey” (2019, not rated) from Blumhouse;
· “The Curse of Buckout Road” (2017, not rated) co-starring Henry Czerny and Danny Glover.
A serial killer appears for one night every nine years in “In the Shadow of the Moon” (2019, not rated), a murder mystery with a science-fiction twist. Boyd Holbrook is the cop who follows the case for decades, and Cleopatra Coleman, Bokeem Woodbine and Michael C. Hall co-star in the Netflix Original movie from director Jim Mickle.
Wong Kar-Wai’s romantic action drama “The Grandmaster” (China, 2013, PG-13, with subtitles) stars Tony Chiu-Wai Leong as legendary martial arts master Ip Man. Ziyi Zhang and Chang Chen co-star and Yuen Woo Ping provides the choreography, which Wong turns into something more like a dance onscreen. It was nominated for two Oscars, including one for its rich cinematography.
Kristin Scott Thomas stars in World War II mystery “Sarah’s Key” (2010, PG-13), from the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay.
The animated short feature “Sound & Fury” (2019, not rated) is a companion piece to the new album by country artist Sturgill Simpson.
True stories: The short documentary “Birders” (Mexico, 2019, with subtitles) celebrates those who monitor and protect birds that migrate across the U.S.-Mexico border.
International TV: A former spy, now teaching Shakespeare, is called back into service in the “Bard of Blood“ (India, with subtitles). Also new:
· “Skylines: Season 1” (Germany, with subtitles), a drama set in the music industry;
· Prison drama “The Inmate: Season 1” (Mexico, with subtitles) about an undercover agent posing as a prisoner.
Kid stuff: A teen social media celebrity becomes a court-ordered wilderness club leader in the live-action comedy “Team Kaylie: Season 1” (TV-PG) for teens and tweens. Also new is the animated adventure “Dragons - Rescue Riders: Season 1” for younger viewers.
Standup: “Jeff Dunham: Beside Himself” (2019, not rated).
Amazon Prime Video
“Fido” (2007, R), a social satire of the undead used as menial servants, is one of the best zombie comedies to date. Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker and Billy Connolly star.
International affairs: Vincent Zhao stars in Yuen Woo Ping’s over-the-top action drama “True Legend” (China, 2010, R, with subtitles), featuring appearances by Jay Chou, Michelle Yeoh and David Carradine.
International TV: “A French Village: Seasons 1-4” (France, 2009-2012, with subtitles) follows the inhabitants of a rural town during the Nazi occupation of World War II. The hit drama from France played on PBS in some American cities.
Disney’s animated “Pocahontas” (1995, G), featuring the voices of Mel Gibson, Irene Bedard and Christian Bale, is one of the last classics of old school animation. It won Oscars for the score and original song “Colors of the Wind.”
“The Lego Movie 2: The 2nd Part” (2019, PG) animates the world of interlocking toys for a new adventure involving invaders from outer space.
True stories: “Buzz” (2019, TV-MA) profiles the very private Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and celebrated author Buzz Bissinger.
Available Saturday night is “Isn’t It Romantic” (2019, PG-13), a spoof of romantic comedy clichés starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth.
The fourth season of the documentary series “The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth,” is now on all Showtime platforms. New episodes each Sunday.
The family friendly adventure “A Dog’s Way Home” (2019, PG) with Ashley Judd is now streaming on all Starz platforms.
“Doc Martin: Series 9,” the hit British drama starring Martin Clunes as a prickly surgeon turned country doctor, airs exclusively in the U.S. on Acorn TV. New episodes arrive each Thursday, a day after their respective U.K. premieres.
Britbox celebrates the 50th anniversary of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” with the vintage comedy series “Ripping Yarns“ (1976-1979) from Michael Palin and Terry Jones and the 1980 BBC production of “The Taming of the Shrew“ starring John Cleese.
Two new series from Europe are now running on MHz Choice. “The Embassy” (Spain, with subtitles) is a drama set at the Spanish Embassy in Thailand and “Murder by the Lake” (Germany, with subtitles) is a crime drama set at Lake Constance, where a partnership of German and Austrian detectives solve crimes. New episodes arrive each Tuesday.
The Criterion Channel spotlights four German features “Directed by Christian Petzold,” including the Criterion Channel debuts of the mysterious “
Also on Criterion, “Directed by Lina Wertmüller” spotlights seven features by the Italian filmmaker who was the first woman ever nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, including the satirical “Love and Anarchy” (1973), battle-of-the-sexes comedy “Swept Away” (1974) and Oscar-nominated black comedy “Seven Beauties” (1975), all starring Giancarlo Giannini. With subtitles.
Free streams: Andy Serkis stars as punk rock icon Ian Dury in “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” (2010, not rated). It’s now streaming on Kanopy, along with:
· “Frantz” (France, 2017, not rated, with subtitles), a historical drama set between the two world wars directed by François Ozon;
· “War Witch” (2013, not rated, with subtitles), a devastating drama about a child soldier in an unidentified sub-Saharan African nation;
· “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai” (Japan, 2012, not rated, with subtitles), Miike Takashi’s remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s feudal drama;
· Joseph H. Lewis’ “The Big Combo” (1955), a tough film noir starring Cornel Wilde as an obsessive cop and Richard Conte as an arrogant mobster.
New on disc and at Redbox
“Yesterday,” “Shaft,” “Anna,” “Child’s Play”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at streamondemandathome.com.
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