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A&E >  Entertainment

Stream on Demand: Movies, shows give fresh take on familiar stories

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 3, 2020

By Sean Axmaker For The Spokesman-Review

What’s new for home viewing on Video on Demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and other streaming services.

Top streams for the week

Gary Oldman stars as the colorful, alcoholic co-writer of “Citizen Kane” in “Mank” (2020, R), directed by David Fincher. This portrait of classic Hollywood also stars Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies, Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst and Tom Burke as Orson Welles. (Netflix)

“Sound of Metal” (2020, R) is a drama about a punk-metal drummer (Riz Ahmed) who is afraid of losing his identity when he starts going deaf. Olivia Cooke co-stars in the film by Darius Marder, who uses creative sound design to explore his character’s experience. (Amazon Prime)

“Selena: The Series” (TV-PG), starring Christian Serratos as Selena Quintanilla, tells the story of the Quintanilla family as it dramatizes the journey of the Tejano singer from small-town Texas girl to musical superstar. Her story concludes in the second part of the limited scheduled to run in 2021. (Netflix)

“The Hardy Boys: Season 1” (2020, not rated) brings the teenage detectives (played by Rohan Campbell and Alexander Elliot) to a small town filled with dark secrets. All 13 episodes now streaming. (Hulu)

In “Sorry We Missed You” (2019, not rated), British filmmaker Ken Loach explores the stresses of the gig economy through the experiences of a British working class family. It makes its streaming premiere on the Criterion Channel.

Holiday Trimmings

“Godmothered” (2020, PG) stars Jillian Bell as a fairy godmother-in-training who follows up a mislaid letter from a 10-year-old girl to find a 40-something single mom (Isla Fisher) who no longer believes in fairy tale endings. (Disney+)

“Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” (2020, TV-G) features Tiffany Haddish, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson among the guest stars. (Apple TV+)

“My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood” (2020, not rated) presents the country singer performing traditional carols and original songs with a live orchestra and choir. (HBO Max)

Classic picks: The nostalgic musical “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944) with Judy Garland and the romantic comedy “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940) with Jimmy Steward and Margaret Sullavan are among the classic holiday films streaming on HBO Max.

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

The documentary “Billie” (2020, not rated) draws from rare archival interviews to tell the story of legendary blues singer Billie Holliday.

Aaron Eckhart is an unstable private investigator on the trail of a conspiracy theory in “Wander” (2020, R), a thriller co-starring Tommy Lee Jones and Heather Graham.

The romantic drama “Luxor” (2020, not rated) stars Andrea Riseborough as a British aid worker in ancient city Luxor.


The comedy “Nate – A One Man Show” (2020, not rated) stars comedian Natalie Palamides as an alpha male learning to get in touch with his feelings.

The handpainted animated feature “Bombay Rose” (France, PG-13) follows a romance tested by duty and religious divides.

Streaming TV: “Alien Worlds: Season 1” (TV-PG) blends science fact and fiction to imagine alien life on other planets.

Binge alert: “Stargate SG-1: Complete Series” (1997-2007, TV-MA) presents 10 seasons and more than 200 episodes of the science-fiction adventure starring Richard Dean Anderson as the leader of a team of interstellar explorers.

Holiday trimmings: The animated film “Angela’s Christmas Wish” (2020, TV-Y) follows up on the Frank McCourt story, and “The Holiday Movies That Made Us: Season 1” (TV-MA) explores the stories behind iconic Christmas hits.

Spend the holidays with Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982, PG) and his thrilling family adventures “Jurassic Park” (1993, PG-13) and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997, PG-13).

Stand-up: “Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic” (2020, not rated) and “Hazel Brugger: Tropical” (2020, not rated).

Amazon Prime Video

Colin Firth is King George VI in “The King’s Speech” (2010, R), co-starring Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. It won the Oscar for best picture, as did two other films streaming this month on Amazon Prime:

• Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” (2009, R) with Jeremy Renner as a bomb disposal expert in Iraq;

“Gandhi” (1982) starring Ben Kingsley in an Oscar-winning performance.

The satirical comedy “Thank You for Smoking” (2006, R) starring Aaron Eckhart as a glib tobacco lobbyist skewers social politics and the culture of spin.

International Passport: “Hippocrates” (France, 2017, PG, with subtitles) is a drama that follows a new intern (Vincent Lacoste) in his first year of residency at a Paris hospital.

Kid stuff: Bill Hader and Anna Faris lead the voice cast in the whimsical animated comedy “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” (2009, PG).


The ABC holiday music specials “CMA Country Christmas” (TV-PG) and “Disney Holiday Singalong” (TV-PG) are now streaming.

Emily Blunt is “The Young Victoria” (2009, PG) in the historical drama about Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend).

Streaming TV: “Deutschland 89 (Season 3)” (Germany, TV-MA, with subtitles) takes the story of the East German spy Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay) through the fall of the Berlin Wall.

True stories: Ron Howard directs “Rebuilding Paradise” (2020, TV-14), a documentary about the Paradise community one year after the 2018 Camp Fire.

Holiday binge alert: Watch Peter Jackson’s epic “Lord of the Ring” trilogy like a fantasy miniseries: “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001, PG-13), “The Two Towers” (2002, PG-13) and “The Return of the King” (2003, PG-13).

HBO Max / HBO Now

The four-part documentary “Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults” (2020, TV-MA) explores the notorious religious movement that created the biggest mass suicide on U.S. soil. (HBO Max)

Harrison Ford stars in “The Call of the Wild” (2020, PG), the latest screen adaptation of the Jack London novel and the first to use an entirely CGI-created dog in the leading role. (All HBO platforms)

Streaming TV: All episodes of the high finance drama “Industry: Season 1” (TV-MA) are now available on HBO Max (they roll out weekly on other HBO platforms), and the teen-oriented superhero adventure “Stargirl: Season 1” (2020, TV-PG) arrives from DC Universe. (HBO Max)

More true stories: “Baby God” (2020, TV-14) looks into the misdeeds of Las Vegas fertility specialist Dr. Quincy Fortier, who secretly used his own genetic material to help couples conceive. (All HBO platforms)

Other streams

Taylor Swift performs every song from her new album in the music special “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” (2020, TV-14). (Disney+)

The near-future thriller “The Commons: Season 1” (not rated) is set in a world on the verge of climactic catastrophe. New episodes each Thursday. (Sundance Now)

The natural history series “Earth at Night in Color: Season 1” (TV-PG) uses next-generation cameras to observe the nocturnal lives of animals in full color. Tom Hiddleston narrates. (Apple TV+)

The one and only season of “The Body Farm” (2011, not rated), a spin-off of the British crime drama “Waking the Dead,” is now streaming on Britbox, along with the surviving episodes of sketch comedy series “Do Not Adjust Your Set” (1968-1969) starring Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. (Britbox)

An elderly couple (Julian Richings and Sheila McCarthy) kidnaps a pregnant woman to perform a reverse exorcism in order to bring their dead grandchild back to life in the Canadian horror film “Anything for Jackson” (2020, not rated). It’s new on Shudder along with “Porno” (2020, not rated), about a cursed sex education film.

The collection “Three by Terrence Malick” presents “Badlands” (1973, R) with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, the Oscar-winning “Days of Heaven” (1978, PG) with Richard Gere and Brooke Adams, and “The New World” (2005, PG-13) with Christian Bale and Q’orianka Kilcher. New on Criterion Channel this month. Also new:

• Mathieu Amalric plays Paul Dedalus, on-screen alter ego of French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin, in his films “My Sex Life … or How I Got into an Argument” (France, 1996, with subtitles) and “My Golden Days” (France, 2015, R, with subtitles);

• Two “Films by Rithy Panh,” the Cambodian director who survived the Cambodian genocide;

• More films restored by the Film Foundation, including the early color horror film “Mystery of the Wax Museum” (1933) and Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter” (19955) starring Robert Mitchum;

• Oscar-winning comedy “The Awful Truth” (1937) with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, presented with interviews and featurettes from the Criterion disc release;

• Classic Western “Bad Day at Black Rock” (1955) with commentary by director original John Sturges from Criterion’s 1991 laserdisc edition.

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

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