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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stream on Demand: Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ blasts onto home screens

UPDATED: Thu., May 21, 2020

Taron Egerton stars in the Elton John biopic “Rocketman.” (Paramount Pictures)
Taron Egerton stars in the Elton John biopic “Rocketman.” (Paramount Pictures)
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

Taron Egerton portrays Elton John in “Rocketman” (2019, R), a biographical drama that takes on the rock legend’s rise, his collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) and his drug addiction with energetic scenes that turn John’s songs into movie musical set pieces. It won an Oscar for original song, and Egerton won a Golden Globe for his performance. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. 

The lively, witty new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. (2020, PG) stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the society Queen Bee who learns humility and compassion as she tries to engineer romances around her. Director Autumn de Wilde fills the film with vivid characters, nuanced performances and a mix of period detail and modern flair. It’s a delight. Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth and Bill Nighy also sstar. On Cable on Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox. 

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae play a bickering couple stalked by a killer and tangled in a murder that sends them careening through a wild night in New Orleans in The Lovebirds (2020, R). The romantic action comedy from director Michael Showalter, originally set for a theatrical release before theaters shut down, makes its debut on Netflix.  

Military Wives (2020, PG-13) stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan as women who form a military wives choir while their partners are in Afghanistan. Peter Cattaneo (”The Full Monty”) directs the British comic drama, which is inspired by a true story. Streaming on Hulu and available on Cable on Demand and VOD.

The second season ofHomecoming presents a new mystery centered on an Army veteran (Janelle Monáe) who wakes up in the wilderness with no memory of who she is or how she got there. Stephan James and Hong Chau return, and Chris Cooper and Joan Cusack join the cast of the conspiracy series. Ten episodes on Amazon Prime Video. 

Binge alert: The complete run of Shonda Rhimes’ addictive thriller Scandal (2012-2018, TV-14) with Kerry Washington is now on Hulu. 

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

The legacy of French colonialism haunts “Zombi Child” (France, 2020, not rated, with subtitles), Bertrand Bonello’s drama that weaves voodoo ritual, Haitian history and modern French culture. 

The psychological thriller Point Defiance (2020, not rated) was shot on Vashon Island by director/screenwriter Justin Foia, a former Seattle resident. 

Available direct to VOD is The Trip to Greece (2020, not rated), the fourth comedy “trip” with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon from director Michael Winterbottom, and thriller Inheritance (2020, not rated) with Lily Collins and Simon Pegg.

Netflix

Sweet Magnolias: Season 1 (not rated), based on the series of novels by Sherryl Woods, follows the journeys of three best friends (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott and Heather Headley) as they navigate romance, career and family in South Carolina. 

The documentary series History 101: Season 1 (not rated) presents bite-sized history lessons.  

Johnny Depp is John Dillinger and Christian Bale is FBI agent Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies (2009, R), Michael Mann’s take on the gangster glory days of the Great Depression. 

Bryan Cranston plays blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo (2015, R), a drama about the Oscar-winning writer also starring Helen Mirren, Diane Lane and John Goodman.  

More streaming TV: Teen drama Blood & Water: Season 1 (South Africa, not rated) sends viewers into the complicated culture of a Cape Town high school;

Floral competition show The Big Flower Fight: Season 1 (not rated),

Epic animated adventure Avatar: The Last Airbender – Complete Series (2005-2007, TV-Y7);

Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series: Season 2 (TV-MA);

CW superhero series “The Flash: Season 6“ (2019-2020, TV-14);

CBS drama “Madam Secretary: Season 6” (2019-2020, TV-PG) with Téa Leoni.

International TV: Teen drama Control Z: Season 1 (Mexico, not rated, with subtitles) follows the upheaval at a prestigious high school after a hacker releases the secrets of the popular and the outcast. Also new:

Revenge drama The Queen and the Conqueror: Season 1 (Colombia, not rated, with subtitles) set in the early years of Spanish colonial occupation of Colombia;

Fantasy drama Mystic Pop-Up Bar: Season 1 (South Korea, with subtitles) about a bar owner who helps her customers by entering their dreams.

In concert: Ben Platt Live From Radio City Music Hall (2020, TV-PG) features songs from the artist’s debut album. 

Stand-up: Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything (2020, not rated). 

Amazon Prime Video

Adain Turner is back in the fifth season of the BBC historical drama “Poldark” (2019, TV-13). 

Son of Rambow (2008, PG-13) celebrates the innocent joys of imagination in a fanciful, funny tale of two unlikely school boy buddies who shoot a wildly imaginative sequel to “First Blood” on a home video camera. 

Naomi Watts stars in The Ring (2002, PG-13), the shot-in-Seattle American remake of the influential Japanese horror hit. Also newly arrived:

Offbeat comedy Proof (1992, R) with Hugo Weaving as a blind photographer and Russell Crowe as his new assistant;

Terrorist thriller Black Sunday (1977, R) with Robert Shaw and the Goodyear blimp;

Historical epic Nicholas and Alexandra (1971, PG), which won Oscars for costumes and art direction.

International cinema: Jellyfish (Israel, 2007, not rated, with subtitles) from Israeli author Etgar Keret and dramatist Shira Geffen won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Amazon Original seriesThe Last Narc (2020, TV-MA), originally scheduled for last week, has been delayed. 

Prime Video and Hulu

Laura Dern stars as a Houston mother who takes on the legal system to defend a death row inmate (Jack O’Connell) in “Trial by Fire” (2019, R), a drama based on a true story (Amazon Prime Video and Hulu). 

Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence star in “Like Crazy” (2011, PG-13), an American indie drama of young love meeting insurmountable obstacles (Amazon Prime Video and Hulu). 

Hulu

In concert: Taylor Swift: City of Lover (2020, TV-PG) presents the performer live in Paris. 

An Australian couple goes on a wild road trip to reunite an estranged family to pull off a Top End Wedding (2019, TV-14) in the romantic comedy from director Wayne Blair and screenwriter/actor Miranda Tapsell (”The Sapphires”). 

The documentary The Painter and the Thief (2020, not rated) looks at the unexpected relationship between a career criminal and the Czech artist he robbed. 

HBO Now

Joaquin Phoenix earned an Academy Award portraying the birth of a psychotic supervillain in Joker (2019, R), a twist on the superhero movie inspired by 1970s American cinema and Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and “King of Comedy.” 

From HBO Europe comes The Sleepers: Season 1 (Czech Republic, not rated, with subtitles), a drama set in 1989 Czechoslovakia as the Soviet Empire collapsed. All six episodes on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand. 

Other streams

Disney+ presents The Big Fib: Season 1 (2020, TV-G), a game show for kids hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown and Rhys Darby. Fifteen episodes available. Also new:

Oscar-nominated animated feature Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, PG);

Oscar-winning musical Hello, Dolly! (1969, G) with Barbra Streisand.

The darkly comic murder mystery Dead Still (2020, not rated) stars Michael Smiley and Kerr Logan as pioneers of “postmortem photography” in 1880s Ireland. Two episodes available; new episodes each Monday on Acorn TV. 

A mother (Julie Graham) grieving the death of her son who gets entangled with a charismatic young man in the psychological thriller Penance (2020, not rated). The British limited series is on Sundance Now. 

Paradise Hills (2019, TV-14) stars Emma Roberts and Awkwafina as young women in a sinister “finishing school” for the rich. Milla Jovovich co-stars in the science-fiction thriller now on all Showtime platforms. 

Costume drama, romance, comedy and giant monsters collide in “Monstrum” (South Korea, 2018, not rated, with subtitles) streaming on Shudder. 

Criterion Channel presents a collection of films “Written by Frances Marion,” perhaps the finest screenwriter of her era, from silent masterpieces The Scarlet Letter (1926, silent with score) and The Wind (1928, silent with score) with Lillian Gish to early sound classics Anna Christie (1930) with Greta Garbo and prison drama The Big House (1930) to all-star Hollywood hit Dinner at Eight (1933) with John Barrymore and Jean Harlow, plus the documentary Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood (2000). Also new:

Three films by French filmmaker Diane Kurys, including semi-autobiographical Peppermint Soda (France, 1977, not rated, with subtitles) and Children of the Century (France, 1999, not rated, with subtitles) with Juliette Binoche;

Elio Petri’s Kafkaesque political satire Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Italy, 1970, with subtitle);

Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993, PG) with Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Oscar nominee Winona Ryder.

New on disc and at Redbox

“Onward,” “Emma.,” “The Way Back,” “Downhill”

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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