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Stream on Demand: HBO takes streaming to the Max

UPDATED: Thu., May 28, 2020

Anna Kendrick in “Love Life.” (HBO Max)
Anna Kendrick in “Love Life.” (HBO Max)
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

HBO Max, a new streaming service that marries HBO’s programming with the Warner Bros. movie and TV catalog, launches this week with the entire runs of the hit sitcoms “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” and a collection of HBO Max original shows, from the romantic comedy anthology seriesLove Life with Anna Kendrick to a new series of Looney Tunes CartoonsandThe Not Too Late Show With Elmoto go with HBO’s “Sesame Street” for kids.

Subscribers also get all of HBO’s programming, CW shows “Batwoman,” “Nancy Drew” and “Katy Keene”; “Doom Patrol” from DC Universe; the complete run of BBC’s “Doctor Who” revival, “Pretty Little Liars” for teens and tweens and “Rick and Morty” for big kids. Movies available at launch include “Wonder Woman” (2017, PG-13) with Gal Gadot, the beloved musical fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), American classics “Citizen Kane” (1941) and “Casablanca” (1942) and 20 films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli animation house, including “My Neighbor Totoro” (Japan, 1988, with subtitles) and Academy Award winner “Spirited Away” (Japan, 2001, with subtitles).

If you currently subscribe to HBO on cable or HBO Now, you might get instant access to HBO Max; check with your provider. New subscribers can go to for more details.

Steve Carell plays a career officer put in charge of creating a new branch of the military in Space Force (not rated). Chaos, naturally, ensues. It’s Carell’s first series since leaving “The Office,” and he created it with “The Office” showrunner Greg Daniels. Lisa Kudrow, Noah Emmerich, Ben Schwartz, Jimmy O. Yang, John Malkovich and the late Fred Willard also star in the half-hour comedy. Ten episodes streaming on Netflix.

The Vast of Night (2020, PG-13), an indie sci-fi thriller set in 1950s New Mexico, leans on mood and eerie atmosphere as it tells a story of two savvy teenagers (Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick) on a local radio station night shift investigating the strange manifestations of a UFO arrival. The film, which played to great acclaim in 2019 film festivals (it won the Audience Award at Slamdance), debuts directly on Amazon Prime Video.

Adam Sandler gives one his finest performances as a New York jeweler and gambling addict in Uncut Gems (2019, R), an indie drama and character piece from the Safdie Bros. driven by adrenaline and nervous energy. Though overlooked for Oscar nominations, it won acclaim for Sandler’s performance and numerous awards from critics groups. Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, the Weeknd and NBA center Kevin Garnett also star. Streaming on Netflix.

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

The Invisible Man (2020, R) with Elisabeth Moss reimagines the horror classic as a modern drama of domestic violence. Leigh Whannell writes and directs the acclaimed thriller. Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid also star.

The High Note (2020, PG-13), a music drama starring Tracee Ellis Ross as a superstar diva and Dakota Johnson as the personal assistant who encourages her to follow her instincts, debuts directly to VOD at a premium price.


The documentary limited series Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (2020, not rated) gives voice to the survivors of the tycoon and serial sex abuser who used his wealth to get away with his crimes.

Matthew McConaughey puts his smarmy charm to great use in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011, R), a meaty legal thriller adapted from the Michael Connelly novel.

Streaming TV: Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) declares war in Supergirl: Season 5 (2019-2020, TV-14). Also new:

Dynasty: Season 3 (2020-2021, TV-MA) of the CW revival of the nighttime soap opera

Foodie series Somebody Feed Phil: Season 3 (TV-14).

International cinema: A teenager from rural Mexico finds himself lost when he’s sent to Queens in I’m No Longer Here (2019, Mexico, not rated, with subtitles), and a cop tackles her first major case in the crime drama Intuition (2020, Argentina, not rated, with subtitles).

International TV: A warrior cursed to wear the head of a lizard seeks revenge in the animated adventure Dorohedoro (Japan, not rated).

Kid stuff: Inspired by a Chinese myth, Ne Zha (China, 2019, TV-PG, with subtitles), a fantasy about a child infused with the spirit of demon hellion, is the top-grossing Chinese animated film of all time.

Stand-up: Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (2020, not rated) and Kenny Sebastian: The Most Interesting Person in the Room (2020, not rated).

Amazon Prime Video

A meek 30-something man (Elijah Wood) tries to reconnect with his estranged father (Stephen McHattie) in the darkly comic thriller Come to Daddy (2019, R).

True stories: Danny Trejo shares his own experiences in Survivor’s Guide to Prison (2018, TV-MA), narrated by Susan Sarandon.


You can now watch the premiere episodes of the new National Geographic limited series Barkskins (not rated), based on the Annie Proulx novel, starring David Thewlis and Marcia Gay Harden as settlers in a 17th century French colony in North America. New episodes each Tuesday. Also new:

The second season of the Hulu original series “Ramy“ (TV-MA) from creator/star Ramy Youssef;

The premiere episode of the seventh and final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (new episodes each Thursday).

HBO Max / HBO Now

Hide and seek is a killer in Ready or Not (2019, R), a darkly comic thriller starring Samara Weaving as a bride marked for sacrifice by her new family.

Other streams

BritBox presents the complete “BBC Television Shakespeare” collection of all 37 plays, from “All’s Well That Ends Well” to “A Winter’s Tale,” made over seven years between 1978 and 1985. These productions were faithful and straight forward and feature some of Britain’s finest stage and screen performers, among them Claire Bloom, John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi and Helen Mirren, plus Brenda Blethyn, Jon Finch, Patrick Stewart, Alan Rickman and John Cleese. These were the productions that I watched growing up and were my real introduction to the work of Shakespeare.

Central Park (2020, TV-14), an animated musical comedy from “Bob’s Burgers” creator Loren Bouchard, features the voices of Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Leslie Odom Jr., Titus Burgess, Daveed Diggs, Stanley Tucci and Kathryn Hahn. Streaming on Apple TV+.

Blood Machines (France, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a short sci-fi/fantasy film big on style and trippy visuals, is transformed into a three-episode series now on Shudder.

Sidewalk Stories (1989, R), a touching contemporary silent movie from filmmaker Charles Lane, andThe Cloud-Capped Star (India, 1960, with subtitled), a devastating classic of world cinema from director Ritwik Ghatak, debut on Criterion Channel. Also new:

Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories,” a collection of personal documentaries by women about women and their experiences spanning the past 50 years;

“Three by Nicole Holofcener” including Lovely & Amazing (2001, R) and Please Give (2010, R) with Catherine Keener;

“Three by Jacques Rivette,” including the essential and amazing Celine and Julie Go Boating (France, 1974, not rated, with subtitles), which is still not on DVD or Blu-ray in the U.S.

Free streams: Indie drama Winter’s Bone (2010, R), which earned Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar nomination, Alexander Jodorowski’s surreal, carnivalesque odyssey Santa Sangre (Mexico, 1989, not rated) are new on Kanopy this month.

New on disc

“The Invisible Man,” “Wildlife,” “Endings, Beginnings,” “Once Were Brothers: Robby Robertson and the Band”

Now available at Redbox: “The Invisible Man,” “Training Day”

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

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