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Stream on Demand: Get ready to watch a ‘Life,’ an activist, a spy and a teacher

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 12, 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

Screen legend Sophia Loren stars in her first feature in a decade as a Holocaust survivor who takes in an orphaned immigrant (Ibrahima Gueye) who robbed her in “The Life Ahead” (Italy, 2020, PG-13, with subtitles). The touching drama of tough love across generations and cultures offers a vibrant portrait of life in the Italian neighborhood and the clear-eyed portrait of senility in the aging widow. It’s adapted from the novel by Romain Gary, which was previously made into the Oscar-winning drama “Madame Rosa,” and directed by Edoardo Ponti (Loren’s son). (Netflix)

The documentary “I Am Greta” (2020, not rated) profiles Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist whose high school strike for the climate evolved into a global movement. Filmmaker Nathan Grossman began the documentary before the quiet, shy Swedish girl became internationally famous and offers viewers a look at her family life. (Hulu)

A talented high school kid (Otto Farrant) is drafted into becoming a secret agent in “Alex Rider,” a young adult spy series from England based on the books by Anthony Horowitz. The first season sends the junior James Bond to a mysterious academy for the problem children of the world’s elite. (Amazon Prime and IMDb TV)

The limited series “A Teacher” (TV-MA), expanded by creator Hannah Fidell from her 2013 indie feature, follows a reckless high school teacher (Kate Mara) whose flirtation with a handsome student (Nick Robinson) spirals into something far beyond inappropriate. The first three episodes are available, and new episodes drop Monday nights. (FX on Hulu)

Filmed over the course of five years, the documentary “Transhood” (2020, TV-14) follows the lives of four young people and their families as they each navigate growing up transgender in Kansas City. (HBO Max)

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

“Bill and Ted Face the Music” (2020, PG-13) reunites Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as middle-aged fathers in arrested adolescence who go on a new excellent adventure with their teenage daughters (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine). Also new:

• The drama “Blindfire” (2020, not rated) about a white cop (Brian Geraghty) accused of wrongfully shooting and killing a Black man;

• Action comedy “Chick Fight” (2020, R) with Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne and Alec Baldwin;

• Coming-of-age drama “My Summer as a Goth” (2020, not rated), set and shot in Portland;

“Out Stealing Horses” (Norway, 2019, not rated, with subtitles) with Stellan Skarsgård, based on the novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson;

“The Shock of the Future” (France, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a drama set during the rise of electronic music in 1978 Paris.

Premium VOD: David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie star in “Come Away” (2020, PG), a family drama that reimagines the heroes of “Peter Pan” and “Alice in Wonderland” as siblings who create their own fantasy worlds. Anna Chancellor, Michael Caine, Derek Jacobi, Clarke Peters and Gugu Mbatha-Raw also star in the live-action film from “Brave” director Brenda Chapman. Also new:

“Jungleland” (2020, R) stars Charlie Hunnam and Jack O’Connell as brothers who put everything on the line in a no-holds-barred boxing match.

Netflix

“Fruitvale Station” (2013, R), the Sundance Award-winning debut from filmmaker Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”), is a devastating drama based on the unprovoked killing of an unarmed young Black man (Michael B. Jordan) by transit officers in Oakland.

The four-part docudrama series “The Liberator” (not rated) uses animation to chronicle one of the bloodiest battles in the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II.

Holiday trimmings: “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (2020, TV-PG) with Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key and romance comedy “Dash & Lily: Season 1” (TV-14), based on the young adult book series, are this week’s seasonal entries.

True stories: The limited-series crime documentary “Trial 4” (not rated) chronicles the decades-long fight by Sean K. Ellis to prove himself innocent of a murder charge.

Streaming TV: The sketch comedy show “Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun: Season 1” (not rated) arrives from Australia.

International passport: The six-part limited series “The Minions of Midas” (Spain, with subtitles) follows a businessman (Luis Tosar) blackmailed by a mysterious organization. Award-winning filmmaker Mateo Gil directs and co-writes the series adapted from the short story by Jack London.

Kid stuff: The animated “Trash Truck: Season 1” (TV-Y) follows the adventures of an imaginative 6-year-old boy and a giant trash truck.

Arriving Sunday is the fourth season of “The Crown” (TV-MA), which stars Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher.

Amazon Prime Video

“James May: Oh Cook: Season 1” (not rated) is a cooking show for people who don’t think they can cook.

Orlando Bloom takes a different kind of role as a working man who stumbles across the priest who molested him as a child in “Retaliation” (2020, R).

Streaming TV: Dan Harmon’s hilarious sitcom “Community: Complete Series” (2009-2015, TV-PG) was never a ratings hit, but it became a cult comedy and helped make stars of Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Donald Glover.

Amazon Prime and Hulu

David Mackenzie directs “Tonight You’re Mine” (2012, R), romantic comedy shot on location amid the chaos and craziness of a real-life music festival.

Hulu

The new foodie series “Eater’s Guide to the World: Season 1” (not rated) includes a tour of Seattle restaurants.

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are “The Nice Guys” (2016, R) in this throwback to the action comedies of the ‘70s.

Dan Stevens plays Charles Dickens in “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (2017, PG), a fanciful retelling of the author’s struggle to write “A Christmas Carol” starring Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge.

International passport: A cosmonaut returns from space with an alien parasite inside him in the science-fiction thriller “Sputnik” (Russia, 2020, not rated, with subtitles).

Streaming TV: New seasons of the ABC dramas “Grey’s Anatomy” (TV-14) and “Station 19” (TV-14) stream a day after their respective network debuts.

Hulu and Peacock

The animated kids show “The Mighty Ones: Season 1” (TV-Y) follows a group of wildlife creatures in an unkept backyard. (Hulu and Peacock)

Episodes of the new seasons of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (TV-14) (Hulu and Peacock) and Dick Wolf’s interconnected shows “Chicago Fire” (TV-14) (Hulu and Peacock), “Chicago P.D.” (TV-14) (Hulu and Peacock) and “Chicago Med” (TV-14) (Hulu and Peacock) stream a day after their respective network debuts.

HBO Max / HBO Now

Ambitious young traders compete for permanent positions in a major financial firm in London in the cutthroat drama “Industry: Season 1” (TV-14). Lena Dunham directs the series debut; new episodes Monday nights. (All HBO platforms)

Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) stars in the action comedy “Two Weeks to Live: Season 1” (not rated). (HBO Max)

Jim Jarmusch’s laid-back zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die” (2019, R) stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton. (All HBO platforms)

A batch of Comedy Central shows are now streaming, including the complete runs of the sketch comedy hits “Chappelle’s Show” (2003-2006, TV-MA), “Inside Amy Schumer” (2013-2016, TV-MA) and “Key & Peele” (2012-2015, TV-14). (HBO Max)

Other streams

Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker and John C. Reilly are astronauts in training in the comedy “Moonbase 8: Season 1” (TV-14). All episodes available to stream on Showtime Anytime. Also new is Kelly Reichardt’s award-winning frontier drama “First Cow” (2020, PG-13).

The nonfiction series “Becoming You: Season 1” (2020, TV-G) observes more than 100 children across the world to explore how the first 2,000 days of life shape a child’s development. The first six episodes are available on Apple TV+. Also new is the documentary “Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds” (2020, TV-PG) from filmmaker Werner Herzog.

A single mother and environmental consultant (Orla Brady) gets involved in the protests over a Norwegian-owned offshore wind farm in the Irish drama “The South Westerlies: Season 1” (not rated). (Acorn TV)

The comedy special “Sketchy Times With Lilly Singh” (2020, TV-14) is essentially a one-woman show shot entirely from her home during quarantine. (Peacock)

The limited series “Inside Pixar” (TV-G) profiles the people, artistry and culture of Pixar Animation Studios. (Disney+)

Leo McCarey’s “Make Way for Tomorrow” (1937) turns the Depression-era drama of an aging couple (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) into a touching and heartbreaking classic. Criterion Channel presents it with supplements from its special-edition disc release. Also new:

“Dark Days” (2000, not rated), a documentary about the homeless living in a train tunnel beneath New York City;

• Nine films “Written by Harold Pinter” spanning three decades, including his Joseph Losey collaborations “The Servant” (1963) and “Accident” (1967) starring Dirk Bogarde and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981) with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons;

• Six films “Directed by Claire Denis,” including her feature debut “Chocolat” (France, 1988, not rated, with subtitles) and her masterpiece “Beau Travail” (France, 1999, not rated, with subtitles);

• “Three by Bill Forsyth,” including his breakthrough coming-of-age comedy “Gregory’s Girl” (1980, PG) and his American debut “Housekeeping” (1987, PG).

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

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