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Stream on Demand: Hope, grief and cuss words top the streaming options this week

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 7, 2021

By Sean Axmaker For The Spokesman-Review

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

Top streams for the week

A hard-working mother (Clare Dunne, who also co-wrote the original script) flees her abusive husband and builds a home – literally, on land given to her by her sympathetic employer (Harriet Walter) – for her two young daughters in “Herself” (2020, R). The inspirational Irish drama from director Phyllida Lloyd doesn’t shy away from domestic abuse or a system that fails to protect our resilient mother, but it finds hope in the community that helps her construct a DIY house from scratch. (Amazon Prime)

Vanessa Kirby plays a woman dealing with grief and loss after the death of a child in “Pieces of a Woman” (2021, R), an emotionally raw drama co-starring Shia LaBeouf as her resentful working class husband and Ellen Burstyn as her criticizing mother. It’s a portrait in rage and self-destructive behavior centered by Kirby’s intense performance. (Netflix)

Nicolas Cage hosts the nonfiction limited series “History of Swear Words” (TV-MA), which explores the origins, pop culture usage, science and cultural impact of curse words with the help of linguists, writers and comedians. (Netflix)

A disgraced exorcist exiled to a remote town in Spain teams up with the mayor and a veterinarian when hell is unleashed in “30 Coins: Season 1” (Spain, TV-14, with subtitles). The hit Spanish series, created and directed by horror auteur Alex de la Iglesia, makes its U.S. debut, with new episodes each Monday. (All HBO platforms)

As network TV shows return, Hulu streams new episodes of shows from ABC, NBC and Fox, including the sitcom “Mr. Mayor” from creator/producer Tina Fey, starring Ted Danson as the newly elected mayor of Los Angeles and co-starring Holly Hunter and Bobby Moynihan, and the game shows “Name That Tune” and “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.” Also streaming are new seasons of “The Rookie” (TV-14), “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” (TV-14), and “The Bachelor” (TV-14). Episodes available the day after their respective network debuts. (Hulu)

Netflix

Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara take the leads in the American version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2011, R), directed by David Fincher with more dimension and depth than the original Swedish screen version.

True stories: Martin Scorsese discusses New York with writer Fran Lebowitz in “Pretend It’s a City” (2021, not rated), and “Surviving Death” (not rated), based on the book by Leslie Kean, explores the possibility of an afterlife.

Foodie fun: “Korean Porkbelly Rhapsody: Season 1” (South Korea, TV-G, with subtitles) celebrates the love for this cultural dish. There’s also a new season of baking-fail series “¡Nailed It! México: Season 3” (TV-PG, with subtitles).

International passport: “Lupin: Season 1” (France, with subtitles) takes the classic stories of the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin into the next generation as his son (Omar Sy) sets out to avenge his father. Also new is the midlife crisis comedy “Stuck Apart” (Turkey, 2021, not rated, with subtitles).

Kid stuff: The animated musical “Charming” (2018, not rated) reworks classic fairy tale romances with a voice cast that includes Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, and John Cleese. For younger kids is the animated “Gabby’s Dollhouse: Season 1” (TV-G).

Amazon Prime Video

“The Intervention” (2016, R) is “The Big Chill” for the 30-something crowd with a cast that includes Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter, Natasha Lyonne and Cobie Smulders. It’s directed by Clea Duvall (“Happiest Season”).

Tom Hanks plays a wily politician in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007, R), based on a true story, and a professional killer who goes on the run to protect his young son in the crime drama “Road to Perdition” (2002, R).

Cate Blanchett plays the first Queen Elizabeth in the historical dramas “Elizabeth” (1998, R) with Geoffrey Rush and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007, PG-13) with Clive Owen, and is a psychic in the American South in Sam Raimi’s “The Gift” (2001, R) with Keanu Reeves.

Amazon Prime and Hulu

Sophia Lillis and Alice Krige star in “Gretel & Hansel” (2020, PG-13), a revisionist fairy-tale horror from director by Oz Perkins. (Amazon Prime and Hulu)

HBO Max

A drama set in the music world, “The High Note” (2020, PG-13) stars Tracee Ellis Ross as a superstar diva coasting on her legacy and Dakota Johnson as the personal assistant who encourages her to follow her instincts. (All HBO platforms)

It’s more cooking in lockdown in “Selena + Chef: Season 2” (TV-PG).

Disney+

Hugh Jackman is “The Wolverine” (2013, PG-13) in the second solo film featuring the breakout star of the “X-Men” movies. This one sends him to the Japanese underworld.

The animated comedy “Ferdinand” (2017, PG) features the voice of John Cena as the peace-loving bull.

Other streamsPeacock now streams new episodes of the NBC shows “Mr. Mayor” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” along with Hulu. It’s also now the exclusive streaming home for Dick Wolf’s interconnected dramas “Chicago Fire: Seasons 1-8” (2012-2020, TV-14), “Chicago P.D.: Seasons 1-7” (2014-2020, TV-14), and “Chicago Med: Seasons 1-5” (2015-2020, TV-14).Michael Chiklis is an American border patrol agent forced to work with the Mexican cartels he once fought in the crime thriller “Coyote: Season 1” (TV-MA). “Breaking Bad” showrunner and director Michelle MacLaren helms the first two episodes. (CBS All Access)

A lab assistant (Molly Windsor) studying forensics enlists her professors to help her bring a criminal to justice in “Traces: Season 1” (2019, not rated), a British crime drama based on a story by Val McDermid. (Britbox)

With the addition of the eighth and final season of the acclaimed French crime drama, “Spiral” (France, 2005-2020, TV-MA, with subtitles) is now streaming in its entirety on MHz (Season 8 episodes arrive each Tuesday). Also on MHz:

• The complete “Blood of the Vine” (France, 2001-2017, TV-14, with subtitles), a mystery series set in French wine country;

• Limited series “Borderland” (Germany, TV-MA, with subtitles) about a father-daughter team fighting organized crime;

• Supernatural crime thriller “La Porta Rossa: Season 1” (Italy, TV-14, with subtitles).

Criterion Channel spotlights nine features and two shorts “Starring Peter Sellers,” from early comedy classics “The Ladykillers” (1955) and “The Mouse That Roared” (1959) to his Stanley Kubrick films “Lolita” (1962) and “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964). Criterion Channel also presents the streaming premiere of the documentary “The Ghost of Peter Sellers” (2018, not rated) from director Peter Medak. Also new:

• Mira Nair’s “Monsoon Wedding” (India, 2001, R, with subtitles), a comic drama set during preparations for an arranged wedding;

• Fritz Lang’s World War II thriller “Ministry of Fear” (1944) with Ray Milland;

• John Frankenheimer’s political thriller “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) with Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey.

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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