Top streams for the week
George Clooney directs "The Tender Bar" (2021), a coming of age drama starring Tye Sheridan as a boy raised by a struggling single mother (Lily Rabe) who is forced to move back into her family home. Ben Affleck gives a standout performance as his uncle, a bartender and surrogate father who offers life lessons and inspires the boy's love of literature. Christopher Lloyd and Max Martini star in the gentle drama adapted from J.R. Moehringer's memoir by Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan. (Amazon Prime Video)
An American fund manager in London (Danielle Macdonald) quits her job to follow her dream of becoming an opera singer in the romantic comedy "Falling for Figaro" (2021, not rated). Her journey takes her to an opera diva (Joanna Lumley) in the Scottish Highlands, where she clashes with a rival pupil (Hugh Skinner) and meets a whole village full of eccentrics. Ben Lewin directs. (Hulu)
The anthology film "The Year of the Everlasting Storm" (2021, not rated, with subtitles) looks at life in the pandemic through short films from seven international directors, among them David Lowery, Jafar Panahi, Laura Poitras, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. (Hulu)
A number of broadcast TV shows debut this week. You can stream the historical drama "Women of the Movement" (TV-MA), about key women in the Civil Rights movement, and the action drama "The Cleaning Lady" (TV-14) with Elodie Yung on Hulu, along with the unscripted comedy "Judge Steve Harvey" (not rated) and the reality show reboot "Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer" (not rated). Episodes available a day after their respective network showings. (Hulu)
Kid stuff: the animated family series "El Deafo: Season 1" (TV-G) follows a young girl who relies on her inner superhero to navigate elementary school after she loses her hearing. All episodes streaming. (Apple TV+)
Classic picks: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman will always have Paris in "Casablanca" (1942), one of the most beloved romantic dramas of all time. It returns to the HBO Max catalog this month along with dozens of classics, among them the original "King Kong" (1933) with its groundbreaking special effects and the musical "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. (HBO Max)
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Kristin Stewart is Princess Diana in "Spencer" (2021, R), Pablo Larrain's intimate drama set over a troubled Christmas weekend as she suffers under the constant watch and criticism of the Royal Family. Also on DVD and at Redbox.
The reality show "Hype House: Season 1" (TV-14) brings viewers into the lavish home shared by some of the world's biggest social media stars.
International passport: the romantic comedy "Four to Dinner" (Italy, 2022, TV-MA, with subtitles) looks at two possible futures when four singles meet. Also new: an evil force that feeds on fear terrorizes a child and his tormented mother in the horror film "The Wasteland" (Spain, 2021, TV-MA, with subtitles).
International TV: "Rebelde: Season 1" (Mexico, TV-MA, with subtitles) is a teen musical drama set in an elite school for the arts. Also new is the foodie series "Hanwoo Rhapsody: Season 1" (South Korea, TV-PG, with subtitles), which explores the history and traditions of Korean beef.
Kid stuff: "Action Pack: Season 1" (TV-Y) is an animated superhero series for young kids.
"Hell or High Water" (2016, R), an outlaw drama with Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, is written by "Yellowstone" creator Taylor Sheridan. Also newly arrived:
- Oscar-winning animated musical "Happy Feet" (2006, PG);
- heavy metal action sequel "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991, R) with Arnold Schwarzenegger;
- childhood drama "Stand by Me" (1986, R) with River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton.
Amazon Prime Video
George Clooney stars as father in paradise forced to reevaluate what being a father really means in "The Descendants" (2011, R). Also new this week are:
- based-on-a-true-story survival drama "127 Hours" (2010, R) with James Franco;
- musical romance "Once" (2007, R) with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová;
- Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning World War II platoon drama "Saving Private Ryan" (1998, R) with Tom Hanks.
Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman star in "Moulin Rouge" (2001, PG-13), Baz Luhrmann's splashy MTV-style evocation of 1899 Paris. Also new this month:
- western drama "Open Range" (2003, R) with Kevin Costner and Annette Bening;
- Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans" (1992, R) with Daniel Day-Lewis (also available in the Unrated Director's Cut);
- Jane Austen drama "Sense and Sensibility" (1995, PG) with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet;
- conspiracy thriller "Three Days of the Condor" (1975) with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway.
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson team up again in the action comedy "Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" (2021, R) with Salma Hayek joining the duo. Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas costar.
Dozens of DCU animated features, originally made for VOD and disc, are streaming for the New Year. Among the highlights are "Justice League: The New Frontier" (2008, PG), based on the revisionist comic book miniseries by Darwyn Cooke;
- "All Star Superman" (2011, PG), adapted from the comics by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely;
- "Batman: Year One" (2011, PG-13) and the two-part "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" (2012, PG-13), both based on landmark stories from Frank Miller;
- "Batman vs. Two-Face" (2017, PG), an animated tribute to the 1960s TV series featuring the voices of Adam West, Bruce Ward, and Julie Newmar.
Classic picks: not to leave it as an afterthought, but some of the greatest and most beloved classics of all time are back in the streaming catalog. "Citizen Kane" (1941) has been hailed as the greatest American movie ever made in numerous critics polls. Other highlights include:
- John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) with Humphrey Bogart;
- Oscar-winner "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh;
- Alfred Hitchcock's romantic thriller "North by Northwest" (1959) with Cary Grant;
- Stanley Kubrick science fiction landmark "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968, G).
- You can find more classics on the TCM hub at HBO Max.
The eleventh season of the British mystery "Vera" (TV-14) debuts with new episodes streaming Tuesdays. (BritBox)
A rookie cop from France partners with a local in "Iskander: Season 1" (France, with subtitles), a crime thriller set in French Guiana. The second season begins streaming next week. (Topic)
The last five episodes of the animated "Star Trek: Prodigy: Season 1" (TV-Y7) roll out on Thursdays. (Paramount+)
"The Uncommon History of Very Common Things: Season 1" (PG) returns with new episodes. Free with ads. (Crackle)
"Halt and Catch Fire: Complete Series" (2014-2017, TV-14) dramatizes the birth of the home computing age and the early days of the internet. Lee Pace, Mackenzie Davis, Scoot McNairy, and Kerry Bishé star. (AMC+)
Criterion Channel presents ten films "Starring Sterling Hayden," from his breakout performance in John Huston's heist classic "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950) to Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye" (1973, R) with Elliot Gould. The collection includes the film noir classics "Crime Wave" (1953) and Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" (1956). (Criterion Channel)
- Also new: three films featuring dance legends "The Nicholas Brothers" including their show stopping number from "Stormy Weather" (1943) which Fred Astaire proclaimed as the greatest dance sequence ever captured on film;
- six "Documentaries by Lee Grant" including the Oscar-winning "Down and Out in America" (1986);
- "The Fever" (Brazil, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a dramatic meditation on the material, spiritual, and dream lives of Brazil’s Indigenous people from Maya Da-Rin;
- thriller "The Load" (Croatia, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), a twist on "The Wages of Fear" set in war torn Serbia.
New on disc and at Redbox:
"Spencer," "Zeroes and Ones"
Visit the paper's website online for more options and recommendations.
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at https://streamondemandathome.com.
Copyright © 2022 by Sean Axmaker