Top streams for the week
Controversy accompanies the fifth season of "The Crown" (TV-MA) as Peter Morgan's epic series dramatizing the life of Queen Elizabeth II moves into the 1990s, with the troubled marriage and divorce of Charles and Diana the least of the scandals plaguing the Royal Family as the Queen resists modernizing the monarchy. Imelda Staunton stars as Queen Elizabeth, with Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Dominic West as Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana. British politicians and members of the royal family have been bitterly critical of the portraits this season but most critics find Morgan's perspective compelling and insightful. (Netflix)
Emily Blunt plays an aristocratic Englishwoman who treks through the frontier of 1890s America on a mission of vengeance with a Pawnee scout (Chaske Spencer) in "The English" (2022, TV-14). The gritty limited series sends the unlikely duo through the violent unsettled west to a murder mystery in a frontier town, both embracing and upending classic western conventions. Ciaran Hinds, Toby Jones, and Steven Rea costar in the British-American coproduction. New episodes on Fridays. (Prime Video)
A seemingly happy housewife (Florence Pugh) suspects there is a dark secret behind their exclusive desert community in "Don't Worry Darling" (2022, R), a psychological thriller with echoes of David Lynch and "The Stepford Wives" and an uncomfortably contemporary relevance under its 1950s modernist setting. Olivia Wilde directs and costars with Harry Styles and Chris Pine. (HBO Max)
"Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris" (2022, PG) stars Lesley Manville as a modest cleaning lady in 1950s London who celebrates a sudden windfall with a dream trip to Paris to buy a Dior gown. Isabelle Huppert and Jason Isaacs costar in the bubbly, family-friendly comedy. (Peacock)
Jennifer Lawrence produces and stars in "Causeway" (2022, R) as a military veteran recovering from a traumatic brain injury who befriends another wounded soul (Brian Tyree Henry) while adjusting to civilian life. (Apple TV+)
"My Father's Dragon" (2022, PG), an animated fantasy from the director of "The Secret of Kells," sends a lonely Irish boy to a magical island to rescue a young dragon. It features the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Alan Cumming, Diane Wiest, and Jacob Trembley." (Netflix)
Too soon? The first Christmas movies of the season arrive this week, including the romantic comedy "Falling for Christmas" (2022, TV-PG) with Lindsay Lohan on Netflix, the "Groundhog Day" riff "Christmas on Repeat" (2022, not rated) and Italy-set romantic comedy "My Christmas Fiancé" (2022, not rated) on Hulu, and a collection of Hallmark Christmas movies on Peacock.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
The lighthearted mystery comedy "See How They Run" (2022, PG-13) stars Sam Rockwell and Saiorse Ronan as British cops investigating a murder backstage at a London West End theatre in 1953. Also on HBO Max.
"Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste" (2022, TV-MA) traces the rise of the sexual wellness company OneTaste and its controversial guru-like founder.
Elvis Mitchell traces the history and evolution of Black cinema from its origins to its explosion in the 1970s in "Is That Black Enough for You?!?" (2022, R). More true stories:
- "State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith" (2022, PG-13) examines the harrowing story of a woman trying to use Alabama's "Stand Your Ground" law after killing a man she says brutally attacked her;
- "Capturing the Killer Nurse" (2022, TV-14) tells the true story behind the crime dramatized in "The Good Nurse."
Streaming TV: "Ancient Apocalypse: Season 1" (TV-MA) looks for evidence of lost civilizations dating back to the last Ice Age.
Interactive: "Triviaverse" (not rated) lets viewers challenge a friend or a stranger in a rapid-fire quiz game.
Kid stuff: the animated comedy "The Soccer Football Movie" (2022, TV-Y7) features the voice of 'Weird Al' Yankovic and "Minions & More 2" (TV-Y7) presents a new collection of animated shorts inspired by the "Despicable Me" movies.
Stand-up: "Neal Brennan: Blocks" (TV-MA)
The romantic comedy "Funny Thing About Love" (2021, not rated) is your first holiday movie of the season with a Thanksgiving setting.
True stories: "Dreaming Walls" (2022) looks at the legacy of the Chelsea Hotel, home to scores of musicians, writers and artists through the decades.
"Say Hey, Willie Mays!" (2022, TV-14) surveys the life of the baseball legend and his superstardom during a transformative era of the Black American experience.
Foodie TV: Dany Levy hosts the culinary competition series "The Big Brunch: Season 1" (TV-MA).
"Zootopia+" (TV-PG) presents short animated comedies featuring the characters from the 2016 feature.
True stories: "The Montaners: Season 1" (not rated) is a reality show featuring the family of Latin music superstar Ricardo Montaner and "Save Our Squad with David Beckham: Season 1" (TV-14) follows the soccer legend as he helps a troubled youth league team in East London.
Amazon Prime Video
James Corden and Sally Hawkins star in "Mammals: Season 1" (2022, TV-14), a darkly comic drama about modern relationships from creator Jez Butterworth.
Paul Thomas Anderson draws from his own experiences (and those of others) growing up in San Fernando in the Oscar-nominated "Licorice Pizza" (2021, R).
Kid stuff: "Transformers: EarthSpark: Season 1" (TV-G) is the latest animated series in the toys-to-TV franchise.
Based on a true story, "The Silent Twins" (2022, R) stars Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance as sisters who create their own, private fantasy world to escape the reality of their lives.
"The Calling: Season 1" (TV-MA), created by David E. Kelley, follows a religious NYPD Detective (Jeff Wilbusch) as an investigation shakes his faith.
When the humans are away, the household animals play in the animated comedy "The Secret Life of Pets" (2016, PG).
Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton star in the prequel series "Dangerous Liaisons: Season 1" (TV-MA). New episodes on Sundays. (Starz)
"The Curse: Season 1" (not rated) fictionalizes the true story of the Brinks Matt robbery of 1983 as a crime comedy about small-time crooks who stumble into a one of the biggest gold heists in the world. (Britbox)
The limited series "Mood" (not rated) comes from actor, writer, and singer-songwriter Nicôle Lecky, based on her one-woman play. Two episodes available, new episodes on Sundays.
A couple competes for custody of their favorite bar after their break-up in the comedy "Bar Fight!" (2002, not rated) starring Melissa Fumero and Rachel Bloom. Streams same day as theaters. (AMC+)
A retired judge teams up with a police detective to solve mysteries in Bordeaux in "Mongeville: Season 1" (France, TV-14, with subtitles), one of the most popular mystery shows in France and the dark family drama "Waterfront: Season 1" (South Africa, TV-14, with subtitles) follows three daughters battling for control of the family shipbuilding business. (MHz)
The grindhouse horror comedy "All Jacked Up and Full of Worms" (2022, TV-MA) was a favorite on the horror and fantasy film festival circuit. (Screambox, also on VOD)
The concert documentary "The Flaming Lips Space Bubble Film" (2022, not rated) goes behind the scenes of spectacle devised by psych-rock legends for their COVID-19 shows, and six films "Starring Bob Hoskins" include his breakout performance in "The Long Good Friday" (1980, R), costarring Helen Mirren, and Neil Jordan's "Mona Lisa" (1986, R) with Michael Caine, plus his sole directorial effort "The Raggedy Rawney" (1988, R). (Criterion Channel)
"A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" (Sweden, 2014), the third film in Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson's trilogy "about being a human being," is another deadpan comedy of bleak humor and absurdist situations. (MUBI)
Free with ads (AVOD)
"Play-Doh Squished: Season 1" (2022, TV-Y) pits teams of adults and kids in challenges of creative artistry, speed, and skill. (Amazon Freevee)
New on disc and available at Redbox:
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