This week on streaming video, we’ve got a stop-motion animated film from the people who brought you Coraline and ParaNorman, a Certified Fresh crime thriller starring Tom Hardy, and a couple of uplifting stories from the UK. Then we’ve got a pair of noteworthy new choices on Netflix. Read on for the full list:

The Boxtrolls

The titular creatures are kindly, goofy monsters that have raised a little boy named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright) as one of their own. But the nefarious Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) wants to wipe out the Boxtrolls for personal gain, so it’s up to Eggs and his new friend Winnie (Elle Fanning) to stop him.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play

The Drop

Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and the late, great James Gandolfini star in this Certified Fresh crime drama about a late-night robbery that stirs up trouble within the neighborhood demimonde.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play


Based on a true story, Pride stars Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton in a dramedy about a group of striking miners whose efforts are aided by a group of gay and lesbian activists.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes

Ways to Live Forever

Based on the novel of the same name by Sally Nicholls, this drama centers on a science-minded boy with terminal leukemia who sets out to accomplish and investigate a series of curious items he’s compiled in a list.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

The Honorable Woman: Season One

Maggie Gyllenhaal gives an electrifying performance in this slow-burning spy series, set within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Available now on: Netflix

The Trip to Italy

In this sequel to The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are two old friends who hit the road in order to samplie culinary delights and talk about life.

Available now on: Netflix

It’s a fairly limited week for home video releases, but the good news is that all three of the big new films available are smaller Certified Fresh films that probably deserve bigger audiences. They include a drama co-starring Reese Witherspoon, a British comedy sequel, and an acclaimed dramedy based on true events. Then, we’ve also got a couple of seasons of television for those interested. Read on for details:

The Good Lie


Reese Witherspoon seems poised for something of a career renaissance, what with acclaimed turns in Mud, Wild, a supporting role in P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice, and The Good Lie, which opened earlier this year. In the latter of these, Witherspoon plays Carrie Davis, an aid worker helping four Sudanese refugees adjust to live in the US after they win a lottery to relocate from their war-torn homeland. Critics were fairly impressed with The Good Lie, even if some were disappointed the story wasn’t more nuanced, and the acting all around was one of the strongest factors in helping the film to a Certified Fresh 86 percent on the Tomatometer. The Good Lie never got a wide release, so in a week when home releases are few and far between, this is one of the better choices to go with.

The Trip to Italy


Who knew listening to a couple of dry-wit comedians play off each other for a couple of hours could be so much fun? And who knew that it would be almost as much fun the second time around? In Michael Winterbottom’s follow-up to 2011’s The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon again play partially fictionalized versions of themselves as they tour restaurants in Italy and banter over plates of pasta. The only qualm critics had with The Trip to Italy was that its novel premise wasn’t quite as novel any more; barring that, however, they found the film just about as funny and entertaining as the original, and it’s Certified Fresh at 86 percent. This is another small feature that earned a limited run in the US, and while it’s probably too understated for somewhat younger audiences, it should be quite a treat for those who appreciate a good bit of British humor.



Rounding out this week’s trio of Certified Fresh new releases is another British film and the highest rated of the lot. Based on the true story of a group of gay and lesbian activists in 1984 London rallying to raise money in support of National Union of Mineworkers members on strike, this feelgood drama stars veteran actors Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine and more. Critics praised the film’s ability to handle sensitive issues without being didactic and its smart avoidance of overt sentimentality, leading to a 94 percent Tomatometer score. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up this week, this one isn’t holiday-related, but it will probably result in some warm fuzzies nonetheless.

Also available this week:

  • Season three of SyFy’s mystery drama Continuum, starring Rachel Nichols as a time-traveling detective from the future, is available this week on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season one of another SyFy series, Dominion (38 percent), a supernatural drama based on characters in the film Legion, is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.

This week on streaming video, we’ve got a Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed decade-spanning drama, a Certified Fresh James Brown biopic, and the second hilarious road trip shared by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Then, on Netflix, we’ve got an artful martial arts movie, the latest season of American Horror Story, the latest chapter in the saga of Ron Burgundy, an impressive horror film, and a cheeky SyFy treat. Read on for details:


Richard Linklater’s critically-acclaimed, generation-spanning drama, in which Ellar Coltrane literally grows up onscreen, also stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play

Get on Up

This biopic of James Brown jumps around to depict key moments in the star’s life, from his hardscrabble childhood to his legendary Apollo concerts, from his famously rigorous work habits to his problems with the law.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu, Google Play

The Trip to Italy

In this sequel to The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are two old friends who hit the road in order to samplie culinary delights and talk about life.

Available now on: iTunes


This Certified Fresh Dutch drama is enigmatic and dark, following a vagrant as he disrupts the lives of an upper-class suburban famly.

Available now on: Amazon

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s over-the-top comedy about the rise and fall of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who was imprisoned for fraud, earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

Available December 11 on: Amazon Prime


Tom Hardy earned critical acclaim for his solo performance as a contractor driving to his mistress — about to give birth to his bastard son — and trying to handle emergencies on multiple fronts along the way.

Available now on: Amazon Prime

House of Flying Daggers

Ziyi Zhang and Andy Lau star in Zhang Yimou’s period martial arts classic, which features some of the most staggering costumes and fight scenes this side of Hero.

Available now on: Netflix

American Horror Story: Coven

Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, and a bunch more star in this iteration of the anthology horror series, about a coven of witches in New Orleans.

Available now on: Netflix

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

It’s the 1980s, and Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his old Channel 4 pals have been hired by a new 24-hour news network. Eschewing hard news, they focus on the sensational and the absurd — and garner big ratings in the process.

Available now on: Netflix, Amazon Prime


After the bizarre death of their parents, a pair of siblings return to their childhood home in order to confront the murderous party responsible: a haunted antique mirror that has the power to distort reality.

Available now on: Netflix

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Yes, they made a second movie about a storm that spews sharks.

Available now on: Netflix

This week at the movies, we’ve got aging tough guys (The Expendables 3, starring Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham), fake policemen (Let’s Be Cops, starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson), and a rogue nonconformist (The Giver, starring Brenton Thwaites and Jeff Bridges). What do the critics have to say?

The Expendables 3


One of the primary pleasures of the Expendables franchise has been the chance to gaze at a staggering array of stars, and The Expendables 3 is no exception. This time out, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many more, team up with the likes of Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson, among others. However, critics say the movie itself is disappointingly thin and predictable. After a mission goes wrong, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) disbands the Expendables and brings in a younger crew to replace them. But when his new recruits are captured by a diabolical arms dealer, it’s up to Ross’ old buddies to rescue them. The pundits say The Expendables 3 is more like a class reunion than a movie, and the action set pieces are surprisingly flat.

Let’s Be Cops


Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson are funny guys, and they share an undeniable comic chemistry on New Girl. Unfortunately, critics say there’s only so much they can do when trapped in a narratively slack, sitcommy vehicle like Let’s Be Cops. Wayans and Johnson star as a pair of average dudes who show up to a masquerade ball dressed as police officers — and are surprised by the amount of respect they receive. So they decide to continue to pretend to be policemen, and eventually discover that they’re in over their heads. The pundits say the stars are worth a chuckle or two, but Let’s Be Cops is basically a collection of skits that fails to do much with its undeniably appealing premise. (Flip through this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of the best and worst movie cops.)

The Giver


Published in 1993, Lois Lowry’s dystopian young adult novel The Giver won the Newbery Medal, earned a dedicated fan base, and helped to lay the groundwork for the success of everything from The Hunger Games to Divergent. Too bad, then, that that critics say the big-screen adaptation of The Giver feels a little late to the party; despite a strong visual sense, it never generates the feeling of discovery that made the book so potent. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is a teenager in a bland, passionless society. While spending time with a wise man called the Giver (Jeff Bridges), he discovers that the world he knows harbors deadly secrets — and it’s this knowledge that makes him a target of the powers that be. The pundits say The Giver is a polished production, but its familiar plotting and limp pacing keep it from distinguishing itself from other recent young adult sci-fi films. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which count down co-ster Meryl Streep’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • We Are Mari Pepa, a comedy about a band of aspiring punk rockers in Guadalajara, is at 100 percent.
  • Frank, starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a dramedy about an artsy rock group whose eccentric leader wears a giant papier-mâché mask, is Certified Fresh at 89 percent.
  • The Trip To Italy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in a road comedy about two old friends sampling culinary delights and talking about life, is Certified Fresh at 89 percent.
  • Abuse of Weakness, starring Isabelle Huppert in a drama about a filmmaker who is swindled after suffering from a stroke, is at 85 percent.
  • Jealousy, a French drama about an actor who leaves his wife and child for another woman, is at 83 percent.
  • A Will For The Woods, a documentary about a terminally ill man determined to have an environmentally friendly burial, is at 83 percent.
  • Dinosaur 13, a documentary about the lengthy debate over ownership that followed a 1990 T-Rex skeleton discovery, is at 67 percent.
  • Ragnarok, an adventure about an archeologist on the trail of a lost Viking ship, is at 60 percent.
  • Coldwater, a drama about a group of teenagers at a harsh private rehab facility for troubled kids, is at 43 percent.
  • Life After Beth, starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan in a comedy about a teenager who dies but promptly returns to life, is at 39 percent.
  • Septic Man, a horror film about a sewage worker who must save his community from killer contaminating the water supply, is at nine percent.

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