WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
If you like your superhero movies smart, snarky and drenched in blood, check out “Deadpool,” a surprisingly subversive “X-Men” off-shoot.
Faring much better than he did in the disastrous “Green Lantern,” Ryan Reynolds stars as the title character, a wise-cracking mercenary who, after nearly losing his life to cancer, is reborn as a self-healing mutant with a bad attitude. His mission: Destroy the evil scientist (Ed Skrein) who wrecked his life.
For all its self-mocking charms, “Deadpool” isn’t very original — think “Kick-Ass” crossed with
“Watchmen” — but Reynolds is pure dynamite. He makes “Deadpool” a dark delight. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
Also New To Streaming
Regression: “The Others” helmer Alejandro Amenabar returns to the horror genre for the intriguing tale of a Minnesota police detective (Ethan Hawke) who finds himself investigating the case of a young woman (Emma Watson) who claims to have been sexually abused by her father (David Dencik) as part of a devil-worshipping ritual. Amenabar lays on the creepy atmosphere, getting a lot of mileage out of creaky barn doors and dead-eyed strangers, while keeping you guessing about whether or not Watson is telling the truth. Based on a true story, “Regression” not only delivers the genre goods but also raises some interesting questions about how easily the truth is manipulated. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Creative Control : With his second feature, writer/director Benjamin Dickinson has come up with an interesting cautionary tale about Americans’ increasing reliance on gadgetry. Dickinson stars as an advertising exec who nearly loses his girlfriend (Nora Zehetner), his job and his sanity after becoming addicted to a pair of reality-altering spectacles. Stylishly shot in black-and-white, “Creative Control” occasionally echoes “Her.” But, to Dickinson’s credit, he has something fresh to say about his characters’ relentless, and largely unsuccessful, quest for happiness. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Against The Wild II: An Alaskan Malamute pooch named Chinook steals this adventure saga which involves two bickering teenagers (Ella Ballentine, John Paul Ruttan) forced to survive on their wits after crashlanding in the Serengeti. In addition to lots of drama involving the adorable dog, the kids encounter giraffes, hyenas and stampeding zebras. Director Richard Boddington has crafted “Against the Wild” for families so even the action involving a nighttime lion attack is not too intense. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Scherzo Diablico: For his follow-up to the terrific werewolf movie “Late Phases,” Mexican-based filmmaker Adrian Garcia Bogliano delivers a gory outing that’s part kidnap thriller, part revenge saga and part black comedy. Francisco Barreiro stars as an office drone who’s so tired of being passed over for a promotion that he kidnaps a teenage girl (Daniela Soto Vell), seemingly for ransom. Not surprisingly, his perfect plan goes horribly awry. “Scherzo Diablico” is well-paced and acted but nearly all of the characters are so repellent that it never grabs you as it should. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Coat of Many Colors: Dolly Parton narrates this family-friendly NBC-TV movie based on one of her autobiographical songs. Largely set during a summer in which members of the close-knit Parton clan (Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroeder) survive the loss of a child and financial hardships, the movie culminates with Dolly’s decision to show off her homemade coat of rags. While the film occasionally feels padded, it benefits from an unapologetic earnestness as well as Alyvia Alyn Lind’s lively performance as the nine-year-old Dolly. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Manson’s Lost Girls: In this Lifetime TV movie set in the days before the Tate-LaBianca murders, director Leslie Libman does a great job capturing the moment when the hippie dream started to curdle into a drug-fueled nightmare. Where this movie misses — and misses big — is with its depiction of Manson who, as played by Jeff Ward, is a vague, uninteresting figure. Libman also barely differentiates between the women, with only eventual Susan Atkins (a good Eden Brolin) managing to stand out as a truly creepy presence. At mylifetime.com.
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I Am Thalente: An exuberant skate doc with a social message, “I Am Thalente” is he inaugural release of the new distribution wing of crowdfunding and streaming company Seed & Spark. The action centers on Thalente Biyela, a 17 year-old homeless skateboard prodigy in South Africa who catches the eye of the professional skate-world when a DIY video of him goes viral. A group of top pro-skaters, including Kenny Anderson and Tony Hawk, offer Thalente support and an opportunity to pursue his dream of skating and competing in the U.S, to rise about his circumstances and help him shape his own future. On YouTube, Vudu and Google.
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We Are Still Here: Ted Georhegan’s retro-horror shocker sends a middle-aged couple (Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig) to an isolated farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and gives them plenty of things to worry about, including charred ghosts and violent townsfolk. From the very first shots of wintry roads and snow-covered fields, it’s clear that Georhegan knows how to capture the beauty and eeriness of his Upstate New York locations. At its best, “We Are Still Here” offers creepy showdowns, offbeat humor and enough splatter to make Dario Argento smile. On Netflix.
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Brigend: After premiering at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won three of the six major awards, this docudrama begins an exclusive run on Fandor. Based on a real-life teenage suicide cluster that took place in a former coal mining province in Wales, “Brigend” revolves around young heroine Sara (Hannah Murray from “Game of Thrones”) who struggles with adolescent confusion, romanticism, and sadness. On Fandor.