STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
Here’s something you don’t see too often: a threequel that’s the best film in the series.
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, “Kung Fu Panda 3” revolves around Po’s (Jack Black) reunion with his long-lost pop (Bryan Cranston.)
But the good times don’t last long thanks to Kai (J.K. Simmons), a spirit-stealing villain looking to rub out all kung fu masters. Of course, it’s up to Po to save the day, which he does in high-kicking style. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Also New To Streaming
Anesthesia: Sex, drugs and philosophy? Those are just a few of the opiates preferred by a handful of strangers (Corey Stoll, Gretchen Moll, Michael K. Williams) struggling to make sense of the modern world. Sam Waterston stars as a professor who’s murdered as he’s making his way home to his beloved wife (Glenn Close.) After the crime, writer/director Tim Blake Nelson circles back to include the stories of a number of lost souls, including a volatile crack addict (K. Todd Freeman) and an angry co-ed (Kristen Stewart.) The cumulative effect isn’t quite as powerful as Nelson might have hoped but individual scenes are lively and provocative. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Margarita With A Straw: People with disabilities are so rarely featured in films that this charmer from India would be unique simply for pivoting on the coming-of-age of the cerebral-palsy-stricken Laila (the remarkable Kalki Koechlin) . That Laila also discovers she’s bisexual by falling in love with a blind Pakistani lesbian (Sayani Gupta) makes the film even more revolutionary. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of “Margarita” is that you don’t think about any of those things when you’re watching the movie. Instead, you’re swept away by the tale of a woman determined to risk everything to be truly herself. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Knight Of Cups: Get ready for the longest two hours of your life! If you thought Terrence Malick’s last film “To The Wonder” was vague and confusing, wait until you see this head-scratcher starring Christian Bale as a burnt-out screenwriter pursued by a series of fetching women (Cate Blanchett, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots, Frieda Pinto, Natalie Portman). There’s maybe five lines of dialogue in the entire film as Bale pairs off with the gals for encounters that look like outtakes from pretentious perfume commercials. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
The Story of Film: Painstakingly researched, curated and filmed over a six year period on five continents, this amazing series covers 120 years of world cinema in 15 hour-long installments. It’s hard to imagine any other survey of cinema going deeper that this one which includes segments on Shanghai films of the 1930s, the great Indian melodramas of the 1950s and the triumph of African filmmakers of the 1970s. It also touches and delves into social issues at various periods in the 20th Century including the role of women in cinema and the driving forces behind the industry. If you’re a film buff, cue up this unique love letter to movies. On Hulu.
Internet Famous: YouTube and Twitter stars Amanda Cerny, Christian Delgrosso, Steve Greene, Richard Ryan and Wendy McColm topline this comedy about five of the Internet’s biggest stars who travel across the county to complete in a nationally-television talent competition. The only problem is….they have no talent. Roger Bart, John Michael Higgins and Missi Pyle co-star in the movie. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu
JUST FOR KIDS
Adventures In Babysitting: Here’s a mostly charming, semi-remake of the Elisabeth Shue movie from 1987. Allentown, Pa.’s Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson star as two very different teenagers, both up for an internship with a famous photographer. At the interview, the pair accidentally switch phones, which leads to much mayhem. Eventually, both Carpenter and Carson head off to their separate babysitting assignments. But when one of the kids that Carson is watching sneaks out to go to a concert, she turns to Carpenter for help. Soon the gals, plus their young charges, go on a mad search for the missing youngster. The group’s wild night involves towed cars, scalped concert tickets, cute boys, gala parties and a crazy ferret. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Shaun The Sheep – The Farmer’s Llamas: Did Shaun bite off a bit more than he can chew? It sure seems that way after the lovable rascal follows Farmer and Bitzer to a country fair and comes up with the idea of bringing back home three witty llamas. It’s fun at first but soon Shaun discovers that his new llama roomies are a bit too wild for Mossy Bottom Farm. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Tarzan – Lord of the Jungle – The Complete Season One: Journey deep into the lush, mysterious jungle, filled with wonder, beauty and peril!. When threatened by Vikings, poachers, UFOs and other evil intruders, Tarzan summons his strength and intelligence, not to mention his loyal animal friends, to help him restore harmony to their beloved jungle home. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
K.C. Undercover: Thanks to a new deal between Hulu and the Disney-ABC Television Group, all seasons of a handful of top-rated kids titles from the Disney Channel will be available to stream on the site. The deal, which will bring over 500 episodes and more than 20 original movies from The Disney-ABC Television Group’s suite of networks to the Hulu Kids library, is the largest kids programming deal made between the two companies to date. Check out “Gravity Falls,” “Star Vs. The Forces of Evil,” “Dog With A Blog” and “Austin &Ally,” to name a few shows. On Hulu.