WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
While “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012) didn’t exactly cry out for a sequel and/or prequel, there’s plenty of enjoyable sequences in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” an adventure saga that’s billed as the story before the fairy tale.
Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt seem to be having a blast playing sisters and competing wicked queens while Chris Hemsworth gives a charismatic performance as a warrior searching the forest for a missing magical mirror.
Hemsworth also finds time to woo a fellow fighter (Jessica Chastain) and take a good bit of teasing from wise-cracking elves (a wonderful Sheridan Smith, Nick Frost). It’s definitely worth a look. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Also New to Steaming
Weiner: This riveting documentary starts out as a look at the unlikely comeback of Anthony Weiner, a congressman forced to resign thanks to a sexting scandal. Bouncing back after the public humiliation, Weiner is on track to become the Democratic candidate for mayor of New York when history repeats itself and new sexting allegations emerge. “Weiner” is fascinating not only because of the politician’s meltdown but also because it showcases how members of the media are only too happy to bypass topics like healthcare reform and public housing to probe the particulars of Weiner’s sex life. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Clown: If you find clowns creepy, this scarefest, directed by “Cop Car’s” Jon Watts, is sure to raise a goosebump or two. Andy Powers stars as a father who dons a clown suit to entertain his son and then discovers he can’t remove the costume nor stop the horrific changes to his personality. “Clown” is better in the early going but even as the action turns sicker and more twisted, Watts remains in full command of the material, sliding into a particularly dark groove with a couple of queasy amusement park interludes involving severed limbs and buckets of blood. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
The Man Who Knew Infinity: In this earnest, fact-based drama, Dev Patel stars as Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematical genius who, in the days before World War I, travels to Cambridge University to begin a partnership with professor G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons). You’d think the friendship between this odd couple would be at the heart of the drama but instead there’s endless talk about prime numbers, patrician functions and proofs. In the end, thin characterizations plus a shoddy plot equal a dull biopic. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Roots: The History Channel’s unflinching remake of the classic 1977 mini-series is boosted by an irreproachable cast and tense storylines that depict the African-American experience through the saga of Mandinka warrior Kunta Kinte (Brit Kirby) and his descendents. While the series doesn’t softpedal the brutality of Kunta’s existence as a slave, it interweaves plenty of warm interludes involving the Fiddler (Forest Whitaker) and Kunta’s romance with Belle (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Among its other attributes, “Roots” is an immersive experience that puts you in the shoes of characters struggling to survive some of the worst conditions in history. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
The Kicks: Season 1: Amazon Prime’s latest series pivots on a teen soccer player named Devin Burke (Sixx Orange) who is treated shabbily by her new teammates after she moves to California. Devin eventually becomes the star player but she still has to rise to the challenge of a team that’s been on a losing streak and is badly in need of a leader to turn things around. The pilot aired back in July. On Amazon Prime.
XOXO: According to Rolling Stone, Netflix’s new original movie is “colorful and frenetic.” The backdrop is a fictional EDM festival and the action involves “characters who exist on both sides of the festival as fans, DJs and more.” The cast includes Sarah Hyland of “Modern Family” as well as Ione Skye, Colin Woodell, Chris D’Elia and Ryan Hansen. On Netflix.
Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season: Who will stand between the evil Warstar and the devastation of Earth? Supernatural guardian Gosei and the trusty Megaforce team, of course. Over seven hours of episodes are on tap. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir: Marinette and Adrien prove that not all superheroes are tortured souls. In this animated gem, the pals transform themselves into Ladybug and Cat Noir to save the citizens of Paris from the treacherous Hawk. With the help of their magical pets and jewelry, the young students save the day in style. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Ratchet & Clank: Based on the popular video game franchise, this animated feature follows the adventures of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a nasty alien from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. Lending their voices to the proceedings: Sylvester Stallone, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne and Rosario Dawson. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.