STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
Never once falling prey to sequel-itis, Pixar’s lovely “Finding Dory” is awash in delights, including a hilarious performance by Ellen DeGeneres as the absent-minded blue tang, a timely celebration of diversity, and animation that’s amazingly colorful and fluid.
Set a year after Dory helped Marlin (Albert Brooks) locate his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), the action picks up as Dory realizes she needs to find her folks (Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy).
It’s non-stop laughs as one scene-stealing character after another swims into view, including a pair of slacker sea lions (Dominic West, Idris Elba), a nearsighted shark (Kaitlin Olson) and a cranky octopus (Ed O’Neill). Dive in. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Also New To Streaming
Miss Sharon Jones!: Often described as the female James Brown, Jones is a real powerhouse on stage. She’s even tougher offstage. In this harrowing and ultimately rousing documentary from Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County U.S.A.”), Jones learns she has pancreatic cancer and struggles to keep her band afloat even as she’s undergoing round after round of chemotherapy. The ultimate soul survivor, Jones winds up recording a Grammy-nominated album and enjoying a comeback at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre. Whether refusing to wear a wig onstage or performing only two months after finishing up chemo, Jones is a real inspiration. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Fort Tilden: Two hipsters living in Williamsburg shun responsibilities to spend a day at the beach but getting from Brooklyn to the Rockaways is tougher than it looks. The confusing journey across the boroughs becomes a metaphor for the directionless lives of Harper (Bridey Elliott) and Allie (Clare McNulty). That said, “Fort Tilden” isn’t the least bit preachy as first-time filmmakers Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers find hilarity in the millennial angst of its sharply observed anti-heroines. A winner of the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, the movie has a lot to say about the dark places we go in search of amusement. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Mercy: In this Netflix original, four estranged brothers return to their childhood home to help care for their dying mother, only to discover that there are still plenty of secrets and lies they must address. “Mad Men’s” James Wolk and “Masters of Sex’s” Caitlin FitzGerald co-star in the film, which is being billed as a home invasion thriller. The man behind the camera is Chris Sparling, who wrote the underrated “Buried” and “Sea of Trees.” On Netflix.
Paranoid: Season One: If you’re in the mood for a police procedural, check out this eight-part conspiracy thriller that pivots on the murder of a woman doctor at an isolated children’s playground. According The Wrap.com, the show takes plenty of twists and turns “as the investigation deepens and detectives realize they are in a mammoth battle with a formidable global foe while also fighting their own demons.” Among the cast: Lesley Sharp and “Game of Thrones” star Indira Varma. On Netflix.
Con Man: Season 2: After starring in the cult series “Spectrum,” Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk) winds up out of work and forced to attend sci-fi fan conventions and comic book store events while his co-star and best buddy Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) goes on to become a big-time movie star. This comedy, created by Tudyk, explores what happens behind the scenes in the world of fandom. On Amazon.
Punch-Drunk Love: Has Adam Sandler ever given a better performance than he does as Barry Egan, an angry, pudding-obsessed gadget salesman who finds himself drawn to a businesswoman (Emily Watson) with her own set of peculiarities? Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson seems to believe that falling in love is unsettling business which might explain why he punctuates the film with Barry’s strange bouts of rage and scores the action with Jon Brion’s discordant music. Not everything works but Sandler and Watson make enough magic to keep you hanging on. On FilmStruck.com.
For The Kids
Alpha and Omega: The Big Fureeze: There’s fun galore in this lively animated adventure that celebrates the holidays in unique fashion. The action begins when wolf pups Stinky, Claudette and Runt discover their folks are lost in the woods. Determined to rescue their parents, the little ones take matters into their own paws and venture into a blizzard. Nothing is going to stop these wolves from spending their holidays together as a family. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Arlo The Burping Pig: A lovable swine (Drake Bell) with a penchant for belching steals the show of this comedy about the bond between a seven-year old named Talia (Lindsey Blanchard) and a pig who’s escaped from the circus. The family film also includes a mystery involving a stolen Ming vase as well as appearances by Joey Lawrence and Jennifer Taylor. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Snowtime!: It’s winter break and 11-year-old pals Luke and Sophie have decided to pass the time with a massive snowball fight. Sophie defends an elaborate snow fort against Luke’s hordes but what starts out as a game turns into a more serious conflict as time goes on. Can joy and peace be restored or will the kids’ friendship melt away? On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.