WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
As every “Gilmore Girls” addict knows, series creators Amy-Sherman Palladino and Daniel Palladino had nothing to do with the show’s seventh and final season. But they’re back for the Netflix exclusive “The Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life,” which consists of four 90-minute films, each set during a different season in the life of Lorelei (Lauren Graham ) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel).
The action reportedly picks up eight years after we last checked in with the java-loving mother-and-daughter duo. Amazingly, nearly all of the characters are back for this sequel series, including those played by Scott Patterson (Luke), Kelly Bishop (Emily) and Melissa McCarthy (Sookie). Where Lorelei and Rory lead, we will follow. On Netflix Friday.
Also New To Streaming
Mechanic: Resurrection: In this down-and-dirty sequel to the 2011 hit, Jason Statham is back as the title character, a hitman forced to assassinate three of the world’s most dangerous men in exchange for the life of his girlfriend (Jessica Alba). Since Statham’s three missions involve targets hiding out in an isolated prison, a luxury penthouse and an undersea bunker, the jobs are all exciting in different ways. It would have been nice to see Statham flex his comic muscles a bit but as dumb fun goes, “Mechanic” has the right moves. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World: During this documentary about the digital age, a number of scientists and scholars insist that the Web isn’t about people but filmmaker Werner Herzog (“Grizzly Man”) manages to tell the story of the virtual world via a handful of fascinating folks. There’s Internet addicts, women who say they’re allergic to the radiation unleashed by cell towers, geniuses who chart the history of the Web and techies who claim that eventually it will be possible to tweet with just your brainwaves. “Lo and Behold” manages to make science entertaining. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
The Childhood of a Leader: Actor-turned-director Brady Corbet (“Funny Games”) tells quite an ambitious story with this eerie, World War I-era drama about a rebellious boy (Tom Sweet) whose bratty behavior unnerves his upper-crust mother (Berenice Bejo) and diplomat dad (Liam Cunningham). While the youngster hurls rocks at strangers and lashes out at his mom, his father is helping to write the peace treaty which will crush a defeated Germany, thereby setting the stage for Hitler’s rise. While Corbet doesn’t quite make this parable play, “Childhood” forces you to ponder just how easily fascism takes root. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
The Squid and the Whale: Noah Baumbach’s coming-of-age dramedy, which has been given a Blu-ray upgrade, is a carefully observed, darkly comic look at the divorce of two New York intellectuals (Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels) and how it impacts their young sons (Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline). The performances are all note-perfect but this is Eisenberg’s movie and he’s astonishingly good as a teenager who comes to realize that his idolization of his father is misguided. A study in shifting allegiances and the ways that good intentions can go horribly awry, “The Squid and the Whale” beautifully captures the heartbreak of growing up. On FilmStruck.
High Maintenance: Season 1: Dubbed HBO’s best new show by Indiewire, this comedy provides a glimpse into the homes and routines of six eccentric, weed-loving New Yorkers. Ben Sinclair stars as The Guy, a grass dealer whose client base includes a group of characters with neuroses as diverse as the city. Each episode features multiple stories exploring the inner workings of people from all walks of life, told fly-on-the-wall style. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
3 Percent: Season 1: In this futuristic Portuguese-language series, the world is divided between the haves and the have-nots. Folks are given an opportunity to make it to the land of progress but they’re only given a three percent chance at success. Expect a program that has the look and feel of Brazil’s “City of God,” with which this series shares some of the same filmmakers. On Netflix.
Sausage Party: Who’d have thought that a naughty cartoon about sausages, buns and bagels could also raise fascinating questions about the nature of faith and religion? But that’s just one of the many surprises of this animated film co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen stars as Frank, a sausage who discovers the truth about his short-lived existence. There’s a lot to like about “Sausage Party” but what really impresses are the unconventional touches such as a character named Gum (Scott Underwood) who models himself after Stephen Hawking. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
For The Kids
The Wild Life: Embark on a fun adventure with an animated film that centers on Robinson Crusoe, who, in this re-telling, makes the most out of being shipwrecked on a deserted island. Rather than holing up alone, he befriends a group of quirky animals. It’s a good thing Robinson has some pals because when savage cats invade his island paradise, he and his new buddies are forced to band together and defend their homes. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu.
Lone Wolf and Cub: Here’s one of the most essential releases of the year: six of the most stylish and highly kinetic martial arts movies ever made. Tomisaburo Wakayama stars as Ogami, an executioner who wanders the countryside, with his infant son and a well-armed baby buggy in tow, looking for his wife’s killers. While on his mission, he helps those he encounters in surprising ways. This series, which was a big influence on Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill,” is beloved in Japan not only for its thrilling action sequences but also for the tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child. On FilmStruck.