STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
Meryl Streep delivers yet another stunning performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” Stephen Frears’ entertaining biopic about a heiress from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. who longs to be a great opera singer. The problem is that Florence doesn’t possess an iota of talent.
Florence’s husband (Hugh Grant) and pianist (Simon Helberg) keep the truth from her until she sets her sights on performing at Carnegie Hall. The beauty of Streep’s turn is that she gives a very silly socialite surprising depth.
Sure, Florence is hilariously bad as she trills her beloved tunes but the movie is clearly on the side of a woman who refuses to give on her dreams. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
Also New To Streaming
Barry: Hot on the heels of “Southside With You,” the story of Michelle and Barack Obama’s first date, comes this look at a 20-year-old future-president when he first arrived in New York City in the fall of 1981 to begin his junior year at Columbia University. Barry, as his buddies call him, is trying to figure out who he is while maintaining relationships with his Kansas-born mom (Ashley Judd), his estranged Kenyan father and his classmates. A hit on the film fest circuit, “Barry” is the story of a young man dealing with some of the same problems his country is still grappling with 35 years later. On Netflix.
Author – The JT Leroy Story: One of the most astonishing literary hoaxes of all time gets dissected in riveting detail in this documentary about the overnight stardom of JT LeRoy, a gay teen whose novels recount his abusive childhood and brushes with prostitution and drugs. But JT never existed and was, in fact, the creation of the 40-year-old Brooklyn housewife Laura Alpert. Director Jeff Feuerzeig makes use of scores of taped phone conversations between “JT” and various celebrities and allows Albert to finally tell her own story, which is never less than fascinating. A must-see. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
The Man In The High Tower – Season 2: With the KKK holding rallies to celebrate the victory of Donald Trump, this creepy series about what would have happened if the Nazis won WW2 doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched. In this alternate-universe of 1962, the reins of power in North America are held by John Smith (Rufus Sewell) a slick Nazi official. But, on the coasts, the Resistance is gathering steam. This season, expect new characters to be played by Bella Heathcote and Callum Keith Rennie. On Amazon.
Knucklehead: “The Wire’s” Gbenga Akinnagbe dominates this character study of a mentally ill young man named Langston who, following his beloved brother’s disappearance, begins to spiral out of control. As he loses his grip on reality, Langston becomes obsessed with finding the right meds to cure him. “Knucklehead” misses a big opportunity by not better exploring the tempestuous bond between Langston and his abusive mom (Alfre Woodard) but director Ben Bowman succeeds in offering a sympathetic portrait of a survivor determined to see the best in people. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
Crazyhead – Season One: Called “bright, punchy and genuinely funny” by Britain’s Telegraph, this series stars Susan Wokoma and “Downton Abbey’s” Cara Theobold as two “seers,” or gifted women who can sense when a human being has been taken over by something evil or supernatural. Crazyhead is “ ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ but with bad language and a down-to-earth attitude to sex and romance,” says the Telegraph. Count us in. On Netflix.
Kicks: How far would you go to get back a pair of stolen sneakers? If you’re 15-year-old Brandon (Jahking Guillory) and you’ve just been robbed of your prized vintage Air Jordans, you’d go pretty far. A coming-of-age saga set against the mean streets of Oakland, California, “Kicks” follows Brandon and his best friends (Christopher Jordan Wallace, Christopher Meyer) as they go in search of the thug (Kofi Siriboe ) who jacked the footwear. First-time director Justin Tipping overdoes the violence and grit but his inspired use of slow-motion and the top-notch performances pull you in. “Kicks” is too good to ignore. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
The Legend of Korra – The Complete Series: Fans of Japanese anime will want to check out this show which keeps the spirit of “Avatar” alive. From the battle to save Republic City to opening the portal between Spirit and Man and restoring peace to the Earth Kingdom, relive all the air-, earth-, water- and fire-bending adventures of the series’ beloved heroes. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Straight from its run on TV comes the remake of the most famous cult movie of all time. “Orange Is The New Black” regular Laverne Cox struts her stuff as Dr. Frank-N-Furter while Ryan McCarten and Victoria Justice play Brad and Janet, the straitlaced couple who, thanks to a bad storm, enjoy an adventure to end all adventures. Watch for a cameo by the original movie’s star, Tim Curry, and do the time warp again! On Fox.com.
For the Kids
LEGO Star Wars – Freemaker Adventures: Tag along with a family of scavengers as they build and sell starships from battle debris they’ve found strewn around the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection to the Force through a Kyber Saber, he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire. Can they help restore peace and freedom to the galaxy? This series is set after the events of “The Empire Strikes Back” and before “Return of the Jedi.” On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.