STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
With “The Magnificent Seven,” director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) stocks the cast with a refreshingly diverse mix of actors, including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Byung-hun Lee, Ethan Hawke, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulf and Vincent D’Onofrio.
But that’s where Fuqua’s adventurousness ends. The plot, involving a septet of bad-asses coming together to save a town from a greedy industrialist (Peter Sarsgaard), is as musty as an old saddle-bag. (And, yes, we know the movie is based on the beloved 1960 western.)
Still, there’s a lot worse ways to spend the evening than watching Washington and Pratt trade quips and play shoot-em-up with scores of no-good varmints. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
Also New To Streaming
Morgan: In this fast-paced mash up of “Frankenstein” and last year’s “ Ex Machina,” a risk assessment manager (Kate Mara) is tasked with shutting down a top-secret lab where “genetically designed humans” like Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) are being developed. Directed with panache by Ridley Scott’s son Luke Scott, “Morgan” has more than enough fun, substance and dash to justify its existence. Best of all, Scott gives his actors, including Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Paul Giamatti and Rose Leslie, some room to stretch out. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
Me, Myself and Her: Even though fiftysomething architect Federica (Margherita Buy) has been in a relationship for five years with her restaurateur girlfriend Marina (Sabrina Ferilli), she’s still uncomfortable being gay. So, when Federica meets a man she once fancied, she decides to act on the attraction. Both Buy and Ferilli are wonderful at depicting a relationship in crisis and filmmaker Maria Sole Tognazzi wisely sets the movie in some of Italy’s most picturesque vacation spots. The plot might be simplistic but this Italian-language drama emerges as a fresh look at love and betrayal. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
Mars: In this innovative National Geographic series, speculative fiction and documentary fact meet in an effort to dramatize what life would be like on Mars. Exec-produced by Ron Howard, the show alternates interviews with big thinkers like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk with a story, set in 2033, about the world working together to colonize the Red Planet. Production values are high for a show that’s sure to achieve lift-off with sci-fi geeks everywhere. On Hulu.
Fear The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season: During the second season of AMC’s “Walking Dead” prequel, many of the characters set sail for ports unknown in hopes of escaping the Walkers. But, as the Southland survivors quickly discover, water is no safer than land. Unaware of exactly how bad the zombie apocalypse is, the passengers (Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Ruben Blades) must deal with vicious communities of survivors as well as the ever-present undead. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
The Executioner: Kudos to Criterion for reviving this black-comic gem about capital punishment. Spain’s Luis Garcia Berlanga directs the tale of an undertaker named Jose (Nino Manfredi) who falls hard for an executioner’s daughter (Emma Pennela). Soon, Jose discovers that the only way for him and his family to remain living in their nifty state-sponsored apartment is for him to take over his father-in-law’s job. The giggles come fast and furious in the early parts of the film but as Jose comes closer to carrying out his first execution, those laughs begin sticking in your throat. On FilmStruck.
For The Kids
The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Season 4: The frisky feline starred in his very own movie after the “Shrek” movies concluded and now he’s back on Netflix thanks to this well-received series. Billed as “the world’s greatest feline fighter, lover and milk connoisseur,” Puss finds himself enjoying plenty of daring adventures during the latest 13 episodes. Expect to be charmed by the courageous cat. On Netflix.
Trollhunters: Season 1: “Hellboy” maven Guillermo del Toro oversees this animated series about a group of friends who discover a fantastical new world underneath their home town of Arcadia. After a fifteen-year old teenager stumbles upon a Magical Amulet, he’s named the Trollhunter, and must help defend the good trolls from the bad trolls. This is one of Anton Yelchin’s last projects before his untimely death earlier this year. Also providing voices are Ron Perlman and Kelsey Grammer. On Netflix.
Chasing Cameron: Season 1: Social media star Cameron Dallas is the focus of this reality series which follows the 22-year-old as he and his pals hit the first MAGCON (Meet and Greet Convention) international tour, with appearances in Italy, France, Australia, and other locales. From the looks of the trailer, the Vine star is a real heartthrob, with some female fans leaving him bloodied and bruised. “There’s definitely pressure for me to keep everyone happy,” Dallas says at one point. “The fans don’t really know what’s really going on.” Now, they’ll be able to find out. On Netflix.
Maximum Ride: Based on the best-selling book series by James Patterson, this high-flying actioner follows the saga of six DNA-enhanced young orphans who are determined to rescue one of their flock from the clutches of evil scientists. Can the teens’ leader Max (Allie Marie Evans) summon enough smarts and courage to outwit the baddies and their half-human, half-wolf enforcers? If you enjoyed “Hunger Games” and the “Divergent” series, jump aboard. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.