STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
When stand-up superstar Kevin Hart came home to Philadelphia for the finale of his comedy tour, he wound up performing in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 53,000 people at the city’s Lincoln Financial Field.
“Kevin Hart: What Now?” captures that rambunctious show, which features Hart riffing on some of his favorite topics like his girlfriend and his height. But arguably the funniest bits are his extended routines about such diverse subjects as Starbucks, the men’s room in the San Francisco airport and “The Conjuring.”
In spite of a penchant for shouting too much of his monologues, “What Now” will leave you giggling. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Also New to Streaming
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1: Jim Carey played the dastardly Count Olaf in the movie adaptation of Daniel Handler’s book series. And now Neil Patrick Harris gets a crack at the flamboyant baddie who makes life miserable for the three orphans who’ve been placed in his care. Reportedly, the first season of the Netflix program will cover four of the 13 novels, giving Olaf plenty of opportunities to try and separate the youngsters from their fortune. Patrick Warburton narrates and Alfre Woodard and Joan Cusack play supporting roles. On Netflix.
Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher: Originally scheduled for a March bow, HBO moved up this Cannes Film-premiering documentary to pay tribute to the mother/daughter duo who died within a day of each other last year. Expect a funny and ultimately bittersweet picture full of film footage, interviews, never-before-seen photos and vintage home movies. By all accounts, it’s a honey of a doc with the “fabulously original” pair coming off, in critic David Rooney’s words, as “the Hollywood version of ‘Grey Gardens.’” On HBO Now.
The Accountant: This peculiar action thriller pivots on an autistic man named Christian (Ben Affleck) who happens to be a math genius, a never-miss sniper and an expert in hand-to-hand combat. It’s more than a little far-fetched. Still, director Gavin O’Connor deserves credit for attempting to make a big-budget movie so strange and unexpected. And individual scenes are compelling, particularly the ones involving hints of a romance between Christian and another numbers-cruncher (Anna Kendrick) and the flashbacks flushing out Christian’s childhood. It’s not perfect but “The Accountant” manages to hit the action sweet spot more times than it misses. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
My King: Admitted to a rehab facility following a skiing accident, an attorney named Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot) flashes back to her toxic marriage to her restaurateur husband (Vincent Cassel). It might sound corny but the film’s decision to equate Tony’s physical healing with her emotional rebirth works beautifully. Actress-turned-filmmaker Maiwenn beautifully captures the push-pull of the romance between opposites. It’s a shame about the film’s overlong running time but otherwise “My King” is the rare relationship drama that feels like real life. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
The Idol: Based on a true story, this crowd-pleaser unreels the saga of Mohammed Assaf, a native of Gaza who overcomes great odds to compete on “Arab Idol,” the most popular show in the Arab world. The action begins with the golden-throated Assaf (Qais Atallah) being persuaded to perform by his spunky sister (Hiba Atallah). A decade or so later, Assaf (now played by Tawfeek Barhom) is singing at weddings and driving a taxi to pay his bills but he never loses his passion for music. Director Hany Abu-Assad’s (“Omar”) straightforward telling of this saga beautifully serves the actors and the clear-eyed script. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Counter Clockwise: Writer/director/producer/editor/cinematographer George Moise deserves a lot of credit for concocting a time-travel thriller which keeps upending expectations at every turn. Sure, “Counter Clockwise” eventually slips off the rails but for a good long while it keeps you intrigued with the saga of a scientist (Michael Kopelow) who sends himself six months into the future. Trouble arises when he discovers that his future self is wanted for murdering both his wife and sister. Even though it grows too complicated – and the ending turns unspeakably nasty – there’s enough invention here to impress even the most hardcore sci-fi fan. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vu
FOR THE KIDS
Long Way North: This animated gem has a lot going for it, including a strong human element and hand-drawn animation that pleases the eye. But, best of all, it delivers the girl power goods. Set in 19th century Russia, the saga revolves around Sacha, a young aristocrat who dreams of big adventures. Instead of submitting to an arranged marriage, she flees her family and launches a journey to the Great North in search of her explorer grandfather. Expect to be blown away by this gem. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Max Steel: All Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) wants to do is fit in at his new school but when he meets Steel, a rebellious techno-organic alien, he discovers that he’s intended for bigger things. Together, the pair joins up to become Max Steel, a superhero capable of stopping the sinister forces in the universe. Andy Garcia and Maria Bello co-star in the sci-fi adventure. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Apple of My Eye: Billed as an inspirational film for the whole family, this drama centers on a young girl (Avery Arendes) who defines herself by her equestrian abilities. When she loses her eyesight in a traumatic accident, she nearly gives up on life until she meets a Guide Dog trainer (Burt Reynolds) who introduces her to her new companion, the miniature horse Apple. In no time, the creature has become Avery’s new best friend and her eyes. The supporting cast includes Amy Smart and “The Flash’s” Liam McIntyre. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu