STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
“Battle For Incheon: Operation Chromite” (2016, CMJ, unrated, $15) is a solid, if slightly stiff, historical epic, about a little known chapter in Korean War history.
The action pivots on a handful of brave South Koreans, led by Navy Lt. Hak-soo Jang (Jung-jae Lee), who go undercover in North Korea in hopes of securing secret information for General Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson) who’s planning a surprise attack on the port city of Incheon.
Despite the fact that a lot of characters come and go, director John H. Lee manages to keep the focus on Jang who makes for a thrilling and relatable spy hero. Neeson struggles with the accent but there’s no denying his star power. He helps to give “Battle For Incheon” the energy and authority it needs. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Also New To Streaming
Fatima: Winner of France’s Cesar Award for Best Picture, this slice-of-life drama provides a vivid snapshot of the immigrant experience from the perspective of Fatima (Sonia Zeroual), a Moroccan survivor who cleans houses to make a living and sells off her jewelry to bankroll her daughters’ education. One of Fatima’s daughters is a rebel while the other one works incredibly hard to make it through her first year as a med student. The rare domestic drama that acknowledges how tough it is to make ends meet, “Fatima” finds poetry and poignancy in life’s everyday struggles. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
A Month of Sundays: As Frank Mollard, an Australian real-estate agent who’s in a rut both at home and at work, Anthony LaPaglia reminds you what a wily, likeable presence he can be. Frank is still feeling the loss of his mother when he strikes up an unexpected friendship with an elderly woman (Julia Blake) whom he meets via a wrong-number phone call. As far as a plot is concerned, there isn’t much to the movie, which feels padded at 120 minutes. But the relationship between LaPaglia and Blake never strikes a false note. In the end, “Month” is more nuanced and smarter than its premise might suggest. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Mr. Pig: In debt and about to lose his small ranch, a farmer named Ambrose (Danny Glover) heads to Mexico to sell his last hog Howard to the son of an old friend. But when Ambrose sees the horrific conditions animals face on a modern farm, he changes his mind. Soon, Ambrose and his daughter (Maya Rudolph) are driving through rural Mexico searching for a safe haven for Howard. The third film helmed by the actor Diego Luna, “Mr. Pig” exudes a shaggy and offbeat charm. You can’t help but be drawn in to this tale of a man searching for peace near the end of his life. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Dancer: Ukrainian-born dancer Sergei Polunin has been called “the James Dean of the ballet world” for his bad boy behavior, which includes dancing while high, covering his body with tattoos and quitting London’s Royal Ballet at the height of his powers. This candid documentary, which tells Polunin’s story from his childhood until the release of his viral video for Hozier’s “Take Me To The Church,” not only provides a portrait of the talented terpsichorean but also ponders the fallout from too much success. During the course of the movie, Polunin seems to learn the importance of dancing for himself rather than those around him. Prepare to dazzled. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Heart of a Dog: For her first film in more than 30 years, performance artist Laurie Anderson delivers a dreamy rumination on death and other forms of absence. It begins as a celebration of her recently deceased rat terrier Lolabelle and widens to include thoughts on Tibetan Buddhism, childhood traumas and the modern surveillance state. Oddly, Anderson doesn’t dwell on the loss of either Lolabelle or her husband Lou Reed, who passed away in 2013, though they both seem to have inspired her quest to understand the afterlife. Stranger still, this experimental movie winds up feeling life-affirming rather than death-obsessed. On FilmStruck.com.
Beware The Slenderman: Talk about a modern tragedy. On May 31, 2014, two 12-year-old girls lured one of their best pals to the woods outside Waukesha, Wisconsin where they stabbed her 19 times and left her for dead. The tweeners carried out the crime, they’ve said, to please a fictional cyber-inspired ghoul named Slenderman. Director Irene Taylor Brodsky digs into the events with considerable insight, arguing that the Internet is more powerful than many parents imagine. The case against the girls, who will be tried as adults, is expected to reach trial later this year. On HBO Go.
Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution: A critical favorite when it premiered last year on British TV, this adaptation of one of Christie’s snazziest whodunits gives a handful of talented thesps like Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones and Kim Cattrall the chance to inhabit fascinating characters. The series was written by “And Then There Were None” Sarah Phelps who continues to find ways to make Agatha Christie’s stories dark, fresh and relevant. On Acorn TV
For The Kids
Guardians of Oz: If your youngsters can’t get enough of “The Wizard of Oz,” cue up this feature length cartoon which continues the adventure. Holland, Pa.’s Jenn McAllister , who is a big deal on YouTube, voices Gabby, a cheeky sorceress. After wicked witch Eviline (Ambyr Childers) tries to steal back her all-powerful broom, Gabby joins forces with a kindhearted flying monkey named Ozzy (Mikey Bolts) to set things right. Their mission: find the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Woodman. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Adventure Time: Islands: Before it airs on the Cartoon Network from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, this eight-part mini-series is available for streaming. Expect the show to finally address the question of what happened to the humans as well as track Jake and Finn as they travel to the Land of Ooo on a quest of epic proportions. There will be wonder, mystery, danger and robo-dolphins. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu