STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORGF
For Digital First Media
Directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”), “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” works amazingly well both as a standalone movie and a riff on the mythology George Lucas created decades ago.
Set just before the events depicted in the 1977 “Star Wars,” the film stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a spirited warrior who joins her fellow rebels (Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang) on a mission to locate her missing engineer-father (Mads Mikelsen) and steal plans for the Death Star.
One of the smartest and most adult films in the series — no Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks! — “Rogue One” gets extra-credit points for sharp performances, crystal-clear plotting and a powerful third-act that recalls some of Hollywood’s best war movies. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Also New To VOD and Streaming
Patriots Day: Just like “Deepwater Horizon” and “Sully,” this based-on-a-true-story saga does a superb job of celebrating everyday heroes. Mark Wahlberg, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon and John Goodman star as law enforcement officers who play a part in capturing the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers (Themo Melikidze, Alex Wolff) who killed three people and wounded countless others. Even though director/co-writer Peter Berg resists the urge to sensationalize the proceedings, he scatters countless fascinating scenes throughout, including a pulse-pounding shoot-out in Watertown and an interrogation between a steely FBI agent (Khandi Alexander) and a Tsarnaev widow (Melissa Benoist). On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Office Christmas Party: If movies could be re-gifted, you’d be passing along this dud as quickly as possible. Jason Bateman and T. J. Miller star as tech company owners who attempt to land a big shot client (Courtney B. Vance) by throwing the ultimate holiday bash. Like all movies built around a party, the set-up is an excuse for lots of outrageous behavior. Jennifer Aniston anchors a few diverting scenes but when the great Kate McKinnon is reduced to jokes about flatulence you know the filmmakers have nothing but coal in their cinematic stockings. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
The Get Down: Part Two: Brooklyn in the 1970s is the setting for the latest five episodes of Baz Luhrmann’s music-drenched series. While the first part of the season drew mixed reviews, Luhrmann has promised to turn the beat around, using a bit of animation and CGI to take viewers inside the fantasies of our heroes. Set a year after the events depicted in the first six episodes, Mylene (Herizen F. Guardiola) has become a disco star, and Zeke (Justice Smith) is trying to stake a claim in the music industry without compromising his ideals. On Netflix.
Win It All: The latest gem from indie maven Joe Swanberg (“Drinking Buddies”) stars Jake Johnson as a gambling addict who is presented with a duffel bag full of cash by an acquaintance heading off to prison. Johnson is instructed not to touch the green stuff but of course he does, and promptly winds up deeply in debt. When his pal’s prison release is shortened, Johnson suddenly has a small window of time to win back all of the money. Keegan-Michael Kay co-stars in a movie which Indiewire calls “an endearing crowd-pleaser.” On Neftlix.
The Ardennes: It’s brother against brother in this dark and gritty crime thriller set against the backdrop of the mysterious forests of the Ardennes. After getting out of prison, Belgian thug Kenny (Kevin Janssens) discovers that his brother Dave (Jeroen Perceval) has cleaned up his act and is now dating Kenny’s girlfriend (Veerie Baetens.) The brother-against-brother plot is as old as the mountains. But, thanks to Flemish director Robin Pront, the picture charges along with B-movie verve even as it manages to capture the rich atmosphere of the criminal underworld. Extras: featurette and commentary by Pront and Janssens. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Archer: The Complete Seventh Season: The gang is back and this season their mission involves protecting an actress from blackmail – and Archer’s libido. They also must deal with a terminator mummy, gunmen clowns, bodies in swimming pools and Archer’s weird voice-mail messages. All ten episodes are on tap for your viewing pleasure. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
For The Kids
Heidi: The great German actor Bruno Ganz toplines this enchanting fairy tale about the title character (Anuk Steffen) who is sent to live with her grandfather (Ganz) in the Swiss Alps. For Heidi, the snow-capped mountains and green valleys are backdrops to a magical existence. But Heidi’s aunt will have none of it and takes the youngster away to live in the city with a rich family. Will Heidi be able to return to the place she calls home? On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: Leave it to this superhero duo to save Paris from the forces of evil. Now, if they could only find a way to juggle their homework, friends and family. There’s six new episodes on tap, all of which deliver plenty of high-flying fun. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Deidra and Laney Rob A Train: Life is moving fast for whip-smart high school senior Deidra (Ashleigh Murray) and her younger sister Laney (Rachel Crow). Graduation looms, their part-time dad is a full-time schemer, and adolescent embarrassments arrive daily, just like the train that rambles noisily through their backyard. But events take a turn for the worse when their mother Marigold (Danielle Nicolet) is thrown in jail for a minor offense. To help her struggling family, Deidra hatches a scheme to start robbing trains. Things go off without a hitch, until a railroad detective (Tim Blake Nelson) starts sniffing around. On Netflix.