This week on streaming video, we’ve got a highly anticipated Batman animated film, four selections from the filmography of celebrated Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and a couple of small recent films available to purchase. Then, on subscription services, we’ve got some quality TV, a couple of thrillers, and more. Read on for the full list.


Available for Purchase

 

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) 36%

Based on one of the darkest chapters in the Caped Crusader’s saga, this animated film finds Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) squaring off with the Joker (Mark Hamill), who gets an origin story and later attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise) insane.

Available now on: Amazon, FandangoNowiTunes


What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984) 78%

The first of four Pedro Almodóvar films newly available to purchase on iTunes, this darkly comic drama about a housewife attempting to keep a level head in the midst of a gaggle of eccentric relatives.

Available 7/31 on: iTunes


Born to Be Blue (2015) 88%

Ethan Hawke and Carmen Ejogo star in this Certified Fresh biopic of doomed jazz trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes


Into the Forest (2015) 76%

Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star in this thriller about a pair of sisters attempting to survive an apocalyptic power outage by retreating into the woods surrounding their home.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes


Live Flesh (1997) 81%

Pedro Almodóvar’s loose adaptation of the Ruth Rendell novel of the same name centers on a young man and a cop whose lives become interwined at the scene of a domestic dispute.

Available 7/31 on: iTunes


Dark Habits (1984) 71%

Another selection from Almodóvar, this dark comedy follows a nightclub singer who seeks refuge in a convent run by eccentric nuns after her lover ODs on bad heroin.

Available 7/31 on: iTunes


Kika (1993) 56%

Lastly from Almodóvar, another dark comedy, this time following an aspiring actress-turned-makeup artist and the various criminals, schemers, and unsavory people who populate her life.

Available 7/31 on: iTunes


Dough (2015) 53%

Jonathan Pryce stars in this dramedy about a London bakery owner who hires a teen pot dealer as an assistant and makes a killing when the boy’s marijuana stash finds its way into the mixing dough.

Available now on: iTunes


New on Netflix

 

BoJack Horseman: Season 3 (2016) 100%

Will Arnett lends his voice to this Netflix original animated series’ title character, a washed-up former sitcom star — who happens to be an anthropomorphic horse — attempting to make a comeback and dealing with various personal issues.

Available now on: Netflix


The Wave (2015) 83%

This Certified Fresh Norwegian thriller centers on a fjord collapse and the subsequent danger it poses to a sleepy tourist town.

Available now on: Netflix


High Strung (2016) 75%

This musical drama follows the artistic and personal collaboration between a ballet dancer and a street musician.

Available now on: Netflix


Rise of the Legend (2014) 63%

Sammo Hung stars in this martial arts film about a young fighter who returns to his home village to exact vengeance upon the gang boss who murdered his father.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Vikings: Season 4 (2016) 92%

Based on the legends of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, this History Channel original drama focuses on his rise from farmer to warrior, and from raider of England and France to King of the Vikings.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Z for Zachariah (2015) 79%

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris Pine star in this Certified Fresh sci-fi drama about a woman whose rural refuge from a nuclear disaster is unsettled by the arrival of two strangers.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Defiance: Season 3 (2015) 80%

SyFy’s action drama imagines a future Earth where aliens called Votans must work together with a hostile human population to survive the war-ravaged planet.

Available now on: Amazon Prime

There isn’t a whole lot to report on the DVD front this week, presumably because folks are probably mostly done with their Christmas shopping for the season. That said, we’ve still got a few choices, including a new take on Peter Pan, a gangster biopic starring Johnny Depp, and more. Read on for details:


Pan (2015) 27%

Joe Wright’s take on the origin story of Peter Pan stars Levi Miller as the titular hero, who is kidnapped from London by a pirate ship destined for Neverland. Once there, he befriends the future Captain Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) in a battle against the evil pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Extras include featurettes on Blackbeard’s pirates, a look at the Peter Pan legend, a profile of Levi Miller, and more.

Get it Here


Pawn Sacrifice (2014) 71%

Tobey Maguire stars as chess prodigy Bobby Fischer in a based-on-true-events story about Fischer’s face-off against world champion Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) during the Cold War. The one special feature included is a look at the real story that inspired the film.

Get it Here


War Room (2015) 34%

This faith-based drama centers around a struggling married couple who take advice from a friend and agree to a dramatic solution in order to save their relationship. The Blu-ray comes with a number of extras, including several featurettes on the making of the film, deleted scenes, bloopers, and more.

Get it Here


Defiance: Season 3 (2015) 80%

SyFy’s action drama imagines a future Earth where aliens called Votans have arrived, seeking shelter and finding the planet’s humans hostile to their cause. Following a battle between the species, they must now work together to survive the ravaged planet. No information on bonus features is currently available.

Get it Here


Dominion: Season 2 (2015) 100%

Another SyFy series comes home this week, but this one centers on the battle between angels and humans, based on the film Legion. The only special feature listed is a an extended director’s cut of the season’s 11th episode, “Bewilderment of the Heart.”

Get it Here

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Dark skies by 4:00 p.m., temperatures below 30 degrees, and — best of all — crazed shoppers at every turn. Fortunately, there is no shortage of quality television to watch over the holidays, so to go with your December shopping list, Rotten Tomatoes has prepared your December bingeing list — a mix of new shows, returning shows, and what’s fresh on DVD and Blu-ray — some naughty, some nice!


Marvel's Jessica Jones: Season 1 (2015) 94%

What it is: The most recent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Jessica Jones, about a broken superhero (Krysten Ritter) who runs her own P.I. business. Battling PTSD, our anti-hero finds herself struggling to defeat Kilgrave (David Tennant), a super-villain who has inflicted unconscionable harm upon countless innocents.

Why you should watch it: Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a dark, psychologically complex, and thoughtful meditation on what it means to be a hero. It is also engrossing, action-packed, compassionate, and visceral. Jones is binge-worthy for a number of reasons, but what elevates this well-executed comic adaptation is having a powerful female centered alliance at its core.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: About 11 hours.


Transparent: Season 1 (2014) 98%

What it is: Jeffrey Tambor plays a father who wants to live his life as a woman and needs to tell his adult children.

Why you should watch it: Tambor’s turn as Maura is award-worthy, but what is most surprising is how it’s just one facet of this family dramedy. All the members of the Pfefferman clan are struggling with their own demons and each storyline is full and fascinating to follow. It’s a study of faith, family, and dysfunction that is well worth the day or two it takes to binge-watch it.

Where to watch: The complete first season is streaming on Amazon Prime now, with season two scheduled to drop on Dec. 11.

Commitment: 10 hours for both seasons.


Fear the Walking Dead: Season 1 (2015) 76%

What it is: A prequel to the AMC hit The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead begins in Los Angeles at the dawn of the zombie outbreak as the government employs survival tactics that fuel the apocalyptic fire.

Why you should watch it: Even though fans know what’s coming, somehow the prequel is even scarier than The Walking Dead. All of the shortcomings of the human race — fear, abuse of power, false trust — become factors in the death of society, as one already-dysfunctional family must stick together to survive. It’s not just zombies they must battle, though, but also the failing system that was designed to protect them.

Where to watch: AmazonGoogle Play, iTunes, Playstation Video, Vudu, and Xfinity (with subscription). Season one is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Commitment: Five hours.


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 10 (2015) 100%

What it is: A group of five slacker friends — known collectively as “The Gang” — run an Irish pub in South Philadelphia and get into all sorts of predicaments because they lack both common sense and social graces.

Why you should watch it: Sunny isn’t a sitcom for everyone; its characters are self-centered, misanthropic, and frequently obnoxious. That said, their resilience in the face of countless defeats is strangely endearing, and their adventures are so outrageous and hilarious that it’s almost therapeutic to watch them scramble through each half hour. With season 11 set to premiere in early January, now’s the perfect time to catch up with the Gang’s insane antics.

Where to watch: The first nine seasons are available to stream on subscription services Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix, and you can rent or purchase episodes from all 10 seasons on Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation VideoVudu, and Xbox Video.

Commitment:About 42 hours.


Luther: Season 1 (2010) 91%

What it is: This BBC drama follows a brilliant Detective Chief Inspector (Idris Elba) who finds it difficult to strike a work-life balance as he struggles to toe the line between genius and madness.

Why you should watch it: Elba won a Golden Globe for his performance as DCI Luther, a sexy cross between Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, in this gritty character study that adds a new dimension to the cop show genre. Plus, fans of The Affair will enjoy Ruth Wilson in her role as the seductive serial killer Alice Morgan. Catch up in time for season four, which starts on Dec. 17.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, PlayStation Video, Vudu, and Xbox Video. The first three seasons are also available on DVD.

Commitment: 16 hours.


Mozart in the Jungle: Season 1 (2014) 91%

What it is: Based on Blair Tindal’s tell-all book, Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, this lighthearted comedy from Amazon Studios shows the inner workings of the contemporary fictitious New York Symphony, led by a young upstart conductor (Gael García Bernal).

Why you should watch it: What makes Roman Coppola’s adaptation of Mozart such a spritely binge is the commanding and hilarious performance by Bernal as Rodrigo (based on the Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel), along with memorable turns by Bernadette Peters as the elegant Symphony manager, Lola Kirke as the oboe-playing ingénue, and Malcolm McDowell as the ousted old-guard maestro.

Where to watch: Season one is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Season two premieres Dec. 30.

Commitment: Five hours.


Hannibal: Season 3 (2015) 98%

What it is: Criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) assists the FBI in apprehending serial killers, but as the job begins to eat away at his mental health, he starts meeting with therapist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a cannibal who murders rude people and serves them at fancy dinner parties.

Why you should watch it: The third (and likely final) season of the critically acclaimed show comes to Blu-ray December 8. There really isn’t anything quite like Hannibal; it’s a crime procedural and a psychological thriller, filled with horror and just the right dash of romance and comedy.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, iTunesVudu, and on DVD/Blu-ray.

Commitment: 27.5 hours.


Shameless: Season 5 (2015) 92%

What it is: Based on the award-winning BBC series of the same name, Showtime’s hit dramedy stars Oscar winner William H. Macy and tells the story of the scrappy Gallagher kids as they struggle to keep body and soul together despite the constant burden of a dysfunctional alcoholic father.

Why you should watch it: Shameless features a great cast, including a stellar Emmy-award winning performance by the ever-adorable Joan Cusack. Holidays have always been a time for dysfunctional family fun, and nobody does it better than the Gallaghers. Shameless comes back for a sixth season on Jan. 10 so now is the perfect time to binge.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation Video, Showtime Anytime (with cable subscription), Vudu, Xbox Video, and Xfinity (with cable subscription).

Commitment: 60 hours.


Defiance: Season 3 (2015) 80%

What it is: In this western-sci-fi mash-up, humans, aliens, and hybrids all fight for their rights and acceptance, while a human lawkeeper bonds with his adopted Votan (alien) daughter in 2046 Defiance (formerly St. Louis, MO).

Why you should watch it: Defiance’s backstory is wonderfully complex and reads like a lesson in mythology. The humor is addictive and the scenery and creature designs are breathtaking. The show’s inter-species tension is a clear commentary on cultural struggles, but not presented as a lecture on contemporary acceptance. Rather, it throws intense action, soapy character interaction, and some sexy stuff at you. And Grant Bowler (Nolan) is still one hot leading man.

Where to watch: All three seasons are available on Amazon PrimeGoogle Play, iTunes, Playstation Video, and Vudu. Season three hits DVD/Blu-ray on Dec. 22.

Commitment: 26 hours.


Downton Abbey: Season 1 (2010) 92%

What it is: The residents and domestic staff of a grand English country estate deal with household intrigue and societal upheaval in the first decades of the 20th Century.

Why you should watch it: With its lavish setting and British accents, this might look like your typical PBS prestige show at first glance. But Downton Abbey gives equal dramatic weight to the household staff and the Crawley family. Indeed, what makes the show so compulsively watchable is its richly nuanced characters, each of whom are bound by societal conventions but occasionally finds a way to expand their limits.

Where to watch: Seasons one through five are available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunesVudu, and Xbox Video, as well as DVD/Blu-ray. The sixth and final season premieres on PBS on Jan. 3.

Commitment: 43 hours.

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