'Jack' might be too much; 'Bird Box,' 'Isle of Dogs' also now streaming
Here is an interesting new release available now from cable and digital providers as well as some titles that have recently become available for streaming.
Video on Demand
"The House That Jack Built": Matt Dillon stars as a serial killer named Jack in this grisly new feature from Danish director Lars Von Trier. Fans of his prior work ("Melancholia") and fans of shows like "Dexter" are unlikely to be shocked by anything here, but if the star power of actors like Dillon and Uma Thurman pulls in some unsuspecting viewers, they are liable to bail quickly. The story follows Jack over a 12-year period and spotlights five random murders that he has committed over time. Believe it or not, some of these moments are filled with incredibly dark humor and observations, but there are plenty of unsettling scenes that may be shocking for viewers even in this edited R-rated version that runs about four minutes shorter than an unrated director's cut that played for one night only in theaters earlier this fall. Von Trier tackles his own misogyny and film history head-on with powerful results, but it's not easy viewing. (Cable and digital VOD)
Also on streaming services
"Bird Box": Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier ("In A Better World") brings Josh Malerman's terrifying novel to life in this thriller starring Sandra Bullock. In "A Quiet Place," if the monsters heard you make a sound, your life was about to be cut short. In the world of this story, if you see the mysterious demon, it terrorizes you to death. Ms. Bullock is then tasked with helping keep those around her alive by taking a treacherous two-day journey with everybody blindfolded for safety. The strong supporting cast includes Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes and John Malkovich. (Netflix)
"Isle Of Dogs": In near-future Japan, dogs are banished to "Trash Island." The mayor's nephew Atari commandeers a plane to try to find his beloved dog Spots and ends up being saved by a pack of dogs after he crashes onto the island. From a visual standpoint, this might be Wes Anderson's most impressive work yet. Far more detailed than even "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," the stop-motion animation work is simply delightful. The film was attacked early on with criticisms of the way Japanese culture is presented, but it's likely that every single choice (including not subtitling Japanese speakers into English) was made for aesthetic reasons and expectations of a younger viewing audience. I got fully lost in the story and terrific voice acting from Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Yoko Ono and Tilda Swinton, among many others. As you may expect by now from Anderson, it's also filled with tremendously fun musical cues. (HBO Now)