Yes, it’s the weekend and time to talk about the best movies and television shows newly available on the big three streaming sites, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. So let’s get started!
Hulu‘s most exciting addition this week is This is Home: A Refugee Story, directed by Alexandra Shiva. this documentary considers the lives of four Syrian refugees, trying to adjust to their new life in Baltimore, after being relocated by the International Rescue Committee. It’s heartfelt and very eye opening , and gets an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.1/10 on IMDb. Also new on Hulu is For Colored Girls, the 2010 movie directed by Tyler Perry. But this is definitely not a comedy, based on Ntozake Shange‘s classic book, choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, and features ten stories of ten women who face that terrible choice. It stars Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Phylicia Rashad, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington and Loretta Devine, to name a few of the great actresses featured. it won three NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Picture. And it gets a 6/10 on IMDb. Hulu also has Spinning Man, a 2018 mystery/thriller, starring Guy Pearce. Pearce stars as a, seemingly, typical college professor, whose normal life is upended when a high school girl goes missing, and all the evidence points toward him. It also stars Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan and Robert Clark Gregg, and gets a 5.5/10 on IMDb. If you want something scarier, Hulu offers Sacrifice, a 2016 thriller. Sacrifice stars Rupert Graves and Radha Mitchell as a couple newly moved to the Shetland Islands, off Scotland, who find a body in their backyard, which may lead to a Satanic cult. The movie also stars Ian McElhinney, Joanne Crawford and Conor Mullen. And it gets a 7.5/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Hulu has B.B. King: On The Road, a 2017 documentary from director Jon Brewer. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, and put together by friends and family after B.B.’s death in 2015, this movie contains plenty of King’s thrilling music and tons of great anecdotes about B.B. King’s 65 years on the road. And this movie has no ratings yet, on either Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb, because it’s just been released. But it is B.B. King, for gods sake. You can’t go wrong.
Netflix has some amazing new additions this week, the foremost being Maniac, the limited Netflix futuristic dark comedy series starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. Stone and Hill star as two patients in a pharmaceutical trial, suffering unclear psychiatric diagnoses, which doesn’t matter, apparently, as the drug will reputedly cure anything troubling you. Justin Theroux stars as the doctor conducting the trials and Sally Field(!), Sonoya Mizuno and Gabriel Byrne round out the stellar cast. And it’s directed by Cary Fukunaga, the newly announced director of the next James Bond film. Maniac gets an 8.5/10 on IMDb! I am definitely tuning in. Netflix also offers Nappily Ever After, a rom-com starring Sanaa Lathan. Lathan stars as a seemingly perfect woman, who suddenly has things fall apart with her boyfriend, and decides get rid of her ideal straight hair and shave her head. Her mom is played by the always wonderful Lynn Whitfield, and Lyriq Bent, Ricky Whittle and Camille Guaty complete the cast. Haifaa al-Mansour directs and the movie gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb. Also new on Netflix is The Endless, a 2017 sci-fi/horror film. It stars Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson(who also co-directed) as two brothers who receive an ominous video tape from the UFO death cult they were brought up in. They decide to revisit the cult, which may not be a good idea, and things escalate from there. The film also stars Callie Hernandez(Blair Witch), Tate Ellington and Lew Temple and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. It gets an astounding 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and should not be missed! Netflix has also added Mad World, a 2016 Hong Kong drama. This movie is about a stockbroker with bipolar disorder, who goes to live with his father, a truck driver, after a stint in the hospital. It stars Shawn Yue, Eric Tsang, Elaine Jin and Charmaine Fong, and was selected as the Hong Kong entry for Best foreign Film at the 90th Academy Awards. It was not nominated there, but did win multiple awards, including at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Asian Film Awards. And it gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix offers a great classic 1949 film The Third Man, starring Orson Welles. A collaboration between director Carol Reed and legendary author Graham Greene, The Third Man features Holly Martins,a pulp writer played superbly by Joseph Cotton, searching post World War II Vienna for his best friend Harry Lime(Welles). Filmed in gorgeous black and white, Martins roams the war torn and battered city for his friend, with the help of Major Callaway(Trevor Howard) and Lime‘s girlfriend,Anna Schmidt, played by Alida Valli. This film won numerous awards, including Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards, by Robert Krasker, the Grand Prix Award at Cannes and it’s score includes the iconic zither music by Anton Karas, that stands well on it’s own. And it gets a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s definitely in my queue.
Okay, Amazon hasn’t added many new movies this week( I won’t include Hot Summer Nights!), but they have a few older movies they have recently added to their lineup that deserve attention. The first is The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Billy Wilder in 1971. It stars Robert Stephens as the immortal Sherlock, in a slightly parodic view of Holmes, giving both the “real” and the Strand version. This movie has a great cast, including Genevieve Page,Colin Blakely, Christopher Lee, Irene Handl and Stanley Holloway(!) and even features an appearance of the Loch Ness Monster. The creators and writers of Sherlock, currently on PBS, say this film as a source for their inspiration and it gets a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Also, new on Amazon is The Conformist, a 1971 Bernardo Bertolucci film. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant as the central character, an Italian man who is content to go along with trends, including Fascism, The Conformist also stars Stefania Sandrelli,Lydia Simoneschi, Gastone Moschin, Dominique Sanda and Pierre Clementi. In a 2012 Guardian article, John Patterson called it an “expressionist masterpiece” and it gets an 8.1/10 on IMDb and a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, if you are missing Burt Reynolds and his really good movies, you can see The Longest Yard, the 1974 dark comedy. Reynolds plays an ex-star football player, jailed for his leading police on a car chase, who ends up coaching the Prison football team. Directed by Robert Altman, this movie has a phenomenal cast, including Eddie Albert, Bernadette Peters, Michael Conrad and James Hampton. It gets an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. And if you have only seen the remake of this picture, do yourself a favor and watch the original. It’s the best.
So sit around and binge this weekend and watch new and old classics online, for less than cable!