Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to discuss the best new movies and television shows available online, through Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. So let’s get right to it!
Hulu has a few good new additions this week, including Tangerine, the 2015 movie from Sean Baker(director of The Florida Project). This is the tale of a transgender sex worker, who discover her boyfriend/pimp is cheating on her. It stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O’Hagan, Alla Tumanian and Clu Gulager. this movie was famous for being filmed only on 3 iphones, but it also screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Sydney Film Festival and it gets a 97(!)% on Rotten Tomatoes. And the New York Times said of it “gorgeous, a perfectly cast, beautifully directed movie.” So watch, already. Hulu also has added their December episode of Into The Dark, Pooka!. This is their Christmas themed horror show, and features an out-of-work actor, taking a job in a furry suit, to promote a hot toy, that unfortunately, has lightbulb eyes, that can record everything and repeat everything it hears. It stars Nyasha Hatendi, Jon Daly,Latarsha Rose, Dale Dickey and Diane Sellers and is directed by Nacho Vigalando(Collossal). Pooka! is darkly comical, but still too scary for me. IMDb give the whole Into the Dark series a 6.2/10 and The Daily Dot says of it-“Into the Dark: Pooka!’ is a weird, psychological Christmas treat.” And, if you didn’t enjoy last week’s addition Downsizing, by director Alexander Payne, Hulu has also added Sideways, his 2004 dark comedy. Sideways stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church on a road trip, before Church‘s upcoming marriage, through California wine country, where they meet Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen. It also stars Marylouise Burke, Jessica Hecht and Stephanie Faracy. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, and won one, for Best Adapted Screenplay. And it gets a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Hulu has Kiki, the 2016 documentary directed by Sara Jordenö. Kiki is a dance or social gathering, i.e. kicking back,, and this movie covers the LGBT community of color in New York City, and Kiki challenges(dance challenges) that take place there. It also covers HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community(long overlooked), and the activism taking place to counter it. And this movie is considered, unofficially, the sequel to the classic Paris is Burning, the 1990 doc about the ball culture and trans communities in New York at that time. Kiki won a Teddy Award at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, for Best LGBT-related documentary film. And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a really inspiring movie.
Netflix has some big additions this week, too, but none can be bigger than the new movie, Dumplin, starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston. Macdonald stars as the title character, whose nickname Dumplin, given by her mother, expresses her mother’s disapproval of her reubenesque features. Yes, Dumplin, or Will, as she prefers to be called, has an ample figure, and her Mom(Aniston), an ex-beauty queen, is constantly trying to transform her, with salads and advice, etc. So Will joins her Mom’s pageant, the the local Miss Teen Bluebonnet contest. Macdonald’s great, and the cast is good, with Hilliary Begley, Odeya Rush and Maddie Baillio, but this is a corny, sentimental movie, with not much real substance. It gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you want something a little more serious and grownup, Netflix has added Dogs of Berlin, a 2018 German thriller series. It takes place in modern day Berlin, when a German-Turkish football player is murdered and two policeman look for clues. It stars Felix Kramer, Fahri Yardim, Katharina Schüttler
Anna Maria Mühe, Kais Setti, Mohammed Issa, Deniz Orta and Katrin Sass and is directed by Christian Alvart. It’s tense and delves into Berlin’s underworld and gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. If you want a spy drama, Netflix has Pine Gap, a series about an Australian/American joint defence and very secret intelligence facility in Australia. It stars Parker Sawyers,Tess Haubrich, Jacqueline McKenzie,Steve Toussaint, Stephen Curry and Sachin Joab. It’s trailer is suspenseful and interesting, but has gotten rather poor reviews, The Daily Review called it ‘it’s a stinking turd laid in a tepid bath by a toddler’. It gets 6.6/10 on IMDb. If you want something a little lighter and French, Netflix has added The Hookup Plan, a 2018 Netflix original series. It’s the story of a young woman, so broken up by her breakup, they set her up with an escort, unbeknownst to her. it stars Zita Hanrot, Sabrina Ouazani, Mark Ruchmann, Jossephine Drai, Syrus Shahidi and Yvan Naubron. it has no rating, on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes, but if you want a French romantic comedy, this might be your best best. And, finally, Netflix has added The Cakemaker, a 2017 Israeli/German drama. In this film, a German man lover is killed in a car crash, so he goes to Israel to investigate and insinuate himself into the man’s life, including his marriage and his wife. It stars Tim Kalkhof, Sarah Adler, Zohar Strauss and Roy Miller and was directed by Ofir Raul Grazier. There was tremendous buzz about this movie, it won the 2018 Ophir Award(Israeli Oscar) for best picture and was Israel’s entrance for the Academy Award Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. And it gets a 100%(!) on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching.
The great new addition on Amazon Prime Video this week is the 2nd season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! A wonderful Emmy Award winner and recent Golden Globe nominee, this series continues the tale of Mrs. Maisel, aka Miriam “Madge”, an aspiring comedian, after her husband(also a would be stand-up comic) leaves her and their upper class Jewish home in 1950’s NYC. This is another Amy Sherman-Palladino(Gilmore Girls) production and has an amazing cast, with Rachael Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub(!), Alex Borstein, Marin Hinkle, Michael Zegen and Kevin Pollak and has guest appearances by people like Jane Lynch, Gilbert Gottfried, Wallace Shawn and Zachary Levi, not to mention myriad others. This series is incredibly inspiring, with plenty of girl power, and gets a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.7/10 on IMDb. Oh, and it was just nominated for 3 more Golden Globes, Friday. So watch already. Amazon has also added Before I Fall, a 2017 teen drama. This film focuses on the last day in the life of Samantha Kingston, on Cupids Day(otherwise known as Valentine’s Day) to go about her life with her friends, only to die in a car crash. This film deals with bullying and peer pressure, and stars Zoe Kazan, Erica Tremblay, Halston Sage, Logan Miller,Cynthy Wu and Jennifer Beals. It gets a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.4/10 on IMDb. If you want a better movie, with the same kind of premise, Amazon has also added Groundhog Day, the Bill Murray classic from 1993. In this Harold Ramis movie, Murray plays a grouchy weatherman forced to live Groundhog Day over and over, until he comes to appreciate his life and the others around him more. It also Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Angela Paton and even Harold Ramis himself as a neurologist. Janet Maslin of the New York Times said called “a particularly witty and resonant comedy” and it even won a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. And it gets a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Amazon has Mirzapur, a crime thriller from India. It stars Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey and Shiweta Tripathi and features a carpet seller who also happens to be a mafia don(Pankaj Tripathi), and the crime and drugs involved in everyday life in the Indian city of Mirzapur. It is graphically violent and grim, but it gets an 8.7/10 on IMDb, and has an enlightening glimpse of India, away from the tourist spots.
So stay in , out of the cold this weekend and sit back and binge on classics, new and old, available on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime!