Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best movies and television shows added online, to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get right to it!
Hulu has a big addition this week, with Vice, the 2018 comedy/drama starring Christian Bale as former VP Dick Cheney. Directed by Adam McKay(The Big Short), this follows Dick Cheney and his rise to power, from being a intern under Nixon, to Cheif of Staff for Ford, all the way through his Vice Presidency under George W. Bush. It stars Amy Adams as his wife, Steve Carell as Rumsfeld(!), Sam Rockwell as W. and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell and also features Lily Rabe, Eddie Marsan and LisaGay Hamilton. It got eight nominations at last year’s Academy Awards, winning for Best Make-up and Hairstyling(there is heavy use of prosthetics in this movie!), and Bale won the Golden Globe for Best Actor. Kevin Maher of the Times(UK) said “it’s a more ambitious political satire…Because it’s about real people, real politicians and real deranged ambitions, and it places much of the blame for today’s geopolitical ills…directly at their door. Oh, and it’s also very funny.“ And it gets a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Hulu has also added I Still See You, a pretty bad 2018 sci-fi movie. It stars Bella Thorne as a girl searching for her father, who exists as a ghostly presence after a huge explosion in a Chicago lab, ten years ago. It also stars Dermot Mulroney, Richard Harmon, Zoe Fish, Amy Price-Francis and Louis Herthum. And it gets an stunning 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. And that’s it for the new arrivals this week on Hulu, so I’m going to mention a few movies that might have escaped your attention, like Happy-Go-Lucky, a 2008 comedy starring the now famous Sally Hawkins(The Shape of Water). In this film, Hawkins plays Poppy, who seems overly optimistic, always upbeat and sunny, even in the face of hardship, with others advising her to be more responsible, not understanding her outlook on life. It also stars Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough and Samuel Roukin and is directed by Golden Lion winner Mike Leigh(Vera Drake). This movie was cited as one of the Best Movies of 2008 by NY Times critics Manouhla Dargis, Steven Holden and A. O. Scott and Hawkins won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her role here. And it gets a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 on IMDb. Watch it for for a mood boost, it’s sure to pick you up. And, finally, Hulu has District 9, the break out scifi film from director Neil BlomKamp and producer Peter Jackson(The Hobbit). This tells the tale, in cinema verite style, of aliens camped outside Johannesburg, in District 9(inspired by Cape Town’s District 6, a black area during Apartheid), where the aliens live in poverty and are despised by many residents. It stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Vanessa Haywood and David James and got four nominations at the 2009 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum called it “madly original, cheekily political, [and] altogether exciting,” and it gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.9/10 on IMDb. A wonderful movie, and especially pertinent in this new age of xenophobia.
Netflix, too, has some big adds this week, including Murder Mystery, the 2019 mystery thriller starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. This movie starts with the unlikely premise of a couple, played by Sandler and Aniston, go on a long postponed honeymoon to Europe, while on the flight, the bored wife gets them invited on the Mediteranean cruise of a billionaire. Of course, he(played by Terrence Stamp) is murdered on the first night of said cruise, and the pair are off on a madcap effort to prove themselves innocent of the murder. Gema Aterton, Adeel Akhtar, Luis Gerardo Mendez and Shioli Kutsuna also star and the effort is directed by Luke Newacheck. It’s not a bad movie, but it only gets a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is pretty predictable. If you really want intrigue and conundrum, might I suggest Unit 42, a 2019 Belgian mystery series. It stars Patrick Ridremont plays a widowed cop, heading up a cybercrimes unit, on the hunt for a hacker turned murderer. It also stars Constance Gay, Tom Audenaert, Roda Fawaz, Danitssa Athanassiadis and Noda Tilman. It’s dark and tense, with great views of Brussels. And it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Netflix also offers Trinkets, the new 2019 Netflix original teen drama. Filmed here in Portland, Oregon, this series follows three teenage kleptomaniacs, played by Brianna Hildebrand, Kiana Madeira and Quintessa Swindell, as they meet at a support group, and try to get their lives in order. It also stars Brandon Butler, Odiseas Georgiadis, Larry Sulivan and Dana Green. There are 10 episodes now available on Netflix and it gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. Netflix has also added the short film Life Overtakes Me, a 2019 Swedish doc from directors Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas. this 40 minute film studies the so-called Resignation Syndrome, a coma-like state that is seeming to overtake child asylum seekers who are now living in Sweden. Afflicting mostly children from the Balkans and the former USSR, who have witnessed overwhelming amounts of violence and inhumanity. It was an official selection at 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and though it has no score on Rotten Tomatoes yet, it is certainly an important movie for all of us to see. And, finally, Netflix has added Rolling Thunder Revue, Martin Scorsese’s 2019 treatment of Bob Dylan’s 1975 Rolling Thunder Tour. It’s part fact and part fantasy, that captures the social and political unrest of the time, and Bob Dylan’s efforts to get his tour up and running. It has music by Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, with interviews with people like Sam Shepard, Patti Smith and Allen Ginsburg. It all brings the era back, with amazing music and insight. Brian Viner of the Daily Mail calls it “simply unmissable” and it gets a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.4/10 on IMDb. It’s definitely a must-see.
Okay, Amazon hasn’t added many movies this week, but they have added the second season of Fleabag, the comedy series from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of Killing Eve. In this series Waller-Bridge plays a character much like herself, Fleabag, who lives in London and shares her troubled life and oddball family with the audience, often breaking the fourth wall and talking to the camera directly. It has an amazing cast, with Olivia Colman(last years Oscar winner!), Sian Clifford, Bill Patterson, Brett Gelman, Hugh Skinner and Fiona Shaw(Killing Eve!), and directed by Harry Bradbeer and Tim Kirkby. There are 6 episodes from each of two seasons available and the series gets an 8.5/10 on IMDb. And the second season of Absentia has been added, starring Stana Katic. Katic stars as an FBI agent taken hostage(last year), and who returns, after being declared dead, with no memory of what happened to her, only to be accused of a string of murders. The second season continues with her hiring a detective(Angel Bonanni) to get to the bottom of things. It also stars Patrick Heusinger, Cara Theobold, Neil Jackson, Natasha Little and Bruno Bichir. It’s a intriguing show that gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Amazon Prime has added Red Dog, an 2011 Australian comedy starring Koko(the dog). Koko stars as a legendary canine in the outback, who has gone to vast lengths to find her original owner, John Grant(deceased), but manages to charm everyone she meets. This film also stars Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, John Batchelor and Keisha Castle-Hughes(Whale Rider!) and is directed by Kriv Stenders. It won seven Inside Film Awards and won the AACTA(Inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) for Best Film. And it gets a 7.4/10 on IMDb.
So sit back and relax this weekend and binge on classics old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!