Yes, it’s the weekend(and the first full day of summer!) and there’s some good new stuff available for streaming on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get right to it!
Hulu‘s best new addition this week has to be it’s new German language drama series Das Boot. This is based on Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s 1973 book, as was the classic 1981 film of the same name, but this one also includes Buchheim’s 1995 sequel Die Festung. It tells two narratives – that of sub Captain Klaus Hoffman(played by Rick Okan) and of Suzanne Strasser(played by Vicky Krieps) a German citizen, living in the town of La Rochelle where the subs are based, who is tempted by the French Resistance. It also stars Robert Stadlober, August Wittgenstein, Leonard Schleicher, Rainer Bock, James D’Arcy and LIzzy Caplan. With two story lines, it isn’t quite as claustrophobic as the 1981 movie, but I like a woman’s story being told, rather than the solely male view of most war pictures. And the special effects are great. There are eight episodes available now on Hulu, all directed by Andreas Prochaska. And the series gets a 7.4/10 on IMDb. Hulu has also added Out of the Blue, the 2018 thriller starring Patricia Clarkson. Here, Clarkson plays a detective in New Orleans, who sets out the find the killer of an astrophysicist(played by Mamie Gummer) whose body was found in the observatory by the manager of the observatory, played by Toby Jones(Sherlock!). The amazing cast also includes James Caan, Jacki Weaver(Silver Linings Playbook), Aaron Tveit and Jonathan Majors, and the director is Carol Morley. Now this film doesn’t do so well on aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes, getting only a 36%, but Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian calls it a flawed film, but a valuable one,” and I agree. And the cast is wonderful. Hulu hasn’t added much else this week, but there are a few hidden gems like Marvin’s Room, the 1993 drama starring Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Keaton stars as a daughter,Bessie, caring for her aging father, Marvin, played by Hume Cronin, when she develops leukemia and must call on her long absent sister, Lee, played by Meryl Streep, for help. DiCaprio plays Lee’s troubled son Hank, and the cast also includes many first-rate actors, like Robert DeNiro, Gwen Verdon, Cynthia Nixon and Bitty Schram(Monk) and is directed by Tony winner Jerry Zaks. Keaton was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, for her role here, as well in 1991, winning as the SAG award for Best Actress and the film gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.7/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Hulu has the classic Coen Brothers’ 1991 dark comedy Barton Fink, starring John Turturro. Turturro plays a New York playwright, who reluctantly goes to Hollywood in 1941 to write scripts, then suffers from writer’s block, and is disturbed by his neighbor,played by John Goodman, in his cheap hotel. Things get worse from there, and that’s all I’ll say, with wacky and corrupt producers, writers and directors and a serial murderer, too. There are tons of amazing actors here, including Judy Davis, Tony Shalhoub, John Mahoney, Michael Lerner and Steve Buscemi. This movie enjoyed a rare sweep at Cannes, winning the Palme d’Or, Best Director(Joel Coen) and Best Actor(Turturro) and gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 on IMDb. It’s a weird but great satire on Hollywood in the 40’s.
Netflix has some really good stuff added this week, if you look hard enough, like Beats, the coming-of-age drama starring Anthony Anderson of Blackish. Anderson stars as a music producer who helps a hip-hop prodigy, played by Khalil Everage, disabled by his anxiety after the shooting death of his young sister. This all takes place on the South Side of Chicago and with an amazing cast, including Uzo Aduba(Orange is the New Black), Emayatzy Corinealdi(Middle of Nowhere), Paul Walter Hauser, Dave East and Seandrea “Dreezy” Sledge and is directed by Chris Robinson. This has tons of great music, by Chicago-based artists, liked Sledge and “Young Chop” and gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Netflix also has The Wolf’s Call, a 2019 French thriller. This too, takes place aboard a submarine, but this time in the present when a Finnish island is invaded by the Russians, and the French sub sets off to help Finland and also hoping to avert a nuclear war. It stars François Civil, Omar Sy, Paula Beer, Reda Katep and Alexis Michalik and was filmed aboard real French subs by director Antonin Baudry. It’s tense and exciting and has been compared to Tom Clancy fare of the 90′s. And it gets a 7.4/10 on IMDb. Netflix also has the Middle Eastern supernatural thriller series Jinn. A group of teens take a roadtrip to Petra, but once in the glorious abandoned city, mysterious occurrences begin, and one of the friends disappears. But the Jinn are at the heart of the trouble and the teens fight to save the world from their destruction. The cast includes Salma Malhas, Sultan Alkhail, Hamzeh Okab, Ayesha Shahaltough and Hana Chamoun and the show is brought to us by executive producers Elan and Rajeev Dasani, VFX specialists for shows like Justified and Scandal. It’s an Arab language show, so turn on your subtitles, and it’s ratings on IMDb aren’t great, only a 3.3/10, but that’s because it only came out last week. It’s beautifully shot and has great special effects. And finally, Netflix offers Bolivar, a 2019 Columbian historical drama series about Simon Bolivar. The show covers his whole life, with Jose Ramon playing the young Simon and Luis Geronimo Abreu playing the great liberator of many South American countries, like Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru. It also stars Irene Esser, Shany Nadan, Rosmeri Marval, Nohely Arteaga and Abril Schreiber. There are 60 episodes available now, and it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. I love historical drama.
Amazon has added a couple of good new shows, the first of which is Yardie, the 2018 crime drama from director Idris Elba. Based on the best seller of the same name by Victor Headley, the story centers on Aml Ameen as Dennis “D” Campbell, a young man scarred by his brother’s death years ago in Kingston, Jamaica, who is asked by a crime lord to deliver some cocaine to a man in London, while he is still determined to find his brother’s killer. It also stars Shantol Jackson, Sheldon Shephard, Steven James and Naomi Ackie. It premiered at Sundance in 2018 and gets a 5.8/10 on IMDb. Amazon has also added Too Old to Die Young, a crime thriller starring Miles Teller. In this series, Teller stars as a police officer in L.A., who, after his partner is shot, goes vigilante and enters the dark world of the Yakusa, the Russian mafia and drug cartels. It also stars Augusto Aguilera, Christina Rodlo, Nell Tiger Free, as well as recurring appearances by people like Jenna Malone, William Baldwin, Callie Hernandez, Maxine Bohns and Hart Bochner. It is written by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn and gets a 7.5/10 on IMDb. It is super violent, though, so be forewarned. Don’t watch with the kids.And that is all that Amazon has added, but I will throw in a series I have neglected to mention thus far, Srugim the Israeli drama from 2008-2012. It follows five religious single men and women, who live in Jerusalem and try to find romance in modern society, while remaining true to their faith. It stars Ohad Knoller, Amos Tamem, Ya’el Sharoni, Tael Sharon and Sharon Fauster and many more I can’t mention because there are 3 seasons available on Amazon. this series has won 5 Israeli Academy of Film and Television Awards, and it gets a stunning 8.2/10 on IMDb. It’s on my watch list.
So sit back and relax this weekend and binge on movies and television shows new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime!