Yes, it’s time to review, the best new TV shows and movies added to the online streamers, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. And, there’s some good stuff out there, so let’s get right to it!
Hulu‘s biggest add this week is Culture Shock , the latest in Hulu’s Into the Dark horror series. This one centers on people trying desperately to become “American”, with Martha Higareda playing a pregnant Mexican woman, Marisol, trying to cross the border with two others, a man(Richard Cabral) and a child(played by Ian Inigo). But Marisol wakes up, after crossing, to discover herself in an unreal world, a sunny neighborhood whose saccharine inhabitants prepare for the Fourth. The cast also includes Barbara Crampton, Shawn Ashmore, Felipe DeLara and Creed Bratton(The Office) and is directed by Gig Saul Guererro. And it gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb. Hulu has also added Woman at War, the 2019 Icelandic comedy. It stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as Halla, who lives a seemingly quiet life, but who is actually also an environmental activist, fighting the local aluminum industry and actually achieving results, when she hears her adoption of a child from the Ukraine has gone through. Feeling she must abandon her activism for motherhood, she plans one last attack. It also stars Jóhann Sigurðarson , David Tor Jonsson and Magnus Trygvasson Eliason and is directed by Benedikt Erlingsson. Loren King of Newport This Week says ” it beautifully balances urgency and absurdity, which is not an easy tone to sustain.” And it gets an amazing 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m definitely watching. Hulu also offers The Brink a chilling documentary about Steve Bannon. Director Alison Klayman shows in this intriguing film the efforts of Bannon, though he had no official role in the White House, tried to rally ultra-right wing parties and hate groups to win seats in the 2018 elections, reinventing himself as a populist(even though he was previously a Goldman Sachs banker). Tough to watch but important to see, it gets an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. And finally, if you need a little nostalgia from the 90’s(and a good show to boot), Hulu has added Veronica Mars, the original first 3 seasons(with the fourth soon to come on Hulu). This noir series, from 2004-2007, starred Kristin Bell as Mars, a teen in Neptune, California, who helped her detective father(Enrico Colantoni) investigate mysteries, after the murder of her best friend, lily Kane(played by Amanda Seyfried!). It also stars Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn, Jason Doering and Sydney Tamiia Poitier. And it gets a stunning 8.4/10 on IMDb. Get caught up before July 26th, the date of the premiere of the fourth season!
Drumroll, please, because the 3rd season of Stranger Things is now available on Netflix! Yes, this catches the population of Hawkins, Indiana, in 1985, when a new mall has opened and thrived, with the local businesses suffering. That’s all I’ll say. The regular cast returns, including Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Holfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, with cameos by Cary Elwes, Catherine Curtin, Paul Reiser and Francesca Luisa Reale. There are now eight episodes of Season 3 available and Stranger Things gets an 8.9/10 on IMDb. Netflix also offers Legend of the White Snake, a 2019 Chinese fantasy series. This show gives us a new treatment of the ancient Chinese legend of the White Snake, who practices taoist magical arts, and turns herself into a woman(Ju Jingyi), who falls in love with a young man(Yu Menglong). A monk, played by Pei Zitian, tries to keep them apart, and Xiao Yan, Nie Zihao and Yu Lang also star. 36 episodes are now available in Season 1, and the series gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. Netflix has also The Last Czars, a 2019 British drama/doc series. This tells the story of the doomed Nicholas II, through a series of flashbacks, which dramatically show the different members of the Romanov family, and interviews with historical experts,too. The cast features Robert Jack, Susanna Herbert, Oliver Dimsdale and Elsie Bennett. Ed Power of the Telegraph(UK) says it’s formulaic, but “it also delivered with top-rate razzle-dazzle.” So I’m watching. And it gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb. And Netflix has added Svaha: The Sixth Finger, a 2019 Korean thriller. The leader of an organization(played by Lee Jung-jae) that investigates cults, is hired to investigate the Deer Mount cult, and soon finds it’s connected to a murder. The movie also stars Park Jung-min, Lee Jae-in, Jung Jin-young and Lee David and is directed by Jang Jae-hyun(Masquerade). But there are elements of horror here, as well, so prepare yourself. It was nominated for three awards at the 55th Baeksang Art Awards, in Seoul and it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix has In The Dark, the 2018 comedy/drama series. From executive producer Ben Stiller, this show features Perry Mattfield as an unhappy and introverted blind woman, who emerges from a rather destructive lifestyle to find the killer of a close friend. The show also stars Brooke Markham, Rich Sommer, Thamela Mpumlwana, Kathleen York, Casey Diedrick, Morgan Krantz and Levi as her seeing eye dog. And it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. I love a mystery.
Amazon, too, has some good adds this week, the foremost of which is Under the Silver Lake, a comedy/mystery from director David Robert Mitchell(It Follows). In this, a young man obsessed with conspiracies and hidden messages, played by Andrew Garfield, goes in search of a beautiful neighbor,played by Riley Keough, who suddenly disappeared. And it gets bizarre from there. The movie also stars Jack Weiner, Topher Grace, Kelly Hernandez, Adele Romanski and Don McManus. This film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and competed there for the Palme d’Or. And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. Amazon has also added Peterloo, the 2018 drama from director Mike Leigh(Topy-Turvy, Secrets & Lies). This movie depicts the great Peterloo massacre of 1819, where working class people protested for parliamentary reform, only to be charged by the police, killing 15 and wounding hundreds.It’s told from different characters views, and stars Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Marion Bailey, David Bamber, Neil Bell and Pearce Quigley. It premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival and gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. Important to see, especially in this hundredth anniversary year of the tragedy. That’s it for Amazon‘s adds this week, but if you join their free IMDbTV channel and watch with commercials, you can view La-La Land, the 2016 smash hit musical from director Damien Chazelle. This, of course, stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the story of a jazz musician(Gosling) falling in love with an aspiring actress(Stone), after a chance encounter. The movie also stars John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jessica Rothe and Meagan Fay. It went on to win multiple awards, including Best Director for Chazelle and Best Actress for Stone, at the Academy Awards. And, it gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8/10 on IMDb. Certainly worth enduring a few commercials!
So sit back and relax, this holiday weekend, and enjoy classics new and old, on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime!