Yes, it’s the weekend again and time to review the new movies and TV shows added to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get right to it!
Okay, this week has a few adds on Hulu, including the 3rd season of Harlots, the British/American drama set in 18th Century England. Based on the books of Hallie Rubenhold, this tells the tale of women working in two competing brothels in London, Margaret Wells, played by Samantha Morton and Lydia Quigley, played by Lesley Manville. It’s a harsh life, with religious crusaders demanding closure of one of the only fields of business open to women, and of course, the violence and threat to life is rampant. The cast also includes Jessica Brown Findlay, Dorothy Atkinson, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Edward Hogg. The production of 1760’s England is exquisite and the acting is wonderful, but the accents can be a little thick, so you may want to turn on subtitles to catch every line. And the show gets a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 on IMDb. Hulu has an exciting new movie in Prospect, the 2018 sci-fi drama. This stars Jay Duplass and Sophie Thatcher as father, Ezra, and daughter, Cee, who have gone to investigate an alien moon which is rumored to have valuable gems, but it’s also has poisonous spores and other dangers, including rival prospectors. Their ship malfunctions and when her father’s greed gets the better of him, Cee is forced to go it alone. The cast also includes Pedro Pascal, Andre Royo, Sheila Vand and Anwan Glover. Nick Allen of rogerebert.com says of it “it’s rare to see a sci-fi movie that genuinely has a true grit to it, a characteristic that bolsters its screenplay through its more underwhelming passages.” And it gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hulu has also added The Last Days, a Spanish sci-fi thriller from 2013. This movie has the world beset by a plague that causes agoraphobia, and centers on Marc, played by Quim Gutiérrez, stuck underground in Barcelona, afraid for his girlfriend, Julia, played by Marta Etura, whom he hasn’t seen since the outbreak, three months ago. Chaos rules outside, with no people to be seen. The cast also includes José Coronado, Leticia Dolera, Mikel Iglesias and Pere Ventura and is directed by David and Alex Pastor. Jordi Battle Caminal of La Vanguardia said “overall,[it’s a] fantastic film,” and it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hulu also offers Errors of the Human Body, a 2012 psychological thriller. In this, a man(Michael Eklund) becomes a geneticist in order to prevent mutation like the one that killed his son, and joins a lab in Dresden, and develops a virus that may be deadly and kill many, including him. The film also stars Karoline Herfurth,Tómas Lemarquis, Rik Mayall and Caroline Gerdolle and is directed by Eron Sheean. This is a tense, creepy movie, with definite elements of horror. And it gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The biggest add on Netflix this week has to be Mary Poppins Returns, the 2018 sequel to the 1964 classic Mary Poppins. Emily Blunt stars as the magical nanny here, with Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, the lamplighter, Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer playing the now grown Banks children. Poppins returns to Banks’ children, played by Pixie Davies, Nathanial Saleh and Joel Dawson, and tries to help the family save their home, while taking care of the children, as well as having a lot of fun. The cast includes all-stars like Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, David Warner and Dick Van Dyke(!), and the director was Rob Marshall(Chicago). But this movie is best for kids and others who haven’t seen and admired the first (and better) Mary Poppins. And it gets a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.9/10 on IMDb. Netflix has also added Family Reunion, a 2019 comedy series. This has a family moving from Seattle to Columbia, Georgia and finding the change hard to deal with, for some. It stars Tia Mowry(Sister, Sister), now with children of her own, Anthony Alabi as her husband, Moz, with Loretta Devine and Richard Roundtree(!) as her in-laws, and Talia Jackson, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Cameron J. Wright and Jordyn Raya James as the kids. I’d say the cast is the best reason to tune in, with guest stars like Telma Hopkins, Mark Curry and Jaleel White all doing recurring roles. And it gets a 5.9/10 on IMDb. Netflix also offers Bonus Family, a Swedish dramedy about a blended family. It focuses on the marriage of Lisa(Vera Vitalj) and Patrik(Erik Johansson), two divorcees recently married and trying to get their kids, played by Frank Dorsin, Amanda Lindh and Jacob Lundqvist, adjusted to the change. It also stars Petra Mede, Fredrik Hallgren, Marianne Morck and Barbro Svenson. It’s a moving , funny and complex series, with three seasons now available. It won the Kristallen(Swedish Television) Award for Best TV Drama and gets a 7.7/10 on IMDb and a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching. Also, new on Netflix, is Point Blank, a 2019 remake of the 2010 French movie. This one stars Anthony Mackie as a nurse,Paul, whose pregnant wife(Teyonnah Parris) is kidnapped by Mateo(Christian Cooke), and Paul and Abe(Anthony Grillo), brother of Mateo, go to the rescue. Car chases, daring leaps and other action movie standards ensue. Marcia Gay Harden, Boris McGiver and Markice Moore also star and the director here is Joe Lynch. This is an action movie that doesn’t move well after the first half, and it gets a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix has also added Aziz Ansari: Right Now, Ansari’s 2019 stand-up special. Directed by the illustrious Spike Jonze(Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Her), Ansari apologizes for his past mistakes, being accused of sexual misconduct, and talks about the dangers out there for women. Jason Zimoran of the New York Times says “by framing the new special around his personal story, and also trimming and refining some weak spots, his act now coheres, taking on a new force and clarity, one that represents his finest, boldest and probably most polarizing work.” And it gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. See what you think. And, finally, Netflix has added Cities of Last Things, a 2018 Taiwanese drama. This one goes in reverse chronology, beginning with the suicide of Zhang Dong Ling, and then through three decisive nights in his life, one a dystopian sci-fi vision, the next film noir focus on his police work, and a look at his childhood.It stars Jack Kao, Lee Hong-chi, Hseih Chang-Ying and Louise Grinberg. It’s directed by Ho Wi Ding and won the Platform Prize at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Reviewer Josh Slater-Williams said “it’s a tough, emotionally raw watch at times, but always enthralling, thanks in part to the textures of the neon-heavy 35mm cinematography.” And it gets a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6/10 on IMDb. Watch if you dare.
Amazon has some exciting adds this week, including Marshall, a 2018 biographical drama. It focuses on the legendary lawyer and future Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, played by Chadwick Boseman, as he defends a man unjustly accused of rape, played by Sterling K. Brown, by his rich white employer, played by Kate Hudson. The stellar cast also includes James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp, Josh Gad and Dan Stevens and the movie was directed by Reginald Hudlin. Bob Mondello of NPR says “the tight focus helps make [it] more a courtroom drama than a biopic,” and it could use more Thurgood Marshall, but it gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Amazon has also added Journey’s End, a 2017 British WWI drama. Adapted from a 1928 play of the same name by R.C. Sherriff, this film catches British troops as they take their turn at the front, in northern France, as they ready for battle. It has a stunning cast, with Paul Bettany, Asa Butterfield, Toby Jones, Sam Claflin and Tom Sturridge and is directed by Saul Dibb(The Duchess, Suite Francaise). It’s claustrophobic and tense portrayal of war is hard to take, and Geoffrey Cheshire of rogerebert.com says its ” an intelligent, meticulously crafted drama.” And it gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Amazon offers You Are Wanted, a German suspense series. This show tells the story of a young businessman, played by Matthias Schweighoffer, who is hacked and his online data transformed to implicate him as a terrorist. He fights to prove his innocence, but his wife,played by Alexandra Maria Lara, and family begin to doubt him. The cast also includes Karoline Herfurth, Catrin Striebeck, Franz Hagn and Tom Beck and there are two exciting seasons now available on Amazon. Julia Raeside of the Guardian calls it a “gut-twisting cyber-thriller,” and it won a Romy Award in 2018. And it gets a 6/10 on IMDb.
So sit back, relax and binge this weekend, with classics new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!