Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the new movies and television shows available for streaming on the big three streamers, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Hulu has some interesting stuff added this week, foremost of which is Plus One, the 2019 rom-com. This one features Maya Erskine(Pen15) and Jack Quaid as a pair of oddball friends, who decide to be each other’s plus one for a season full of weddings that make them feeling awkwardly alone. The movie also stars Ed Begley Jr., Rosalind Chao(MASH), Finn Whitrock, Emma Bell and Jessie Hodges. It gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Sara Stewart of the New York Post saying ‘ it takes some nerve to attempt a new spin on the wedding rom-com, but co-directors and writers Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer pull it off with the effervescent “Plus One.”‘ If you’re craving a romantic comedy, this may be the movie for you. Hulu has also added Mayans M.C., the crime drama series from FX. From The creator of Sons of Anarchy Karl Sutter and Elgin James, this features the story of the enemy gang turned allies of the Sons, the Mayans Motorcycle club, miles away, in the California town of Santo Padre. The show centers on a prospect for the gang, E.Z. Reyes, played by J.D. Pardo, a gifted man whose life was turned upside down by cartel violence, which drives him toward vengeance. The show has a wonderful cast with Clayton Cardenas, Sarah Bolger, Carla Baratta, Richard Cabral and the great Edward J. Olmos. It’s a violent show, but has some interesting and complex characters you won’t find on most crime shows, and it gets a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.5/10 on IMDb. Hulu has also added After Darkness, an American-Mexican 2018 sci-fi movie. Set on Earth at a time when the Sun is slowly burning out, in this film a family waits for rescue(?) as their world gets colder and colder. It’s main appeal is it’s cast which includes Natalia Dyer(Stranger Things), Tim Daly, Kyra Sedgwick and Sam Daly, but even an amazing cast can’t make up for the dumbness here. The film is directed by Batan Silva(Mayans M.C.!)., and gets a 3.3/10 on IMDb. Don’t watch. Hulu has also added another bad movie, Beach Bum, the 2019 comedy starring Matthew McConaughey. Here, McConaughey again plays the burnt out stoner, this time a poet, as he goes through his Florida life, trying to earn money and complete his book, The Beach Bum. The movie also stars Isla Fisher, Stefania LaVie Owen, Zac Efron, Jonah Hill, Snoop Dogg and even Jimmy Buffet and the movie is directed by Harmony Korine. If you want to see McConaughey play a better, more original stoner role, watch Dazed and Confused, but in here, it’s pretty much the same scene, repeated over and over again. And it gets a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.6/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Hulu has added Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds a 2017 Korean fantasy thriller. Here, a young firefighter(Cha Tae-hyun), after his death, is joined by three grim reapers, who escort him through the afterlife and 7 trials in 49 days, to see where he should spend eternity. The movie also stars Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon, Kim Hyang-gi, Ye Soo-Jung, Kim Dong-wook and Jang Gwang and is directed by Kim Yang-hwa. It’s a fun, action-packed movie with great special effects, which gets only a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes but a whopping 7.3/10 on IMDb. And it’s second part,Along With the Gods: the Last 49 Days, is also available on Hulu. So knock yourself out.
Netflix has some good adds this week, the foremost being Wu Assassins, the 2019 thriller series from creators John Wirth(Hell on Wheels) and Tony Krantz. In this show, a young San Francisco chef, played by Iko Uwais, after an encounter with a magical spirit, finds he is the Last Chosen One, a monk who can fight Wu overlords, who are now modern day criminals in Chinatown. It also stars Li Jun Li, Celia Au, Lewis Tan, Lawrence Kao, Katherine Winnick and Tzi Ma. This is a fun series, with lots of kung-fu and magical powers and it’s in the English language, so no subtitles! And it gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Netflix also has the documentary The Family, a 2019 limited series directed by Jesse Moss. This is about the Fellowship Foundation, informally called The Family, a evangelical group of non-profits that also wields great power in Washington D.C.. They’re the organizers of the National Prayer Breakfast, despite our nation’s separation of church and state, and have been influential in American politics since Dwight D. Eisenhower. It’s a chilling and infuriating series, with five episodes on Netflix, narrated by James Cromwell. It’s too new for IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes ratings, but Indiewire gives it a B+ and I heartily recommend it. Netflix also offers The Naked Director, a 2019 Japanese comedy-drama series. Based on the real life of pornography director Toru Murashi, played by Takayuki Yamada, the “emperor of porn,” who started off as a salesman, and went on to be famous in his field in the 1980′s and even invent the P.O.V. shot. The series also stars Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Misato Morita, Lily Franky, Tetsuji Tamayama and Sairi Ito and is based on the book Zenra Kantoku Muranishi Toru Den by Nabuhiro Motahashi. And it gets an astounding 8.3/10 on IMDb. But be aware, there is explicit content in the series and it is rated M. Netflix has also added St. Agatha, the 2018 horror flick. Taking place in 1950’s Georgia, this movie finds a young unmarried pregnant woman, Mary(Sabrina Kern) traveling to a home for unwed mothers, run by a terrifying Mother Superior(Carolyn Hennesy) in a scary, phantasmagoric environment. The cast also includes Trin Miller, Courtney Halverson, Seth Michaels, Hannah Fierman and Justin Miles and is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman(Saw series). It only gets a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com gives it 3/4 stars and says,”[it] may take too long to get going, but once it’s up and running, It’s perverse overheated fun.” Too scary for me. And, finally, if you need something a little cheerful after St. Agatha, Netflix offers The Inbestigators, a 2018 Australian comedy mystery series. It stars a group of kids, played by Abby Bergman, Aston Droomer, Anna Cooke and Jamil Smyth-Secka, who set up a detective agency in their community and start vlogging about it. The show also stars Maria Angelico, James Saunders, Eliza Poppy and Madeline Jevic. I love a good mystery, even if it is only a missing turtle or a stolen science fair experiment. And it gets a 7.8/10 on IMDb.
There are some interesting shows added on Amazon Prime, too, this week, including Free Meek, a 2019 documentary series about Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. Mill was convicted on drug and gun possession when he was just 19, and spent a year in jail, but then spent 11 years on probation, and was even jailed for technical violation of parole, and then jailed in 2017 for a series of minor non-violent violations, including performing a motorcycle stunt in one of his videos. Other notables appear in the series, advocating for Mill, and others caught in a Kafkaesque trap by parole, including Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Tamika Mallory, Paul Solotaroff and CNN’s Van Jones. It’s an infuriating tale of being caught in a ridiculously unfair system and gets a 6.7/10 on IMDb. Amazon has also added Maidentrip, a 2018 documentary about fourteen year-old sailor Laura Dekker. Dekker attempted an around-the-world trip as the youngest ever to do so, after fighting with Danish courts and intense media scrutiny. This film is directed by Jillian Schlesinger in her debut turn, but Dekker herself filmed a lot of the footage on her Sony hand cam, and it’s beautiful, inspiring and harrowing, as she struggles with damage to her boat, and huge swells. Maidentrip gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 7.3/10 on IMDb, and RogerEbert.com’s Susan Wlosyczyna says it’s been compared to Robert Redford’s All Is Lost. It’s an amazing movie. And, finally, if you’re missing the wonderful Rutger Hauer since his death two weeks ago, Amazon has added Split Second, his 1992 American-British horror movie. This movie takes place in what was then the near future of 2008, where global warming is taking it’s toll and London is partly flooded, and 10 years after police officer Hauer‘s partner is slain, the murders have begun again, and he investigates. Split Second also stars Kim Cattrall, Neil Duncan, Michael J. Pollard(Bonnie and Clyde), Alun Armstrong and Pete Postlethwaite and is co-directed by Tony Maylam and Ian Sharp. Okay, it’s not Hauer‘s best film, but it’s a dark, sci-fi murder mystery, and it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in.
So sit back and relax this weekend and binge to your heart’s delight, on classics new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!