Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the new movies and TV shows added online to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. So let’s get right to it!
The biggest add on Hulu this week is A Simple Favor, the 2018 American comedy/mystery. In this, Anna Kendrick plays a vlogger who is in awe of PR director Blake Lively and becomes best friends with her, only to have her disappear mysteriously, so Kendrick is determined to find her. It also stars Henry Golding(Crazy, Rich Asians), Linda Cardelini, Jean Smart(!) and Rupert Friend and it is directed by Paul Fieg(Bridesmaids, Heat). It went on to be popular both at the box office and with the critics, getting an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and Cath Clark of the Guardian saying” Kendrick and Lively have never been funnier.” Give it a shot. Also new on Hulu is Jawline, a 2019 documentary about 16 year old Austyn Tester. Tester is famous on the website YouNow, where he tapes videos of himself telling people to stick to their dreams and never give up. He has thousands of teenage fans, mostly girls and devotes much of his life to his online celebrity, hoping it will lead to wealth and fame. The director of this film is Liza Mandelup and it gets an astounding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ben Kenigsburg of the New York Times says “no movie this year has made a more powerful argument for unplugging than “Jawline,” a disturbing, darkly hilarious documentary on live-broadcasting influencers.” Definitely worth a view. Hulu also offers The Bookshop, the 2018 British drama starring Emily Mortimer. She stars as an independent woman determined to start her own bookshop in a conservative coastal village in the 1950’s. She is met by strong opposition, especially by one powerful local resident, played by Patricia Clarkson(!). The stellar cast is only one reason to watch, with Bill Nighy also starring and Julie Christie narrating, as this film won three Goya Awards(Spanish Oscars), including Best Film and Best Director for Isabel Coixet. And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Hulu has the movie Haze, a 2018 horror movie set in a fraternity. It stars Zachary Byrd, Zachary Weiner and Phillip Andre Botello as three nerds who want to join a fraternity, so when a female student(Erica Boozer) offers them a chance at an off campus fraternity, they grab it. Unfortunately, there are horrific rituals they have to survive first. The director here is Daniel Robbins and the movie gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you really need horror.
Surprisingly, Netflix hasn’t added a lot this week, but there are a few recent goodies I can tell you about, like American Factory, a 2019 documentary from directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. It’s about the arrival of a Chinese factory in rural Ohio, which raised great hopes in the area, only to bring a clash between Chinese cultural expectations and blue collar workers of the U.S..This film won multiple awards, which bodes well for the Obamas‘ and their production company Higher Ground, as this is their first production to hit Netflix. And it gets an amazing 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewer Leah Greenblatt of EW saying it ” sharply delineates the possibilities- and the limits- of a modern global economy.” It’s definitely on my list. Netflix has also added Apache: the Carlos Tevez Story, an 2019 Argentinian drama series. It’s the life story of Carlos Tevez, now a soccer superstar, who grew up in the infamous Ejercito de Los Andes, or familiarly Fuerte Apache, an impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It stars Balthazar Murillo, Sofia Gala, Vanessa Gonzalez and Diego Perez. It’s gritty and realistic, and definitely not just for sports fans. There are 8 episodes available on Netflix now, and it gets an 8.1 on IMDb. Check it out. Netflix has also added their third season of 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix teen drama about teen suicide. This is a highly controversial series for it’s content and it’s subject matter, which I don’t necessarily recommend, as I have never seen it, but I wanted to put it out there. It stars Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Alisha Boe, Brenda Strong and Brandon Flynn that started with the suicide of a sixteen year old girl, but now is dealing with what appears to be murder of another teen. There are thirteen new episodes on Netflix now and the series gets a 7.9/10 on IMDb. But be forewarned, you might find it quite upsetting. Netflix also offers The Girl Allergic to WiFi, a 2018 filipino teen drama. It stars Sue Rodriguez as a girl who suddenly develops an electromagnetic sensitivity, requiring her to move to a rural area with no signal, so no gadgets. It also stars Jameson Bale, Marcus Peterson, Yayo Aguila and Candy Pangilinan. And it gets an 8.1/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netfllix has added Simon Amstell: Set Free, a 2019 comedy special. Amstell is a British comic who actually started as a game show host, and does sensitive, introspective humor. He’s funny and quiet, and gets only a 6.5/10 on IMDb, but deserves better than that. I’m watching.
Amazon doesn’t offer many newly added movies this week, though they have also added A Simple Favor, with Kendrick and Lively(see above). They have also added Battle Royale, a 2000 Japanese thriller. It’s a cross between Lord of the Flies and the Hunger Games, where a group of Japanese teens are forced to fight to the death by a totalitarian government. It stars Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Takeshi Kitano and Chiaki Kuriyama and Kinji Fukusaku directed. And it gets a surprising 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.6/10 on IMDb. It is super gory though, so be forewarned. A better choice, in my opinion is Chancer, a 1990 British crime drama series starring a very young Clive Owen. Here, Owen plays a chancer or a con man, in Brit speak, who is called upon to save Douglas Motors, a failing company owned by a rich and landed family. The show has an exemplary cast, with Simon Shepherd, Susannah Harker, Peter Vaughn and Caroline Langrishe, to name a few, and only the first season is available now. And it gets a 7.6/10 on IMDb. Clive Owen is always good.
So sit back and binge this weekend on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!