It’s the weekend and time to mention to best movies and TV shows to be added online, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
The additions this week on Hulu are very few, so I’ll mention a few from weeks past I haven’t had time for, one being Operation Finale, the 2018 drama with a great cast. This stars Oscar Isaac(also a producer here) as a Mossad agent, along with others, played by Lior Azov, Nick Kroll and Melanie Laurent, and their search for the infamous Adolph Eichmann, played by Ben Kingsley, in Argentina, in 1960. It also stars Haley Su Richardson, Greta Scacchi and Peter Strauss and was directed by Chris Weitz(American Pie, About a Boy). It’s not a perfect film, uneven and a bit melodramatic, it only gets a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 6.5/10 on IMDb. But if you like a historical drama like I do, you’ll tune in. Hulu also offers Mapplethorpe, the 2018 biopic starring Matt Smith(Doctor Who!). Here, Smith stars as the a star photographer of the 80′s Robert Mapplethorpe, whose black and white erotic photo of men were at the time ultra controversial, as was his life, until his tragic death at 42 from AIDS in 1989. The film also stars Marianne Rendón, John Benjamin Hickey, McKinley Belcher III and Mark Moses, and the director is Ondi Timoner. But Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com calls it “stunningly drab,” David Edelstein of Vulture calls it “Mapplethorpe vanilla,” and Rotten Tomatoes gives it only a 33%. Maybe better to look at a book of Mapplethorpe‘s photos, if you want to see great art. Hulu has horror, too, with Body at Brighton Rock, a 2019 thriller starring Karina Fontes. Fontes plays a rather inexperienced park ranger, who discovers a dead body, deep in the back country, and then has to guard the site until help arrives. Which turns out to be a long time, and she soon finds she has company, of an unwelcome kind. The cast also includes Casey Adams, Emily Althaus, Brodie Reed and John Getz and the director here is Roxanne Benjamin. Katie Walsh of the Chicago Tribune says, ” Benjamin nails the cheap retro aesthetic with a story that’s thematically richer and much more interesting than one might expect with this genre.” So even though it only gets a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added Smoke Signals, the indie drama from 1998. Based on a screenplay by Sherman Alexie(!), this movie focuses on two young Native American men, played by Adam Beach(Victor) and Evan Adams(Thomas), who go on a road trip from Couer D’Alene, Idaho to Phoenix, to retrieve the ashes of Victor‘s late father, played by Gary Farmer and settle his affairs. The film also stars Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal and John Trudell and is directed by Chris Eyre(Skins). It won multiple awards, including winning the Filmmaker’s Trophy and the Audience Award at Sundance that year. And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching!
The biggest new offering on Netflix this week is The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, their new series that’s a prequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 film. This is a British production that introduces us to the magical world of Thra, and three Gelflings, played by Taron Edgerton, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nathalie Emannuel, as they begin their rebellion against the powerful Skeksis, who rule the planet. The cast is amazing, with Simon Pegg, Alicia Vikander, Toby Jones, Helena Bonham-Carter,Mark Hamill(!), Awkwafina and Harvey Fierstein, with many others I don’t have time or room to list! The director is Louis Leterrier and there are ten episodes now available on Netflix. This is an astoundingly beautiful and fascinating series that gets an 8.7/10 on IMDb. Don’t miss it, I certainly won’t. Netflix has also added Kardec, a 2019 Brazilian bio pic. It stars Leonardo Medeiros as Allan Kardec, an 19th century French professor, who, after a seance, founded the unproven Spiritism movement, which pt him at odds with the Catholic government of the time. The movie also stars Sandra Corveloni, Genezio de Barros, Leticia Braga and Louise D’Tuani and it’s directed by Wagner D’Assis. It rather ridiculously portrays Kardec as working as a scientist, with totally unscientific methods like seances and ghosts, but it’s a beautifully filmed period drama. And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. And don’t believe everything you see. Netflix also offers Dave Chappelle Sticks and Stones, his 2019 stand up special. Once outrageous and irreverent, Chapelle this time takes on defending a lot of male celebrities accused of sex crimes, like Louis CK, Michael Jackson and whining that it’s “celebrity-hunting season.” There is some interesting stuff about gun violence, but the Ringer says, “Dave Chappelle’s provocations have turned predictable,” and I agree. Better to watch old episodes of The Dave Chappelle show. But it does get an 8.4/10 on IMDb, so if you’re an old fan, especially a male fan, maybe you’ll like it. Netflix has also added episodes of Locked Up, a Spanish drama series. It stars Maggie Civantos as a young woman, who is pushed into embezzling by her boss(and boyfriend) and finds herself jailed when she can’t pay a high bail, and facing a seven year term. sounds familiar? Well, the producers say it isn’t a ripoff of Orange is the New Black, and the shows are significantly different, with OINB is comedic, this series is a thriller. It also stars Najwa Nimri, Berta Vasquez, Alba Flores, Inma Cuevas and Carlos Hipolito and it gets wonderful reviews, with a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.3/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has The A-List, a teen supernatural drama series from the BBC. The story is a group of teens go to a sleep-away on a weird, remote island, Camp Peregrine, where a girl named Amber(Ellie Duckles) seem to rule, with super powers and our hero, a girl named Mia(Lisa Ambalavanar) seeks the truth. The cast also includes Savannah Baker, Cian Barry, Eleanor Bennett and Nneka Okoye. It gets a 5.7/10 on IMDb, but it’s new and Refinery29 calls it “Lost meet The Society drama,” so watch if that’s what you want.
Amazon‘s biggest add this week has to be Carnival Row, it’s original 2019 noir fantasy series. it stars Orlando Bloom (!) as an investigator into a series of murders in Carnival Row, and gets the help of a refugee faerie, Vignette Stonemoss, played by Cara Delevingne, one of the many magical refugees living in the area. The series also stars David Gyasi, Karla Crome, Indira Varma and Tamzin Merchant. And the series gets an 8/10 on IMDb. There are 8 episodes available now. If you love fantasy mixed with romance and mystery, this is your show.But I’d rather watch Ladies in Black, a 2018 Australian comedy/drama. Here, Angourie Rice plays a young woman who wants to go to college, who is hired to work in Goode’s department store, in 1959 Sydney, when women’s rights weren’t heartily embraced. She joins coworkers played by Julia Ormond(!), Rachel Taylor and Allison McGirr, with the cast also including Susie Porter, Vincent Perez, Nicholas Hammond and Noni Hazlehurst. The director is the amazing Bruce Beresford, whose other movies include Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy and Tender Mercies. It’s an absorbing look at another time, when immigration and women’s liberation were issues and it’s wonderful to see four women as the main characters of a movie. won four awards at the AACTA(Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts), including Best Actress Role for Rice, and it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally Amazon has added Climax, a 2019 arts horror film from director Gaspar Noe(Enter the Void). This is a supremely weird movie, where a dance troupe goes to an empty school building on a cold wintry night, to rehearse, then have a party where the sangria is laced with LSD and everything descends into chaos. It stars Sophie Boutela(Atomic Blonde),Romain Guillermic, Souheila Jacoub, Kiddy Smile and Giselle Palmer. It’s bizarre, terribly graphic and not for everyone(including me). And it gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2/10 on IMDb. You decide.
So sit back, relax and binge this holiday weekend, with plenty of classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Enjoy!