Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and TV show added online, to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get right to it!
Hulu has added a couple of good movies this week, and one of them is science fiction, thank goodness, Aniara, a 2018 Swedish Danish film. Directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja, this is an adaptation of a Swedish poem of the same name, where climate change has destroyed our planet and made it necessary for spaceships like the Aniara to shuttle humans to Mars, on a three week trip. And, of course, things don’t go as planned, with space debris hitting the ship, and sending it off course, and it loses all it’s fuel, as well. The film stars Emelie Jonsson, Bianca Cruziero, Arvin Kananian and Anneli Martini. It’s not popular with everyone, it gets a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, but some are enthusiastic, like Lesley Felperin of the Guardian, who says it’s “a cold, cruel, piercingly humane parable that’s both bang on the zeitgeist and yet also unnervingly original.” And it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Hulu has also added Crypto, a 2019 thriller starring Kurt Russell. This movie features a small town boy made good, played by Beau Knapp, who comes back to his farming community and finds there is money laundering going on, through bitcoin, no less. The movie also stars Luke Hemsworth, Alexis Bledel, Jeremie Harris and Jill Hennesey(!) and is directed by John Stalberg Jr. But it’s a pretty silly movie, Slate says it doesn’t get Bitcoin and Noel Murray of the LA Times says “the characters all feel like they’ve been copied and pasted from hundreds of other movies,” and it only gets a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hulu also offers After the Screaming Stops, a 2019 British documentary. this is a sometimes hilarious look at the twin brothers Matt and Luke Goss, who made up the short-lived smash group Bros, in 1988(I’ve never heard of them either) who are supposedly going to do a one-night reunion concert. If they can stop fighting long enough to do so, after 28 years of hardly speaking to each other. This is a bizarre movie, with amazing quotes that will make you wonder if it’s not all another send-up by Christopher Guest. But, for all my research, this is real stuff, with Dave Holmes of Esquire saying it’s ” a real-life 1980′s Spinal Tap.” And it gets an amazing 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. You have to see it to believe it. And, finally, Hulu has added Banking on Bitcoin, the 2016 documentary directed by Christopher Cannucciari. He leads us through the life of Bitcoin here, from it’s development and how it works, to it’s high with investors, to the arrests of cyber-criminals exploiting the crypto-currency. This is the show the Crypto(above) producers should have watched before making their film, but it is three years old, so missing the most recent developments, like the sudden drops of Bitcoin value in recent years. And it gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb.
Netflix has a number of good adds this week, but one of the most compelling is it’s Criminal series, with entries from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain. Each has three episodes available, usually taking place only in the interrogation room at a police station, with Criminal; United Kingdom featuring actors like David Tennant, Katherine Kelley, Hayley Atwell and Youseff Kerkour featured, as different suspects go under intense questioning for hours, under suspicion of grim crimes. Criminal; France is absorbing as well, this time focusing on the female officer in charge, played by Margot Bancilon, with again, really tense questioning and unexpected twists and turns in the cases covered. Crimnal:UK gets a stunning 8.9/10 on IMDb, but they’re all equally good. If you love a mystery, crime drama or just good acting don’t miss one. Netflix has another amazing add with We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the 2018 version of Shirley Jackson’s classic 1962 novel. This movie focuses on two sisters, played by Taissa Farmiga and Alexandra Daddario who live secluded lives in their family chateau, with their sickly uncle Julian, played by Crispin Glover, years after the suspicious deaths of their parents. All is well(?) until their cousin shows up, played by Sebastian Stan, whose intrusive and aggressive presence has the potential to destroy their secure world. The cast also includes Paula Malcomson, Peter O’Meara and Maria Doyle Kennedy and the director here is Stacie Passon, who gives the movie a definite feminist view. It gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Courtney Howard of Variety saying Passon “sharply channels the author’s atmosphere of dread, paranoia and isolation, making the past feel present.” I’m definitely watching. Netflix has also added Inside Bill’s Brain, the three part documentary series about,you guessed it, Bill Gates. This is a study not just of Bill Gates now, the humanitarian and philanthropist, but how he got to where he is today, how he built and held on to Microsoft, how he hopes to cure many of society’s ailments now, with his wife and fellow computer whiz, Melinda. It’s directed by David Guggenheim(An Inconvenient Truth, He Called Me Malala), and though this can be a bit of a fan pic, with the Daily Dot calling it “just a Bill Gates Infomerical,” there are some interesting ideas put forth as well. And it gets an 8.4/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix has added the movie Between Two Ferns: The Movie, the film version of Zach Galifianakis’ web talk show, of the same name. Here, Galifianakis clumsily carries on his uninformed interviews with celebrities, including one with Matthew McConaughey that goes so badly, the show has to go on the road, for ten episodes. They include stars like Peter Dinklage, Chrissy Teigen, Daivd Letterman and Benedict Cumberbatch. This is really hilarious, ridiculous stuff, all well directed by Scott Aukerman(Comedy, Bang,Bang). It also stars Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Gaul,Edi Patterson and Mary Scheer. If you need a lift after a week’s news, this could definitely be your ticket. And it gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb.
Amazon has one add this week, The Family Man, an Indian action drama with a sense of humor. It stars Manoj Bajpayee, who works for the National Investigation Agency, hunting potential terrorists and criminals, while dealing with his kids and family, too, which doesn’t blend well with his cool image. The series also stars Priyamani, Sharib Hashmi, Neeraj Madhav, Vedant Sinha and Mehak Thakur. This is my kind of thriller series, which has plenty of action, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. And it gets an amazing 8.8/10 on IMDb. It’s definitely on my list. Amazon also offers the movie Voice From the Stone, a 2017 supernatural thriller set in Tuscany in the 1950’s. Here, Emilia Clarke plays a young nurse, hired to help a young boy who hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death, when he promised her not to speak(?). But she begins to suspect there is something more going on here, and that lives are threatened. The movie also stars Edward George Dring, Martin Csokas, Caterina Murino and Lisa Gastoni and is directed by Eric D. Howell. And it gets only a 5.2/10 on IMDb, but if you need something scary, it’s here. But I think a better choice would be the cult classic Shadow of the Vampire, the 2000 horror pic starring John Malkovich. Here, Malkovich plays the German director F. W. Murnau as he films his classic 1922 Nosferatu, based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, when weird occurences start and the crew begins to suspect his star, Max Shreck, a character actor playing the vampire, who is in turn played by a creepy Willem Dafoe. The wonderful cast also includes Cary Elwes, John Aden Gillet, Eddie Izzard, Udo Kier and Catherine McCormack(28 Days Later) and the film is directed by E. Elias Merhige. This is a great vampire satire that’s scary in it’s own right. And Roger Ebert gave it 3.5/4 stars and it get an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching.
So sit back, relax and binge this weekend, on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!