Yes, it’s that time again, the weekend and time to review the best new movies and television shows added, online, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Hulu has some terrifyingly good stuff added this week, like the new season of Castle Rock, the series inspired by Stephen King stories. Taking place in Castle Rock, King’s iconic Maine town, this season catches up with Annie Wilkes(Lizzy Caplan) a young version of Kathy Bates’ classic character in Misery, and other storylines. Elsie Fisher, Paul Sparks, Barkhad Abdi,Yusra Warsama and Tim Robbins(!) also star, with guest stars like Phyllis Somerville, Audrey Moore, David Selby and Jayne Atkinson popping up regularly, too. It’s a great show that’s way too scary for me, but it gets a 7.7/10 on IMDb, so you know it’s good. Hulu has also added Zomboat, a British comedy/horror series that’s more my speed. it stars Cara Theobold and Leah Brotherhead who face a zombie apocalypse that has hit Birmingham, England, and figuring that zombies can’t swim, they head for a boat. Ryan McKen, Hamza Jeetooa, Jodie Saunders and Callum Kerr also star and Adam Miller is the director. And it gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Hulu also offers Benjamin, the 2019 comedy/drama directed by Bob Saget(!). Here, a teenage boy, Benjamin(Max Burkholder), is believed by his family to be hooked on crystal meth, so they plan an intervention. Unfortunately, they’re ore screwed up than he is, so it goes rather badly. There are a lot of great comic actors starring here, like Kevin Pollak, Peri Gilpin, Cheri Oteri, Rob Corddry, Mary Lynn Rajskub and, of course, Bob Saget. Which is why I’m including this movie, because it doesn’t get very good ratings, only a 3.2/10 on IMDb. I thought you should know. And, finally, for your Halloween dose of terror, Hulu has The Orphanage, a 2007 horror film from Spain. This stars Belén Rueda as a woman who decides to buy her beloved orphanage and turn it into a home for disabled children, but when their family moves in, her son, played by Roger Príncep, claims he met another child, with a sack mask over his head, Tomás. It also stars Fernando Cayo, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla and Geraldine Chaplin(!).m and is directed by J.A. Bayonna(The Impossible). And Gullermo del Toro produced it! This premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and got a 10 minute standing ovation there and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said its “frightening movie that earns its scares the hard way, generating unbearable tension through artful technique instead of computer.” And it gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.4/10 on IMDb. I’m watching…..if it’s not too scary.
Netflix’s biggest add this week has to be Dolemite Is My Name, the new comedy starring Eddie Murphy. In this movie based on a true story, Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, a struggling comic determined to somehow become famous, who becomes blacksploitation star Dolemite. This movie has an all-star cast, with Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson(The Office), Tituss Burgess(The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Da’Vine Joy Randolph(Ghost The Musical) and Wesley Snipes, and is directed by Craig Brewer(Hustle & Flow). This is a wonderfully warm, hilarious movie with Eddie Murphy finally showing his chops again as an actor, not just a comedian. Kevin Maher of The Times(UK) says “Eddie Murphy is the best he has been in years (at least since Dreamgirls), playing the comedian and blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore in this affectionate, funny, but soft-focus biopic (no warts, no all).” And it gets a stunning 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it. Netflix also has Daybreak, the 2019 teen zombie apocalypse series. Based on the comic series of the same name, this show follows the adventures of Josh(Colin Ford) as he searches for his girlfriend Sam(Sophie Simnett) in a Glendale, California beset by zombie-like “ghoulies”, and teen age gang of evil jocks, cheerleaders or whatever, that have meanwhile taken over the city. It also stars Alyvia Alyn Lind,Austin Crute, Krysta Rodriguez and Matthew Broderick(!), and has ten episodes available now on Netflix. It’s definitely a soapy and teen-targeted show, but it does have some tense moments. And it gets a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.4/10 on IMDb. Netflix also offers the wonderful Dancing with the Birds, a 2019 nature documentary. This mostly follows the excruciating lengths male birds will go to to get a mate, and how females watch and react to the all the male drama. Brought to us by the team behind Our Planet, and narrated by Stephen Fry, this shows the amazing spectacle of the process of picking a mate by birds, and concentrates on both sexes, not just the males. And it gets an 8.4/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching. Netflix also has The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch, a 2018 Swiss romantic comedy. This movie follows the travails of Motti(Joel Basman), a young orthodox jew, whose mother has her heart set on his marrying into an orthodox family and keeps setting him up with young women with a startling resemblance to herself. And he is falling for a schikse, a girl who is definitely not orthodox, nor like his mother-she drinks, wears pants, in short, breaks all the rules. It also stars Noémie Schmidt, Sunnyi Melles and Udo Samel, and was directed by Michael Steiner. This was the Swiss entry in the 92nd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film, and Basman won Best Actor for his role at the Swiss Awards. And it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. and, finally, Netflix has added the 6th and final season of BoJack Horseman, the adult animated comedy series. Will Arnett plays BoJack, a washed up star of the 90’s sitcom Horsin’ Around, and Season 6 catches him in rehab, and everyone adjusting to his new situation. This award-winning series also stars Amy Sedaris, Allison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins and Aaron Paul, and has 16 episodes available now. And it gets an astounding 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.6/10 on IMDb.
Amazon‘s best add this week is A Quiet Passion, the 2017 biographical drama starring Cynthia Nixon. Here, Nixon plays Emily Dickinson, the famed poet whose quiet life and subdued life, unfortunately required by her gender in the Victorian Age, belied a fierce and phenomenal intellect. Emma Bell stars as the younger Dickinson, and Jennifer Ehle, Keith Carradine, Duncan Duff and Jodhia May also star. And Terrence Davies(The Deep Blue Sea, House of Mirth) directs. Matthew Lickona of the San Diego Reader says “The rich imagery and controlled composition seem alternately to highlight Dickinson‘s unfettered art and to mock her sadly fettered life.” Nixon’s performance is excellent and the movie gets a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on my list. Amazon has also added the British comedy/ mystery series Hamish Macbeth from 1997-2001. Here, Robert Carlyle stars as Macbeth, the lone PC(constable) in the Scottish village of Lochdubh, where he solves whatever crime arises in the small town, though offenders may not end up in jail. The series is based on books by M.C. Beaton, and also stars Shirley Henderson,Valerie Gogan , Ralph Riach and Barbara Rafferty. I’m always looking for a new mystery and this one gets a 7.8/10 on IMDb, so I’m tuning in. And, finally, if you’re looking for more Dolemite, after Eddie Murphy’s new movie, try Dolemite, the 1975 original blaxsploitation crime drama. Starring Rudy Ray Moore himself as Dolemite, his alter-ego, who escaped from jail and a 20 year prison sentence, and seeks revenge on the one who set him up, Willie Green, played by D’Urville Martin. And, of course, Dolemite is backed up by his All-Girl Army of Kung-Fu Killers(!). It also stars Lady Reed, West Gale, John Kerry, Gale Jones and Vainus Rackstraw, and D’Urville Martin directed, as well. It’s a piece of film history and an example of what black Americans had to do to get a role on screen, even a corny one. It gets only a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.9/10 on IMDb.
So sit back, relax and binge this weekend on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!