Yes, it’s the weekend, again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Hulu has some big adds this week, including the November episode of their Into the Dark series, Pilgrim. This one stars Courtney Henggeler as a suburban mom who makes the mistake of asking Thanksgiving cosplayers, to her Thanksgiving dinner. Reign Edwards(Snowfall) plays her rightfully suspicious step-daughter and Kerr Smith(Riverdale) and Antonio Raul Corbo play the rest of the family, with Peter Giles and Elyse Levesque plays the most threatening pilgrims. The director is Marcus Dunstan. This is a seriously scary movie, though it certainly has some silly concepts in it. And it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb. Hulu has also added the acclaimed movie The Nightingale, a 2018 Australian action drama from Jennifer Kent(The Babadook). This is the story of a young Irish convict, played by Aisling Franciosi, sent to Van Dieman’s land, now Tasmania, who seeks revenge for a terrible crime inflicted upon her, and the aboriginal tracker she hires to help her, played by Baykali Ganambarr. The movie also stars Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman, Magnolia Maymuru and Charlie Jampijinpa Brown. There was great outrage initially at the violence, both sexual and physical, that was depicted in the movie, but Kent correctly argued that the violence was historically accurate, especially about the numerous offences committed against women and indigenous people of Australian colonies. Sandra Hall of the Sydney Morning Herald called it, “one of the most powerful films yet seen about the country’s colonial foundation and the cruelties that were an indelible part of it.” And it gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Hulu also newly offers The Closet, a 2001 French comedy thriller. This is the story of Francois, played by Daniel Auteuil, an unassuming worker, who, when he is about to be fired from his job in a condom factory, starts rumors that he is gay, thus saving his job, but leading to exciting and unforeseen consequences. The cast also includes Gérard Depardieu , Thierry Lhermitte, Michel Aumont and Alexandra Vandermoot, and it was written and directed by Francis Veber. Rita Kempley of the Washington Post called it “a tour de farce from France’s funniest filmmaker, Francis Veber.” And it gets an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Hulu has added You Laugh, But It’s True, the 2011 Trevor Noah documentary. This is a sensitive doc about Noah‘s early career, e.g. his one man show The Daywalker, and the prejudice he faced not only as a youth under Apartheid, but later, as a young biracial comic, even from older white comedians. It is not a comedy, but a deep dive into what it means to be mixed race and a comic, in South Africa and the world. It’s directed by David Paul Meyer and it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list.
The biggest add on Netflix this week is American Son, the 2019 movie adaptation of the hit Broadway play. This is the story of Kendra, played by Kerry Washington, whose son, Jamal is missing and the frustration and heartbreak she and her estranged husband, played by Steven Pasquale, experience in a Florida police station. Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee also star and the director here is Kenny Leon, Tony winning director for A Raisin in the Sun. The direction is taut and Kerry Washington is wonderful, as always. It only gets a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Brian Lowery of CNN.com says, “American Son possesses considerable power in its premise., while wrestling with the claustrophobic aspects of transferring a stage play to the screen. Ultimately, the subject matter wins out, yielding a flawed but brisk 90-minute Netflix presentation.” Another interesting add on Netflix is The Man Without Gravity, a 2019 Italian magical fantasy. It stars Elio Germano as a man who is resistant to gravity and endures a life of secrecy, enforced by his loving but fearful mother(Elena Cotta), becoming isolated and unhappy. When his childhood girlfriend(Michela Cescon) reappears things change, but when his secret becomes public, his celebrity threatens to ruin him. Silvia D’Amico, Vincent Scarito, Jennifer Brokshi and Pietro Pescara also star and Marco Bonfanti directs. Brendan Gallagher of the Daily Dot says, “as with all effective magical realism, The Man Without Gravity strikes a fine balance between fairy-tale whimsy and thematic depth.” And it gets a stunning 8.7/10 on IMDb. If you want something more scifi, Netflix has added Ad Vitum, the 2019 French futuristic mystery series. It takes place in a future world where people live to astonishing old age, with little outward sign of aging, a mysterious series of teen suicides begin to occur. A detective(Yvan Attal) and a troubled young woman(Garance Marillier) investigate, and an underworld of cults and danger begin to reveal themselves. Niels Schneider,Victor Assié, Anne Azoulay and Hanna Schygulla also star. This is dark, dystopian stuff, but with explicit content. It gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb. I’m watching, but be sure to turn on subtitles, as the dubbing on Netflix tends to be laughable! Netflix also offers the 2018 documentary Fire In Paradise, a tale of the devastating Camp Fire of last year. Directors Drea Cooper and Zackary Caneppari give us a heartbreaking look at the horribly fast moving fire that took 85 human lives and those of countless other animals, through first hand accounts and video footage. It’s a stark look at what could become much more common, amid the fires taking place right now in Northern and Southern California, with climate change. And it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix has The King, a 2019 historical drama starring Timothy Chalemet. Chalemet plays Prince Hal, a wayward teen who becomes King Henry V of England, unexpectedly, after his father’s death, in the 15th century, and goes on to face discord in his court, attempted assassinations and finally, war with France. This is based on Shakespeare’s Henriad plays, but it’s the bare bones only, without the wonderful prose of the bard. The cast also includes Joel Edgerton, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Mendelsohn and is directed by David Michôd. Thomris Laffley of RogerEbert.com says, “with weighty things to say about contemporary and corrupt institutions of power and even dangers of male hegemony, Michôd’s non-preachy The King comes with philosophical heft and visual authority to match.”And it gets a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m definitely watching.
Amazon, too, has added some interesting movies this week, including Nobody’s Fool, the 2018 Tiffany Haddish comedy. Haddish stars as an ex-con, Tanya, who goes to live with her sister, Danica(Tika Sumpter), a successful businesswoman who has problems of her own. So, while Danica tries to get Tanya a job, Tanya tries to solve Danica’s man problems and chaos ensues. This movie has an excellent cast, with Whoopi Goldberg(!), Chris Rock(!), Amber Riley, Mehcad Brooks and Missi Pylem and it’s directed by the amazing Tyler Perry. So, although it only got a 4.7/10 on IMDb, I’m watching. Amazon has also added Excursion, a 2018 British scifi thriller. here, Johnny Mindlen plays a prosperous London lawyer, who wakes one night to find his 20 year-old self threatening him with a gun. The young man has traveled through time from 1980’s USSR to see how socialism worked out and things become very dangerous for both the men. It also stars Richard Canal, Sophie Wilson, J.P. Turner and Jeryl Burgess, and is directed by Martin Grof. This movie won several awards, including Best First Time Director at the Global Film Festival Awards 2019. And it gets an 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Amazon has added Transit a 2019 German thriller. Here, Georg((Franz Rogowski) flees occupied Marseilles by assuming the identity of a dead writer, only to meet the writer’s mysterious wife, Marie(Paula Beer), and fall in love with her. The cast also includes Godehard Giese, Lilien Batman and Maryam Zaree and the director here is Christian Petzold. It gets an amazing 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian says, “the strangeness of this story will live in your bloodstream like a virus.” It’s on my list.
So, sit back, relax, and binge this weekend, on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!