Yes, it’s the weekend, again, and time to review the new movies and TV shows to stream online, at Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Admittedly, Hulu hasn’t added a lot this week, but they have added three interesting documentaries, the first of which is The Biggest, Little Farm,a 2019 movie directed by Emmy winning director John Chester. This follows Chester and his wife, Molly, and their foster dog Todd, bought a farm in California, and their dog, Todd, in their effort to raise biodiverse crops there. Chester offers an honest look at the endless amount of hard work and money it takes to work a farm and turn it into a profitable enterprise. It’s a lovely, inspiring look at the huge difficulties of farming, with some beautiful shots,too. And it gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching. The other doc added on Hulu is Framing John DeLorean, the 2019 biography of the late auto tycoon. Directed by Don Argott and Sheena M Joyce, this film recounts DeLorean‘s life, from his fast rise through General Motors, to his downfall on charges of cocaine trafficking and his unusual car designs that caught the attention of the world. Alec Baldwin even plays him in some vignettes featured here, with Monica Baccarin playing his wife, Cristina Ferrare. Adam Graham of the Detroit News says, “it’s both inspiring and a cautionary tale, filled with drama, intrigue, hubris, comedy and tragedy. It’s an American story, and a wild one at that.” And it also gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hulu has added the doc Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story, the 2017 film covering the first integrated Little League Championship in the south. This important and impressive movie covers that year, 1955, when two teams made up of African American kids, headed for the southern championships, and for that right, stood up to forfeited games, hatred and even threats on their lives. Baseball legends Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr., Gary Sheffield, as well as the surviving players on both teams are featured here, as well. This is a moving, upsetting and yet positive film about racism in this country, especially relevant now, with it’s reemergence in this country. And it gets a stunning 7.5/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching.And, finally, if you need some drama after all there documentaries, Hulu has added Denial, the 2016 biographical film starring Rachel Weiss. Here, in a story based on fact, Weiss plays Deborah Lipstadt, an American professor of Holocaust studies, who was sued by notorious Holocaust denier David Irving in Britain, for calling him just that, a Holocaust denier. And as the British law required her to prove it was not libel, Lipstadt and her legal crew went about building the case to prove the Holocaust, and the killing of seven million Jews, not to mention countless homosexuals, Roma and other unfortunate individuals. Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Caren Pistorius, Andrew Scott and Jack Lowden also star, with Mick Jackson(The Bodyguard) directing. And it gets an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.
If you’re looking to avoid the slew of Christmas movies already released on Netflix, I may have some ideas for you, like The Lovers, the 2017 dramatic romance starring Debra Winger and Tracy Letts. The pair play a married couple, each involved in a serious extra-marital affair and contemplating divorce, when things take an unexpected turn, and their divorce may not happen at all. Jessica Sula, Melora Walters, Aiden Gillen and Tyler Ross also star, with Azazel Jacobs(Momma’s Man) directing. Johanna Schneller of the Globe and Mail says, “a delicate, deadpan comic fable, as if someone gave Boccaccio a camera and an indie film budget.” And it gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s definitely on my list. Netflix has also added Burning Cane, the stunning 2019 drama from first time director Phillip Youmans. Youmans delivers an amazing portrayal of poverty in the South, with the help of the narrative voiceover of Helen, played by Karen Kaia Livers, who worries about her aging dog and her troubled son, played by Dominique McClellan. It also stars Wendell Pierce(The Wire), Braelyn Kelly, Emyri Crutchfield and Erika Woods. This film won numerous jury awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, including Best Feature, Best Actor and Best Cinematography. Richard Brody of the New Yorker says, “Youmans… depicts these harrowing emotional crises in dramatic fragments and shadow-drenched, often oblique images; they suggest his anguish at a legacy of male frustration, violence, rage, and self-destruction.” And this exciting debut by Youmans gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am definitely watching. Netflix has also added Shadow, the 2018 Chinese historical drama. Shadow takes place in the Three Kingdoms period, around 220 A.D., when there were three different kingdoms in China, fighting for control. It features the story of the kingdom of Pei, where two warriors, played by Deng Chao and Hu Jun, fight for supremacy there, and Zheng Kai plays their cowardly king, Peiliang. Sun Li,Wang Qianyuan ,Guan Xiaotong and Leo Wu also star and Zhang Yimou(Red Sorghum) directed. Zhang Yimou went on to win Best Director for his work here at the Golden Horse Awards, in Taipei and the movie gets an amazing 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it, I won’t. Netflix also offers I’ll See You in My Dreams, the 2016 comedy/drama with an all star cast. Blythe Danner(!) stars as a retired song writer who, upon the death of her beloved dog, finds herself at loose ends, in need of a companion. She meets and befriends her pool boy, played by Martin Starr, and dates Bill, played by Sam Elliott. Other stars in the cast include Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place(!), June Squibb and Malin Åkerman, and the whole work is co-written and directed by Brett Haley(The Hero). And the movie gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Netflix has added Greatest Events of World War II in Colour, a 2019 documentary series. A British group World Media Rights produced this series, which has compiled archival footage from WWII, mostly battle-related, some of it in color, but some of it colorized, too. There are ten episodes now available. Derek Jacobi narrates, and it gets an incredible 8.8/10 on IMDb.
Amazon has added some good stuff too, this week, one of the best being One Child Nation, the 2019 award-winning documentary about China’s One Child Policy. This was a drastic measure to curb the rapid population growth in China, but it had drastic unforeseen effects, as shown by co-directors Zhang Wang and Jialing Jang, especially in a culture that so prizes male births over female. The directors dug into their family histories, archival files and propaganda, and first-hand accounts to produce a shocking and unsettling movie. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian calls it “[A] powerful documentary, and it gets a fabulous 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.5/10 on IMDb. Another great film added on Amazon is The Second Time Around, a grown-up romance of 2018. It stars the wonderful Stuart Margolin and Linda Thorson as two retirees who fall in love, while Katherine(Thorson) convalesces from a hip injury. The cast also includes Laura De Carteret, Louis Del Grande and Alexis Harrison , and the director here is Leon Marr. It gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Frank Ochieng of ScreenAnarchy calling it “a gently exuberant and inspiring mature romancer.” I am definitely watching. And, finally, Amazon has added The Lost Room, a 2006 scifi mini-series. This is a series that originally aired on the Syfy channel and feature Peter Krause as Detective Joe Miller, who starts to investigate the Room, which was a motel room, but has lost it place in space and time, and begins searching for the objects necessary to rescue his 8 year-old daughter, played by Elle Fanning, from the Room. It also stars Julianna Marguilles, Peter Jacobson, Dennis Christopher(Breaking Away) and Kevin Pollak. There are six episodes available on Amazon and gets an amazing 8.2/10 on IMDb. Watch if you dare.
So sit back and binge, this holiday weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!