It’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows coming to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Hulu has a big add this week with it’s new series Dollface, from executive producer Margot Robbie. Kat Dennings(2 Broke Girls) stars as Julie, or Dollface, as her long time boyfriend called her, and tries to get back to being with her friends, after her traumatic break-up. Brenda Song and Shay Mitchell star as those friends, with Esther Povitsky, Beth Grant, Brianne Howey and Vella Lovell also starring. There are 10 episodes now available on Hulu. It’s a quirky take on adjusting to being newly single and it gets an impressive 7.3/10 on IMDb. Another great add on Hulu is Anna and the Apocalypse, a British horror/comedy from 2016. It features Ella Hunt as Anna, a teenager in the boring town of Little Haven, Scotland, working through her Christmas vacation, when catastrophe strikes, and a zombie infection(and ensuing apocalypse) begins. But it’s not all bad, and Anna and her teenage friends find empowerment and excitement in the attack, enough to begin singing(it’s a musical, too)!Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins and Calum Cormack also star and John McPhail directs. Brad Wheeler of the Globe and Mail says “Show tunes meet Shaun of the Dead in the delightfully gruesome Scottish horror-musical Anna and the Apocalypse.” It’s a lot of fun and not believably gruesome, and it gets a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching. Hulu has also added the 2018 doc In Search of Greatness, from director Gabe Polsky. Here, Polsky studies how athlete become exceptional, not just great, featuring interviews with legends like Jerry Rice, Serena Williams, Pele and Wayne Gretzky and studying people like Mohammed Ali and Rocky Marciano. Though Polsky concentrates far more on male athletes than female, it’s still an interesting subject, and the film gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. And,finally, Hulu has the 2011 South Korean thriller The Housemaid,from director Im Sang-soo(The Taste of Money). this tells the story of a housemaid, played by Jeon Do-yeon, who is newly hired to care for a rich couple’s children, but is quickly seduced by the husband, and the resulting triangle becomes dangerous. Lee Jung-jae, Seo Woo, Youn Yuh-jung and Ahn Seo-hyun also star. This film, a remake of a 1960 classic of the same name, competed for the Palme d’or at Cannes in 2010, and won multiple awards at the Asian Film Awards and the Chunsa Film Art Awards. The New York Times called it “opulent but hauntingly austere,” and it gets a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it.
Okay, Netflix again postponed the premiere of Scorsese’s The Irishman til next week, but there are still some interesting adds there this week, including Earthquake Bird, the 2019 thriller starring Alicia Vikander. Here, she stars as a young expat in 1989 Tokyo, suspected in the murder of her missing friend, Lily(Rily Kough), who was also her rival in a romantic triangle with a mysterious photographer(Naoki Kobayashi). But nothing is as it seems, here. The movie also stars Jack Huston, Kiki Sukezane, Ken Yamamura and Akiko Iwase , with Wash Westmoreland(Still Alice, Collette) directing. It only gets a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I love a mystery, and Vikander is always good, too. Netflix has also added Suffragette, the 2016 historical drama starring Carey Mulligan. This takes place in 1912 London, where a young laundry worker(Mulligan) is caught up in the Women’s Rights movement, and finds her life imperiled because of it, with threats from her abusive husband and others. Natalie Press, Brendan Gleeson, Helena Bonham Carter,Anne-Marie Duff(Shameless) and Ben Whishaw also stars, with Meryl Streep even appearing as the famous Emmeline Pankhurst, and Sarah Gavron(This Little Life) directing. This won numerous awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Brendan Gleeson at the BIFAs and Actress of the Year for Mulligan at the Hollywood Film Awards. And it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb and a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m definitely watching. Also new on Netflix is the wonderful 2019 Colombian documentary El Sendero de la Anaconda. This covers a voyage by Wade Davis and his anthropologist friend Martin von Hildebrand, as they traverse the Amazonian rain forest, in search of different cultural groups the outside world. Directed by Alessandro Angulo, it’s a beautiful look at some the amazing cultures and peoples, still persisting in the Amazon. And it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Netflix has also added the 2006 Argentine mini-series Vientos de Agua. This thirteen part series, Winds of Water in English, covers the arc of a man moving from Spain to Argentina in 1929, and his son’s subsequent return to modern-day Spain. It stars Ernesto Alterio, Eduardo Blanco, Héctor Alterio ,Angie Cepeda, Marta Etura and Claudia Fontán. This was a cult favorite when it came out, and gets an amazing 8.8/10 on IMDb. It’s definitely on my list. And, finally, Netflix offers Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? , the 2019 documentary about the famous E-Street band saxophonist. After Springsteen and the E-Street band ended their tour of 2003, Clemons took a trip to China to quiet his soul and search for himself, planning to film it with his friend Nick Mead, only to suffer a stroke on his return to the States in 2011. But friends finished it , with interviews with people like Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Bill Clinton, Gayle Morrison, Jake Clemons and Narada Walden. It’s a long overdue look at a musical phenomenon, and it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb. Well worth your time.
Amazon has a huge add this week, with The Souvenir, the 2019 drama written and directed by Joana Hogg(Exhibition, Archipelago). It stars Honor Swinton-Byrne as a young student who wants to make a film and her destructive first affair with an unreliable man named Anthony, that nearly derails everything. Tom Burke plays Anthony, Tilda Swinton, her mother, and Tosin Cole, Jack McMullen and Richard Ayoade also star. Hogg has already won the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, and won raves from reviewers, with David Sexton of London Evening Standard saying “the absolute specificity of this story makes it universal too. It’s the best British film for a long time.” And it gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s definitely on my list. Amazon has also added Absolutely Anything, the 2017 scifi comedy starring Simon Pegg. Directed by Monty Python’s Terry Jones(!), Pegg plays a struggling school teacher who is given the ability to do anything by aliens wishing to decide whether to destroy the earth or include it in their council. If he does good, Earth will be saved. But, Pegg is, at first, unaware of his powers, leading to disaster, and later, causes a zombie apocalypse. Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Eddie Izzard and Mojo the dog also star, with the added plus of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Robin Williams voicing the aliens. It didn’t get outstanding reviews, with just an 18%(!) on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 6/10 on IMDb, but with such a good cast and the first appearance of all of Python‘s surviving members since The Meaning of Life, I’m watching. And finally, Amazon has added the British television series The Mill, a 2013-14 historical drama. this is based on true stories of workers at the Quarry Bank Mill, in Cheshire, England, where children worked 12 hour days, for low pay and in harsh conditions. Kerrie Hayes and Matthew McNulty play the main characters in the first season, while Donald Sumpter, Barbara Marten, Katherine Rose Morley and Jamie Draven also star. The director is James Hawes, with the writer John Fay, of the tremendously popular Coronation Street series, and it was developed by Emily Dalton. There are two season available on Amazon, now and it gets a 7.5/10 on IMDb.
So sit back and binge this weekend, with classics new and old, on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Enjoy!