Yes, it’s the weekend, again, and time to review the new movies and TV shows added online, at Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. So let’s get started!
Hulu has some great adds this week, like the 2019 Canadian movie Astronaut. This stars Richard Dreyfus as an older man, retired with grandkids, who’s never quite given up on his fascination with space and the stars, so when a billionaire offers up a lottery for everyday people to ride his private spaceship, he enters(he even lies about his age). And wins. Lyriq Bent, Richie Lawrence, Christa Bridges, Colm Feore and Art Hindle also star and Shelagh McLeod directs. It’s a romantic, charming movie about never giving up, and Dreyfus is always interesting, especially playing a role reminiscent of his part in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’m definitely watching and it gets a 5.6/10 on IMDb. Hulu also offers Meeting Gorbachev, the 2019 documentary from Werner Herzog(!) and Andre Singer. This is an extraordinary movie, built mainly on three extensive interviews with Gorbachev, made fuller by archival footage and materials. Gorbachev is now 88 and battling ill health, but he’s still fascinating, not only for his deeds in the past, like reducing nuclear arms with the US and the dissolution of the USSR, but for his still vital intellect and personality. Kevin Maher of the (UK)Times says “leave it to Werner Herzog. The iconoclastic German film-maker ditches the documentary rule book for this intimate profile of the 88-year-old former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.” And it gets a stunning 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it. I won’t. Hulu has also added Mike Wallace Is Here, the 2019 documentary. Director Avi Belkin(No one Saw a Thing) covers journalist Mike Wallace and his seminal influence on television reporting, becoming one of the most feared and (hated) interviewers on TV, mostly on 60 Minutes. It’s a thrilling piece, “a solid piece of cultural investigation built around a man who helped write history while it happened,” as Matthew Lickona of the San Diego Reader calls it. And it gets a whopping 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Also new on Hulu is The Mountain, the controversial 2018 drama starring Jeff Goldblum. Here, Goldblum plays a freelance lobotomist of the 50‘s, the surgically untrained Dr. Wallace Fiennes, when lobotomies were performed more commonly and often at the request of parents or Dr’s who couldn’t control patients, often women or gay people, not based on an illness. Tye Sheridan plays the depressed son of one of his unfortunate patients and Udo Kier plays his father. Hannah Gross and Dennis Levant also stars and Rick Alverson(Entertainment) directs. Alverson is definitely an acquired taste and it’s an aptly depressing movie, but Robert Abele of the LA Times saying “The Mountain” is, after all, a look back at a time when individuality was a curse with a scientifically harsh solution. It’s only appropriate that it unfold with its own distinctive aura of exquisite sterility.’ I agree, it’s a subject that needs to be covered. And it gets a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.
And, finally(drumroll please), Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is available on Netflix. Robert DeNiro plays the title role, Ed Sheeran, a hit man for the mob, recounting his career with emphasis on his former friend and biggest hit, Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino. Joe Pesce, Ray Romano, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale and Harvey Keitel(!) also star. Ty Burr of the Boston Globe says “it’s the ultimate fusing of Scorsese‘s two sides… And even though it takes a while to get there, the movie is a masterpiece, one made by a man counting down his own years as if they were rosary beads.” It gets a remarkable 96 % on Rotten Tomatoes, an 8.5/10 on IMDb, and it should be an Oscar nominee next year, so watch. I will. Netflix also offers the amazing I Lost My Body, a 2019 French animated movie. This is about a severed hand, in search of his body and the young man it was once attached to, Naoufel, and the woman he fell in love with, Gabrielle. It stars the voices of Hakim Faris, Victoire DuBois and Patrick d’Assumçao, and is based on the book by Guillame Laurent(Amelie) Director Jérémy Clapin won numerous awards for his work on this film, which also won the Nespresso Grand Prize at Cannes, and the first animated movie to do so. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com writes it’s “a visually sumptuous slice of macabre storytelling that works best when it uses its director’s magical sense of composition and less when it feels weighed down by narrative.” And it gets a 97%(!) on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s definitely on my list. Netflix also offers Mythomaniac, a 2019 French series. This is about an overworked and burnt out mythomaniac(or uncontrolled liar)mom(Marina Hands), who, ignored and taken for granted, invents an illness, cancer to be exact. At first, everything works well, she gets attention, the family gets closer and more loving, but then, of course, everything goes haywire. Matthieu Demy, Jérémy Gillet, Zélie Rixhon and Marie Drion also star. There are 6 episodes available now on Netflix and it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. Another award-winning new add on Netflix is Atlantics, a 2018 French romantic supernatural film. Directed by actress Mati Diop in her directorial debut, it takes place in Dakar, where a young woman Ada,played by Mame Bineta Sane, dreading her upcoming arranged marriage, is suddenly a suspected criminal, when her bed mysteriously catches fire, and she is subject to interrogation and a virginity test. Meanwhile, the man she really loves is killed at sea and his spirit returns in the body of another and seeks Ada. Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré,Nicole Sougou, Aminata Kane and Mariama Gassama also star. This film won the prestigious Grand Prix Award at Cannes and gets an amazing 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Barry Hertz of the Globe and Mail says “the intense pleasure of Atlantics is not in the A-to-B storytelling, but in the poignant and painful emotions its filmmaking conjures. And in the realization that this is just the first scream of an intensely curious and essential cinematic voice.” I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has added the documentary Guatemala, Heart of the Mayan World, a 2019 film. Narrated by Christian Morales, it travels across Guatemala, from the mountainous Sierra de las Minas to Chiquimula, and beyond and visits the beautiful natural sites, and the Mayan ruins that are common in the country , but also the still extant remains of the Mayan civilization alive in it’s people, via language and cultural practices. It has wonderful music, too, by people like Eric Kinny, Songs of Water, Luke Atencio, Thad Kopec, On Earth and Albatross. It has no rating yet online, but it’s beauty deserves to be seen. It’s on my list.
Amazon has one big add this week, The Report, starring Adam Driver. Based on a true story, Driver plays senate staffer Daniel Jones, who went to exhaustive lengths to research the use of torture by the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11. The Report has an all-star cast, including Annette Bening(!), Jon Hamm,Matthew Rhys, Ted Levine and Mara Tierney and is directed by Scott Z. Burns( The Bourne Ultimatum). Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes “Burns believes that the granular details of cerebral inquiry into issues of morality are more than enough to hold our rapt attention. He’s right.” And this compelling movie gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Amazon has also added Low Tide, the 2019 American drama. Keenan Johnson stars here as a teenage boy who, along with friends played by Daniel Zolghadri and Alex Neustaedter, break into vacation homes in their beach resort town, to fund dates and so forth. When he and younger brother Peter, played by Jaeden Martell, they also find trouble, as one of the teens wants in. Kristine Froseth and Shea Wigham also star and Kevin McMullen directs. Peter DeBruge of Variety wrote, “Kevin McMullin channels the feel of Stephen King’s ‘Stand by Me,’ along with various noir-toned ’80s films, in this coming-of-age thriller.” And it gets a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Amazon newly offers The Only Way, a 2010 Danish drama. This tells the tale of the Denmark and the efforts during the height of WWII to save the Danish Jews from Hitler. It stars Ebbe Rode and Helle Virkner and is written and directed by Bent Christensen. It is an intriguing story of an little known chapter of WWII history and it gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list.
So sit back, relax and binge this holiday weekend, with wonderful movies and TV series, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!