Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and TV shows added online, on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And there’s some good new stuff out there this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu’s most exciting add this week is Reprisal, it’s 2019 thriller series, starring Abigail Spencer(Rectify). This is a story of the revenge a sister, played by Spencer, wreaks on her abusive brother and his motorcycle gang, a horribly violent group, who dragged her behind a truck and left her for dead, years ago. Mena Massoud, Madison Davenport, Rhys Wakefield,, Rodrigo Santoro and W. Earl Brown also star. There are 10 episodes available on Hulu right now, and it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb, but a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. It may not be “hyper-noir” as Hulu calls it, but it is super violent, so . Hulu has also added their December episode of Into the Dark, A Nasty Piece of Work. This stars Julian Sands as the boss from Hell, who offers his unhappy worker(Kyle Howard) a second chance at a Christmas bonus, if he fights his work rival( (Dustin Milligan), to near death at the bosses palatial home. Molly Hagan, Angela Sarafvan and Natalie Hall also star, and Charles Hood(Night Owls) directs. This comedy/thriller has already been compared to Ready or Not and Parasite, and you’ll see the resemblance. But this movie is genuinely funny, as well as scary, and good reviews, too, with Brian Tallerico of rogerebert.com giving it 3/4 stars. Hulu also offers Killers Anonymous, a 2019 thriller starring Gary Oldman. Here, Oldman, Jessica Alba and Tommy Flangan(Sons of Anarchy) star as members of a killers support group(?) who begin to wonder which one of them is behind an assassination attempt on a U.S. senator in their city. Rhyon Nicole Brown, Michael Socha, Tim McInnerny and Elizabeth Morris also star, with Martin Owen directing. This movie got generally bad reviews, in fact, it gets a stunning 0% on Rotten Tomatoes! But it has a good cast, and it actually gets a 6.0/10 on IMDb. You decide. And, finally, Hulu has added The Push, a 2019 documentary. This film tells the story of Grant Korgan, who was a professional athlete and risk taker, as well as being a nano-mechanics expert, whose life was forever changed in a snowmobile accident in 2012, when he shattered his L1 vertebrae. This paralyzed his legs, and after his excruciating and unexpected rehabilitation, he decided to celebrate the 100th anniversary of South Pole exploration by traversing the final degree of latitude there, nearly 100 miles, using his arms only. He also co-wrote and directed this movie. It’s not only an inspiring movie, but tense and suspenseful, too. And it gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb.
Netflix’s biggest add this week has to be Marriage Story, directed by Noah Baumbach and sure to be an Oscar nominee next February. This comedy/drama stars Scarlett Johanson and Adam Driver as two people trying get through their divorce amicably, but ends up becoming more vicious and cruel, as things progress. Laura Dern, Azhy Robertson, Wallace Shawn, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta and Julie Haggerty(!) also star in this sensitive portrayal of the upheaval of divorce. Adam Graham of the Detroit News says, “it’s a triumph, a mix of pleasure and pain that cuts so deep it leaves a scar. It hurts, but it hurts so good.” And it gets a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an amazing 8.5/10 on IMDb. Watch before the awards season. I will. Netflix has also added Home for Christmas, the 2019 German comedy series. Here, Johanne, played wonderfully by Ida Elise Broch, a single almost-thirty year-old, is tired of being sidelined and ignored by her family simply for being single, so she goes on a 24 day search for a boyfriend to bring home for the Holidays. Gabrielle Susanne Solheim, Leithaug, Annette Hoff, Dennis Storhøi and Ghita Nørby also star, and the series is directed by Anna Gutto and Per-Olav Sørensen. There are 6 episodes available on Netflix now, and it is rated MA, (Netflix calls it “raunchy”)so don’t watch with the kiddos. But it is also warm and funny, but not too corny as many Christmas shows on Netflix are this year. Oh, and it gets a 7.8/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching. And if you’re tired of Holiday shows altogether, Netflix offers V Wars, a Canadian-American horror series. This series stars Ian Somerhalder(Lost) and Adrian Holmes as two best friends faced with the calamity of a modified virus that causes vampirism, and splits the nation between the two factions. Jacky Lai, Kyle Breitkopf, Peter Outerbridge and Kandyse McClure also star, and there are 10 episodes now available. This is pretty standard fare, nothing exceptional, but it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb, and I understand the need for horror during the Holiday season. Netflix has also added The Confession Killer, a 2019 documentary crime mini-series. This tells the weird tale of Henry Lee Lucas, who in 1980’s Texas, confessed to hundreds of murders, satisfying the police and closing cases all over the state. But he was lying about most of it, as DNA results belie his confessions and victims families wonder what really happened to their missing or murdered loved ones. Robert Kenner and Taki Oldham co-direct this fascinating and unsettling five-part series. Oldham told the Guardian,“certainly dozens of cases where either killers are walking free because they’re still credited to Lucas, or dozens more cases that were never properly reinvestigated because it was credited to Lucas.” Disturbing, to say the least, and it gets a 7.8/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix has added the 2nd season of Magic for Humans, featuring magician Justin Williams. Here, good humored and low-key, Williams travels the streets of So. Cal., interacting with people and then performing unbelievable magic tricks, supposedly without aid of lighting, cameras or editing. It’s six available episodes are fun and funny, and the perfect antidote after watching too many true crime series on Netflix. And it gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list.
Amazon’s huge addition this week is the stunning The Last Black Man in San Francisco, the 2019 drama from director Joe Talbot. It’s the story of Jimmie, played by Jimmie Fails, who dreams of reclaiming the house his grandfather built in San Francisco and hangs with his best friend Mont, played by Jonathan Majors, mostly skateboarding through the languid and beautiful city. Danny Glover, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold and Thora Birch also star and this is astonishingly Joe Talbot’s directorial debut. This story of gentrification won big at the Sundance Film Festival, Best director and Special Jury Award, and stands to win more in the upcoming award season.And it gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it. Amazon has also added the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, it’s period comedy/drama starring Rachel Brosnahan. The story continues, as stand-up comedian Midge(Brosnahan) and her manager(played by Alex Borstein) go on tour with Shy Baldwin(played by Leroy McClain). But the best thing about this series is the actors, with Borstein, Tony Shalhoub(!), Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, and Kevin Pollak. And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.8/10 on IMDb. And that’s it for recent adds, but
Amazon also offers the 1948 version of Hamlet, starring Laurence Olivier. Olivier also directed here, as he played the doomed Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, who regards his mother, the Queen(Eileen Herlie) of treachery, after his father’s suspicious death and her marriage to his loathed uncle Claudius(Basil Sydney), his father’s murderer. It also stars Jean Simmons as Ophelia,Norman Wooland as Horatio, Terrence Morgan as Laertes and Olivier played his father, never seen onscreen, as King Hamlet. This was the first British movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, but it’s also controversial, since Olivier ended up cutting nearly two hours of the play here. It won many awards, including four Oscars, and the great film critic Pauline Kael said of it, “even if you feel that certain scenes should be done differently, when has the rest of the play been done so well? Whatever the omissions, the mutilations, the mistakes, this is very likely the most exciting and most alive production of Hamlet you will ever see on the screen. It’s never dull, and if characters such as Fortinbras and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been sacrificed, it’s remarkable how little they are missed.” And it gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 on IMDb. I am definitely watching.
So, sit back and relax this weekend and binge on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Enjoy!