Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the new movies and television shows added this week, to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. And there’s some good new stuff out there, so let’s get started!
Hulu‘s got some good new adds available, if you look hard enough, like the 2019 documentary Honeyland, directed by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska. This is the lyrical tale of a North Macedonian beekeeper, Hatidze Muratova, who sings and talks to her bees, and keeps the bees in an ancient way, while living with her again mother and dog named Jackie. And she comes up against her more ecologically rapacious new neighbors, especially the patriarch, Hussein. Honeyland has been called one of the best movies of the year by dozens of critics, including NY Times critic A.O Scott. And it gets an amazing 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.2/10 on IMDb. Watch before the Oscar nominations come out. Hulu has also added Changeland, the 2019 comedy/drama written and directed by Seth Green. Here, Green plays a man who finds his wife, is having an affair, on the eve of their anniversary, and so takes off with his friend(Breckin Myer) on their intended anniversary trip to Phukei, Thailand, instead. And, of course, finds adventure and enlightenment there. Brenda Song, Clare Grant, Macaulay Culkin and Rose Williams also star. Kimberly Myers of the L.A. Times says, “not everything in the script shows that same care, but this is still an interesting, if not wholly successful first feature from the star.” And it gets a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.5/10 on IMDb. If you’re a fan of Green’s Robot Chicken, you might tune in. I’d prefer Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, the 2019 documentary about one of the great journalists of our times. Here, director Janice Engel paints a picture of the famous Texan, from her bookish Houston childhood, to Smith college and finally on newspapers like the NY Times. It goes on to cover her battles political, social, and even with her alcoholism and cancer. She skewered politicians right and left, and the old-boy system that permeated Texas politics with a flair all her own, and Engel represents her well. Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times says,”[A]s depicted in this sprightly, fast-paced documentary directed by Janice Engel, Ivins was a one-of-a-kind commentator who was both smart and savagely funny, using a take-no-prisoners sense of humor to eviscerate those she felt abused the public trust.” And it gets a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added Anesthesia, the 2016 drama with an outstanding ensemble cast. Here, Sam Waterston stars as a college philosophy professor, Walter Zarrow, is wounded in a mugging and the film follows the ripple effects of that mugging, both on him and the mugger, the people who helped Zarrow, and those who love him. The movie also stars Glenn Close, Kristin Stewart, Tim Blake Nelson,K. Todd Freeman and Gretchen Mol, and the film is also directed by Tim Blake Nelson, most notably of Brother, Where Art Thou. But it’s an uneven, disconnected movie, only really notable for it’s premium cast. Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com said, “I want to recommend Nelson’s film in spite of how misconceived it is simply because it asks interesting questions, albeit in some of the most banal ways imaginable.” And it gets a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, but a 6.1/10 on IMDb. You decide.
Netflix has some big adds this week, like Dracula, it’s new horror series. Claes Bang stars as the notorious vampire of Bram Stoker’s novel, and this series, produced by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, both Doctor Who writers and producers, follows Dracula from Eastern Europe, to England and his battles with Von Helsing, this time a female, played by Dolly Wells, Sister Agatha Von Helsing. John Heffeman,Morfydd Clark,Joanna Scanlan, Sacha Dhawan and Catherine Schell(!) also appear. This is a BBC production, so it has great actors, sets and costumes, and it’s from the producers of Sherlock, so enough said. And Sister Von Helsing and her team of vampire fighting nuns are a thrill to see. And it gets an amazing 7.5/10 on IMDb. Netflix has also added Messiah, the 2019 series. Michelle Monaghan plays a skeptical CIA officer, investigating Al-Masih (the Messiah), played by Mehdi Dehbi, a new prophet taking the Mideast by storm. The show also stars Tomer Sisley,Jane Adams, Stefania LaVie Owen and Dermot Mulroney. There are ten episodes now available on Netflix and the show gets a 7.9/10 on IMDb. Also new on Netflix is Nisman, The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy, a new docuseries. This six-part series centers on the suspicious death of Alberto Nisman, the investigator of the bombing of the Jewish Community center in the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in 1994. 85 people were killed, and when Nisman, as a leading prosecutor in Buenos Aires, uncovered clues of terrorism and presidential corruption, he was found dead, killed by a bullet wound to the head. The series is too new to have many reviews on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes, but it is an intriguing, well documented series, put together by director Justin Webster. It’s on my list. Another interesting add on Netflix this week is Theives of the Wood, a Flemish historical drama series. Matteo Simoni stars as Jan de Lichte, a storied highwayman of the region of Aalst, Belgium in 1747, robbing from the corrupt rich who have usurped most of the land, exiling the poor to the woods, nearby. It also stars Tom Van Dyck,Anne-Laure Vandeputte, Stef Aerts and Jeroen Perceval and there are ten episodes now available on Netflix. This is a gritty, relevant, well shot Robin Hood story you probably haven’t heard before, with twists and turns added in to stir things up. And it gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Sex: Explained, a 2019 spin-off of the Explained series. Hosted by Janelle Monáe, this series consists of five twenty minute bites of information about things not just like sexual attraction, but also birth control and the sometimes trauma of childbirth, with commentary by psychologists, historians,comedians and anthropologists. Interesting especially for kids and teens, this show gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb.
Amazon has a few good adds this week, although they don’t have Midsommar available yet, as was previously stated. They do have Ilana Glazer: the Planet Is Burning, a 2019 stand-up special. Ilana Glazer from Broad City tries her hand at stand-up and covers subjects everywhere from Nazis and pot to homophobia, and she’s pretty funny. It only gets a 4.8/10 on IMDb, but it’s early yet, and deserves much better. If you love Broad City, this may be the show for you. Amazon has also added Royal Nirvana, a 2019 Chinese historical drama. This tells the story of the crown prince of Northern Qi, Xiao Dingquan (Luo Jin), and his battles to protect his kingdom, as well as his own life, from a maidservant(Li Yitong) determined to kill him. Roy Liu, Huang Zhi Zhong, Zhang Zhi Jian and Po Miao also star in this award winning drama.And there are 35 episodes available on Amazon now, for a good post holiday binge. And it gets an astounding 8.8/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!