Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows, added on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So lets get started!
Well, it’s February, so if you guessed Hulu’s Into the Dark movie this month must be about Valentine’s day, you’re right. It’s called My Valentine, and it’s about a young singer,Valentine(!), played by Britt Baron(Glow), who, after a bad breakup with her boyfriend, played by Benedict Samuel, finds he’s recreated his new girlfriend in her image and even licensed all her songs to the new singer. Anna Lore, Anna Akana,Sachin Bhatt and Shaun J. Brown also star and Maggie Levin directs. But there’s nothing new or inventive here, and Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com said its, “[the] is the cinematic equivalent of a disposable pop tune that alludes to something serious but refuses to actually say anything real.” And it gets a sad 5/10 on IMDb. Don’t bother. Luckily, Hulu also offers Angel of Mine, a 2019 thriller directed by Kim Farrant . This stars Noomi Rapace as a young mother who, grief stricken over the recent death of her daughter, begins to believe that her neighbor’s child is actually her own, still alive. After others don’t believe her, she begins a desperate search for evidence. Luke Evans, Yvonne Strahovski and Richard Roxburgh also star in this remake of the award winning 2008 French film Mark of an Angel. It’s a tense and scary thriller that gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb ,with Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com saying, “Farrant’s confidence as a storyteller — along with Rapace‘s full-bodied performance — enrich the story and guide it toward its delicately bonkers premise.” I’m watching. And, just in time for the Academy Awards tomorrow night, Hulu has added The Cave, the 2019 Oscar nominated for Best Documentary. Directed by Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (Last Men in Aleppo), this movie tells the tale of an underground hospital in Aleppo, Syria, where female physicians like Dr. Amani Ballour and her colleague Samaher and Dr. Alaa have fought for, and gained, the right to work as equals along with male Drs in a male dominated society. Robert F. Worth of The New York Review of Books wrote it’s, “…raw and painful to watch, contain scenes of arresting intimacy…” And it gets a stunning 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch before the Oscars tomorrow. And, finally, if you want more Oscar nominated movies, Hulu offers Missing Link, the 2019 stop-motion animated movie from Laika Studios. Nominated for Best Animated Feature, of course, this movie follows Sir Lionel Frost(Hugh Jackman), as he enlists the help a Sasquatch, Mr Link(Zach Galifianakis), in his search for a Yeti. Zoe Saldana, Stephen Fry, Timothy Olyphant, Amrita Acharia and Emma Thompson also star and the movie is directed by Chris Butler. It won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film in January, becoming the first non-computer generated movie to do so since 2008(hurray). And it gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Jane Horwitz of the Washington Post calling it,”visually stunning, with well-realized characters and humor that really does work.” I’m definitely tuning in,
Netflix has some big adds this week, like Horse Girl, a 2020 dark drama starring Alison Brie. Brie stars as Sarah,a shy and isolated young woman, who begins to notice difficulty sleeping and lapses of memory, and then starts to suspect aliens hunt her. Molly Shannon,John Ortiz, Debby Ryan, John Reynolds and Paul Reiser also star and the film is directed by Jeff Baena(The Little Hours). It’s not a perfect movie- it only gets a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes-but Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal says,”a shaky dramatic enterprise. Nevertheless, this story of Sarah (a distinguished performance by Alison Brie) — a seemingly normal young woman at the mercy of frightful delusions — quickly proves seductive.” Brie is great, as is the rest of the cast, I’m watching. Netflix has also added Locke & Key, a 2020 supernatural horror series. Based on a comic book series of the same name by Joe Hill(NOS4A2), this focuses on three kids, played by Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott and Connor Jessup, who move to Key House, with their mother, played by Darby Stanchfield, after the murder of their father. There they find mysterious keys that give them magical powers and help them find clues to their father’s death, but also put them in danger, for a demon wants the keys. Petrice Jones, Laysla De Oliveira, Griffin Gluck, Bill Heck and Sherri Saum also star and there are 10 episodes available now. Caroline Framke of Variety call it, “an appealing teen adventure series about magic and mysterious family secrets that’s engaging and easy enough to breeze through in a couple sittings.” And it gets a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.8/10 on IMDb. Netflix also newly offers the intriguing Who Killed Malcolm X?, a 2020 investigative series directed by Rachel Dretzin and Phil Bertelsen. Malcolm X, an amazing and charismatic activist for civil rights in this country in the 1960’s, when he was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in NY City. But conclusions reached by authorities, jailing two black men, were always contested, as Malcolm X had long been targeted by the FBI, the police and the Nation of Islam, a group he once led. Directors Dretzin and Bertelsen look into evidence put forth that four members of the Nation of Islam may have been responsible, with the help of years of investigative work by independent researchers. It’s an absorbing and fascinating doc, even if it doesn’t prove anything definitively, if anything can be proven 50 odd years later. And there are 6 episodes available now on Netflix, and the series gets an astounding 8.2/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in. The Ballad of Lefty Brown, a 2017 American western starring Bill Pullman, is also available on Netflix. Pullman stars as Lefty Brown, a grizzled old cowboy out to avenge the death of his longtime partner Edward Johnson (Peter Fonda), only to find he himself is being accused of the murder when he return home. Kathy Baker,Jim Caviezel, Tommy Flanagan and Diego Josef also star and Jared Moshe directs. And Pullman doesn’t play a glamorous role here, he’s old, bent and slow. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called the movie, “this is a satisfying indie western, a dark and brooding film made with both a modern touch and real love for the genre.” And it gets a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.2/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix offers The Silent War, a 2019 Spanish historical war drama. Here, Asier Etxeandia stars as a fugitive guerrilla fighting for the Spanish Resistance during WWII, made deaf by a bombing, who must evade enemy force and save Northern Spain. Marián Álvarez,Hugo Silva (III), Olimpia Melinte and Aitor Luna also star and Alfonso Cortez-Cavanilla directs. and it get a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. I love historical dramas- I’m watching.
Amazon has one huge add this week with Honey Boy, based on the early life of Shia LaBeouf. Written by LaBeouf, it tells the tale of child actor Otis Lort, played by Lucas Hedges, and his aggressively ambitious father, an ex-rodeo clown, played by LaBeouf himself. Noah Jupe, Natasha Lyonne, FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe,Martin Starr and Laura San Giacomo are also featured players here, and Alma Har’el(Bombay Beach) masterfully directs in her dramatic film debut. LaBeouf won Screenwriter of the Year at the Hollywood Film Awards 2019 for his work here, and Ed Potton of the Times (UK) writes, “playing out mainly in the skid-row motel in Los Angeles where father and son live, Alma Har’el‘s dreamlike film leavens the grimness with humanity and humour…” And it gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.4/10 on IMDb. Don’t miss it. And Amazon has also finally added Escape at Dannemora, the 2018 crime drama limited series from Showtime. It is based on the true story of the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape in upstate New York, where two convicted murderers(Benicio del Toro and Paul Dano) were aided in their escape by a married and depressed prison worker(Patricia Arquette), whom they romanced. Bonnie Hunt, Eric Lange, David Morse and Jeremy Bobb also star, and Ben Stiller(!)directed. All of Season 1 is here, with 7 episodes. And the show gets an astounding 8/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list. And, finally, Amazon has added White Savior: Racism In The American Church, a 2019 doc from director Aaron Christopher. This fascinating film investigates how race has always been injected into Christianity, but has been especially leveraged during the last few decades, with the Barack Obama presidency and a changing national demographic. It feature interviews with Lenny Duncan, Soong Chan Rah, Jacqueline Woodson, Jim Bear Jacobs and Dominique Gilliard, and is especially prescient during Black History Month. And it gets a 7/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, with classics old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!