Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the new movies and television shows added online, to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And there’s some good new stuff out there, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some big adds this week, including it’s new series High Fidelity, starring Zoe Kravitz. Yes, they have a new gender flipped version of Nick Hornby’s book of the same name, with Kravitz starring as Rob, formerly played by John Cusack, in the 2000 movie. But here, the series, adapted by Sarah Kucserka and Veronica West, has 10 episodes of Rob, on her endless pursuit for the perfect playlist and a successful romantic relationship. Da’Vine Joy Randolph and David H. Holmes star as her employees and friends and Lisa Bonet(!) stars as her mom and Jake Lacy, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Parker Posey are also featured. It only gets a 5.4/10 on IMDb, but it’s early and the Guardian calls it a “remake that’s too cool for its own good,” and Kravitz gets rave reviews, too. I’m watching. Hulu also offers Where’d You Go Bernadette, the 2019 comedy/mystery starring Cate Blanchett. Based on the hugely popular novel of the same name by Maria Semple. Blanchett stars as Bernadette, a once amazing architect, who has become a recluse, and suddenly disappears before a scheduled family trip to Antarctica. Her daughter, played by Emma Nelson, decides to search for her, and Billy Crudup, Kristin Wiig, Megan Mulally, James Urbaniak and Laurence Fishburne(!) also star. And the legendary Richard Linklater(Boyhood, Before Sunrise) directs. And, though it’s far from a perfect film, I agree with Caroline Siede of The Spool, who says, “[I]n a cinematic landscape where stories of women finding themselves are too few and far between, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a welcome gift, even if it’s an imperfect one.” And it gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list. Hulu has also added Villains, the 2019 horror/ comedy starring Bill Skarsgård. Here, Skarsgård and Maika Monroe play hapless criminals, on the lam after robbing a gas station, only to run out of gas in the woods, and find a beautiful house they decide to break into. Which is a very bad idea, because they find a girl chained downstairs in the basement and a clearly dangerous couple upstairs. Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Donova, Blake Baumgartner and Noah Robbins also star and Dan Berk and Robert Olsen direct this very creepy show. And although it’s far too scary for me, Claudia Puig of NPR Los Angeles said, “A fairly funny black comedy.” And it gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.2/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Hulu has added Sea of Shadows, a 2019 documentary from National Geographic. This studies the calamity facing the Vaquita porpoise, an endangered species, and virtually all other sea life in the Sea of Cortez, thanks to the efforts of Mexican Drug Cartels and Chinese traffickers trying to poach the rare totoaba fish. Director Richard Ladkani follows undercover agents, scientists, high-tech conservationists and investigative journalists as they try to save the last remaining vaquitas. It gets an amazing 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and reviewer Rich Cline of Shadows on the Wall says, “[it] paints a harrowing portrait of just what capitalism has done to the planet.” Don’t miss it.
Netflix doesn’t have a lot of big ads this week, but there are some interesting smaller ones, like Isi & Ossi, a 2020 German romantic comedy. Lisa Vicari stars as Isi, an unhappy billionaire’s daughter, who falls in love with a struggling boxer from Mannheim, Ossi, played by Dennis Mojen, who look to take advantage of each other, only to fall in love. Christina Hecke, Pegah Ferydoni, Ernst Stötzner, Lisa Hagmeister and Zoe Straub also star and Oliver Kienle directs(and wrote the script). It was released yesterday for Valentine’s Day and is more funny and edgy than a lot of romances you get this time of year. Dhruv Sharma of the Cinemaholic says “if you’re yearning for another one of those light-hearted and mildly enjoyable keep-’em-apart-till-the-last-minute romantic comedies, you could check this one out.” And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. Netflix also offers Castle & Castle, the 2020 Nigerian legal drama. This series covers a married couple of lawyers,Remi and Tega, played by Egbuson-Akande and Mofe-Damijo, who practice law in different fields, Tega loves pro-bono and Remi likes wealthier clients. Blossom Chukwujekwu, Etim Effiong, Eku Edewor and Deyemi Okanlawon also star and the show is produced by Isioma Osaje. They say this show is modeled after Scandal, but keep in mind, this is more risque than American TV would ever allow. And there are no reviews or ratings available yet, but stay tuned. Netflix has also added the Thai supernatural mystery series Sleepless Society: Insomnia. Here, Aokbab Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying stars as Ada, a young model plagued by nightmares where her mother kills someone, goes home to find the truth about what really happened. Best Nathasit Kotimanuswanich, Gee Sutthirak Subvijitra,JingJing Varitsara Yu and Puyfah Sita Maharavidejakorn also star and this is part of the Sleepless Society mystery series I’ve mentioned before. There are no ratings yet, but it’s a suspenseful and gripping show, with 13 episodes now available. Also new on Netflix is Pandemic, a 2020 docu-series on , well, pandemic. And, though the coronoavirus is a concern in China right now, this series is more focused on flu, new flu vaccines, and the worldwide reluctance of some parents to allow their children to even get vaccines. This series is from the producers of Anthony Bourdain’s different Netflix series and Rotten,too. There are 6 episodes now available, and the series gets a 6.2/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Airplane Mode, a 2020 Brazilian comedy. Larissa Manoela stars as an architect turned media influencer, totally immersed in her digital world, until she crashes her car, multiple times because of her phone, and has to go live with her grandfather in the sticks, to avoid jail time. Erasmos Carlos plays her grandfather, and Katiuscia Canoro,André Frambach, Michel Bercovitch and Sílvia Lourenço also star, while César Rodrigues directs. And though it doesn’t get stellar reviews, it is pleasant and funny. And gets a 5.2/10 on IMDb.
Amazon has one big add this week with The Farewell, the 2019 hit from director Lulu Wang. Awkwafina stars as Billi, who learns from her parents that her NaiNai(paternal grandmother), played by Zhao Shuzhen, living in China, is fatally ill, but the family has decided not to tell her. Instead, they all travel to China wedding and to see their Grandmother, and proceed as if nothing had happened. Diana Lin,Tzi Ma, Jiang Yongbo, Lu Hang, Chen Han and Aoi Mizuhara also star based on director Lulu Wang‘s own experience. The Farewell won multiple awards, including Independent Spirit Awards and Golden Globes, too. John Serba of the Decider said, “The Farewell is among 2019’s best films. It becomes deeper, funnier and more resonant with repeated viewing, too.” And it gets a stunning 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching. Amazon has also added Danger Close, a 2019 Australian war movie. Travis Fimmel plays Major Harry Smith, who has to lead a company of very inexperienced young soldiers into an area of Vietnam, in 1967, where some get pinned down and trapped, in what is now known as the Battle of Long tan. Luke Bracey, Daniel Webber, Daniel Roxborugh, Nicholas Hamilton and Lasurus Ratuere also star, while Kriv Stenders directs. This is a pretty standard “War is Hell” movie, with little understanding of the Vietnamese involved. Noel Murray of the L.A. Times said, “anyone interested in the complexities and controversies surrounding Australia and New Zealand’s involvement in Vietnam may find “Danger Close” disappointing. But the movie actually works OK as one long fight scene.” And it gets a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 6.9/10 on IMDb. And that’s all of the new adds on Amazon Prime, but they do have deals this week, on getting add-ons like HBO, Starz and Sundance Now. If you are interested, click here.
So sit back and relax this holiday weekend, and binge on classics,new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!