Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to discuss the latest movies and television shows added to the Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime line-up. So let’s get started!
Okay, Hulu doesn’t have many obvious big adds this week, but if you look closely enough, you’ll find some hidden gems, like Ms. Purple, the 2019 drama from award-winning director Justin Chon (GOOK, 2017). Here, Tiffany Chu stars as Kasie, an Asian-American young woman, living in Koreatown, in L.A., and caring for her father who is now fatally ill, along with her brother, Carey, played by Teddy Lee. Octavio Pizan, James Kang, Mark Krenik and Alma Martinez also star. This film screened in the screened in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance in 2019 and gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Monica Castillo of The Wrap said, “each layer is so beautifully, subtly explored, you can get lost in the characters’ emotions or just be swept away by Ante Cheng‘s cinematography, which graciously soaks in the street and neon lights of Los Angeles.” A lovely, bittersweet movie that I’m definitely watching. Hulu has also added After Parkland, the 2019 documentary about the survivors the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018. Directors Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman traveled to Parkland, Florida and interviewed not only the students that managed to live through this horror, but also the parents and families of those kids that didn’t. It also features the story of how some of the teens turned from their tragedy to activism, while still bearing the deep scars of their experience. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s important to see and inspiring, too. Owen Gleiberman of Variety said, “the film records this experience in a moving and memorable way. After you’ve seen it, you know more about the meaning of this kind of horror than you did before, and that’s a vital thing.” And it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on my list. Also, new on Hulu, is Princess Cyd, a 2017 romantic drama. Jessie Pinnick stars as Cyd, who leaves her depressive father for a summer with her aunt(Rebecca Spence), a celebrated novelist, in Chicago. And there, she meets a girl(Malic White) who interests her, and they spend the summer together, Cyd’s aunt Miranda is a great confidante. Tyler Ross, Matthew Quattrocki and Gary Houston also star and Stephen Cone directs(The Wise Kids). Katie Walsh of the L.A. Times wrote, “as comfortable to slip into as an afternoon in the sun, as satisfying as a late-night piece of cake, Princess Cyd is a jewel of a film that plumbs thematic depths far below its surface.” And it gets an amazing 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Hulu has added Anchor and Hope, a 2018 indie romantic comedy. Eva(Oona Chaplin) and Kat(Natalia Tena) are a gay couple, living a carefree life on a houseboat, til Eva’s mother, Germaine(Geraldine Chaplin!) visits, stirring Eva’s longing for a child. So, after some travails, they decide to have a child, with a friend, though that brings difficulties, too. David Verdaguer, Lara Rossi and Trevor White also appear here, and Carlos Marques-Marcet directed(The Days to Come). Víctor López G. of Espinof, said,”[it’s] a magnetic journey that reconfirms that cinema is nothing more than a reflection of real life. ” And it gets a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching.
Netflix does have some big adds this week, like Gentified, the new comedy series from producer America Ferrera. This takes place in Boyle Heights, in L.A., where a family( and their neighborhood) is deeply effected by gentrification of the neighborhood, especially when Casimiro(Joaquín Cosío) the patriarch of the family, has his restaurant threatened by higher rent. The grand children(J.J. Soria, Karrie Martin)that stay try to help, but one(Carlos Santos) dreams of bigger things, outside the neighborhood. Annie Gonzalez, Laura Patalano and Felipe Esparza also star and this show was created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez. James Poniewozik of the New York Times writes it a “feisty, funny and poignant comedy-” And it gets a 7/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Netflix has also added The Last Thing He Wanted, a 2020 political thriller starring Anne Hathaway. But this isn’t any political thriller, it’s one based on the book of the same name by Joan Didion, and takes place in 1984, when Elena McMahon(Hathaway) is called away from covering the Presidential Election by her father(Willem Defoe!), who ostensibly wants her to care for him in his last days, in Central America. But he is a bit devious and soon she’s drawn toward the Iran Contra affair. Rosie Perez, Ben Affleck, Edi Gathegi, Julian Gamble and Mel Rodriguez also star, with Dee Rees(Mudbound) directing. But the story is a bit confused, and you may want to take notes(or read the book), to keep track of the action. Gary Goldstein of the L.A. Times writes, “there’s some overreach and muddle here – you wouldn’t want a pop quiz on the plot – but “Last Thing” remains an intriguing, visually diverting piece, well shot by Bobby Bukowski.” And it only gets a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes! Maybe better to watch Spectros, a 2020 supernatural horror series from Brazil. This takes place in Sao Paolo, where, word in the neighborhood is, the dead are being resurrected from the grave, and five teenagers are determined to find out who is behind it. Danilo Mesquita, Cláudia Okuno, Enzo Barone,Mariana Sena and Pedro Carvalho star and this series is written and directed by Douglas Petrie(Buffy, the Vampire Slayer!). And this series not only has Brazilian witches and spirits, but also Japanese ghosts, as there were a lot of Japanese immigrants to Brazil(and South America) at the turn of the twentieth century. Tech Radar called it, “quite the multi-cultural horror cocktail.” And it gets a 5.9/10 on IMDb. It’s definitely on my list. Netflix also offers System Crasher, the 2019 award-winning movie from Germany. Here, Helena Zengel plays Benni, an explosive girl with a uncontrollable temper, who is placed in numerous homes, and only wants to go home, but her mother(Lisa Hagmeister) is too afraid of her to allow it. So Benni is offered anger management with a personal tutor(Albrecht Schuch). Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Melanie Straub and Victoria Trauttmansdorff also star, and Nora Fingscheidt won Best Director at the Sao Paolo Film Festival for her work here. System Crasher also won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, in 2019, and gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix has Untamed Romania, a 2020 wildlife documentary. Director
Tom Barton Humphreys takes us on a tour through Romania’s wildest places, from the mountains and ancient forests, to huge wetlands,too, populated with fascinating animals. It’s amazing footage also shows how ancient forests across Europe might once have looked, with bear, boar and lynx still inhabiting the areas. And it gets an unbelievable 8.7/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in.
The most biggest add on Amazon this week is The Hunters, a 2020 series from executive producer Jordan Peele. This ten-part series takes place in 1977 New York City, where a motley group of people take on a hunt for ex-Nazis, living under cover. The crew includes Logan Lerman, Jerrika Hinton, Carol Kane and Saul Rubinek, Kate Muvaney and they’re all led by Meyer Offerman, played by Al Pacino. But this is a hyper-violent show, full of profanity, clearly inspired by comic books and Quentin Tarentino movies. Lena Olin, Jeannie Berlin, Annie Hägg, Josh Radnor and Louis Ozawa also star here, and David Weill wrote the series. And though I didn’t really enjoy the writing or the characters, it does get a 7.2/10 on IMDb. So maybe you’ll like it. Amazon has also added 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, the 2019 standalone sequel to 47 Meters Down. This has four teenage girls diving into an unknown city(!), which is inhabited by, wouldn’t you know it, the deadliest species of shark. Sophie Nélisse, Nia Long, Corinee Foxx, Brec Bassinger, Brianne Tju, Khylin Rhambo and John Corbett star, with Johannes Roberts directing. But this movie lowers the bar for shark movies, with Peter Howell of the Toronto Star saying, “this brainless sequel to 47 Meters Down forsakes much of what made that 2017 survival thriller the lean and mean success it was, a credible shark threat being first and foremost.” And it gets a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Amazon has added Super 8, J.J. Abrams 2011 tribute to Steven Spielberg films. Here, a group of teens are filming their own movie, when a train crashes spectacularly in the background, when they become aware it wasn’t an accident, and they have the proof, in their film. And while this isn’t as smart as Spielberg‘s best films, there is some great acting done by the teens especially here, like Elle Fanning, Gabriel Basso, AJ Michaelka, Joel Courtney, and Riley Griffiths. Kyle Chandler,Noah Emmrich and Catrionna Balfe also star. David Sexton of the London Evening Standard wrote, “Super 8 is the most intensely Spielbergian film you’ll ever see that Steven Spielberg didn’t actually direct himself. And it’s early Spielberg!” And it gets an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!