Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows to stream on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Okay, Hulu has added nothing notable in the last week, but I have managed to find a few good movies I neglected to mention earlier this month, like Margarita With a Straw, the 2014 Indian comedy. It stars Kalki Koechlin as Laila Damle, a young girl with Cerebral Palsy, who attend Delhi University and dreams of becoming a writer, so when she gets a scholarship to NYU, she’s delighted, and has many adventures, including a love affair with a blind student and activism. Revathi, Sayani Gupta, Kuljeet Singh, Hussain Dalal and Shuchi Dwivedi also star, while Shonali Bose(Amu, The Sky is Pink) directed. Bose won the NETPAC Award at the Toronto International Film Festival for her work here, and Leslie Felperin of the Hollywood Reporter said, “director Bose handles the material with a light, elegant touch. It helps that the cast, especially the remarkable Koechlin who gives a bravura performance in both physical and emotional terms, can carry it all off.” And it gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hulu also offers The Rape of Recy Taylor, the 2017 documentary. Director Nancy Buirski(The Loving Story) tells the tale of Recy Taylor, a 24 year-old wife and mother who was gang raped in Abbeville, Alabama, by six white boys in 1944. Taylor resisted the trend to keep quiet, and not only reported the crime, but identified her rapists. The NAACP then sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks to investigate, and rally support. It’s an amazing story of courage and heroism, and Jeanette Catsoulis of the New York Times wrote, “planting a flag firmly at the intersection of patriarchy, sexism and white supremacy, “The Rape of Recy Taylor” is a documentary of multiple layers and marvelous gumption.” And it gets an amazing 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am definitely watching. Hulu has also added Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, the 2015 American drama. Cole Doman stars in the title role of Henry, who at 17 wonders about his sexuality, but with a conservative father(Pat Healy) who’s a minister, and friends from church at his party, it’s not so clear how anything but hetero is an option. Joe Keery(Stranger Things), Elizabeth Laidlaw, Nina Ganet and Daniel Kyri also star, with Stephen Cone(The Wise Kids) directing. And this sensitive film gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Tal Rosenberg of the Chicago Reader saying, “the acting is so naturalistic and the various subplots are so well balanced that the confused piety of the characters gradually begins to feel like anyone else’s everyday problems.” Definitely worth a view. And finally, Hulu has added 28 Days Later, the 2002 British horror classic directed by Danny Boyle(Trainspotting, Sunshine). The title refers to the four weeks that have passed since the accidental release of a rage and violence inducing virus(suddenly the coronavirus doesn’t sound that bad now), causing chaos and societal collapse in London. Four people try to survive, played by Cillian Murphy, Naomi Harris, Brendan Gleeson and Megan Burns. Christopher and Jukka Hiltunen also star. It’s a harrowing but enthralling movie that won many awards, including Best British Film from the Empire Awards and Best Horror Film at the U.S. Academy of Science Fiction, in 2003. And it gets an amazing 7.6/10 on IMDb. Kim Newman of Empire Magazine called it, “the best purely British horror/science-fiction film in decades. And the first great apocalypse movie of the new millennium.” And the acting is good, too.
Netflix has one huge add with their new series I’m Not Okay With This,starring Sophia Lillis. Lillis plays a teenage girl with the normal angst of any teen, but also a lot of unresolved anger and grief about her father’s recent suicide, which ends up causing some eerie occurances. Sofia Bryant and Wyatt Oleff play her close friends and Richard Ellis,Jackson Frazer and Kathleen Rose Perkins also star. This seven part series is brought to us by the creator of End of the F***ing World, Charles Entwistle and is based on a graphic novel by Charles Forsman. This is another great show that deals quite intelligently with the difficulties and indignities of being a teen on Netflix, and it gets a stunning 7.9/10 on IMDb. I am definitely watching. Netflix has also added All the Bright Places, a 2020 drama. Elle Fanning stars as a young girl on the brink of taking her own life, when stopped by a young man jogging by, played by Justice Smith. And together, they help each other get by trauma and deal with mental illness that may effect both of them. Alexandra Shipp, Felix Mallard, Keegan-Michael Key, Virginia Gardner also star, with Brett Haley(The New Year) directing. This movie is adapted from the bestselling novel of 2015 by Jennifer Niven, and even lists Elle Fanning as one of it’s producers. Beandrea July of the Hollywood Reporter calls it, “a refreshingly sober spin on YA romance.” And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. Also new on Netflix is Queen Sono, a Netflix original spy thriller series. Here, Pearl Thusi(Quantico) stars as Queen, a complicated, but super-cool spy in South Africa, who manages to solve any problems her small S.A. intelligence unit, but has problems of her own that don’t seem to go away. Abigail Kubeka stars as her grandmother, with Enhle Mlotshwa, Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele, and Chi Mhende are also featured in this six-episode series. And there’s a lot of history involved in the story, after the great promise of Nelson Mandela led to a somewhat disappointing result for many blacks in South Africa, which makes this show much more interesting than your average spy drama. And I love seeing a woman character who can beat people up. And it gets a 5.7/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in. Netflix has also added Unstoppable, the 2020 Mexican comedy/drama series. Tessa Ía, Bárbara López and Lucía Uribe star as three stressed out and overworked young women who take off on a road trip, only to find trouble, of course, as their trip continues. Coty Camacho, Fernando Ciangherotti, Tomás Ruiz and Gabriel Chávez also star in this ten part series. But this isn’t as vapid a show as you might expect with women on a road trip, the characters seem to have real depth. And it gets a startling 7.8/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix offers Every Time I Die, the 2019 supernatural thriller. Drew Fonteiro stars as a paramedic who is murdered on a weekend trip with friends, only to re-waken in his friends’ bodies, trying to save them from the same killer that took his own life. Marc Menchaca, Melissa Macedo, Michelle Macedo and Tyler Dash White also star, while Robi Michael directs. And though this is an indie on a shoe-string budget, it is worth your while. Roger Moore of Movie Nation called it, “the best no-budget indie thriller of the summer, maybe of the year.” And it gets an amazing 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it.
Okay, Amazon has not added anything in the week, but they do have one good deal right now, giving all Prime members access to Season 1 of some premium shows otherwise not included in their line-up, including Kidding, Jim Carrey’s comedy/drama series on Showtime. Carrey plays Jeff Piccirillo, A.K.A. Mr. Pickles, a beloved TV character on PBS, who finds his up-beat TV persona a bit difficult to swallow after the death of one of his sons. Frank Langella(!), Judy Greer, Cole Allen, Juliet Morris and Catherine Keener(!) also star, and the show is produced by Michel Gondry, who earlier collaborated with Carrey on The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You get the ten episodes of the first season to view, before March 31. And the series gets an astounding 8/10 on IMDb, and an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on my list. You can also view the first season of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the Australian mystery series from 2012, usually only available on Acorn TV. Here, Essie Davis stars as Phryne Fisher, a liberated woman, who enjoys a little mystery and adventure, not to mention fun, in 1920’s Melbourne. Nathan Page,Ashleigh Cummings,Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Travis McMahon also star and there are 13 episodes available now, but again, only through the end of March. And, finally, Amazon has Spies, a Russian WWII thriller series from 2013. Svetlana Ivanova and Svetlana Ustinova star as two women who go undercover during WWII, in Germany, Poland, Riga and the Crimea, risking their lives for their country and cause. Evgeny Pronin, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Anatoliy Rudenko and Lyanka Gryu also star. And there are 12 episodes available now. And this series gets an incredible 7.9/10 on IMDb. I love intrigue.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!