Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and TV shows added to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Hulu‘s biggest add this week has to be Big Time Adolescence, the 2020 comedy/drama starring Pete Davidson. Directed by Jason Orley(The Intern) this has 16 year-old Mo(Griffin Gluck) needing friendship and guidance, and getting it from Zeke(Davidson), his older sister’s ex-boyfriend. However, Zeke may not be the best of teacher’s, giving Mo dubious advice like selling marijuana at a party to become popular. Jon Cryer plays Mo‘s slowly panicking father, Emily Arlook, his sister, and Oona Laurence, Thomas Barbusca and Machine Gun Kelly also star. But this is a rather messy movie, and predictable, too, but saved by the talent, especially that of Griffin Gluck, and Davidson, too. Benjamin Lee of the Guardian writes, “there’s not much to Nancy Meyers assistant turned writer-director Jason Orley‘s first-time feature but there’s just about enough to prove diverting as well as promising for the future…” And it gets an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s the only new movie added this week, but Hulu earlier added Notes on a Scandal, the 2005 British thriller. It stars Cate Blanchett as a new teacher in a private school in London, who, unfortunately, attracts the attention of an lonely older teacher, Barbara(Judi Dench), who quickly grows obsessed with her. Which turns dangerous, when Barbara learns of the younger woman’s ill-advised affair with a student. Bill Nighy, Juno Temple, Max Lewis and Andrew Simpson also star, and Richard Eyre(Iris) directed. Dench and Blanchett were both nominated for Oscars for their roles here, and Dench won at the British Independent Film Awards. The movie gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and Amy Nicholson of I.E. Weekly called it, “smart and brash.. a picture Bette Davis and Joan Crawford would have killed (preferably each other) to be in.” Don’t miss it. Hulu also has Monos, a 2019 surreal thriller. Here, a group of teen guerrillas guard a hostage, Doctora, played by Julianne Nicholson, in the mountains in South America, living a bucolic if hedonistic life, until attacked by ambush, and all order descends into chaos. Moises Arias, Sofia Buenaventura, Julian Giraldo and Karen Quintero also star and Alejandro Landes directs this award-winning film. It won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance in 2019, and Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival. Jessica Kiang of Variety called it, “an experience at once jagged and lyrical, brutal and beautiful, angry and abstract, scattered and wholly singular.” And it gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has The Cooler, the 2003 romantic drama starring William H. Macy. Macy plays Bernie, a man so unlucky he works as the Shangri-La casino’s cooler, a person who brings bad luck and losses to every betting table he visits, cooling winning streaks gone wild. But his luck changes when he meets a waitress, played by Maria Bello, who seems to find him worthwhile. Which doesn’t please the casino owner, played by Alec Baldwin, at all. Paul Sorvino, Ron Livingston, Estella Warren and Joey Fatone also star, and the film is directed by Wayne Kramer. Critic Emanuel Levy wrote, “what elevates this Vegas-set drama above the routine is the high-caliber acting of William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and especially Alex Baldwin, who received a well-deserved Oscar nomination.” And it gets a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 on IMDb. I’m watching.
The biggest add on Netflix this week is Lost Girls, the 2020 mystery drama starring Amy Ryan(The Office). Ryan stars Mari Gilbert, the mother of a sex worker, Shannan Gilbert(Sarah Wisser) who has suspiciously disappeared in Long Island, but whose case causes less concern among the police, along with other murders of sex workers. Gilbert works to change all that, as well as to humanize the victims, regardless of their past. Gabriel Byrne stars as Commissioner Richard Dorman, and Thomasin McKenzie, Oona Laurence, Lola Kirke and Miriam Shor also star, and Liz Garbus directs her first feature drama here, with great docs already under her belt, like What Happened, Miss Simone and Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. And this is all based on a true story, brought to light by Robert Kolker’s book of the same name. Owen Gleiberman of Variety says, “Liz Garbus takes the serial-killer thriller and turns it on its head, insisting that we see the victims as larger than the crimes that destroyed them,” and the film gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. Important to see, and I’m definitely watching. Netflix has also added The Valhalla Murders, a 2020 mystery series from Iceland. Nína Dögg Filippudóttir stars as Kata, a senior inspector in Iceland who is confronted with the murders of senior men, and offended when a profiler from Oslo, Arnar, played by Björn Thors, is brought in to help out. Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson and Sigurður Skúlason also star, and the series is created by Thordur Palsson(Brothers). The Decider says this limited series will “that will chill your spine… for multiple reasons,” and IMDb gives it a 6.9/10. If you love Nordic Noir, this is for you, and there are eight episodes to binge on this weekend, with more coming in 2021. It’s on my list. Netflix also newly offers Justine, a 2019 drama. Stephanie Turner stars as Lisa Wade, a newly widowed mother who takes over the care of Justine, played by Daisy Prescott, a girl with spina bifida and isolated at home. Darby Stanchfield, Glynn Turman, Bridget Kallal, Isaiah C. Morgan, Cleo King and Olivia Hamilton also star and Stephanie Turner also directed this film, as well as writing it. And it gets an amazing 8.1/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in. Also new on Netflix is Miracle in Cell No. 7, a 2019 Turkish drama. Aras Bulut Iynemli stars as Memo, an intellectually challenged man unjustly imprisoned for the death of a commander’s child, who must prove his own innocence. Nisa Sofiya Aksongur, Deniz Baysal, Celile Toyon Uysal, Mesut Akusta and Ferit Kaya also star, and Mehmet Ada Öztekin directed. This movie was nominated for several awards in Turkey and is based on an award-winning 2013 South Korean movie of the same name. And it gets a stunning 8.3/10 on IMDb. Be sure to turn on subtitles though, the dubbing on Netflix usually stinks. Netflix also has also added Last Ferry, a 2019 mystery. Ramon O. Torres stars as Joseph, a young shy gay lawyer who travels to Fire Island for a pilgrimage, and connection, only to find the season hasn’t started yet. But when he hooks up on the beach, he is drugged, mugged and becomes witness to a murder. Myles Clohessy, Sheldon Best, Gabriel Sloyer and R. Ward Duffy also star, while Jaki Bradley directed. This film screened at numerous festivals and won the Jury Prize for Best US Feature at the 2019 NCGLFF(North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival). I love a mystery and this one gets a 7/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Netflix offers the 3rd season of On My Block, the comedy/drama series about four teens in L.A. They live in South Central Los Angeles, and at the beginning of the first season, are just starting high school, but by the 3rd season, are investigating a mystery. And all the actors have great energy here, including Sierra Capri, Jessica Marie Garcia, Jason Genao and Diego Tinoco. Brett Gray, Ronni Hawk, Julio Macias, Jahking Guillory and Emilio Rivera also star, and the show is brought to us by the producers of Awkward. Danette Chavez of AV Club says, “On My Block holds up the realities of these kids’ lives-deportation, poverty, racism-while refusing to define them solely by their obstacles.” And the series gets a stunning 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.1/10 on IMDb. I don’t know how I missed this show, but I am making up for it by binging this weekend. And we can all use a little comedy while avoiding germs this weekend.
Amazon has added The Pale Horse, their new two part Agatha Christie series. A BBC One production, this stars Rufus Sewell(Victoria, Judy) as Mark Easterbrook, a man who, a year after the death of his wife, is confronted with another death, this time a murder and a list of names that includes his girlfriend, Thomasina(Poppy Gilbert). I will say no more, for fear of a spoiler, but suffice it to say, more deaths ensue. Sheila Atim, Georgina Campbell,Bertie Carvel, Claire Skinner and Rita Tushingham(!) also star, and Leonora Lonsdale directs. And it gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb. I am definitely tuning in. That’s all for the new adds, but Amazon also offers Pushpavalli, an Indian romcom series from 2019. This stars Sumukhi Suresh as the title character, a young woman who meets Nikhil(Manish Anand), and though they are just friends, starts to pursue him, including having him stalked by a tea boy(Ashok Pathak). Preetika Chawla, Latha Venkatraman, Shraddha and Naveen Richard also star. There are eight episodes now available, and the series gets an astounding 7.3/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Amazon has Pushing Hands, Ang Lee’s directorial debut from 1992. Sihung Lung plays plays Mr. Chu, here, an aging Tai Chi teacher, who moves to New York City to live with his son, played by Bo Z. Wang and daughter-in-law, played by Deb Snyder, from Beijing. But he feels more and more alienated by Western culture, and the distance from traditional Confucian values. Haan Lee, Fanny De Luce and Wang Lai also star. It’s a wonderful movie, and gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. I’m watching.
So, sit back and binge this weekend, with classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!