Yes, it’s the weekend again, thank goodness, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added, on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get started!
Hulu has some major new adds this week, like the May edition of Into the Dark horror series, Delivered. Yes, this movie is themed for Mother’s Day, and Naomi Paul plays Val, a very pregnant woman, who goes to birthing classes and befriends Jenny(Tina Majorino),a supportive woman, who subsequently invites her to her house, distant from the city. But Val finds Jenny has very sinister intentions indeed, she wants her baby. So she chains her to a bed, and the struggle begins. Michael Cassidy, Micah Joe Parker, Stacie Greenwell and Rosslyn Luke also star, while Emma Tammi(The Wind) directs. But this is very much a face off between the two female characters,and if you’re reminded of Misery, you’re not alone. But the script just doesn’t measure up, and the movie gets a 5.8/10 on IMDb. It’s also too scary for me, but if you need horror..? Hulu has also added The Hustle, the 2019 remake of Dirty Rotten, Scoundrels. But instead of Steve Martin and Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as the two con artists, one seasoned(Hathaway), who teaches the neophyte(Wilson) her bag of tricks. Alex Sharp, Nicholas Woodeson, Ingrid Oliver and Douggie McMeekin also star, while Chris Addison(In the Loop) directed. But Hathaway, in particular, is ludicrous here, and though the movie did win at the 2019 Golden Globes for Best Movie Poster, I’d say skip it. Katie Walsh of the L.A. Times said, “it’s the irony of all ironies that one walks away from The Hustle feeling a little, well, hustled.” And it gets a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. But Hulu also offers The Lodge, the creepy 2019 horror film. here, Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh star as the two children of Richard(Richard Armitage) who takes them up to spend Christmas with their soon to be step-mom, Grace(Riley Keough), at the (really) remote family lodge. Never mind that the kids’ mother committed suicide over the impending marriage or that Grace is the lone survivor of a suicide cult, it’s still a bad idea. But when a blizzard hits and they’re trapped inside, it gets worse. Alicia Silverstone, Daniel Keough and Wally(the dog) also star, with Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala(Goodnight Mommy) directing. Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post wrote, “The Lodge isn’t a perfect treat. But for those who like their movies dark and disturbing, it does the trick.” And it gets a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. But it’s too scary for me. And, finally, Hulu has added Spaceship Earth, a 2020 documentary. Director Matt Wolf tells the tale of the famous and ill-fated Biosphere 2 of the 1990′s, an experimental project recreating microcosms of earth’s climate(desert, ocean, rain forest), with animals and eight human participants being isolated inside for two years. All run by entrepreneur John P. Allen, the confinement did not go as planned, with nearly all the animals inside(except the humans) dying, including the insects, and CO2 levels rising. And people inside became rattled and afraid. And the movie gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com says its “an impressive example of basic storytelling techniques refined for maximum impact, each element reinforcing and feeding off every other element, as in the enclosed ecosystem that it depicts.” Watch if you think one month of confinement is hard.
The most exciting add on Netflix is The Eddy, a 2020 French-American musical/drama limited-series. André Holland(Moonlight) stars as Elliot Udo, owner of a jazz club in Paris, and former musician, who hasn’t been able to play since the death of his son. Maya, played by Joanna Kulig(Cold War) his sometimes girlfriend and singer at the club, Farid(Tahar Rahim) co-owner of the club and Julie(Amanda Stenberg of The Hate U Give), Elliot‘s daughter, also populate the story, with Melissa George, Leïla Bekhti and Adhil Dehbi also starring. Damien Chazelle (La La Land, First Man) directed the first two episodes, and Jack Thorne wrote the whole series. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com says, “The Eddy is a critical ride, a show with scenes that moved me as much as anything on TV this year embedded in a narrative structure that often feels unrefined.” And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.4/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely watching. Netflix also offers The Victims’ Game, a 2020 Taiwanese mystery series. Joseph Chang stars as forensic scientist Fang Yi-jen, who happens to have Asperger’s syndrome, and works to solve a murder case involving his missing daughter. He is helped along the way by journalist Hsu Hai-yin (Ann Hsu), and Shih-Sian Wang, Jason Wang, Ruby Lin and River Huang also star. There are 8 episodes now available on Netflix and the show gets an impressive 8.3/10 on IMDb. But be forewarned, it’s a sometimes grizzly and graphic show. It’s on my list. Netflix has another interesting add with Becoming, the 2020 documentary about Michelle Obama. This covers Obama’s tour for Becoming, her 2018 best-selling and award-winning autobiography. She starts in Chicago and crisscrosses the country on the tour, talking to many supporters, including teenage girls and elderly churchgoers-which as the most interesting-plus the interviews she’s done recently, with people like Stephen Colbert, Gayle King, and even Valerie Jarrett. It’s all directed by first-time director Nadia Hallgren in an inspiring way. And, though it’s disappointingly not a movie version of Obama’s 2018 memoir, it is inspiring and warm. Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com says “the ultimate message of hope Obama delivers—one that’s entirely unique and separate from the one her husband ran on, which made her such a famous figure in the first place—is undeniably welcome at a time like this.” And it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in. Also new on Netflix is Valeria, a 2020 Spanish comedy drama series. Based on Elísabet Benavent’s novels, this focuses on Valeria, played by Diana Gómez, who is an writer who’s only written ten pages, and has marital difficulties, with a critical husband. her key to survival is her trio of friends, played by Silma López, Paula Malia and Teresa Riott, her only support and inspiration. Maxi Iglesias, Ibrahim Al Shami J., Juanlu González and Júlia Molins also star, and there are 8 episodes now available. Ready Steady Cut calls it ” a witty and romantic female-led series,” and it gets a 6/10 on IMDb. But this is also pretty steamy, so don’t watch with the kids. And, finally, Netflix has added Nadiya’s Time To Eat, a 2020 cooking series. This is a 7 episode series filled with recipes and expert tips from the The Great British Baking Show winner of 2015, Nadiya Hussein, one of the most charming and inventive cooks they have had on the show. You get all kinds of dishes here, like mushroom egg rolls, chicken shawarma, banana tarte tatin(!) and jackfruit curry(!), all designed to be cooked on a fairly quick time frame, with what you have at hand. Vice calls her ” our new home cooking queen.” And the show gets a stunning 7.1/10 on IMDb. My mouth is already watering.
The biggest add on Amazon this week is the 2019 drama The Goldfinch, based on Donna Tartt’s award-winning best-seller of the same name. Ansel Elgort stars as the grown Theo Decker, Oakes Fegley as the child, who lost his mother(Hailey Wist) in an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, when he’s 13. So he goes on to bounce between caregivers, friends and supporters, trying to regain stability, while holding onto the painting, The Goldfinch, he took on that fateful day. Nicole Kidman, Finn Wolfhard(Stranger Things), Aneurin Barnard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson and Jeffrey Wright also star, and John Crowley(Brooklyn) directed. But even with the wonderful pedigree this film has and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of Tartt‘s, this movie doesn’t make the cut. The wonderful material has been cut and rearranged, til the film doesn’t represent it honestly. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com said the work “adapts Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winner with disastrous results, zapping it of all nuance, leaving only the plot, which wasn’t exactly the source material’s strength.” And it gets only a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t bother. But you might want to watch all the movies from Steig Larsson Millenium trilogy series, first The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, 2009. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, this starts the series with Michael Blomqvist(Michael Nyqvist), a disgraced journalist of Millenium magazine, who looks into the disappearance of a niece of a millionaire, Henrik Vanger, with the help of hacker Liz Salander(Noomi Rapace).Lena Endre, Sven-Bertil Taube ,Peter Haber and Marika Lagercrantz also star. This film won multiple awards, at the New York Film Critics Online Awards, Empire Awards and the Guldbagge Awards. And it gets a 7.8/10 on IMDb. Next, Amazon hasThe Girl Who Played with Fire, also 2009. Also starring Rapace and Nyqvist, here, Salander is accused of the murder of a journalist and his wife. Lena Endre, Peter Andersson and Sofia Ledarp also star, with Daniel Alfredson directing. And it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Then, finish off with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, 2010. Rapace and Nyqvist return, with Salander actually being on trial for the murders, after recovering from gunshot wounds, inflicted by her father(Georgi Staykov),in the preceding film. Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Pers Oscarsson and Sofia Ledarp also star, with Danial Alfredson returning as director. And it gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. So knock yourself out. Finally, if you need a bit of a lift after all that Scandinavian noir, Amazon has added Regular Heroes, a 2020 documentary series. This is about those every so essential workers who keep us safe during this Covid-19 pandemic, and able to stay at home, while they work in peril. It features health, grocery and sanitation workers, along with bus drivers, farmers and police officers, who put their health on the line to keep all of us healthy. Alicia Keyes appears in the pilot episode,as well as composing and singing a new song “Good Job,” for it, and there will be 8 episodes in all. There is no rating on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes yet, but it’s a wonderfully uplifting show. I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!