Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So let’s get right to it!
The biggest add on Hulu this week has to be The Great, the wildly farcical retelling of the rise of Catherine the Great, of Russia. Elle Fanning stars as the would-be Empress, unfortunately saddled with an philandering and cruel husband, played by Nicholas Hoult, who happens to be Emperor Peter III. But instead of his being unseated in a coup(what actually happened) , things take a more sinister turn. Belinda Bromilow plays Elizabeth, Peter’s aunt, and Sacha Dhawan, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley and Sebastian De Souza, and the series was developed by Tony McNamara(The Favourite). There are 10 wacky, violent and graphic episodes available now. The guardian calls it “gleefully garish,” and IMDb fives it a 7.2/10. I’m tuning in. Hulu has also added Dimension 404, a 2020 sci-fi series. Narrated by Mark Hamill(!), this series follows in the Twilight Zone tradition, with an added dose of computer and web related influence. And there are great stars, like Patton Oswalt, Megan Mulally,Lea Michele, Joel McHale, Sarah Hyland and Constance Wu., with 6 episodes available now. And, no, it’s not as good, of course, as The Twilight Zone, or The Outer Limits. But it has an excellent cast and special effects good enough to get it nominated to Streamy Awards. And it gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list. Hulu has also added the 2019 documentary Hillbilly. directed by Ashley York and Sally Rubin, this film studies the evolution of the stereotypes about rural whites living in Appalachia, and the resulting ill treatment of the population by industry and government. York is from Kentucky herself, and interweaves some of her story, and they also consider the reasons many of Appalachians supported Trump in the 2016 election. It’s a sensitive, enlightening film that Kevin Crust of the L.A Times called “an effective rebuttal to media stereotyping, especially in its own portrayals of people of color and the LGBTQ community…” And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m definitely watching. And, finally, Hulu has added the 2013 Australian comedy series Bess of Both Worlds. Titled Upper Middle Bogan in Australia, this series features Bess Denyar(Annie Maynard), a married doctor in an upper class suburb, married to architect Danny(Patrick Brammell), with twin boys, who unexpectedly discovers she’s adopted, and worse, finds her birth family is an “unsophisticated” family of drag racers, the Wheelers. Glenn Robbins and Robyn Malcolm play her birth parents, and Michala Banas, Rhys Mitchell and Madeleine Jevic as her new brothers and sisters. Robyn Nevin, Harrison Feldman, Lara Robinson, Dougie Baldwin and Khaled Khalafalla also star. There are three seasons available on Hulu now, with a total of 22 episodes. This series was nominated for numerous awards during it’s run and gets an amazing 7.9/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in, we could all use some good comedy now.
The moment has come, the final episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend, has come, as an interactive movie. here, we catch up with Kimmy(Ellie Kemper) as a best selling author, and due to marry the unusual Prince Frederick (Daniel Radcliffe), until she finds evidence that there was a second bunker, with more imprisoned women, whom she sets out to save. And whether she save them or gets married, is up to you, the viewer. And luckily, you get do overs, otherwise, some characters may end up dead. All your favorites return, like Titus(Tituss Burgess), Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) and Lillian (Carol Kane), even the super villainous Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). And there are cameos from people like Amy Sedaris, Fred Armisen, and even Josh Groban! It’s directed by Claire Scanlon(The Office) and gets an amazing 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Carlos Aguilar of RogerEbert.com calls it “a fabulous coda worthy of the whimsical heroine,” And I agree. I am watching. Netflix has also added White Lines, a 2020 Anglo-Spanish mystery/thriller series. It begins with Zoe Walker(Laura Haddock) travelling to Ibiza to find clues after the body of her long missing brother Axel(Tom Rhys Harries)is found there. Marta Milans, Juan Diego Bottoas, Pedro Casablanc, Belén López and Angela Griffin also star, and Álex Pina of the Netflix hit Money Heist created the series. So it’s another exciting show, with plenty of drugs and killing involved. Esquire says its “primed to be Netflix‘s chaotic, summer breakout hit,” and it gets a 5.9/10 on IMDb. Definitely adult material, though, so don’t watch with the kids. Netflix also offers Heaven Without People , the 2017 award-winning drama. Samira Sarkis stars as Josephine, or Joujou, a matriarch who finally reunites her large family for Easter celebrations in Lebanon, after two years of separation, only to have a single incident cause an eruption of chaos and disunion. Wissam Botrous, Nadim Abou Samra, Laeticia Semaan, Farah Shaer and Jenny Gebara also star and Lucien Bourjeily debuted as director here. This film won numerous awards, including the Special Jury Prize at Dubai International Film Festival and the Festival des Cinémas Arabes à Paris, and the Grand Prix at Festival du film arabe de Fameck. And it gets a stunning 8.1/10 on IMDb. Don’t miss it. I won’t. Also new on Netflix is Trial by Media, a new documentary series. Brought to us by executive producers that include George Clooney and CNN legal analyst and author Jeffrey Toobin, this series studies the regrettably over-sized influence the media has on our legal system and public opinion, as well. It considers six different cases,including the so-called “talkshow murder” in 1995, Bernard Goetz, the racist shooter of four innocent teens on the NYC subway, and the infamous Rod Blagojevich, governor of Illinois, infamously trying to sell Barack Obama‘s empty Senate seat. Michael Phelps of the Chicago Tribune says, “It’s rightly troubled by just about everything: the press, the judicial and legal system, trash TV, laws that would outlaw trash TV, all of it.” And it gets an incredible 7.2/10 on IMDb. Important for all of us to see. And, finally, Netflix has added Strangers from Hell, a 2020 South Korean horror series. The trouble begins when Yoon JongWoo, Si-wan Im, a small town boy, moves to Seoul, and takes a room in a weird boarding house, with unexplained noises and suspicious neighbors. Lee Jung-Eun, Lee Hyun-Wook, Park Jong-Hwan, Oh Hye-Won and Ahn Eun-Jin also star, and the director is Lee Chang-Hee(The Vanished). and the show gets an amazing 8.1/10 on IMDb, with 10 episodes now available for streaming. Because you need horror. But too scary for me.
The biggest add on Amazon this week is Seberg, the 2019 somewhat fictionalized bio-pic starring Kristin Stewart. Stewart stars as Jean Seberg, the French New Wave star of Breathless(by Jean-Luc Goddard), who by the time we catch up with her here,in the 60‘s, is in Hollywood to audition for Paint Your Wagon. She has left her husband, writer Romain Gary (Yvan Attal), and her activism for black rights, bring her attention and persecution from Hoover and the FBI, and her love affair with activist Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) only exacerbates the situation that leads to her collapse. Jack O’Connoll, Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz and Vince Vaughn also star, while Benedict Andrews(Una) directs. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Seberg provides a chance from Stewart to move from hubris and naïvete, to fear and paranoia, and finally to a kind of fragmentation.” But it’s not a perfect film, only getting a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. You decide. And that’s it for the new adds, but Amazon still offers access to the first seasons of some of the best mystery series on MHZ Choice, the foreign mystery streaming service, like Inspector Manara, starring Guido Caprino. Here Caprino stars as Manara, a motorcycle riding police inspector new to Maremma, in Tuscany. He’s not appreciated by many in the police force, including Detective Lara Rubino(Roberta Giarrusso), but that doesn’t stop them from fighting crime together. The EuroTVplace calls it “crime drama meets romantic comedy,” and it gets a 6/10 on IMDb. And, finally, Amazon also has Inspector DeLuca, also from MHZ Choice. Alessandro Preziosi stars in the title role, as the Commisario de Luca, during the Fascist era in Bologna, from 1938-1948, based on the novels written by Carlo Lucarelli. And de Luca is not a fascist or partisan in any way, just a cop, or so the DVD description goes. Corrado Fortuna, Rolando Raquello, Raffaela Rea and Steffano Pesce also star. There are only 4 episodes here, kind of regrettable since it gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. And if you love European crime drama, you can get a 30 day free-trial of MHZ Choice on Amazon Prime here.
So sit back and binge this weekend, with classics, new and old, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!