Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added online, to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And there’s some good new stuff out there, so let’s get started!
Hulu‘s biggest add this week is Love, Victor, a 2020 coming-of-age comedy series. This is a spin-off of Love, Simon, the hit comedy of 2018 about Simon, played by Nick Robinson, a gay youth, finally coming out and exploring in high school in Atlanta. Here, Robinson produces and narrates a similar story of Victor, played by Michael Cimino, a new student coming to Creekwood High School, from Texas, and dealing with some of the same issues, while also dealing with a family unfamiliar with ‘alternative” lifestyles. Ana Ortiz, James Martinez,Isabella Ferreira, Mateo Fernandez, Rachel Naomi Hilson, and Anthony Turpel also star, and this series is written by the writers of Love, Simon-Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. There are 10 episodes available on Hulu, and it gets an amazing 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. But beware, this is a more timid production than Love, Simon- maybe the fact that it was originally slated for Disney+ can account for that. Hulu has also added Crawl, the 2019 disaster/horror(?) film. Kaya Scodelario stars as an aspiring swimmer, who is trapped with her father, played by Barry Pepper, and their dog,Sugar, played by Cso-Cso, in a category 5(!) hurricane, while also battling alligators, that snuck into the house from the crawl space. Ross Anderson, Anson Boon, Jose Palma, Ami Metcalf and Morfydd Clark also star, and the movie is directed by Alexandre Aja(The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D). Now, it’s a little ridiculous for me(and gruesome), but it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Scodelario getting a lot of praise. Tim Robey of the Daily Telegraph(UK) wrote, “Crawl isn’t Jaws, any day of the week, but it’s crunchy Friday-night nonsense that knows what it’s doing.” And I know you need horror. More to my taste is The Dustwalker, a 2019 Australian sci-f movie. Here, Jolene Anderson plays Sergeant Jo Sharp, stuck out in the desert with her sister, played by Stef Dawson, for the birth of her baby, when an alien spacecraft crash lands miles off, and releases an incidious parasite that begins affecting townspeople, and turing them into killing machines. Cassandra Magrath, Talina Naviede, Harry Greenwood, Chloe Brown and Nina Deasley also star, and the film was written and directed by Sandra Sciberras. And though the film only gets a 3.6/10 on IMDb, it’s based on few reviews, and I love sci-fi. I’m watching. And finally,HBO(through Hulu) has free viewing available for Juneteenth of Watchmen, HBO‘s smash super heroes hit of 2019. Based on the 1987 DC graphic novel of the same name, this tells the story of an alternate history Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Seventh Kavalry, a white supremacist group, terrorizes and murders people of color, and finally the Kavlary kills most of the police officers, by burning their homes. Only two remain, Detective Angela Abar(Regina King!) and Police Chief Judd Crawford(Don Johnson), so they don masks, and again continue the fight against the Kavalry. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jacob Ming-Trent,Sara Vickers, Jean Smart(!), Jeremy Irons and Louis Gossett Jr(!) also star. And there are outstanding guest stars too numerous to list. There are 9 episodes available to view right now on Hulu, and Graeme Blundell of the Australian wrote, “Lindelof has turned it into a stunningly cinematic look at white supremacy, policing and race in the US. Watchmen is mystifying but hugely entertaining, if deeply troubling.” And the show gets an incredible 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t miss it.
Netflix has a few good adds this week, if you look hard enough, like Wasp Network, a 2019 Spanish language film directed by Olivier Assayas(Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper). This film tells the story of supposed traitors, like René(Edgar Ramírez), who defects to the U.S., in the 1990’s, leaving Olga(Penelope Cruz) and child to grapple with his ruined reputation in Cuba, and Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura), who defects later. But, as they infiltrate anti-Castro groups in Florida, Olga learns they are not defectors, but working undercover, to protect the island from further attacks. Gael García Bernal, Ana de Armas, Eric Goode, Gisela Chipe and Julio Rhodes also star. This film won the Prix du 45E festival du cinéma américain at the Deauville Film Festival in 2019 for Assayas, and it was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last year, as well. and, though it only gets a 5.5/10 on IMDb, it’s good stuff. As Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com says, “minor work from a major filmmaker can still offer up a few cinematic treasures.” I’m watching. Netflix also offers Disclosure, Laverne Cox’ 2020 documentary. Here, Cox, star of Orange is the New Black, takes on the history of trans people in film and TV, and the rough and arduous road it took to get to the partial acceptance of today. She covers not only the welcome progress of roles such as Jared Leto’s in The Dallas Buyers Club, in Eddie Redmayne’s in The Danish Girls, but also cringe-worthy instances, like trans people often being murderers, like in Murder!(1930) and even interviews with people like Oprah, from the 80’s, that are startling. The film is directed by Sam Feder, and had it’s world premiere at Sundance in January. And it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Definitely worth a view. Also new on Netflix is Lola Igna, a 2019 Philippino comedy. Angie Ferro stars in the title role, Grandma(Igna) Lola, a grumpy centenarian, whose life becomes chaos when her family learns she could be the oldest living woman on earth. Maria Isabel Lopez, Meryll Soriano, Soliman Cruz, Royce, Cabrera and Jojo Riguerra also star and the movie is written and directed by Eduardo Roy Jr.. It won numerous awards in the Philippines, including Best Actress for Ferro and Best Film. And it gets a stunning 9/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in. Netflix also has The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, a 2019 documentary. Directed by Christopher Bird, this doc is love poem to the rock group Queen, and their new relevance, thanks to Bohemian Rhapsody, and also to Adam Lambert, their newest member, at least in recent concerts, like the one in Kiev, before 350,000, in 2012. There are interviews with people like Rami Malek, who played Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and surviving Queen band members. There’s also music, especially from the 1985 Live Aid concert. And though Lambert isn’t nearly as good as Mercury, the later music is good enough. And the movie gets an amazing 8.3/10 on IMDb. Especially for Queen fans, this is a good bet. And, finally, Netflix has added The Darkness, a 2016 horror movie. Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell star as parents of a family, who go camping in the Grand Canyon, where their son, played by David Mazouz, finds a Kiva cavern and stone within it which have a strange script and when he brings the rocks home with them, strange happenings begin. And worse. Lucy Fry, Matt Walsh, Jennifer Morrison, Ming-Na Wen and Paul Reiser(!) also star, while Gary McLean(Wolf Creek) directed. And, yes, it is a kind of ridiculous show, only getting a 4.4/10 on IMDb, but I know you need horror.
Amazon‘s biggest ad this week is 7500, the new thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Unfortunately, it uses the tired trope with Arab terrorists hijacking a plane, but with Gordon-Levitt playing a mild mannered co-pilot on a flight from Berlin to Paris, being locked in the cockpit alone, trying to land the plane. Aylin Tezel, Omid Memar, Carlo Kitzlinger, Aurelie Thepaut and Murathan Muslu also star, while Patrick Vollrath directed. It gets only a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Ian Freer of Empire writing, “It’s a potentially mid-’90s B-movie premise, but director Patrick Vollrath and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt keep it taut, tense and classy. Just a shame it doesn’t stick the landing.” I’d rather watch Penguin, a 2020 Tamil mystery just added on Amazon. Keerthy Suresh stars as Rhythm, a young mother pregnant with her second child, who starts having dreams about an man with an umbrella harming her first child, Ajay, who was lost and believed drowned in a lake. She goes in search her son, and finds more than she bargains for. Madhampatty Rangaraj, Linga, Master Advaith, Nithya Kirubha and Harini Rameshkrishnan also star, with Eashvar Karthic writing and directing. And, while it only gets a 5.2/10 on IMDb, I love a mystery and a women protagonist, so I’m watching. And, that’s it for good new adds on Amazon, but don’t forget, they also have Crawl(see above), so if you don’t get Hulu, watch it here!
So sit back and relax this weekend, with classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!