Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added to the lineup on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And there’s some good, new stuff out there, so let’s get started!
Hulu‘s best add this week is actually one from last week, Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi. A Hulu original production, this series looks is an anthropological look at cooking a food in America, from the perspective of different areas of the country, and the different chefs that cook there. Lakshmi profiles different chefs like Guy Fieri, Samin Nosrat(Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat), Apache cultural preservationist Twila Cassadore, and Cecilia Chiang, and even covers difficult topics like hunger, enslavement and xenophobia in America. There are ten episodes available on Hulu now, and the show gets and amazing 7.8/10 on IMDb, and the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Datebook calls it “the most relevant food show right now.” I’m definitely tuning in. Hulu has also added Buffaloed, the 2019 comedy starring Zoe Deutch. Here, Deutch plays Peg Dahl, a young, blue collar woman, hoping to get accepted to a good college, only to find she can’t afford it when she does. So she turns to scalping and other illegal activities, which leads to prison. Judy Greer(!), Jermaine Fowler, Lusia Strus, Jai Coutrney and Kate Moyer also star, and Tanya Wexler directed. Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com said it “churns with barely-controlled chaos in its best sequences.” And it gets a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on my list. Hulu also offers Wild Nights With Emily, a 2018 comedy starring Molly Shannon. Here, Shannon stars as the acclaimed poet Emily Dickinson, in a definitely different retelling of Emily Dickinson‘s life, where Dickinson has a more swinging life, with different romances with several women, informing her poetry, and has much difficulty with the obtuse males in her life. Amy Seimetz, Susan Ziegler, Brett Gelman and Jackie Monahan also star, and Madeleine Olnek directed. And the film gets an incredible 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it won awards at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival, FilmOut San Diego, and the Sidewalk Film Festival. Christy Lemire of Filmweek wrote, “there is a lot of truth to what we are seeing, but it is presented in a sly, deadpan way that is always amusing.” It’s definitely worth a view. And, finally, Hulu has added the 2020 documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band. Directed by Daniel Roher, this film is Robbie Robertson’s version of his life and the life of The Band, so famously covered in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, where band member Leon Helm, for one, spoke very bitterly about Robertson. There are interviews with people like Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Taj Mahal and yes, even Martin Scorsese. And there is music, with The Band’s performances in different venues, including with Bob Dylan. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post says, “Even at its most painful, the Band’s story captures something golden, incendiary and wistfully beautiful – “so beautiful,” Robertson reflects, ‘ “that it went up in flames.” ‘ Don’t miss it. I won’t.
Netflix, too, has some interesting adds this week, if you look hard enough, including Straight Up, a 2019 indie comedy. James Sweeney stars, as well as writing, directing and producing here, as a young gay man, not totally convinced he’s really gay, or only socially conditioned to feel that way. So he starts seeing Rory(Katie Findlay), a girl he meets in the book store, to pursue a relationship, with no physical intimacy allowed. Dana Drori, James Scully, Tracie Thorns, Betsy Brandy(Breaking Bad) and Randall Park(Fresh Off the Boat) also starring. And the movie gets an amazing 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Ty Burr of the Boston Globe writing, “[W]atching these two smart people outsmart themselves and each other has its modest yet real pleasures, not to mention an undercurrent of melancholy that makes the laughs stick to the ribs.” It’s on my list. Netflix also offers the doc Athlete A. This tells the story of the brave gymnasts who survived the sexual and physical abuse at USA Gymnastics, not just at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar, but coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, who also used physical and verbal abuse to coach and mold the girls. And whereas other docs have investigated this story, none has told the story of the abuse from the aspect of the girls abused themselves, with interviews with gymnasts like McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles. It’s an upsetting, infuriating show to watch, but equally important to see. Bonni Cohen and Jon Schenk, who directed An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which also dealt with the abuse of female gymnasts, directed here. and this film gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.8/10 on IMDb. Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com said “there are moments in Athlete A that will make you gasp at the brazen brutality of Nassar‘s crimes. Yet it never feels prurient or sensationalized.” We should all watch. Netflix also offers the 2016 Filipino drama Ordinary People. Hasmine Kilip and Ronwaldo Martin star as two teen parents, street people who survive as pickpockets on the streets of Manilla, until their child is stolen. Maria Isabel Lopez, Sue Prado, Ruby Ruiz, Raymond Lee and Menggie Cobarrubias also star, while Eduardo W. Roy Jr. directed and wrote. This movie won numerous awards like Best Film and Best Director at Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2016, and Best Actress for Kilip at Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the FAP Awards and the Gawad Urian Awards. And it gets a 7.5/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Also new on Netflix is Nobody Knows I’m Here, a 2020 Spanish language film from Chile. This tells the story of Memo, a child pop star, played by Lukas Vergara as a child, and Jorge Garcia(Lost!) as an adult, who quickly fell into anonymity as an adult. Memo lives with his uncle(Luis Gnecco) in seclusion on a sheep farm reached only by boat as an adult, with some unusual ways and maybe some unresolved issues, too. Millaray Lobos, Nelson Brodt, Juan Falcón and Julio Fuente are also featured players, and Gaspar Antillo makes his directorial debut with this strikingly filmed movie. This won the Best New Narrative Director for Antillo at Tribeca last year, and it gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Jessica Kiang of Variety says, “opposing impulses – sweet and sinister – sometimes threaten to break the film apart, but Garcia’s performance always pulls the two halves back together.” I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has added their new cooking show Crazy Delicious. This is another British food competition, with home cooks trying to impress professional chefs, like Carla Hall(!), Heston Blumenthal, and Niklas Ekstedt. But this new series has a more fantastical flavor, whose set is a fairyland of edible foods, like crystalized sugar tree bark. And the home cooks are encouraged to try outre combinations, like chocolate and fish(!) or a jerk-marinated watermelon! And while it doesn’t always work, it’s usually dealt served with humor and mirth. And if you’ve binged all of The Great British Bake-Off, the six episodes served up here are definitely for you. And it gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb.
Okay, Amazon‘s only add this week is My Spy, a new movie with a very old twist. Another cute kid, this time played by Chloe Coleman, and a gruff man of action(Dave Bautista), who is a spy. She wants him to train her as a spy, after she films him doing some very illegal stuff and uploading to the cloud. And, so as not to waste your time, just don’t bother, unless you haven’t seen the countless other movie pairing an older childless man, with a cute moppet. Better to watch one of the foreign television series Amazon has available, like River, a 2015 six part British crime drama. Stellan Skarsgård stars as Detective Inspector John River, who suffers incredible guilt after killing his partner and Nicola Walker(Last Tango in Halifax as his new partner. Adeel Akhtar, Georgina Rich, Sorcha Cusack, Owen Teale and Lesley Manville also star. And the series gets an incredible 8/10 on IMDb. There’s also the acclaimed Doc Martin, with the first season free. Here, the incomparable Martin Clunes stars as the irascible Doc Martin, a man truly dislikable man, newly moved to Portwenn, Cornwall, after developing a fear of blood, not good in a vascular surgeon.Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom, Selina Cadell, Stephanie Cole and Lucy Punch also star. There are 6 episodes available, but you only have until July 1 to watch them all, so hurry! And the series 8.3/10 on IMDb, and it’s first season is the best, so don’t miss it. And, finally, Amazon has added The Forsyte Saga, a 2003 ITV production. This tells the tale of the Forsythes from John Galsworthy‘s famous series of books of the same name, with an all-star cast, like Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Ioan Gruffudd and Gillian Kearney. There are 8 episodes available, but again, only until July 1, so step on it. Binge if you must, because it is an amazing series that gets an 8.1/10 on IMDb. I love it.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, new and old, on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Enjoy!