Yes, it’s the weekend again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And there’s some good new stuff out there, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some good adds this week, but their best one might be Palm Springs, the 2020 romcom starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. The pair star as guest as another dreaded wedding, with Samberg playing Nyles, a nice guy with a bridesmaid girlfriend, and Milioti as the bride’s rather trouble sister. But this isn’t another wedding comedy, because the couple get trapped in an endless time loop,with the pair get stuck living the same day over and over, with crazy results. And it doesn’t redo Groundhog Day, but depicts many frenzied and zany efforts to escape their fate. J.K. Simmons(!), Peter Gallagher(!), Meredith Hagner and Camila Mendes also star, with Max Barbakow directing. Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com writes “You may think you know where it’s going, but Barbakow and screenwriter Andy Siara keep it fresh, developing ideas in a constant state of flux.” And it gets an amazing 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in. Hulu has also added the 2019 British horror movie Sea Fever. Hermione Corfield stars as Siobhan, a marine biologist and a loner, who has to work on an old fishing trawler, unwelcome by the couple that run it, Gerard (Dougray Scott) and Freya (Connie Nielsen). But when they encounter a giant squid that oozes an dangerous and erosive blue goo, they grow more appreciative of her presence. Olwen Fouéré, Jack Hickey and Ardalan Esmaili also star in this film directed by Neasa Hardiman. And it gets an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Katie Walsh of the Tribune News Service saying, “an absorbing (if sometimes muted) wrestle with the notions of ethics and infection, in a moment that couldn’t be more appropriate.” I am watching… if it’s not too scary. Also new on Hulu is Trishna, a 2012 Indian drama. Freida Pinto(Slumdog Millaionaire) stars here as Trishna, a beautiful young woman, forced by her father’s road accident to work in a hotel, offered to her by the son of the owner, Jay(Riz Ahmed). And they begin a romance that turns violent, with Trishna being raped and then forced to live with Jay in Mumbai, always under his thumb. Roshan Seth(!), Harish Khanna and Mita Vasisht, and Michael Winterbottom(The Trip, The Unloved) directed. This is loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Ubervilles, so don’t expect a happy ending. Kelly Jane Torrance of the Washington Examiner said of it “Tess was very much a novel of its time. Those times have changed — though, as Winterbottom does manage to show here, not as much as we think.” And it gets a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added The Cured, a 2017 Irish horror flick. This features a Europe after the Maze Virus, a disease which changes victims into murderous zombies, has struck, with Ireland being incredibly hard-hit. Ellen Page stars as Abbie, a relative of two survivors, Sam Keeley and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as two who are not so lucky. There is a cure, with 75% effectiveness, but the remaining 25% of survivors going to Cure camps for reintegration training, but the government has a secret plan to euthanize them. Paula Malcolmson, Peter Campion and Oscar Nolan also star, and the director(and writer) was David Freyne(Dating Amber). And the film gets a respectable 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Dan Scully of Cinema76 said, “writer/director David Freyne has not just reinvigorated the genre, but has employed it to explore society’s ills at a level not seen since the heyday of George Romero. It’s that good.” Watch if you dare.
The big add on Netflix this week is The Old Guard, a 2020 thriller directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood(The Secret Life of Bees). Charlize Theron stars here as Andy / Andromache of Scythia, one of a team of immortals, along with Booker / Sebastian Le Livre(Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe/ Yusuf Al-Kaysani(Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky / Nicolo di Genova(Luca Marinelli), who find a new immortal, United States Marine named Nile Freeman, played by KiKi Layne. Chiwetel Ejiofor(!), Harry Melling, Veronica Ngo and Anamaria Marinca and this movie is based on the comic book of the same name from 2017 by Greg Rucka. It’s not my kind of movie, but it has a good cast, and it gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Chalotte O’Sullivan of the London Evening Standard calls it “is massively enjoyable.” You decide. Luckily for me, Netflix also offers The Twelve, a Belgian court room drama series. Here, headmistress Frie Palmers(Maaike Cafmeyer) is on trial for the brutal murder of her best friend and her daughter, and the twelve members of the jury must decide her fate, while managing their own lives, as well. Luc De Ruelle, Zouzou Ben Chikha, Souad Boukhatem, Maaike Cafmeyer and Aimé Claeys star as well, and this series was developed by Sanne Nuyens and Bert Van Dael(Beau Séjour). This show won at Cannes International Series Festival (CannesSeries) 2019 for Best Screenplay and it gets an incredible 7.7./10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in, I love a mystery. Also new on Netflix is Mucho Mucho Amor: the Legend of Walter Mercado, a 2020 Netflix doc. This studies the life and disappearance from the airwaves of Walter Mercado, legendary Puerto Rican astrologer and superstar in the Latinx world. His astrology bridged Santería, Eastern religions and Christianity and Spanish speaking population both here and in Mexico and central America ate it up. His androgynous looks and embrace of his feminine side opened the minds of his viewers, as well. You get remembrances from celebs like Lin-Maneul Miranda and interviews with pros like Howard Stern and Sally Jesse Rafael. Co-directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch brought us this film, which was nominated for awards at Sundance in 2020, and the Miami Film Festival, as well. And it gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb. Tomris Laffly of RogerEbert.com writes, “without a sense of lush melancholy, exemplified best when Miranda finally meets his personal hero who paved the way to so much for Latinx communities.” It’s an eye opening look into a Latin cultural phenomena. It’s on my list. Netflix has also added The Long Dumb Road, a 2018 comedy. Tony Revolori stars as Nathan, a naive and sheltered college kid on a road trip, who gets a companion in Richard( a definitely corrupting influence), played by Jason Mantzoukasstar, who fixes his car and then hitches a ride to Vegas. Taissa Farmiga, Casey Wilson, Grace Gummer and Ron Livingston also star, and the movie was directed by Hannah Fidell. And it’s not a perfect movie, it gets a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the excellent cast ratchets it up to a good show. Bilge Ebiri of New York Magazine/Vulture wrote “Mantzoukas brilliantly juggles all the different forces of Richard’s personality so that we never quite know what to make of this guy, which in turn means that we never quite know what will happen next with him and Nat.” I’m watching. And finally, Netflix has Stateless, a 2020 limited series from Australia. This stunning series focuses on four individuals imprisoned in the Australian immigration detention centre in the desert, including Sofie Werner(Yvonne Strahovski), an escapee from a cult, Ameer(Fayssal Bazzi), an afghan refugee and an Australian father(Jai Coutrney). Cate Blanchett(!), Marta Dusseldorp(A Place Called Home), Rachel House and Dominic West also star, and there are 6 episodes available now on Netflix. Blanchett was also a creator of this series, along with Elise McCredie, Tony Ayres. Social News calls it “a marvelously delineated for, powerfully acted bad dream about existence in a filthy, bureaucratically affected limbo.” And it gets a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. I’m watching.
Amazon hasn’t added many new movies this week, but they have added Vivarium, the 2019 British scifi movie. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg star as a young couple in London, who decide to look at a house in Yonder, a ideal-looking suburban housing development, but find themselves in a nightmare, when they can’t escape a maze of identical houses. Danielle Ryan, Eanna Hardwicke, Olga Wehrly and Jonathan Aris also star, in this movie directed by Lorcan Finnegan. David Sexton of the London Evening Standard calls it “an ingenious, relentless sci-fi horror from Irish director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley.” I am definitely tuning in. And Amazon also has Hotel Artemis, a 2018 sci-fi thriller. Jodie Foster stars as a woman known only as The Nurse, who runs a secret hospital run for criminals, in near future, riot torn Los Angeles. Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Sofia Boutella and Brian Tyree Henry are also featured players here, and Drew Pearce directed. Steven Prokopy of Third Coast Review wrote, “[it] is a B-movie wrapped in an A-list cast of actors who are clearly enjoying the hell out of being a part of something that is outlandish and weirdly enjoyable.” And it gets a 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s sci-fi, so I’m watching. And, finally, Amazon offers Forbidden Kingdom, the 2008 fantasy adventure film. Jackie Chan stars as Lu Yan / Hop, ostensibly a pawn shop owner in Boston, who send Michael Angarano‘s character Jason Tripitikas on a magical journey through ancient China to deliver a magical staff. There he meets the Monkey King(Jet Li), the Jade Warlord(Collin Chou) and the Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei). Li Bingbing, Juana Collignon and Deshun Wang also star, and Rob Minkoff(The Lion King) directed. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com wrote “when Chan and Li match wits, each celebrates the other’s presence. This isn’t just a martial-arts display; it’s generosity and camaraderie in motion.” It’s a lot of fun and it gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list.
So sit back and relax this weekend, with classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!