Yes, it’s the weekend, again, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added online this week, to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.And there are some good new adds this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some big adds this week, like A Teacher, a 2020 drama series. Kate Mara(The Martian) stars as Claire Wilson, plays a predatory and married teacher in this series, who stats a relationship with one of her AP high school students, Eric Walker(Nick Robinson from Love, Simon) in Texas. Rya Ingrid Kihlstedt, Ashley Zuckerman, Marielle Scott, Dylan Schmid and Jana Peck also star and this is Hannah Fidell’s adaptation of her own 2013 indie film of the same name. And though it only gets a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, some are very enthusiastic about it. Roxana Hadadi of RogerEbert.com writes “it’s purposefully disquieting and thoroughly disturbing, anchored by strong performances from Mara and Robinson that underscore how our gendered stereotypes are failing those who need protection most.” You decide. I’d rathe watch Sputnik, an exciting new Russian sci-fi horror movie. Oksana Akinshina plays psychologist Tatyana Klimova here, brought to a military base to investigate a cosmonaut, Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov), who has survived a crash landing of his ship, but with an alien intruder in his body he knows nothing about. Fyodor Bondarchuk, Anna Nazarova, Anton Vasil’ev and Albrecht Zander also star, while Egor Abramenko directs. But this isn’t just an Alien-type horror flick. Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal says “strong performances, strikingly spare production design and somber cinematography convey a sense of something important going on. That’s no small achievement in what proves to be a creature feature with flair.” And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching. Hulu also has the new documentary I Am Greta, a 2020 internationally produced documentary. This move covers, naturally, the Swedish environmental phenom Greta Thunberg, who became an activist at 15 years of age, when the Swedish government didn’t do anything about climate change. She started holding school strikes every Friday, that culminated in first a national movement, then a global one. And that she is now one of the most active and vital parts of the climate movement is amazing, especially considering her Asperger‘s diagnosis, with this film showing the concern her father, Svante, feels for her stressful commitment to environmental change, regardless of the effect on her own health. Nathan Grossman(The Man Who Played with Fire) directs and gives us an intimate view of the activist he has been filming for years. It’s an wonderful movie about an amazing person. It gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes with Matt Fagerholm of RogerEbert.com writing “warrants a recommendation purely on the basis of Thunberg herself, whose formidable passion and disarming humanity shine through in every frame….You owe it to yourself to see that film.” I agree. And, finally, Hulu has added Eater’s Guide to the World, a 2020 foodie series. Here, Maya Rudolph narrates as we travel the world to different parts of the world to enjoy what delicious foods they offer, from the Pacific Northwest, and Casablanca, to Costa Rica and Tijuana, Mexico. And it’s all brought to us by one of the great foodie websites online, Eater. And there are a lot of delectable dishes covered. Ashley Lara of the Spool says “Rudolph‘s narration is the star of the show, a surprising treat mixed in with the usual drone shots of locations and slow-mo panning over delicious plates of food.’ And it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in…and ordering take-out.
The biggest add on Netflix this week has to be The Life Ahead, the 2020 drama starring Sophia Loren. Loren stars as Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor and ex-prostitute, who takes in other sex workers children, and is asked to help 12 year-old Momo, played by Ibrahima Gueye, a survivor of violence himself. But now he sells drugs on the street and proves a huge frustration for Madame Rosa. And it’s based on Romain Gary’s 1975 book of the same name. Abril Zamora, Renato Carpentieri, Babak Karimi and Massimiliano Rossi also star, and Edoardo Ponti, son of Loren and Carlo Ponti, directs. And this film gets an amazing 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Joe Morgenstern of the WSJ writes, “Instead of diffusing [Sophia Loren’s] legendary features it distills her presence into another sort of beauty, stern and stirring, that befits the woman she’s playing in this small but surprising film.” I’m tuning in. Netflix also offers Minions of Midas, a mini-series based on a Jack London short story. International businessman Victor Genovés, played by the award winning actor Luis Tosar, is being blackmailed for no apparent reason by the mysterious group, Minions of Midas, and for every day he doesn’t pay, a random person in Madrid is killed. Marta Belmonte plays the reporter Mónica Báez that investigates the story, and Guillermo Toledo, Marta Milans, Carlos Blanco and Goize Blanco also star. It’s an exciting and intriguing series that has 6 episodes available for streaming now. And it gets a 6.7/10 on IMDb. Its definitely on my list. Netflix has also added the investigative series Trial 4. This covers the trial and conviction of Sean Ellis, a (black) teenager accused of shooting and killing a Boston police officer named John Mulligan in 1993. But this isn’t your average true-crime series, but an excruciating tale of justice denied for a man that went through three trials already, the first two resulting in hung juries, with the third convicting him. And a tale of a police department rife with corruption and the hysterical need to quickly find a scapegoat when a police officer is killed. Ellis’ 4th trial stands before him, with his amazing lawyer Rosemary Scapicchio offering him hope for freedom and vindication at its end. This eight-part series gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Daniel Hart of Ready Steady Cut saying “be prepared for an in-depth piece of work – Trial 4 exposes another horrific and alarming post-conviction case that will provoke many thoughts.” I’m tuning in. Also new on Netflix is Ethos, a 2020 Turkish drama series. This follows several different characters in their lives in Istanbul, starting with Meryem (Öykü Karayel), shy house cleaner who starts seeing a psychologist, Peri (Defne Kayalar), after she suffer unexplained fainting spells. But other characters cross her path, played by Fatih Artman, Funda Eryigit, Settar Tanriögen, Tülin Özen and Bige Önal, all the while with beautiful scenes of Istanbul and Turkish countryside. Thee are 8 episodes available now, and the series gets an astounding 9.2(!) on IMDb. Ready Steady Cut calls it an “excellent, truthful, artful Turkish drama.” I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has Graceful Friends, a 2020 Korean thriller mystery series. Here, a group of attractive and well-to-do friends have their comfortable lives upends when one of their circle is murdered. And they are all suspects, with an event 20 years in the past driving the violence. Yoo Jun-sang, Song Yoon-ah, Bae Soo-bin, Han Eun-jung, Kim Sung-oh, Kim Hye-eun, Jung Suk-yong and Lee In-hye star, and thee are 17 episodes to binge on now. But be sure to use the subtitles as the dubbing stinks, as usual. And this series gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. I love a mystery.
The one exceptional add on Amazon this week is Sometimes, Always, Never, the 2020 British comic drama starring the great Bill Nighy. Here, Nighy stars as Alan, a tailor and scrabble fiend, who goes on a determined search for his youngest son, Michael, years after he walked out during one of their games. When a body is found, the family is thrown into disarray, but Alan goes on with his search. All the while playing Scrabble. Jenny Agutter(!), Sam Riley, Alice Lowe, Tim McInnerny and Alexei Sayle, with Carl Hunter directing. And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Joe Morgenstern of the WSJ wrote, “What the film does sustain, and quite remarkably, considering its serious theme, is a delicately comic tone. That’s due in large measure to the screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce.” I’m watching. And that’s it for new movies, but Amazon offers more television shows to be available though November 30, like Before We Die, a Swedish murder mystery series. Marie Richardson plays Police Officer Hanna Svensson, assigned to financial crime, who had he son arrested for selling drugs, who investigates when a married lover(and investigator) goes missing. Adam Palsson, Amanuslexej Manvelov, Magnus Krepper, Malgorzata Pieczynska and Sandrea Redlaff also star, with 10 episodes available til Dec. 1, courtesy of PBS Masterpiece. It’s Nordic Noir at it’s best(and darkest), and it gets an incredible 7.8/10 on IMDb. Watch if you dare. And, finally, Amazon offers the 1st season of Delicious, a British drama series. This features the story of Leo Vincent(Iain Glen) a celebrity chef in Cornwall, married to Sam(Emilia Fox) but having an affair with his first wife, Gina(Dawn French). Leo dies in the first episodes, but remains to narrate his story of leaving the restaurant to Gina, but his money to Sam. Chaos ensues. Tanya Reynolds, Ruairi O’Connor, Sheila Hancock, Risteárd Cooper and Franco Nero(!) also star, with 4 episodes available now. But only through November 30, thereafter(and for seasons 2 & 3), you’ll have to subscribe to Acorns. And it gets a 7/10 on IMDb. For a little melodrama.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!