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’s some good new stuff out there, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some good adds this week, like Run, the 2020 thriller starring Sarah Paulson. Paulson plays Diane the very possessive mother of Chloe, played by Kiera Allen, a seventeen year-old suffering from multiple health problems and confined to a wheelchair. But she’s also confined by her mother, who homeschools her, limits her activities outside the house, and even limits her internet usage. So when Chloe starts to suspect her mother of even worse (and more malign) activities, things get scary. Onalee Ames, Pat Healy, Carter Heintz and Sara Sohn also star, and Aneesh Chaganty(Searching from 2017, which also starred Paulson) directs. Amy Nicholson of NPR Los Angeles writes, “It’s so small that it becomes thrilling. You’re really right there with [Kiera Allen] as you’re panicking.” And it gets a stunning 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. And you’ll love rooting for Allen’s character. Hulu also offers No Man’s Land, a 2020 French limited series. Felix Moati plays Antoine Daman, a young Parisian who goes in search of his sister, Anna(Mélanie Thierry), an archaeology student presumed by his family killed in a car bombing, but he suspects otherwise, after seeing a photo of a woman resembling her. So he travels to Syria, where he hears she may be fighting for the women’s resistance group fighting ISIS. Julia Faure, Souheila Yacoub, James Purefoy(!), Joe Ben Ayed and Céline Samie also star, and there are 8 episodes currently available on Hulu to stream. I love the subject matter, of an all-female fighting group opposing ISIS, though the story is told from a (typically) male point of view. And though it only gets a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, it gets an amazing 7.9/10 on IMDb, with Daniel Hart of Ready Steady Cut saying “[it[ could very well be a staple of Hulu – it has a slight thriller aspect of Homeland while maintaining the grit and emotions of war.” I’m watching. But if you want more horror, Hulu has also added Amulet, a 2020 gothic thriller. Alec Secareanu plays Tomaz, a battle scarred ex-soldier who accepts an invitation from a nun(Imelda Staunton!) who offers him a place to live, while helping a young woman, Magda(Carla Juri) in the house and her (crazed) mother. Of course, that’s a bad idea. Angeliki Papoulia, Paul O’Kelly, Perry Jaques and Yonah Odoom also star, and Romola Garai(Atonement) directs. And it gets a respectable 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly says it “casts a grim sort of spell; a brooding, stifled dread that creeps in quietly from the margins, and lingers long after the last triumphant frame.” Watch if you dare. And, finally, Hulu has added Tesla, the 2020 biopic starring Ethan Hawke. Hawke stars, of course, as Nikolai Tesla, the Serbian– American inventor, in this highly unusual biography, which flits between the 21st and the 19th century, and contains highly comedic events that almost certainly did not happen. It focuses mainly, though, on Tesla’s battle with Thomas Edison, played by Kyle MacLachlan, over the alternating current, which Tesla invented and now rules, and Edison’s more costly direct current. Eve Hewson stars as Anne Morgan, Jim Gaffigan as George Westinghouse, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Donnie Keshawarz, Hannah Gross, Peter Greene and Lois Smith(!) are also featured players here. And Michael Almereyda(Hamlet, also with Ethan Hawke) directed. This film isn’t linear or limited by the facts alone, and so isn’t for everyone. Richard Brody of the New Yorker wrote it “remains a more audacious and more curiosity-sparking movie than almost all of the bio-pics that come from Hollywood studios.” And it gets a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Netflix doesn’t have a lot of obvious big adds this week, but it does have some hidden gems, like Ainu Mosir, 2020 Japanese drama. This tells the tale of Kanto, played by Kanto Shimokura, a teenage boy in an Ainu community, who has lost his father, live with his mother(Emi Shimokura) and feels the constraints of his indigenous culture more keenly than ever. Debo Akibe, Jack Foster, Reiko Akiyama, Lily Franky, Yukio Fujito, Yuta Fujito and the Oki Dub Ainu Band also star, while Takeshi Fukunaga directs. This film won the Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca this year, and Best International Feature Film at the Guanajuato International Film Festival 2020, as well. Mark Schilling of the Japan Times calls it “a memorable one-of-a-kind experience,” and it gets an incredible 7.2/10 on IMDb. I’m watching. Netflix has also added Loving, the 2016 drama. Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton star as Mildred and Richard Loving, the real life married coupled who went to the Supreme Court in 1967 to fight Virginia’s racist anti-miscegenation law, banning interracial marriage, with Loving v. Virginia. And they fought racism throughout their married life, wherever they lived and enlisted the help of American Civil Liberties Union, and lawyer Bernard S. Cohen, played by Nick Kroll. Marton Csokas, Michael Shannon, Terri Abney, Sharon Blackwood and Alano Miller also starred, with Jeff Nichols(Mud) directing. This film won multiple awards for Ruth Negga from the New York Film Critics, Women Film Critics Circle Awards, and Irish Film and Television Awards, and also Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 on IMDb. Claudia Puig of the Asahi Shimbun GLOBE (Japan) wrote “[it] shines a light on how far the U.S. has come in its views of equality, but also how far it has still to go. A true story that is still very relevant, Loving is understated, compelling and deeply affecting.” I’m definitely tuning in. Also new on Netflix is We Are the Champions, a 2020 reality sports(?) series. This show explores some of the more unusual sports people are involved in around the world, like cheese rolling, frog jumping, fantasy hair-styling(!) and, my favorite, dog dancing. And it’s all perfectly narrated by Rainn Wilson, as it travels around the world in search of the greatest competitions for these endeavors. There ae six episodes available now, and it gets an amazing 7.2/10 on IMDb. And it’s a whole lot of fun, which we all need right now. I’m watching. Also new on Netflix is Whose Streets?, a 2017 documentary. This film covers the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement that followed. Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis directed here, and inserted themselves in Ferguson early on, and give you the activists point-of-view, like Hands-Up-United co-founders Tory Russell and Brittany Ferrell, and Cop Watch recruiter David Whitt. It also has inspiring quotes from people like Martin Luther King. It was a nominee for Critics’ Choice and Gotham Independent Film Awards, and it gets an astounding 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. David Fear of Rolling Stone wrote, “whether it’s the “best” documentary of 2017 is a matter of opinion. But it is assuredly the most vital.” I’m definitely watching. And, finally, Netflix has Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun, an Australian 2020 comedy series. This leads you through the every day lives of Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane, the trio that makes up Aunty Donna as they share a house and a ‘word of the day’, along with their absurdist humor. Everything’s bright colored and bizarre, and a whole lot of fun. It’s brought to us by executive producer Ed Helms, who also guest stars, as well as Weird Al Yankovic, Mary Sohn, Rekha Shankar and Tawny Newsome. And there are 6 episodes available to binge on now. And the show gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.2/10 on IMDb. Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com says “delivered with such forceful energy (this show is always “on”) and an incredible amount of creativity (it’s nearly always funny), Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun is the sketch series for this year, and its madness is a blissful escape from our current reality.” It’s on my list.
Amazon‘s biggest add this week is the first episode in British director Steve McQueen‘s(12 years a Slave) 2020 Small Axe film anthology. The whole anthology deals with the experience of being black in Britain, and especially the black immigrant’s experience. It focuses on London’s West Indian community, with the title coming from the West Indian proverb and Bob Marley song- “If you are the big tree / we are the small axe.” The first episode is Mangrove, and tells the story of the Mangrove Nine trial. Groups of (black) intellectuals and artists met in the 70‘s at the Mangrove Restaurant only to be harassed, and finally arrested for rioting, by the London police. Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Darcus Howe, Rochenda Sandall, Shaun Parkes, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis and Rothwell Kentish star as some of those activists, and Richard Cordery, Llewella Gideon, Steven O’Neill and Joe Tucker are also featured players. And this movie gets an astounding 8.3/10. Vox calls it “essential viewing.” I’m tuning in. Amazon has also added The Pack, a 2020 reality show with dogs. here, host Lindsey Vonn, champion skier and dog lover, brings us 12 contestants who go though a kind of Amazing Race competition, travelling the world, but with their dogs. Darling dogs, which makes it all worthwhile for me, who(with their humans) crisscross the globe and do all kinds of adventurous stuff, like finding a rubber bone in a garden, carrying a sock down a hill, ziplining and earthquake rescue drill, always with safety in mind for the dogs, says Nick Berger from the Dog Safety and Wellness Team. There are 10 episodes available now, and the show gets a 6.2/10 on IMDb. ReadySteadyCut calls it a “a dog lover’s dream in a travelling reality series.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Amazon has Stockholm, a 2018 Israeli black comedy series. Here, Avishai(Gidi Gov), a world renowned economist is found dead by his friends, but they conspire to keep his death a secret, at least for the few days until the Nobel Prize for Economics is awarded, so he can still win. Liora Rivlin, Doval’e Glickman, Sasson Gabai and Tikva Dayan star as those friends who persevere as the situation becomes more and more ridiculous. The series is based on a novel by Noa Yedlin, and stars some of the best from film and theater in Israel. There are 4 episodes available from the first season, easily bingeable before the end of November, when it all goes back onto Topic, a streamer of international and cerebral entertainment on Amazon that will cost you $4.99 a month after a 7-day free trial. And this is an award-winning show in Israel,that gets a 7.4/10 on IMDb. I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!