Well, it’s not only the weekend, but a new year(thank god) 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 good adds this week, like Save Yourselves, the 2020 horror movie. Here, a young couple from Brooklyn, played by Sunita Mani and John Reynolds, take some time off to turn off their phones and unplug, and rent an upstate cabin for a week. Ill-equipped for roughing it in the best of situations, when aliens arrive, they are lost. And since they’re off grid, they miss messages about the murderous invaders that looks like harmless puffballs(tribbles?), and realize the threat of the little cuties. Ben Sinclair, Jo Firestone, Gary Richardson, John Early and Johanna Day also star, while Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson direct. And if you like humor with your horror, this film is for you. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times says “even the smaller touches in Save Yourselves! ring true…a wry social commentary…” And it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m definitely tuning in. Hulu has also added Super Dark Times, a 2017 thriller. Charlie Tahan and Owen Campbell star as Josh and Owen, respectively a pair of teens who are jolted from their seemingly carefree lives in the 90‘s by a terrible accident that they try to cover-up, but remorse and guilt make that impossible. Max Talisman, Elizabeth Cappucino, Sawyer Barth and Amy Hargreaves also star, with Kevin Phillips directing in his feature film debut(!). This film won several awards in 2017, including Best Film at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival and Best Actor for Owen Campbell at the Molins Film Festival. And it gets an amazing 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Chuck Wilson of the Village Voice called it “both a thriller and meditation on the loss of innocence, Super Dark Times is rich with the minutiae of a bygone era … but Phillips and screenwriters Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski press hard against the instinct for nostalgia.” Definitely worth a view. Also new on Hulu is Supervized, the 2019 comedy. Tom Berenger(!) stars here as Ray, an aging superhero, consigned to a retirement home for those of his kind, whose superpowers not gone, but maybe misfiring and unreliable with age. Louis Gossett Jr.(!), Beau Bridges and Fionnula Flanagan make up the remained of his quartet of cronies, who begin to suspect something fishy of their supposed haven, and especially it’s officious administrator, Alicia(Fiona Glascott), who won’t let them use their powers. Ned Dennehy, Clive Russell and John Kavanagh also star, and Steve Barron(While You Were Sleeping) directed. And, okay, it is kind of trite and hackneyed, but the cast is great and it is a funny premise. It only gets a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has also added Hell or High Water, the 2016 modern neo-western. Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as two brothers, in desperate need of money to avoid foreclosure on their ranch in West Texas, who make an inept attempt at bank robbery, thereby(unfortunately) coming under the scrutiny of Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham). As the brothers take off for Oklahoma and a heist thee, they ae followed by the determined rangers. Marin Ireland, Gil Birmingham, Dale Dickey, Katy Mixon and Dale Dickey also star, and David Mackenzie(Starred Up) directed. This film was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Supporting Actor for Jeff Bridges, and won Best Film at the AFI Awards, as well as others. And it gets an stunning 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Jeffrey M. Anderson of Common Sense Media wrote “vivid, resonant, and brimming with life, this is a great genre movie, a film noir tapping into the uncertainties of our times, crossed with a modern Western chronicling a new brand of lawlessness. ” It’s on my list.
Netflix has some interesting ads this week, like Equinox, a Danish mystery/thriller series. Twenty-one years after 21 teens disappeared into thin air, Astrid (Danica Curcic), a journalist who runs a late-night call-in talk show, gets a call, supposedly from a survivor of the incident, telling her it will happen again. So Astrid investigates, in part because her sister Ida(Karoline Hamm) was one of those who disappeared, shattering her family and her younger sister’s life. Lars Brygmann, Hanne Hedelund, Viola Marinsen, Fanny Bornedal and August Carter also star, and there are 6 episodes now available to enjoy. ReadySteadyCut calls it a “satisfying slow-burn Danish mystery,” and it gest a 6.1/10 on IMDb. And I love a mystery. Netflix has also added DNA, a 2020 French drama directed by the award-winning Maïwenn(Polisse,Mon Roi). Maïwenn also stars in this semi-autobiographical work as Neige, a single mother who decides to embrace her Algerian ancestry upon the death of her beloved immigrant grandfather, Emir (Omar Marwan). But since the rest of her family chooses to identify merely as French, this causes discord, especially with her estranged mother, Caroline (Fanny Ardant!). Louis Garrel, Dylan Robert, Marine Vacth, Caroline Chaniolleau and Alain Françon also star, and Maïwenn also co-wrote the script with Mathieu Demy. This would have competed for prizes at Cannes this year, had Cannes not been canceled, but instead premiered at Deauville American Film Festival in September. The Decider calls it “[a] .. convincing, a highly effective marriage of direction and performances.” and it gets a respectable 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you like Cassavetes films, you’ll love this, and the cast can’t be beat. I’m watching. Also new on Netflix is The Creative Brain, a science documentary. Hosted by neuroscientist David Eagleman, host of the Emmy-nominated PBS series The Brain with David Eagleman(!), this show studies how the human brain works when creating new ideas by following innovators like engineers, artists, performers, biologists and writers. You’ll get insights into the creative process from fascinating people like Tim Robbins. Michael Chabon, Zachary Lazar and pianist Robert Glasper, but most interesting for me is Eagleman’s outside-the-box thinking on how the brain and imagination work. He is always fascinating. And this doc is only 52 minutes long, so if you don’t have much time, this one’s for you. And it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. I am definitely tuning in. Netflix has also added Your Name Engraved Herein, a touching 2020 Chinese romantic drama. Set in 1980s Taiwan after the rule of martial law has ended, this follows A-han (Chang Jia-han) and Birdy(Wang Bo Te), as they meet in their all-male Catholic high school and fall in love, but are hesitant to act on their feelings, living in a homophobic society with their families heavily disapproving. And so they try to follow more conformist paths, with Birdy even marrying Ban-Ban(Mimi Shao). But regret for what might have been follows them through their lives. Fabio Grangeon, Leon Dai, Jean-François Blanchard, David Hao-Chi Chiu and Lenny li also star, with Kuang-Hui Liu directing. This was the most popular film of 2020 in Taiwan, and garnered five Golden Horse Award nominations, including Best Cinematography. Grant Watson of Fiction Machine calls it “gentle, sensitively played, and emotionally powerful. It captures life and love at its most intimate.” And it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Death to 2020, a British mockumentary. Brought to us by the creators of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones, here they take us though a series of interviews with fictional characters, played by people like Samuel L. Jackson, Tracey Ullman, Leslie Jones and Hugh Grant, who give different descriptions of the harrowing events of 2020. Things like Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and the presidential election are discussed, with a mixture of truth and satire. Kumail Nanjiani, Lisa Kudrow, Cristin Milioti and Diane Morgan also star, with Laurence Fishburne(!) narrating. And Al Campbell and Alice Mathias direct. And though some of the jokes miss their mark (it only gets a 4.3/10 on IMDb), the cast is wonderful, and the idea is good. I can use some anti-2020 humor right now. It’s on my list.
Amazon‘s one notable new add this week is Yearly Departed, Amazon‘s comic send-up of 2020. Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Rachel Brosnahan are just some of the notables taking part in this satirical treatment, with Phoebe Robinson serving as our host as it’s all female(yay!) comedian cast lays waste to the horrible bygone year. Natasha Rothwell, Patti Harrison, Natasha Leggero and Ziwe Fumudoh also take part, while Linda Mendoza directs. And while it doesn’t have many reviews or ratings yet online, Danielle Solzman of Solzy at the Movies says “the comedy is top-notch and more than ever, we need the laughs.” I agree. I’m watching. Amazon also offers some new opportunities to view series otherwise on premium channels, like Rocco Schiavone: Ice Cold Murders, from PBS Masterpiece. Based on Antonio Manzini‘s international best-selling novels, Marco Gialini stars as Inspector Schiavone, a man haunted by his past who is exiled to the small mountain town of Aosta after taking the law into his own hands. There he investigates a murder with the help of Detective Italo Pierron (Ernesto D’Argenio), and learns of an incoming drug shipment, thanks to a friend in Rome. Francesca Cavallin, Francesco Acquaroli, Isabella Ragonese, Christian Ginepro and Claudia Vismar also star, and there are 12 episodes of Season 1 to polish off before the series disappears from non-paying viewers on February 1. And this series gets an incredible 7.7/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in. And, finally, Amazon has added Season 1 of Beecham House, also from PBS Masterpiece. This stars Tom Bateman as John Beecham, a former soldier living in Delhi, India at the turn of the 19th century, before British rule has begun. Lesley Nicol, Lara Dutta, Leo Suter, Dakota Blue Richards and Adil Ray also star, and there are 6 episodes to binge on before it, too, returns to premium-members only viewing. it’s brought to us by writer, director and producer Chadha, of Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice and Viceroy’s House. And it gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb. And it’s been called an Indian Downton Abbey, so if you want historical drama, this is your pick.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!