Yes, it’s that time again, the weekend, 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 exciting new adds this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some good adds this week, like Collective, the 2020 Romanian doc. This tells the story of a horrible fire in a club, The Colectiv, in Bucharest, in 2015, with 27 people dying in the actual fire, but almost 40 more dying in the ensuing months, with seemingly survivable injuries. A team of reporters, including Catalin Tolontan and Mirela Neag of the Gazeta Sporturilor, from Bucharest investigated, and what started as a smaller story spiraled into one involving a pharmaceutical company, and a health minister, which eventually brought the whole government down, with the prime minister resigning. The lynchpin of the investigation is director Alexander Nanau(Toto and His Sisters), who stated investigating soon after the fire, and served as his own cameraman and an editor on this film, as well. It is nominated at this year’s Academy Awards for the Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film, a first for a Romanian film. It’s a hard hitting shocker of a film, that plays like a thriller, though the breadth of the corruption present can make it hard to watch. But the same corruption, and journalists fight to uncover the truth, is the reason to watch. Jay Weissberg of Variety wrote “every now and then a documentary doesn’t just open your eyes but tears you apart by exposing a moral rift with resonance far beyond the film’s home country.” And it gets a stunning 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.3/10 on IMDb. I’m definitely tuning in. Hulu also offers Genius: Aretha, the new season of Genius docudrama series on National Geographic Channel. Here, Cynthia Erivo plays the adult Aretha, fighting racism and sexism to become a star, while dealing with hardships at home, while Shaian Jordan plays the child Aretha, enduring great difficulty herself, in mostly black and white flashbacks. And the great Courtney B. Vance plays her amazing and sometimes overpowering father, Rev. C.L. Franklin. Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones ,Malcolm Barrett, Stacey Sargeant and Marquee Richardson also star, and this series was created by Suzan-Lori Parks(The United States vs. Billie Holiday). And no, Erivo isn’t quite as good as Franklin(who is?), but she approximates her sounds very well, and has a wonderful set of pipes herself, having won an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy for her work on Broadway in The Color Purple. There are 8 episodes to enjoy now and the series gets an amazing 8.3/10 on IMDb. It’s a little uneven, but the cast is incredible and makes the show great. Kristin Lopez of Indiewire says “Genius: Aretha is a complex tale, messily told. Erivo is captivating.” It’s on my list. Also new on Hulu is Hunter Hunter, a 2020 horror thriller. Devon Sawa stars as the rather domineering Joseph Mersault, a trapper who insists on a spare and independent subsistence for his wife Anne (Camille Sullivan), and daughter Renée (Summer H. Howell), in a remote cabin in the wilderness. But when their traps are being hunted by what they think is a wolf, they are slowly awakened to the fact there is something far more sinister is lurking outside their cabin. Nick Stahl, Lauren Cochrane, Jade Michael and Gabriel Daniels also star, while Shawn Linden directed. And it gets a 94%(!) on Rotten Tomatoes. Christy Lemire of Filmweek wrote “it’s a very spare slow-burn, and [writer-director] Sean Lindon achieves a lot here… I was impressed by this little movie.” But it’s way too scary for me. And, finally, Hulu has added Tracks, a 2018 British romcom. April Pearson and Chris Willoughby star as Lucy and Chris, respectively, a couple who embark on a European rail trip, hoping to save their troubled relationship, which, of course, turns out to be very naïve. And as things go wrong, and chaos ensues, they wonder if their relationship will survive the trip. Skye Lourie, Lily Donovan, Richard D. Myers, Ramzi DeHani and Carli Sandweiss also star and Jamie Patterson(Justine) directed. And it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. Circle of Cinema called it “an uproarious backpack through Europe.” Because we all need a laugh.
One big add on Netflix this week is The Irregulars, a 2021 British supernatural mystery series. This takes place in Victorian London, when a baby snatchings beset the city, and Doctor Watson(Royce Pierreson) calls in a group of street urchins, the Irregulars, to help solve the crimes. Sisters Bea (Thaddea Graham) and Jessie (Darci Shaw) are called in because of Jessie’s eerie ability to see things(ghosts?) and friends Billy (Jojo Macari) and Spike (McKell David) come along to help. But things get even worse when demonic murders start to occur, and chaos looms for the city. Henry Lloyd Hughes stars as a weird Sherlock Holmes, and McKell David, Harrison Osterfield and Clarke Peters also star. There are 8 episodes to binge on now, and this series is created by Tom Bidwell(EastEnders, Watership Down). And it gets a respectable 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Brian Lowry of CNN writing “[it] proves unexpectedly fun, in what amounts to a Victorian version of “The X-Files,” revising the most familiar characters while introducing a major dose of the supernatural to Baker Street.” I’m watching. Netflix has also added Who Killed Sara?, a 2021 Mexican thriller series. Manolo Cardona stars as Alex Guzmán , a troubled man who took the fall for his sister Sara‘s(played by Ximena Lamadrid) murder, bent on finding the real murderer after his release. But the rich Lazcano family he blames is rife with suspects, from Rodolfo Lazcano(Alejandro Nones) to José María(Polo Morín), and Ginés García Millán, Eugenio Siller, Luis Roberto Guzmán, Carolina Miranda, Claudia Ramírez and Andrés Baida also play suspicious characters to be considered. Thee are 10 episodes to enjoy now, and the show gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb. Ready Steady Cut calls it “a compelling, revenge-thirsty murder mystery,” and it’s trending #1 on Netflix today. I’m tuning in. Another great add on Netflix is Seaspiracy, the 2021 nature doc. Here, director Ali Tabrizi(Cowspiracy) leads us through the terrible impact we humans have on our oceans, from pollution and plastic debris to the more hidden and surprising impacts of fishing on our oceans. From salmon farms in Scotland to shark fin markets in China, it’s horrifying information, the collection of which actually garnered some threats on Tabrizi‘s life. And he uses handheld or spy cameras to give us a fly-on-the-wall view of what’s really going on. And this stunning movie gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.6/10 on IMDb. Greg Wheeler of the Review Geek says “it’s a damning and illuminating documentary that lifts the shiny veil clinging to our oceans to expose a rotten and corrupt core.” I’m definitely watching. Netflix also has Navillera, a 2021 South Korean drama series. Park In–hwan stars as Deok-chul, a man who thinks at 70 his long time dream of ballet dancing is out of reach, until he spies Chae-rok (Song Kang) dancing in a studio late at night, and realizes he may still get in on the game. Because Chae-rok is talented, but lacks focus, and is plagued by depression after the death of his mother, and with his father in prison. Together, they realize a friendship that can offer support and enrichment to both of them. Kim Tae-hoon, Na Moon-hee, Hong Seung-hee, Yoon Ji-hye and Cho Seongha also star, and there are 2 episodes currently available, with a new one added each week. And this uplifting show gets an incredible 8.9/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix offers Pagglait, a 2020 Hindi comedy/drama. Sanya Malhotra stars as Sandhya, a woman newly married whose husband Astik dies suddenly and leaves Sandhya seemingly unmoved, only hungry, much to the consternation of her family. And as they endure the 13 days of grieving together, things become even more confused when Sandhya inherits 5 million rupees from her husband unknown life insurance policy. Ashutosh Rana, Raghubir Yadav, Sheeba Chaddha, Sayani Gupta, Shruti Sharma, Rajesh Tailang and Sharib Hashmi also, with Umesh Bist directing. And this charming movie gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. I’m watching.
Amazon has a couple of new adds this week, the first being The Vineyard(La Templanza), a 2020 Spanish language historical drama series. Based on the novel of the same name by María Dueñas, this tells the story of Soledad Montalvo (Leonor Watling), a married vineyard owner and Mauro Larrea (Rafael Novoa), a silver miner, who each face financial ruin and meet in the 1860’s. Nathaniel Parker, Carla Compra, César Mateo, David Caro Levy, Juana Acosto and Candela Cruz also star, and there are 10 episodes available to splurge on now. But do avoid the bad dubbing; the subtitles give you a better understanding of the story, as well. And this series gets an impressive 7.3/10 on IMDb. And I love period dramas. I’m tuning in. Amazon has also added Into the Labryinth, an Italian 2020 thriller staring Dustin Hoffman(!). Hoffman stars here as Dr Green, trying to help kidnapping victim Samantha(Valentina Bellè), recovered 15 years after being abducted by someone dressed as a rabbit, but with no memory of who she is, only her eternal struggle to escape the labyrinths her kidnapper, posed for her, in a hope to finally be freed. Toni Servillo as P.I. Bruno Genko, and Vinicio Marchioni, Katsiaryna Shulha, Riccardo Cicogna and Luis Gnecco also star, and Donato Carrisi(Girl in the Fog) directed. And it gets a 5.6/10 on IMDb. Leo Vignoli of Der Zweifel said “I therefore strongly recommend not to miss this Kafkaesque psychological horror that makes use of a cast with an international breath and in which the peculiarity lies in the fact that unlike other thrillers in the latter the culprit will be found in the mind of a person.” I’m watching. And, finally, offers Mamon, a 2015 Norwegian HBO Europe thriller. Jon Øigarden stars as journalist Peter Verås, who, upon looking into a scandal within the Norwegian financial world, publishes the story, not knowing the terrible impact it will have on his brother Vibeke Haglund (Lena Kristin Ellingsen), and other of his associates. Matej Hádek, Eva Leimbergerová, Gabriela Mícová, Nils Ole Oftebro and Anne Bache-Wiig also star, and there are 6 episodes to enjoy now. This is another of Amazon’s limited availability series, that goes back to HBO Max, at the end of March or April, I’m not quite sure which. But do fit it in, as it gets an outstanding 7.4/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!