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 good adds this week, so let’s get started!
The biggest add on Hulu this week may be Shadow in the Cloud, the 2020 horror thriller movie. Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Captain Maude Garrett, here, a female Flight Officer assigned to accompany some top secret papers on a bomber christened the Fool’s Errand, in 1943. But what she finds on the plane during the flight is a lot more dangerous and fiendish than any enemy plane, and the all-male crew, played in part by Taylor John Smith and Beulah Koale, come to appreciate her courageous presence more than they expected. Nick Robinson, Callan Mulvey, Benedict Wall, Joe Witkowski and Byron Coll also star, while Roseanne Liang(My Wedding and Other Secrets) directed. And, no this isn’t cerebral stuff, but more of a good B movie. And it gets a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Sara Michelle Fetters of MovieFreak.com calling it “a surprisingly enjoyable flight of monstrous fancy that helped me start the year off with a happy smile.” I’m definitely watching. But Hulu also has Little Fish, a 2021 sci-fi romance. Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell star as Emma and Jude, respectively, a married couple living in a near-future Seattle beset by a pandemic, but no, not Covid-19, but something far worse, NIA or Neuroinflammatory Affliction, causing victims to lose their memory, either in stages or all at once. So pilots can forget how to fly in midair, or doctors in surgery. When Jude contracts the disease, the couple does everything to compensate, from labelling everything to recounting their past together. And when a skull puncture surgery may be a cure, they are confronted with a whole new danger. Soko and Raúl Castillo, Carmen Moore, David Lennon and Katerina Katelieva also star, and Chad Hartigan(This is Martin Bonner) directs. But this is a real tense film based on a short story by Aja Gabel and made long before our pandemic, with a real terror taking place around the world. And it gets an amazing 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Tim Cogshell of NPR Los Angeles says it’s “beautifully done with intimate cinematography… A lovely film.” It’s pretty scary, I may not make it all the way through, but I’m sure going to try. Hulu also offers Love Sarah, a 2020 British romance. Shannon Tarbet(Killing Eve!) stars as Clarissa, here, a young woman in London determined to open a bakery in Notting Hill, in an effort to make the dream of her late mother Sarah(Candice Brown) come true. She is aided and coached by her aunt Isabella((Shelley Conn) and her grandmother Mimi (Celia Imrie!), and their need for a prize baker sends them to Michelin-starred chef Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones). Bill Paterson, Max Parker and Andrew David also star, and Eliza Schroeder directs. And it gets a tepid 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Claudia Puig of Filmweek(NPR) calling it “a very slight movie. It’s likable and warm-hearted.” But it’s kind of corny for me, intended specifically for Mother’s Day. Watch if you want. And, finally, Hulu has The Legend of Baron To’a, a 2020 comedy drama. Uli Latukefu stars as Fritz, a Tonga man returning to his hometown in New Zealand, to sell the house where his uncle Otto lives(Nathaniel Lee), but when they find that the famed wrestling belt of his celebrated wrestling champion late father Baron To’a(John Tui), Otto insists on regaining it. So after a lifetime of trying to avoid wrestling and following in his father’s rough and tumble footsteps, Fritz has to make a choice. Jay Laga’aia, Shavaughn Ruakere, Fasitua Amosa, Duane Evans Jr. and Eds Eramiha also star, and Kiel McNaughton(Waru) directed. I love that this wonderfully quirky film shows how Tongans survive in a Western society, in an ultra fun way. And it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Cain Noble-Davies of Film Ink says it’s “like a bombastic graphic novel brought roaring to cinematic life, where every punch, beat and quotable piece of dialogue is a certified haymaker.” I’m definitely tuning in.
The big add on Netflix this week is Monster, the 2021 drama. Kelvin Harrison Jr. stars, here, as Steve, an honors student and budding film maker in NYC, who is suddenly wrongfully accused of being a lookout in a deadly stickup at a bodega. Jailed and charged with murder, he ties to survive and fight his way out of a system that assumes his guilt, rather than his innocence. Jeffrey Wright and Jennifer Hudson play his parents, and Tim Blake Nelson(!), Jennifer Ehle, Nyleek Moore, NAS and Jharrel Jerome also star, while Anthony Mandler directs. This film originally screened at Sundance in 2018, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, and is based on a 1999 YA novel by Walter Dean Myers. And it gets a 6/10 on IMDb. It’s on my list. Netflix also offers And Tomorrow the Entire World, a 2021 German drama. Mala Emde plays 20-year-old Luisa, a first-year law student who becomes more and more politically active, finally joining an antifa group, P31, to fight a Neo-Nazi group in Mannheim. But though P31 is a pacifist organization at first, as tensions rise, first fighting back and the outright violence is embraced, and Luisa and other members become disillusioned and troubled with their actions. Noah Saavedra, Luisa-Céline Gaffron, Tonio Schneider, Andreas Lust and Nadine Sauter also star, while Julia von Heinz(Hanna’s Journey) directs. This film was nominated for multiple awards last year, including the Golden Lion(!) in Venice, won the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2020, and Heinz won for Best Direction at the Bavarian Film Awards in 2021. And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Todd McCarthy of Deadline Hollywood Daily writing “the sheer energy and sense of mission in this breathlessly-paced, intimate drama will pull audiences right along with it.” I’m definitely watching. Also new on Netflix is In Our Mothers’ Gardens, a 2020 documentary. This film shows us the importance of Black maternal lineages in the African-American community, and especially with Black women themselves. We get wonderful interviews from different women like activist Tarana Burke, Professor Brittney Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, and even director Shantrelle P. Lewis herself, as they tell the stories of growing up with mothers and grandmothers that gave them strength and molded their character. It’s a wonderfully warm and inspiring look at how integral women are in the Black community, and in the world as a whole, too. And it gets an amazing 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Robert Daniels of RogerEbert.com writes it “ultimately offers a salute to the generationally important women who fought to give their families a more fruitful future.” I’m tuning in. Netflix also has Unrest, the 2017 doc. This tells the story of Jennifer Brea, a 28 year-old doctoral student at Harvard who was suddenly stricken with a fever and then exhausting pain and fatigue, then finds she has with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Told by doctors she was dehydrated, stressed or simply that it was all in her head, she got on her laptop and found a whole community of people with the same disorder, bedridden and miserable, and unaided by the conventional medical community. So she researched the autoimmune disease and finds that 85% of the sufferers are women. She also directed her film crew here, interviews fellow patients and researchers and specialists. And with the help of her husband, Omar Wasow, she investigates new options and treatments for ME/CFS, and discovers how to survive such a painful disease. And this amazing movie won numerous awards in 2017. including the Special Jury Prize for Best Doc Editing at Sundance, and Best Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival and the Illuminate Award at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival, and gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Katie Walsh of the L.A. Times said “it’s a film that’s remarkably intimate, deeply edifying and a stirring call to action.” I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Milestone, a 2020 Indian drama. Suvinder Vicky plays Ghalib, a man who has devoted his life to his truck driving job, so much so that his wife has left him, and his back is giving out. So when his company assigns a healthy young man, Paash(Lakshvir Saran), to train on his route, he gets worried. Daljeet Singh, Gurinder Makna, Gaurika Bhatt, Aamir Aziz and Akhilesh Kumar also star, while Ivan Ayr directed. This premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it vied for the Horizons Award, and went on to win the Silver Screen Award at the Singapore International Film Festival. And it gets an astounding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.7/10 on IMDb, with Anupama Chopra of the Hindustani Times calling it “is a haunting, meditative lament for a world that has stopped listening.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has added The Boy From Medellín, an 2021 Amazon doc. Director Matthew Heineman (A Private War, Cartel Land) gives us a look at J Balvin, Columbian superstar singer, and the dilemma he faces, as someone who doesn’t want to become political, faced with the massive political unrest in his country and demand for him to finally speak up. This features his return to Medellin for his first solo concert there, in 2019, coinciding with huge protests there against President Iván Duque, and uproar over the killing of an 18 year-old boy by a police projectile. It’s a good look at the price a celebrity must pay for their standing, and whether it is always possible. And this film gets a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Beatrice Loayza of the New York Times writing “Heineman delivers a relatively sophisticated form of celebrity publicity in this film, armed with stunning concert footage but unoriginal insights into the burdens of modern fame, like the difficulty of balancing the expectations of fans with personal desires.” It’s on my list. Unfortunately, Amazon‘s only other add this week is Breach, a 2020 sci-fi film. Here is another plague-ridden earth, where an ship called the Ark(original) leaves with 300,000 survivors, seeking to survive on a New Earth. Noah (Cody Kearsley) stows away, with his pregnant girlfriend Hayley (Kassandra Clementi) a passenger, mentored by a janitor Clay, played by Bruce Willis. But, of course, the Ark is attacked by a parasitic type of shape-shifting aliens, and so, of course, the janitor and kid come to the rescue. Rachel Nichols, Thomas Jane, Johnny Messner and Corey Large also star, while John Suits directed. But this is another super-violent and cheesy rip-off of Alien, with bad writing and acting to boot. It gets a mere 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Tim Cogshell of Filmweek writes “it all more or less takes place in a high school basement or something, I think [that’s where] they shot this thing after painting the walls gray. Bruce Willis walks through, does that thing he does, and the movie’s over.” Don’t bother. And finally, Amazon has added Another Mother’s Son, a 2019 British wartime drama. This tells the tale, based on a true story, of Louisa Gould living on Jersey Island during the German occupation of the Channel Islands in WWII, who takes in an escaped young Russian war prisoner, Feodor “Bill” Burriy, played by Julian Kostov, and hides him from the occupying forces, with the help of her sister, Ivy Forster(Amanda Abbington) and brother Harold(Ronan Keating). John Hannah, Brenock O’Connor, Peter Wight, Susan Hampshire(!) and Félicité Du Jeu also star, and Christopher Menaul directed. And though it gets only a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb, and Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian said “at first, there is a bit of a familiar taste to this true-life wartime tale. But it becomes something tougher.” And I love a historical drama. I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!