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!
The most exciting add on Hulu this week has to be Supernova, the 2020 romantic drama. Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci star as long time partners Sam and Tusker, touring England’s Lake District in their old camper, ostensibly visiting family and friends. But Tusker, a writer, has early onset dementia, which is worsening, and it looms over the pair, especially Sam, as they try to cling to their old life, and selves. And when Sam finds out that Tusker intentionally left behind his medication, the tension worsens. Pippa Haywood plays LIly, Sam’s sister, and Peter MacQueen, Nina Marlin, Ian Drysdale, Sarah Woodward and Lori Campbell also star, while Harry Macqueen directs. This movie was nominated for numerous awards last year, and won at the Heartland Film Awards, and the Movies for Grownups Awards. And it gets an amazing 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with David Stratton of The Australian writing, “Macqueen was fortunate to have two really fine actors to play these all-too-human characters. Firth as the introverted, quietly determined Sam has probably never been better, while Tucci also gives a career-best performance…” But bring the kleenex. Hulu has also added Wander Darkly, a 2020 thriller. Sienna Miller and Diego Luna star as a young couple, Adrienne and Matteo, fighting on a drive home after sleepless nights with their baby, when the car crashes and Adrienne is near death. And her spirit wanders as her body fights for life, with the scenes getting more and more surreal, and Matteo struggling to get her to waken. Vanessa Bayer, Beth Grant, Aimee Carrero, Ayden Mayeri and Tony Kittles also star, with Tara Miele(Thinspiration) directing. And while it seems a little melodramatic for me, Sienna Miller has gotten widespread accolades for her portrayal here. And it gets a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Cath Clarke of the Guardian saying “Miller is at the heart of the film; her natural and believable performance touches so many emotions, and makes them all look so real.” You decide. Also new on Hulu is Mosquita y Mari, a 2012 romantic drama. Here, Fenessa Pineda stars as Yolanda(Mosquita) an A-student and high school sophomore in South L.A., who meets and befriends illegal immigrant and “bad girl” Mari, played by Venecia Troncoso. They become fast friends, spending all their time together, and eventually falling in love, to the dismay of Mosquita‘s parents, played by Laura Patalano and Joaquin Garrido. Dulce Maria Solis, Tonita Castro, Armando Cosio, Omar Leyva and Marisela Oscanga also star, while Aurora Guerero directed. This premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Audience Award. And it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Stephen Holden of the New York Times called it “an unassuming indie jewel, resists all of the clichés that its story of the fraught friendship between two 15-year-old girls invites.” I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added the 2016 South Korean horror film The Wailing. Kwak Do-won stars, here, as Jong-goo, a rather oafish police officer in the small town of Gokseong, beset by murders and a strange illness that all seem to have begun when a Japanese stranger, played by Jun Kunimura. And when Jong-goo’s daughter Hyo-jin(Kim Hwan-hee) becomes ill, he becomes frantic to find a solution. And the village panics. Chun Woo-hee, Her Jin, Jang So-yeon, Hwang Jung-min, Son Gang-guk and Kil Chang-gyoo also star, while Na Hong-jin(The Chaser) directed. This won multiple awards in 2016, including 5 awards at the 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards, and 5 Grand Bell Awards, as well. And it gets a stunning 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.4/10 on IMDb. Vox called The Wailing “the most unsettling Korean horror film in years,” and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas of The Blue Lenses said [its] “a world where histories, identities, cultures, realities and generic codes and conventions collapse in spectacular, unforgettable style.” But it’s too scary for me.
The biggest name movie added to Netflix this week must be Army of the Dead, the 2021 zombie movie. Here, a zombie apocalypse has hit the country yet again, leaving Las Vegas walled off and isolated from the rest of the world, with Scott Ward, played by Dave Bautista, a former zombie hunter extraordinaire left flipping burgers at a greasy spoon on the outskirts of town. So when he’s offers 50 million dollars to regain 200 mil from a safe in the zombie area by a casino boss(Hiroyuki Sanada), he gets his former team together to pull the job. Tig Notaro(!), Huma Pasreshi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera and Omari Hardwick also star, while Zack Snyder(The 300, Justice League) directs. But this is really thin on story and huge on budget, and doesn’t nearly match up to George Romero‘s zombie movies. That said, it’s mindless entertainment must be good enough for some, as it gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. Stephanie Zacharek of Time Mag writes “The Army of the Dead is too scattershot, perhaps too derivative and definitely too long. But it’s definitely a movie, as well as a perfectly acceptable turn-your-brain-off entertainment.” You decide. I’d rather watch Ferry, a 2020 Belgian drama. This tells the tale of the mobster Ferry, played by Frank Lammers, enforcer for Amsterdam mob boss Brink(Huub Stapel), and featured character in Netflix‘ Undercover, a crime drama. So we get the back story of Ferry here, starting with his childhood in a trailer park with an alcoholic parent, and a rise to a violent adulthood. Monic Hendrickx, Raymond Thiry, Elise Schaap, Juliette van Ardenne and Huub Smit also star, with Cecilia Verheyden directing. And it gets a 7.2/10 on IMDb. But it’s highly recommended to watch at least some episodes of Undercover first. Netflix also offers Hating Peter Tatchell, a 2021 documentary. Tatchell is a lifelong civil rights activist, most known(and hated) for his efforts on the behalf of LGBTQ+ equality. Born in Australia, he has been most active in Britain, early outing several Church of England Bishops in the 1990s (at which he winces now), but even daring to go to Zimbabwe and Russia, where his life was definitely in jeopardy. Ian McKellen interviews him throughout this film, but does not give him a free pass, instead throwing in some tough questions along the way. There are testimonials by supporters and admirers like Stephen Fry and Angela Mason about the monumental gains Tatchell has won for gay rights, but also detractors like former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, who call him a ‘bully’. This is brought to us by producers Elton John and David Furnish, with Christopher Amos directing. It’s an amazing look at a hitherto unknown heroic figure who has withstood abuse and battery for the causes he believes in. And it gets an marvelous 8.4/10 on IMDb, with the Hollywood Reporter calling it “an absolutely gripping documentary that had me wrapped into the life of the charismatic Peter Tatchell and his commendable and important cause instantly. ” It’s on my list. Also new and notable on Netflix is Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, a 2021 PBS American Masters presentation. Directed by Robert Redford(!), this film gives us an intimate look into Tan‘s life, from a sometimes traumatic childhood and difficult relationship with her mother, to becoming a business writer of a best seller no one has heard of (Telecommunications and You). Her parents even had a Joy Luck Club, for investing, in her youth. There’s so much interesting and heretofore unseen look into this fascinating author’s life. And it gets a stunning 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.6/10 on IMDb. Jessica Kiang of Variety writes it “eventually works the same subtle spell that Tan long ago mastered in her fiction: the communication of a deeply personal history of pain and joy in a manner that is unassumingly and touchingly universal.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix has added Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi, a 2018 Indian drama. After beloved patriarch Ram Prasad(Naseeruddin Shah) dies, and in the taditional 13 days of mourning after his passing, his six children and their children descend on his Lucknow home, leading to argument and confrontation, while Amma ji(Supriya Pathak), grieving matriarch of the group wonders who these people are. Supriya Pathak, Manoj Pahwa, Vinay Pathak, Ninad Kamat, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Konkana Sen Sharma and Divya Jagdale also star, while Seema Pahwa directed. This film premiered at Mumbai Film Festival in Mumbai, and gets an wonderful 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.6/10 on IMDb. Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV said “Director Seema Pahwa‘s actors etch out characters that are so real and tangible that it is easy to be drawn even by their palpable flaws.” I’m definitely tuning in.
One of Amazon‘s only two additions this week is P!nk: All I Know So Far, a 2021 documentary look at Pink’s 2019 concert in Wembley Stadium,. But this isn’t the typical concert doc, but a rather unique look at how she strives to weave her family into her life on the road, especially her children. We follow Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour, and feast on behind the scenes footage, family videos and intimate interviews. It’s all directed by Michael Gracey, and gets a 65% on Rotten Tomatoes and an incredible 8.3/10 on IMDb. Kevin Maher of the Guardian writes it “functions as a maternal corrective to decades worth of macho, booze-sodden rock posturing.” And speaking as one who didn’t know Pink’s music, I was surprised how interested and moved I was by the material here. Give it a try. Amazon’s only other add is Solos, a 2021 sci-fi series. Here, we get 7 different looks at what it’s like to be human, often with futuristic settings and solo performances, like Helen Mirren(!) travelling through space, and seeing her life preceding the trip play before her. Or Anthony Mackie face his own mortality, while coming up with a replacement to care for his family. Or Morgan Freeman as a man supposedly battling dementia. All the brilliant actors, including Uzo Aduba, Anne Hathaway, Dan Morgan, Constance Wu and Nicole Beharie are reason enough to tune in to this show, if not the science fiction featured as well. And though it gets only a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, it has also earned accolades like Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun–Times saying “what transpires after [this series] is simultaneously brutal and beautiful…” And I love sci-fi. I’m tuning in. And, finally , Amazon had earlier added Karnan, a 2021 Tamil-Indian action drama. Dhanush plays the title character, Karnan, a seemingly ordinary, poor villager who must fight for the rights of the marginalized people of his town, who are oppressed by the dominant caste groups of the region. Lal, Rajisha Vijayan, Yogi Babu, Natarajan Subramaniam, Gouri Kishan and Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli also star, while Mari Selvaraj directs. And this visually breathtaking and moving film gets an impressive 8.4/10 on IMDb, and the Times of India calls it “a powerful tale of defiance against oppression.” I’m definitely watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!