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 out there this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some great add this week, like Night of the Kings, a 2021 modern fantasy/drama from the Ivory Coast. This takes place in the MACA, a prison deep in the forest, and run by the dying inmate Blackbeard(Steve Tientcheu), and when an unnamed inmate, played by Bakary Koné, arrives, he doesn’t realize that his life depends on pleasing Blackbeard with a tale that must last through the setting of the Red Moon. a magical time at the prison, especially when Blackbeard is looking for a successor. So the young man tells a spellbinding tale of the last Zama king and his queen, played by Laetitia Ky. And so it’s a modern play on the Arabian Nights, with a Scheherazade having to save his or her life by telling a good tale, but also a tale of a titanic Shakespearean fight for power. Abdoul Karim Konaté, Jean Cyrille Digbeu, Issaka Sawadogo, Denis Lavant and Gbazi Yves Landry also star, while Philippe Lacôte(Run) directs. This film won numerous awards last season, including Best Foreign Film at the African-American Film Critics Association, Outstanding International Motion Picture at the Image Awards, and 2 at the Chicago International Film Festival, including a well-deserved Best Cinematography for cinematographer Tobie Marier-Robitaille. And this film gets an amazing 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News calling it “a transcendent love song to the magnificence of storytelling – how words can create a legend and also soothe, heal and, in some cases, save lives.” I’m definitely watching. Hulu has also added Rams, an Australian comedy/drama. Sam Neill and Michael Caton star as two sheep farmers, Colin and Les, estranged brothers constantly at each other’s throats, despite living side by side, who are suddenly faced with the catastrophe of a lethal illness confronting their flocks. The whole valley is threatened by the disease and it’s repercussions and the question becomes one of whether the brothers can work together to save their sheep. Miranda Richardson, Wayne Blair, Kipan Rothbury, Travis McMahon, Hayley McElhinney and Asher Keddie also star, with Jeremy Sims(Last Cab to Darwin) directing. This is a remake of the 2016 Icelandic film of the same name by Grímur Hákonarson, and it gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh of the Metro Newspaper (UK) said “watching Neill coo ‘you are beautiful, no, you are beautiful’ to his flock is entertainment factor alone but this is an unexpectedly lovely little film.” I’m tuning in. Also new of Hulu is Changing the Game, a 2021 Hulu documentary. This tells the tale of three kids who happen to be transgender, trying to compete in high school sports in 3 different states in the union, with hardship confronting them at every turn. Mack, who was the wrestling champ of Texas as a girl, was not allowed to compete as a boy and skier Sarah Rose Huckman, in New Hampshire, tells how she must have surgery to qualify in her state as trans. But the hardest clips to watch are definitely the bullying and intimidation that students like runner Andraya Yearwood in Connecticut faces with every race, and Mack saying he’s “definitely been bullied by more adults than kids.” The prejudice these children often face is shameful and upsetting, but director Michael Barnett intersperses that with inspiring competition footage and intimate interviews. And it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Jude Dry of Indiewire saying it “goes beyond those dehumanizing headlines to show the real people affected by harmful anti-trans policies or lack of any meaningful legal protection.” I agree. It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added The Good, the Bad and the Weird, the 2008 South Korean western comedy. In 1939 Manchuria, just before the beginning of WWII, three men-Park Do-won, The Good (Jung Woo-sung),Park Chang-yi, The Bad (Lee Byung-hun) and (my favorite) Yoon Tae-goo, The Weird (Song Kang-ho)– go in search of an ancient treasure map, and end up being pursued by everyone from a group of Manchurian bandits to the Imperial Japanese Army. Yoon Je-moon, Ryu Seung-soo, Song Yeong-chang, Ma Dong-seok and Uhm Ji-won also star, and Kim Jee-woon(I Saw the Devil) directed. This premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and went on to win numerous awards, including Best Director for Kim Jee-woon at the Blue Dragon Awards and the Director’s Cut Awards, and Best Supporting Actor for Jung Woo-sung at the Asian Film Awards. And it gets an amazing 7.3/10 on IMDb. Andrea Gronvall of the Chicago Reader wrote “with a nod and a wink to Sergio Leone, South Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-woon delivers a slam-bang western set in Manchuria after the Japanese invasion in 1931.” I’m definitely tuning in.
The biggest add on Netflix this weekend has to be Sweet Tooth, a 2021 fantasy series. Based on the comic book of the same name by Jeff Lemire, this features the story of Gus (Christian Convery), a boy who is a hybrid deer boy, one of the group of hybrid children, born during the Great Crumble, when society collapsed into rampant violence and disease. But the children, though prized by some, like the loner who raised him, Pubba(Will Forte), are feared and hunted by many, and so they live in seclusion, fearful of all humans. Nonso Anozie plays the loner who befriends him, and Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen, Dania Ramirez and Aliza Vellani also star, and James Brolin is the narrator! There ae 8 episodes now available for streaming, and this series has gotten great reviews. It gets an incredible 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.2/10 on IMDb. Wenlei Ma of News.com.au says “it’s a gentle, delightful series that has a vein of tragedy running through it but it’s not overwhelmingly dark.” I’m watching. Netflix also offers The Girl and the Gun, a 2019 Filipino thriller. Janine Gutierrez plays the unnamed girl here, a sale person mistreated by many in the patriarchal world of Quezon City, raped at work, who finds a gun, and wonders if she should use it to avenge herself. JC Santos, Elijah Canlas, Ruby Ruiz, Sky Teotico and Archi Adams also star, and Rae Red directs. and this film won multiple awards in 2019, including Best Picture at the FAMAS Awards, and Best Director at both the Gawad Urian Awards and the QCinema International Film Festival. And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb, and High on Films called it “raw, honest, itchy, and direct.” It’s on my list. Also new on Netflix is Human: The World Within, a 2021 PBS documentary series. This takes a tour of the human body through 6 episodes, each telling of a different system of the body, like the nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems. We learn that the stomach produced 95% of the serotonin made in the body, and with intimate personal stories, like that of a man with a bionic(!) hand and of a doctor who survived Ebola. And each episode is replete with wonderful special effects, with each episode hosted by Jad Abumrad, cofounder and cohost of Radiolab(!). And this series gets an incredible 7.2/10 on IMDb. I’m tuning in. Netflix has also added A Private War, a 2018 biopic. Rosamund Pike stars as the celebrated Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin, who travelled all over the world, who, after losing an eye in Sri Lanka, went on to report in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. And, as she suffered from PTSD and anxiety, she became addicted to alcohol and overindulges in other things like sex, as well. Jamie Dornan, Tom Hollander, Stanley Tucci(!) and Jérémie Laheurte also star, and Matthew Heineman(City of Ghosts) directed. And though it’s not a perfect movie, Pike turns in a wonderful performance, and I love a female war correspondent finally getting some coverage. And it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Matthew Norman of the London Evening Standard wrote “at a time when pressured media budgets are conspiring, with the general preference for escapism over reality, to threaten war reporting’s very existence, A Private War unflinchingly reminds us of its value.” I’m watching. And, finally, saving the best for last, Netflix has added Kitty Love: An Homage to Cats, a 2021 Dutch cat documentary, directed by Mark Verkerk. Here, Abatutu, the most famous cat in the Netherlands, gives us a delightful look at cat life, with Nicolette Kluijver giving the human translations. Abatutu shares of his own insights on being acting, and how to abide life with humans, like children. He even lets us in on how cats feel about music and his own battle with weight gain. And since he runs a cat talent agency, we get plenty of videos of other cats(and dogs) and their crazy antics. It is so much fun, and a required prescription for any Covid blues that might still be dogging(!) you. And it gest a 6.1/10 on IMDb. LeisureByte calls it “funny, enlightening and cute with home videos of these funny fur balls being their absolute best and mischievous selves.” I’m watching.. twice.
Amazon has some good adds this week, like Borat’s American Lockdown & Debunking Borat, a 2021 series from Sacha Baron Cohen. This is a documentary series that goes behind the scenes with disgraced journalist Borat Sagdivev, as he meets with several different conspiracy theorists who, in the first episode, believe Covid–19 is a hoax. In ensuing episodes, we hear from conspiracists who incredibly claim a microchip to be in Covid vaccines, ballot hoaxes and worst of all, the anti-semitic hatred of George Soros. Thee are 7 outrageous episodes available now, and the series gets a 5.4/10 on IMDb that’s sure to go up. Lael Loewenstein of Filmweek calls it “brilliant satire,” and I’m tuning in. Amazon has also added DOM, the Brazilian drug crime series. when Pedro(Gabriel Leone), or Dom, becomes involved in drugs in Rio, he becomes a wanted criminal and his father, Victor(Flávio Tolezani), is moved to stop him. Filipe Bragança, Raquel Villar, Marianna Cerrone, Digão Ribeiro, Laila Garin and Isabella Santoni also star, and there are 8 episodes now available for binging. And though this is too crime-ridden for me, it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb, so someone must like it. But be sure to turn on subtitles if you want to truly enjoy it, because the dubbing is awful. And, finally, Amazon has added Season 1 of Work in Progress, the Showtime comedy series. Abby McEnany stars as a semi- version of herself, here, 45 and living in Chicago with depression and OCD, and trying to survive as a gay, overweight woman in a straight, skinny world. Karin Anglin, Celeste Pechous, Julia Sweeney(!), Theo Germaine and Echaka Agba also star, and there are 8 episodes now available. And this charming series gets an outstanding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 7.3/10 on IMDb. Lucy Mangan of the Guardian says its “an altogether warm, wonderful, brave, hilarious show that skimps neither on the comedy nor on the pressing of points of acute and chronic pain.” I’m tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!