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!
Hulu has some interesting new adds this week, like Come True, a 2020 Canadian horror movie. Julia Sarah Stone plays 18-year-old Sarah, a suffering from cruelly recurring nightmares that disrupt her life, so when she see a flyer for a university study on sleep, she bites. But when she becomes involved, she has more questions than answers, as they won’t tell her exactly what the testing involves, only dressing her in a white suit and skullcap that shows images of her dreams. And as the study proceeds, it becomes clear Sarah has more to fear than just her bad dreams. Christopher Heatherington stars as the perhaps evil scientist in charge of the study, and Carlee Ryski, Landon Liboiron, Tedra Rogers and Skylar Radzion also star, with Anthony Scott Burns directing. This is an eerie, unsettling movie that’s been compared to David Cronenberg, so of course, I haven’t watched it. But it gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Anthony Lane of the New Yorker says ” [it] reaches out, even at its most implausible, and claws at you..” You decide. I’d rather watch Two of Us, a 2020 French romance. Barbara Sukowa and Martine Chevallier star as Nina and Madeleine, respectively, two lovers who have had a steadfast, but secret, relationship for years, as neighbors in their small French town, but Nina has never had never been able to tell her children and grandchildren(from an unhappy marriage) of her love, much to Madeleine’s chagrin. So when Madeleine(or Mado) has a stroke, and may not speak again, Nina struggles to get back into her life, with Mado‘s children blocking her way, and Mado herself not necessarily aware of what they once had. Léa Drucker, Jérôme Varanfrain, Muriel Benazeraf, Hervé Sogne and Stéphane Robles also star, with Filippo Meneghetti directing in his feature film debut. This is amazing and surprisingly tense movie has won multiple awards including Best First Film at the 2021 César Awards, Best Actress for Barbara Sukowa at the Dublin International Film Festival and the Spotlight Award for cinematographer Aurélien Marra at the American Society of Cinematographers. Oh, and it was France‘s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. And it gets a stunning 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Anne T. Donahue of the Globe and Mail wrote “as visually stunning as it is profound, Two of Us is an incredible exploration of what it means to love and be loved in return.” I’m tuning in. Hulu has also added Trust, a 2021 romantic drama. Victoria Justice stars as Brooke, and Matthew Daddario as Owen, a married couple already torn by different desires and goals, who are finally tempted from fidelity and monogamy by tantalizing new acquaintances. Lucien Laviscount plays the erotic artist Ansgar Doyle, vying for Brooke‘s attention, and Katherine McNamara, Ronny Chieng and Lindsey Broad also star, while Brian DeCubellis directs. This is based on Kristen Lazarian‘s play Push. But it’s too soapy and vapid for me, with impossibly beautiful people living unrecognizable lives. And it gets a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. John Serba of the Decider calls it “empty, offering no insight into the human fallibilities of temptation and infidelity.” Don’t bother. And, finally, Hulu offers Machines, a 2016 Indian documentary. Here, director Rahul Jain gives us an intimate and painful look at the typical, grueling 12-hour workday in a textile factory in Gujarat, with low paid workers toiling in unhealthy and sometimes dangerous situations to turn out the beautiful fabrics. Furnaces belch, huge vats of dye loom large and heat pervades the gloomy factory, but the most shocking views are of the many children who work endless hours on site. Efforts to unionize haven’t been successful, with the factory owner claiming workers would become ‘relaxed,’ apparently a bad thing, if they were paid more. It’s an appalling look at all too common labor conditions in India, and elsewhere, that won numerous awards in 2017, like the Silver Gateway of India at the Mumbai Film Festival, the Golden Eye Award at the Zurich Film Festival and the Cinematography Award for cinematographer Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva at the Sundance Film Festival. And it gets an amazing 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Aaron Hillis of the Village Voice called it “both uncompromising and unforgettable.” I’m watching.
The most exciting add on Netflix this week is Awake, a 2021 sci-fi movie. Gina Rodriguez(Jane the Virgin!) stars as Jill Adams, an ex-army medic recovering from addiction, who must save her children and herself from the unrelenting chaos that ensues after a global event(?) knocks out all the electronics and makes it impossible for humans to sleep. And when people discover that Jill‘s daughter Matilda(Ariana Greenblatt) can sleep, she attracts far too much interest. Jennifer Jason Leigh(!) stars as Dr. Murphy, sleep specialist, and Frances Fisher(!),Lucius Hoyos, Shamier Anderson, Elias Edraki and Finn Jones also star, while Mark Raso(Copenhagen) directs. And, yes, it’s kind of silly- it gets only a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes. But Monica Castillo of RogerEbert.com says it “has just enough scares and strangeness, plus a sense of dread and paranoia, to make its horror creepy and enjoyable.” And I love sci-fi! I’m tuning in. But Netflix also offers Tragic Jungle, a 2020 period piece. This tells the tale of a beautiful Belizean woman, Agnes, played by Indira Rubie Andrewin, who escapes into the rain forest from an arranged marriage to an older white British landowner(Dale Carley) in the1920‘s. But though she is first helped by gum workers in the forest and protected by their leader, Ausencio (Gilberto Barraza), they too threaten her, and so she absorbs the spirit of Mayan legend of Xtabay, a siren-like creature who lures men to their death. Mariano Tun Xool, Shantai Obispo, Gabino Rodríguez, Cornelius McLaren and Eligio Meléndez also star, and Yulene Olaizola directed. This won some impressive awards in 2020, including the Sorriso Diverso Venezia Award for Best Film in a Foreign Language at the Venice Film Festival and the Free Spirit Award at the Warsaw International Film Festival. And it gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Jessica Kiang of Variety writing it “is a quietly captivating tale that feels cautionary and yet does not have an easily parsable moral, perhaps because the justice it serves is mapped to a timescale much longer than humanity’s.” I’m watching. But Netflix also has Skater Girl, a 2021 Indian drama. Rachel Saanchita Gupta stars as Prerna, a girl living in poverty in a Rajasthani village, and who, as a member of a lower caste, hasn’t many hopes in her world, relegated to cleaning and future marriage, until she meets Jessica(Amrit Maghera), a Londoner who introduces her to skateboarding. And through skateboarding, she finds freedom and the strength to question her seemingly preordained place in society. Waheeda Rehman, Anurag Arora, Jonathan Readwin, Kamlesh Gill and Swati Das also star, while Manjari Makijany directs. And this lovely piece gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com calls it “a great movie about skateboarding … it captures the iconoclastic freedom and rebellion skateboarding has so often represented.” Be sure to use subtitles though, as the dubbing is quite awful for this film. It’s definitely on my list. Also new on Netflix is Until Midnight, a 2019 Emirati thriller. Ahmed Khamis Ali plays Salem, newly married and returning home after a work trip, who after hearing strange noises and noticing cryptic clues, realizes he only has until midnight to save his wife and himself from a malevolent intruder. Hiba Hamoui stars as his wife Sarah, and Chuka Ekweogwu, Marwan Ahmed and Rik Aby also star, and Tariq Alkazim wrote the screenplay and directed, here. And it gets a 7.1/10(!) on IMDb. But maybe a bit too scary for me. And, finally, Netflix has Bo Burnham: Inside, the 2021 comedy special. Shot in Burnham‘s house, and covering his year, well, inside his house, this has the offbeat musical comic creating humor for us in unusual ways, like creating a light show with his headlamp, reflecting on his 30th(!) birthday, and my favorite, having his badly behaved sock puppet Socko tells us how the world works. It is funny, satiric, dark and yet very uplifting, too. And if you need an introduction to Bo Burnham, catch his earlier Netflix special Make Happy from 2016. And Inside gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.9/10(!) on IMDb. Brian Logan of the Guardian says “this claustrophobic masterpiece will leave you wondering – and reeling.” I’m definitely tuning in. It’s hilarious.
Amazon, too, has some good adds this week if you look hard enough. Adds like Joji, a 2021 Indian Malaysian language drama. Fahadh Faasil plays the title role, Joji, a young engineering dropout and youngest son of the abusive and wealthy landowner Kuttappan(PN Sunny), who dreams of wealth of his own. So when his father has a stroke and is incapacitated, family members dream of a quick exit, but Kuttappan regains strength and ability with surgery and continues to abuse Joji, so the young man comes up with a murderous plan. Baburaj, Unnimaya Prasad, Joji Mundakayam, Shammi Thilakan and Basil Joseph also star, while Dileesh Pothan directs. And it gets an amazing 7.9/10 on IMDb. It’s said to be based on Macbeth, but there are a number of Shakespearean themes represented here. Sajin Shrijith of The New Indian Express calls it “another brilliant, debate-worthy film about oppressed characters from the enviable imagination of Syam Pushkaran and director Dileesh Pothan. It’s the duo’s darkest film yet.” I’m watching. But be sure to opt for subtitles. Amazon has also added the 2020 version of Pinocchio, starring Roberto Begnini. Begnini plays Geppetto, the puppet maker who creates Pinocchio(Federico Ielapi), and delights in having a “son.” So we watch the puppet on his mischievous journey across Italy, meeting a mean puppeteer Mangiafuoco (Gigi Proietti), and various fairies and snails, grasshoppers, etc. Alida Baldari Calabria, Marine Vacth, Teco Celio and Maurizio Lombardi also star, and Matteo Garrone directs. But with at least 14 English language versions of Pincchio(including one starring Begnini himself in 2002), do we really need another, especially one so dark? So even though it gets a respectable 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, I won’t be watching. And we can all watch the 1940 Disney version, which gets 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a membership, here. And with Jiminy Cricket and When You Wish Upon a Star, I think it’s a much better choice. And, finally, Amazon has Timewasters, a 2017 British comedy series, available through their IMDB TV channel. This has 4 down and out members of a jazz quartet finding a time portal in the elevator of a rundown apartment building. It takes them back to 1920‘s London, but there’s a twist, these guys, Nick, Horace, Jason and Nick, and Nick‘s sister Lauren, are black, and post-WWI Britain is not too welcoming. Their first experience upon the elevator doors opening into the past, is a white woman seeing them and screaming, fleeing in terror. And, worse, they’re stuck. Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Samson Kayo,Adelayo Adedayo, Kadiff Kirwan and John Stoate also star, and there are 2 seasons available(the second has them stuck in the 1950‘s!). And it gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb, with Jessica Lancaster of The Hashtag Show writing it’s “fun, fresh, and easily bingeable.” I’m tuning in right now.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!