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 interesting adds this week, so let’s get started!
The biggest add on Hulu this week has to be False Positive, a 2021 horror flick. Ilana Glazer(Broad City) stars as copywriter Lucia “Lucy” Martin, who finally decides to go to a fertility doctor Dr. Hindle(Pierce Brosnan), along with her husband Adrian(Justin Theroux), after two years spent unsuccessfully trying to conceive. But shortly after she conceives, she starts seeing unexplained and upsetting things, and as her pregnancy progresses, it only worsens. Gretchen Mol(!), Zainab Jah, Sophie Bush and Josh Hamilton also star, while John Lee directs, and Ilana Glazer cowrote the script for this effort, as well. Yes, this is basically a newer version of Rosemary’s Baby, but with a feminist twist, and a stronger female figure. Still, it gets only a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Tomris Laffly of RogerEbert.com says “it’s easy to forgive the deficiencies of False Positive, simply because it feels so oddly unique.” But it’s still too scary(and bloody) for me. But Hulu has also added Her Name Is Chef, a 2021 documentary. Here, director Peter Ferriero(The Price of Fame) introduces us to 6 up and coming female chefs, with special emphasis on the late and great chef Fatima Ali, fan favorite on Bravo’s Top Chef, who tragically died of bone cancer in 2019. Host and fellow chef Leia Gaccione tells Fatima’s story here, from her childhood in Pakistan, to managing some great restaurants in NYC, but also tells the stories of other female chefs Elizabeth Falkner, Hillary Sterling, Esther Choi, Juliet Masters and Caroline Schiff and the struggle every woman faces in a male dominated world. Portraying people who had to endure harassment in a macho world just to make themselves known, and succeed. And though it’s too early in this film’s release to get a rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is getting good early reviews, and if you love food, and the idea of more women being included in this industry, you’ll love it. Lael Loewenstein of Filmweek writes “it brings up a lot of questions about equality in gender and how women can make their way in this world, but it also is a touching and tragic tale of one woman being gone way too soon.” It’s definitely on my list. And if you want mystery(and who doesn’t), Hulu has added Gone, Girl, the 2014 blockbuster. Based on the wildly popular Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, Ben Affleck stars as writer Nick Dunne, who on his fifth anniversary announces his beloved wife Amy(Rosamund Pike!) has gone missing, And Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance, especially after her damning journal is found, where she constantly reiterates her fear of her husband. And this film has an incredible cast, with Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens and Sela Ward starring, and David Fincher(Mank!) directing. Gillian Flynn even wrote the screenplay! And this film was nominated for numerous awards in 2015, and Rosamund Pike went on to win Best Actress at the Empire Awards, UK, the Detroit Film Critics Society Awards, and the London Critics Circle Film Awards. And Gone, Girl gets an amazing 8.1/10 on IMDb, and an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said its “a nutty film, and for the most part I mean that in a good way.” I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added God’s Own Country, the 2017 British romantic drama. Josh O’Connor(The Durells!, The Crown) stars as Johnny, an unhappy young man stuck running the family sheep farm in Yorkshire, after his stern father(Ian Hart) has a stroke, lonely and engaging in casual sex with other men. Until he hires a Romanian migrant worker, Gheorghe(Alec Secăreanu), whose love for the land and farming inspires hope and romance in the forlorn young man. Gemma Jones(!), Melanie Kilburn, Liam Thomas, Patsy Ferran, Moey Hassan and Sarah White also star, and Francis Lee(Ammonite) directed. This premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it went on to win the World Cinema Directing Award, and it also won Best British Film and Best Newcomer for O’Connor at the Empire Awards, and Best British Independent Film, Best Actor(O’Connor, again) and Best Debut Screenwriter at the British Independent Film Awards. And it gets an incredible 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Cary Darling of the Austin Chronicle wrote “director/writer Francis Lee‘s electrifying feature debut is a working-class, fun-house mirror version of Call Me By Your Name‘s upper-class pretensions and is equally, if not more, rewarding because of it.” I’m tuning in.
The biggest new title on Netflix is The Ice Road, the 2021 Liam Neeson action pic. Neeson plays Mike McCann, an ice road trucker who is determined to bring in the repair equipment desperately required cap a methane explosion in a diamond mine in northern Canada, which has trapped miners. But, it’s late April, and the ice roads notoriously used(see the HIstory Channel’s Ice Road Truckers) are now melting, and not safe. No problem, McCann and his brave compadres will go where many few to tread. Of course. Laurence Fishburne(!), Marcus Thomas, Amber Midthunder, Benjamin Walker, Holt McCallany and Matt McCoy also star, while Jonathan Hensleigh directs. But what could have been an adequate thriller, devolves into fistfights and other violence. So, it gets only a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Brian Lowry of CNN writes “simply put, Neeson has been in a bit of a rut, one that Ice Road exemplifies almost literally, since at several points in the movie the challenge involves extricating big trucks from slushy situations.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m not watching. I’d rather watch Good on Paper. the 2021 comedy. Iliza Shlesinger stars as Andrea Singer, a stand-up comic who traditionally puts her career first, so when she bumps into a kind stranger on a plane, Dennis(Ryan Hansen), they stay friends at first. But romance blooms, quickly, though Andrea knows very little about him, and holes start to appear in his story, so best friend Margot (Margaret Cho!) becomes very suspicious. Rebecca Rittenhouse, Matt McGorry, Kimia Behpoornia, Taylor Hall and Britney Young also star, with Kim Gatewood directing. And, no, it doesn’t get great ratings yet, only a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I love the cast and the female forward story. Courtney Howard of Variety says “containing razor-sharp witticisms about feminine intuition, gendered sexual politics and relationships, it excels beyond its self-deprecating title.” I’m definitely tuning in. Netflix also offers the 2021 doc Sisters on Track. This follows three sisters, Tai, Rainn, and Brooke Sheppard, through their tweens and into their teens, when they hit the Junior Olympics. But their childhood included spending 2 years in a homeless shelter in NYC, with a determined Mom, Tonia Handy, who kept them fighting, and after Tyler Perry secured them an apartment, running toward their dreams. And this isn’t a smarmy tale, but realistic one, with the sisters fighting and finding each other annoying, but always appreciating the support they provide. Documentarians Corinne van der Borch and Tone Grottjord-Glenne bring us this exciting and inspiring story, and it gets an outstanding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Maddy Casale of the Decider calls it “a joyous, love-filled, and emotionally-rich movie,” and I’m watching. But Netflix also has Black Holes: the Edge of All We Know, a 2021 science documentary. This covers the important work two teams of physicists have been doing to resolve the mysteries of black holes, one led by Stephen Hawking, with some of the last footage of Hawking at work, prior to his death in 2018, and another led by Harvard University’s Shep Doeleman, with his team working on the amazing Event Horizon Telescope(EHT), a virtual telescope creating images from input from 8 telescopes around the world that brought the world the amazing images of the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 ,and Sagittarius A* at the center of our own galaxy. It’s thrilling and mind-expanding material, all brought to us by director Peter Galison(Containment). And it gets an unbelievable 100$ on Rotten Tomatoes, with Tim Cogshell of Filmweek saying “I love this movie. It’s fantastic.” Me, too. I’m watching again. And, finally Netflix has added Ray, a 2021 Indian drama series. This is an anthology of 4 Satyajit Ray(filmmaker, essayist and writer) short stories, with psychological horror, satire and even comedy included. Episode 1 features Ipsit(Ali Fazal), a cutthroat entrepreneur who remembers everything, but suddenly meets a woman, Rhea(Anindita Bose), who claims a relationship he can’t recall, and his world crumbles. Episode 2 has a makeup artist Indrashish Shah(Kay Kay Menon) using his skills to exact revenge for past slights in his life, and episode 3 has a kleptomaniac singer Musafir Ali(Manoj Bajpayee) trying to make amends for a past theft, with no great success. And I’ll let you discover episode 4 for yourself. Gajraj Rao, Radhika Madan, Shweta Basu Prasad, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Akansha Ranjan Kapoor also star among the huge cast, and Srijit Mukherji, Vasan Bala, and Abhishek Chaubey directed the episodes. And this series get an incredible 8.1/10 on IMDb, and IGN India writes “a fantastic series that you will most likely binge as the storytelling and characters in each episode are incredible.” I’m tuning in.
The notable add on Amazon this week is the 7th and final season of Bosch, the police drama. Titus Welliver stars here as Los Angeles homicide detective Harry Bosch, from Michael Connolly‘s detective series, once again putting his badge on the line to catch a lethal firebomber that he suspects is a man under protection by the Feds. The formidable cast is one of the best recommendations, with Lance Reddick, Mimi Rogers, Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino, Madison Lintz and Reed Diamond included, and there are 8 episodes now streaming in this last hurrah. TV Insider calls it “police drama at Its best,” and the series gets a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.4/10 on IMDb. And you know I love a mystery. Amazon has also added September Mornings, a 2021 Brazilian drama series. This tells the story of Cassandra(Liniker), a trans woman recently liberated who is one day confronted by a woman, Leide (Karine Teles), who had a son Ari (Gero Camilo), after a one-night stand the pair had ten years ago. Cassandra is aghast, and rejects them at first, wanting to further her singing career and a secret relationship with Ivaldo (Thomas Aquino). Gustavo Coelho, Clebia Sousa, Cloddia Dias, Elisa Lucinda, Paulo Miklos and Isabela Ordoñez also star, and there are 5 episodes available for streaming now. And this amazing series gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Digital Trends calls it” a beautiful story about a woman trying to live a free and independent life and realizing that what truly makes her complete is not what she envisioned. ” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Amazon has Slavery By Another Name, a PBS history special, available only until July 1. This important program, based on the 2008 book by Douglas A. Blackmon of the same name, challenges the idea that Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery in the United States forever in 1863. Because sharecropping, i.e. farming land without actually owning it, and other violations to human dignity like peonage, or debt slavery, and industrial servitude, were not illegal in this country until 1951. Directed by Sam Pollard, and narrated by Laurence Fishburne, this moving and certainly upsetting film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. And it gets a 7.6/10(!) on IMDb, It’s so important for all Americans to see, and I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!