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!
Believe it or not, Hulu has only one new add this week, The Resort, a 2021 horror flick. Bianca Haase stars as Lex, a writer obsessed with the paranormal, so, of course, she and her (beautiful) friends go to a Hawaiian resort closed because of horrible unusual occurrences three years before. And they stay longer than they should, of course. Michael Vlamis, Michelle Randolph, Brock O’Hurn and Joaquin Veizaga also star, and Taylor Chien directs. And it’s 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is misleadingly high, it gets a mere 3.2/10 on IMDb. Leslie Felperin of the Guardian calls it an “inane horror movie is so ludicrously cliche-ridden one starts to wonder if it’s not some kind of sophisticated meta-joke being played on us. Don’t bother, because even though Hulu hasn’t got any other new adds this week, they do have some good foreign television shows I’ve haven’t mentioned yet, like False Flag(Kfulim), a 2016-18 Israeli television thriller series. Here, five seemingly normal Israeli citizens are implicated in a brutal brutal kidnapping of Farhead Sulimani, the Iranian minister of defense, finding their pictures plastered all over the media, and their lives forever changed, maybe even endangered. Ishai Golan stars as Ben Rephael, an Israeli chemist with Greek citizenship, who finds he can’t go to work after being named as a suspect, and Magi Azarzar stars as Natalie Alfassia, who also has dual citizenship(French), finds her wedding day canceled and her relationships forever altered. But are they as innocent as they seem? Ania Bukstein, Angel Bonanni and Orna Salinger play the other three suspects, and Mickey Leon, Yiftach Klein, Neta Riskin and Yousef Sweid also star, and there are 2 seasons now available, with a total of 18 episodes to enjoy now. And this series was nominated for Best Pilot series at the Camerimage Awards, and won the the Grand Prize at France‘s annual Series Mania Festival. And it gets an impressive 7.8/10 on IMDb, and Mike Hale of the New York Times said “with False Flag, Israel exports another fine thriller.” I’m watching. Hulu also offers Butterfly, a 2018 British miniseries. This tells the story of Max, played by Callum Booth-Fordan, an 11 year-old who was assigned male gender at birth, but identifies as female, causing confusion and chagrin for his parents. His father Stephen (Emmett J. Scanlan) left home years ago in frustration, but returns when Max, or Maxine, starts to self-harm, as his mother Vicky, (Anna Friel) tries to hold things together, and his older sister, Lily (Millie Gibson) lobbies for Maxine’s interests as no one else can. Alison Steadman, Lorraine Burroughs, Sean McGinley, Amy Huberman and Lola Ogunyemi also star. And This three-part series gets a wonderful 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Lucy Mangan of the Guardian called it “an important, truthful drama about a transgender child.” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Hulu has Midnight Sun, a 2016 Swedish-French police procedural series. Leïla Bekhti stars as Kahina Zadi, a Parisienne police lieutenant called to Kiruna, in the far north of Sweden, when a decapitated murder victim is found to be a French National. She joins Anders Harnesk(Gustaf Hammarsten), Luleå deputy police prosecutor, and together they investigate what turns out to be only the first in a series of ritualistic murders. Richard Ulfsäter, Jessica Grabowsky, Peter Stormare, Denis Lavant and Karolina Furberg also star, and there are 8 episodes to binge on now. This series won Best Director, Best Script and New TV Series at the Roma Fiction Fest, as well as other awards at Series Mania and C21‘s International Drama Awards in 2016. And it gest an amazing 7.5/10 on IMDb with Lauren Carroll Harris of the Guardian saying it was “engaging storytelling from the new wave of Scandi-noir.” And I love a mystery. I’m definitely tuning in.
The pickings are rather slim on Netflix, too, this week, but there are goodies like The Vault, a 2021 Spanish thriller movie. But this is an English language film(not Spanish), with Liam Cunningham(Game of Thrones!) starring as salvage expert Walter Moreland, who assembles some of the best and brightest to break into the Bank of Madrid(the most secure bank in the world?) to steal a golden treasure supposedly belonging to Francis Drake’s fleet, that the Spanish government appropriated from him. Those experts include Thom(Freddie Highmore), an engineering student, Lorraine (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), a pickpocket, and computer hacker Klaus(Axel Stein). And the theft is timed to go down during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But, of course, all does not go as planned. Jose Coronado, Luis Tosar, Emilio Gutiérrez-Caba, Daniel Holguín, and Famke Janssen(!)also star, while .Jaume Balaguero(REC). And, yes, it’s formulaic, with no surprises or unique twists, getting only a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. But Adam Graham of the Detroit News writes “the scene, the setting and the characters are all familiar, but The Vault moves nimbly and efficiently through the motions. Consider this bank job a score.” And like I said, the pickings are slim this week. I’m watching. Netflix also has Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean, a 2021 doc series. this 3-part series takes you beneath the façade of millionaire mogul and car designer John DeLorean, who made his name at General Motors, and became so famous in the 70‘s and 80′s. Seemingly determined to become a star, he went to Hollywood, married a model and lived the high life, all the while supposedly working on the hundreds of orders for his divinely styled(and eponymous) car Delorean, but all the while he was engaged in cons and fast money making schemes, where he inevitably lost money. And though his arrest in 1982 for cocaine was well known and reported, many of the facts covered here were unknown, due in part to ample testimony from his secretary(and his undoing) Marian Gibson, his wife, model Christine Ferrare and, most importantly, his son, Zachary DeLorean. It’s all directed by Mike Connolly(Elvis: The Rebirth of the King), and it gets a 7.2/10(!) on IMDb. Lucy Mangan of the Guardian says “the overall story, and its ending, is one of the oldest in the world. But it bears retelling – and this is a stylish retelling, at least – if only because we don’t seem to be any closer to learning the story’s many lessons.” It’s on my list. But Netflix also offers Blood Red Sky, a 2021 German action horror movie. Peri Baumeister stars as Nadja, a German widow, ill and travelling with her son Elias(Carl Anton Koch) to the US in hope of a curative treatment for her blood disorder there. But the plane they are on is hijacked, led by a sociopath named Eightball(Alexander Scheer), who shoots her several times. But Nadja doesn’t die, instead we see her flashback to her husband’s death, and her being accosted by his murders, in fact, being bitten by them, and becoming a vampire. And we see now the threat she holds for her captors. Kais Setti, Nader Ben-Abdallah, David Hürten, Kai Ivo Baulitz and Rebecca Dyson-Smith also star, with Peter Thorwarth directing, and also co-writing the screenplay. And this gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News writing “director/co-writer Peter Thorwarth splatters the screen with gore while tossing in surprises, delirious preposterousness and even a few touching moments. It’s grand fun.” I’m tuning in, if it’s not too scary. Netflix also offers Fantastic Fungi, a 2019 nature doc. this gives us an intimate look at the fungi that live all around us, and even under our feet, with time lapse photography of all the different kinds of fungal life, 1.5 million species of yeasts, molds, and mushrooms, that repair and rebuild our planet, releasing important nutrients of many kinds that sustain life. But it also covers the medicinal qualities that can be found there, and beneficial treatments they may bring for some of the most challenging diseases to treat, like Alzheimer’s, led by our tour guide Paul Stamets, a noted mycologist. Brie Larson serves as our narrator, and Louie Schwartzberg directs. This film was nominated for Best Science/Nature Documentary at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, and gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Robert Abele of the L.A. Times said “its so entertaining, informative and appealingly hopeful about the hard-working cure-all for our ailing world lying beneath our feet.” I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning, a 2021 Japanese action movie. Based on a manga novel, this is the last in a series of Kenshin tales, this takes place during the last days of the Edo period, with assassin Himura Kenshin, played by Takeru Satoh, working for the Choshu clan leader, Katsura Kogorō, to upend the Tokugawa shogunate. But he meets a woman, Yukishiro Tomoe, played by Kasumi Arirmura, who leads him to rethink his life as an assassin. Issey Takahashi, Yōsuke Eguchi, Nijirō Murakami, Kazuki Kitamura and Kazuki Kitamura also star, while Keishi Ōtomo directs. And it gets an incredible 7.9/10 on IMDb, with Animenewsnetwork calling it “is a great film, regardless of whether you’ve seen the other films in the series. ” And there’s Japanese history thrown in, as well. I’m tuning in.
One of the biggest adds of the week is Amazon‘s with season 1 of The Pursuit of Love, a British limited series. Based on the novel of the same name by Nancy Mitford, this tells the story of the friendship of Fanny (Emily Beecham), a woman left by her mother The Bolter(Emily Mortimer) and her cousin Linda (Lily James) in pre-WWII Britain, as each deals with life in diametrically opposed ways. Fanny chooses safety and conformity, while Linda chooses a life of adventure and rebellion. Dominic West, Dolly Wells, Annabel Mullion, Freddie Fox, James Frecheville and John Heffernan also star, and Emily Mortimer(!) directs. And this mini-series gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Roxana Hadadi of RogerEbert.com writes “[its] breezy pace, likable ensemble, and low-key twee style make The Pursuit of Love easy to fall into, even with the sense that its satire could have been spikier.” I’m definitely watching. Amazon has also added Son of the South, a 2021 drama. Adapted from a true story, this tells the story of Bob Zellner, played by Lucas Till, the grand son of a KKK leader in Alabama, who comes to realize the truth of his heritage, and joins the 60’s Civil Rights Movement, to his family’s displeasure. Nicole Ansari-Cox, Sharonne Lanier, Cedric the Entertainer, Sienna Guillory, Byron Herlong, Julia Ormond, Brian Dennehy(!) and Lucy Hale also star, and Barry Alexander Brown directs. And it gets a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Ben Kenigsberg of the New Yok Times saying “accepted on its terms, the film does a reasonably absorbing job of dramatizing how Zellner’s convictions strengthened, pulling him away from the security of inaction.” It’s on my list. And finally, Amazon has Alone in Berlin, a 2017 historical drama. Emma Thompson(!) and Brendan Gleeson star, here, Otto and Anna Quangel, a German working class couple who, after losing their son in war, and witnessing other injustices in Nazi Berlin, join the Resistance by writing postcards urging people to stand against Hitler and the Nazis, and go further, by placing the cards in public places, a capital crime. And, finally, a Gestapo officer Escherich(Daniel Brühl) is assigned to finding their identity. Mikael Persbrandt, Monique Chaumette, Joachim Bissmeier and Lars Rudolph also star, and Vincent Pérez directed. And it’s based on the fictionalised true story of 1947, Every Man Dies Alone, by Hans Fallada. So though this rates only a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear(!) at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, as well as other awards, and it has a superb cast. I’m tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!