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 adds this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some interesting, though more obscure, adds this week, like the 2021 horror flick Gaia. Monique Rockman stars, here, as Gabi, a forest ranger in South Africa, who sets off into the jungle to find a crashed drone, and, upon being injured and lost, is rescued(?) by a very ragged pair of survivalists, Barend(Carel Nel) and his son Stefan (Alex van Dyk), who live in the forest. And she learns they are convinced there’s a burgeoning evil in the forest, that looms and grows in strength daily. Gabi‘s only hope of escape is her fellow ranger Winston(Anthony Oseyemi), who searches for her frantically. But the survivalists aren’t the only threat in the forest. Charles Massey rounds out the small cast of this movie, and Jaco Bouwer directs. This film won the ZEISS Cinematography Award at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, and was also nominated for Best Feature Film at this year’s Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com said it’s a “thought-provoking and disturbing experience.” Really disturbing. And creepy. So I won’t be watching, I’ll be under the couch. Luckily, Hulu has also added Dream Horse, the 2020 drama/comedy starring Toni Collette. Collette plays Jan Vokes, bartender in the small town in Wales, married to Brian (Owen Teale), and bored with her life and her job. But she finds meaning and drive when she comes up with the way for the whole town to breed a race horse, a passion of hers, by citizens buying shares and owning it jointly. She aided by accountant Howard Davies(Damian Lewis), who is heavily into the horses, and skeptical, to say the least. They name the colt Dream Alliance, and he starts out shakily, but Jan is convinced better things are to come. Joanna Page, Karl Johnson, Anthony O’Donnell, Peter Davison(Doctor Who!), Stefan Rhodri and Sian Phillips also star, and Euros Lyn directed. And yes, it’s a bit corny, but less than you might think, and the cast is great. And it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Wenlei Ma of news.com.au wrote “”Hywl is a Welsh word that is described on-screen as a “feeling of emotional motivation and energy” – and Dream Horse has certainly imbued its likeable story with plenty of hwyl“.” I’m watching. Also new on Hulu is The Evil Next Door, a 2021 Swedish horror movie. Dilan Gwyn plays Shirin, a woman who moves in to a duplex with her boyfriend, Fredrik (Linus Wahlgren), and his five year-old son Lukas (Eddie Ericksson Dominguez), to build a new life together. But Lukas begins to talk of a child living there on the other side of the wall, in the empty unit beside them, and Shirin begins to suspect something ominous, that Frederik doesn’t perceive. Troy James, Janna Granström, Sander Falk, Karin Holmberg and Niklas Jarneheim also star, while Tord Danielsson and Oskar Mellander codirect. This film was nominated for several awards at the 2021 Guldbagge Awards, and went on to win for Best Sound. And it gets a 5.3/10 on IMDb, but only a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. Edward Douglas of The Weekend Warrior said its “a movie made by Conjuring fans who managed to cop some of the tricks to scare the viewer without fully understanding why those movies work.” You decide. And, finally, Hulu has added The Next Thing You Eat, a 2021 food series. Here, David Chang(!), chef and founder of Momofuku restaurant(!) and it’s offshoots, guides us through the future of food, with looks at robotic burger flippers, lab grown fish and insect farms. But he also introduces us to things that have worked for centuries, and still do, like dabbawala, the food delivery service in India, that brings your food to your door every morning in a tiffin or dabba. It’s fascinating stuff, with appearances made by other famous chefs like Chris Yang and Nyesha Arrington, not to mention stars like Danny Trejo. And it’s all brought to you in easy to digest 30 minute episodes by director Morgan Neville(Best of Enemies). There are 6 episodes to enjoy now, and the series gets an amazing 7.1/10 on IMDb. John Anderson of the Wall Street Journal writes “Mr. Chang gets us to look at food and food service differently, and in ways that aren’t always pleasant — like watching someone else eat. But overall it’s enthralling, hugely informative and even, at certain times at least, appetizing.” I’m definitely tuning in. I’m hungry.
The most ballyhooed add on Netflix this week is probably Night Teeth, a 2021 teen vampire movie. Here, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. stars as a young(handsome) skateboarder/ college student/limo driver, Benny, who inadvertently picks up two young women(beautiful), Blaire (Debby Ryan) and Zoe (Lucy Fry), who happen to be vampires, out for some bloody good times. Specifically, they’re out to take more territory for their ‘gang,’ and need Benny to ferry them around, but get them home before sunrise, of course. Benny tries to get help from police at first, but when his brother Jay(Raúl Castillo) is threatened by the gang war, he may have to switch sides. Alfie Allen, Marlene Forte, Ash Santos, Nandy Martin, Jaren Mitchell, Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney also star, while Adam Randall directs. But this is pretty silly, though violent, fluff for horror fans, and though Netflix calls this a “teen” movie, it’s pretty obvious most of it’s stars are in their late 20′s now, long past their Disney prime. And it gets only a 5.6/10 on IMDb. Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times calls it “a strangely listless vampire tale that unspools with some style and precious little sense.” Don’t bother. Luckily, Netflix also offers In For a Murder, a 2021 Polish murder mystery. Based on a novel by Katarzyna Gacek, this tells the tale of Magda, played by Anna Smolowik, a Agatha Christie fanatic, who comes upon a dead body in a forest in her small Polish town, and soon becomes determined to find the murderer, especially when she suspects the deceased is her long lost friend Weronika. But no one takes her seriously, not the police Inspector Sikora(Pawel Domagala) or even her husband, Tomasz (Przemyslaw Stippa), even when her life is threatened. Dorota Segda, Emma Giegzno, Jacek Knap, Olga Sarzynska, Piotr Adamczyk, Rafal Królikowski and Szymon Bobrowski also star, while Piotr Mularuk directs. And, though it gets a (deceptively low, as it’s early) 4.6/10, I love Smolowik’s feisty performance, and the female crime solver. of LeisureByte writes its a “straightforward take on the genre, with twists and revelations at the end that make you scream- ‘I knew it!’, In for a Murder is a good watch for boring days.” I’m tuning in. Netflix has also added Inside Job, the 2021 animated comedy series. This features Reagan Ridley, played by Lizzy Caplan, a young MIT grad who works for a shadow government group, Cognito, Inc., frantically trying to keep all the truth of all the ridiculous conspiracy theories like flat earth and lizard people from coming out. Christian Slater plays her father Rand, former head of Cognito, but now addled and ranting, and Clark Duke, Bobby Lee, Tisha Campbell, Andy Daly, John DiMaggio and Brett Gelman also star, and there are 10 episodes available to binge now. And this series is brought to us by executive producer Shion Takeuchi, formerly of Gravity Falls. And, though it gets an incredible 7.5/10 on IMDb, I won’t be watching. All this deep state and true conspiracy is too uncomfortably disturbing for me right now. I agree with Daniel Fienberg of the Hollywood Reporter who says “never fully signed on and never fully stopped wincing at Deep State references, but there are elements to be amused by if you don’t have the same visceral reaction to the pilot.” You decide. Also new on Netflix is La Vocera, a fascinating 2021 documentary from Mexico. This features the true story of María de Jesús Patricio, the first indigenous woman to run for president in Mexico. Known as Marichuy, Patricio is a learned natural medicine practitioner, active in her community, who was motivated to run based on the poverty and inequities she saw there, only to be confronted with racism and gender discrimination during her run. This is all beautiful chronicled by award-winning director Luciana Kaplan(Amores Perros), with cinematography by Ernesto Pardo. It was nominated for 2 Ariel Awards in Mexico in 2021, and gets a stunning 7.3/10 on IMDb. Criticologos writes “Kaplan once again confirms her position as a leading documentary filmmaker at the top of the field, offering audiences a story as heartfelt as it is politically illuminating.” I can’t wait to watch again. And, finally, Netflix has added Angeleina, a 2020 South African comedy. Euodia Samson stars in the title role, Angeleina, an unflappable parking attendant, abused by her clients and life, who is moved to pursue her dreams after a health scare. So she decides to find the resources for a trip around the world. Thapelo Mokoena, Thapelo Mokoena, June van Merch, Marciel Hopkins, Kuli Roberts and Nicole Amy Madell also star, while Uga Carlini directs. And this film was nominated for Best Fiction Feature Screenplay at the 2020 Writer’s Guild of South Africa Muse Awards, and gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. Spling movies calls it a “charming, entertaining, kaleidoscopic and lightly enjoyable watch constrained by its own candy floss daydreaming and fairy tale ambitions. ” And Samson is a wonderful presence here. I’m tuning in.
Okay, so Amazon has no new adds this week, there are still some movies overlooked, like Lansky, the 2021 crime drama starring Harvey Keitel(!). This tells the true story of author David Stone, played by Sam Worthington, seeking to write a biography of notorious crime boss Meyer Lansky, played by Keitel, and so the interviews that ensued between the pair. Lansky tells Stone the story of his violent rise to the top of organized crime, the younger Lansky being played by John Magaro, as Stone becomes aware of an ongoing FBI investigation into Lansky‘s illicit(and untaxed) millions hidden in Europe. AnnaSophia Robb, Minka Kelly, David James Elliott, David Cade and Jackie Cruz also star, and Eytan Rockaway directs. And while mob drama is not my taste, and the material has definitely been covered before, the amazing cast may make it worth your while. It gets only a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, but a 6.3/10 on IMDb. Thelma Adams of AARP Movies for Grownups writes “Harvey Keitel, 82, is perfectly cast in the title role as Meyer Lansky… With his lizard’s watchful gaze and age-stiffened body, it’s an epic performance at the center of a modest true-crime drama.” You decide. Amazon has also added The Devil to Pay, a 2019 thriller. Danielle Deadwyler stars as Lemon Cassidy, a woman struggling to support herself and her young son, Coy (Ezra Haslam), farming in the Appalachians, as a member of a community that believes in The Creed, a biblical ‘eye for an eye’ system that operates outside the courts. So when she finds her husband dead, and he’s still owing money to matriarch Tommy Runion (Catherine Dyer), she finds her son’s life threatened, unless she can settle things. Jayson Warner Smith, Brad Carter, Adam Boyer, Charles Black and Parisa Johnston also star, and Ruckus and Lane Skye co-direct. And this film was a big winner at the 2019 GenreBlast Film Festival, winning both the Best Actress for Deadwyler and Audience Award for Best Feature Film. And it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hope Madden of Columbus Underground said “it’s a stunning film, and a rare gem that treats Appalachians not as clichés, but certainly not as people to be messed with.” And, finally, Amazon has made Season 1 of The Undertaker, a 2013 Swiss crime drama from MHZ channel, available. Mike Müller plays Luc Conrad, a former investigator in Aargau canton, charged with his partner’s murder, who, upon acquittal, and his father’s death, takes over the family funeral home. There he encounters suspicious deaths and criminal offenses, which he investigates, though no longer a policeman. Barbara Terpoorten plays his ex, and successor, Commissioner Anna-Maria Giovanoli, and Reto Stalder, Suly Röthlisberger, Samuel Streiff and Martin Meier Easter also star, and there are 4 episodes available to devour now, before it’s November 1 departure. Later Undertaker seasons won awards for Müller and Terpoorten at the 2017 Schweizer Fernsehfilmpreis, and it gets an incredible 7.2/10 on IMDb. Dale Reynolds of Stage and Cinema calls it “great fun and all done in serious mode, with comic overtones, and nicely photographed. Very entertaining, indeed.” I’m tuning in. I love a mystery.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!