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!
There are many great new adds this week, but not on Hulu, in fact Hulu has only one interesting new flick added this week- The Meaning of Hitler, a 2020 documentary. Here, directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker take us on a journey across nine different countries, to take a look at the ongoing fascination in the west with Adolph Hitler. It covers Hitler‘s rise to power and his murderous stint as leader of Germany, killing millions of people in less than a decade. It also has historians like professor Saul Friedlander, Israeli historian and professor Yehuda Bauer, positing on what has led to Hitler‘s prominence in our popular and political culture. Authors like Martin Amis and Francine Prose are also included, offering insight into why people are still talking about the Fascist. And makes the troubling parallel of Hitler’s Nazi movement and the wave of nationalism that swept the western world a few years ago, with it’s familiar use of propaganda and ‘alternative truth’ that was vital in Hitler‘s regime. It was all inspired by the 1978 nonfiction book The Meaning of Hitler by German journalist Raimund Pretzel, using the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner. It was nominated for the Viewfinders Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 DOC NYC , and gets an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ben Kenigsberg of the New York Times wrote it “takes a multifaceted, often counterintuitive approach to examining the underpinnings of fascism.” It’s on my list. And that’s it for this week’s adds on Hulu, so I’m mentioning some shows I missed previously, like Everyone is Doing Great, a 2021 comedy series. James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti star as Jeremy and Seth, two huge stars of the hit teen vampire show Eternals, but now, five years on, are grown up, can’t find work as adults, and wonder if they ever will. Jeremy‘s wife Andrea Davis(Alexandra Park of The Royals) was also a star of the show, and having moved on and adjusted, is fed up with it all, and divorcing Jeremy. Cariba Heine, Karissa Lee Staples, Tom Fugedi, Matthew Atkinson and Deborah Baker Jr. also star, and there are 8 episodes available to devour now. Lafferty and Colletti developed the show, and serve as writers and directors here, as well, with Park serving as co-producer. It won the Best TV Episodic Award at the Mammoth Film Festival, and it gets a fabulous 7.6/10 on IMDb. Brad Newsome of the Sydney Herald said “it’s an uncommonly acute examination of male humiliation.” and it’s funny, too. I’m tuning in. Hulu also has the 2017 Israeli vampire series Juda. Tzion Baruch stars as the title character, Juda Ben-Haim, a low-level gambler who wins big in a game, only to be bitten by beautiful Romanian vampiress Tania(Anastasia Fein). But when Tania finds she’s bitten a Jew(forbidden by tradition), she begins to turn human, and the only way to stop that progress is to stop Juda‘s transformation into vampire…by cutting off his head. Mike Burstyn, Amos Tamam, Moris Cohen and Adi Weiss also star, and there are 2 seasons with total 15 episodes available to sink your teeth into(sorry) now. Baruch created this series, as well as writing it, and it won the International Award at the 2017 Sanctuary Cove International Film Festival. And it gets an incredible 7.2/10 on IMDb, with Miriam Anzovin of Jewish Boston wrote its a “zany, charming show.” I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added Dani Who?, a 2019 Mexican sci-fi mystery series. Here, a group of teens with little in common in 1990’s San Gregorio, band together to investigate the disappearance of their classmate, and friend, Lorena(Meraqui Pradis). Dani(Julia Urbini) takes the lead, and realizes things are not as they seem in their small town, and that even the kids themselves, are not as they thought. Rodrigo Murray, Yoshira Escárrega, Geraldine Alejandra, Sergio Lozano and Lucía Tinajero also star, and there are 10 episodes available to enjoy now. and it gets an astounding 8/10 on IMDb. Cine Premiere said its “a very worthy and endearing tribute to an entire science fiction tradition incorporating a key twist: it vindicates the right of women to be the heroines of their own supernatural adventures. ” I’m definitely tuning in.
Netflix has the huge add of the week with Passing, the 2021 adaptation of the Neila Larsen classic novel. Here, Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson of Selma!) living in 1920’s Harlem suddenly runs into a friend from her past, Clare Kendry, played by Ruth Negga(Loving), who seemingly disappeared from her life years ago. But now Clare, a black woman, is living as white, with a very racist husband John(Alexander Skarsgård), living a life of precarious deceit. Irene vows to distance herself, but Clare draws her back into her world. André Holland, Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Antoinette Crowe–Legacy and Ashley Ware Jenkins also star, and Rebecca Hall(Frost/Nixon) directs. And cinematographer Eduard Grau masterfully presents a beautiful black and white world of 20′s New York. And it gets an amazing 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Guy Lodge of Film of the Week writing “Negga is altogether extraordinary, a sort of human mirage of aspirational perfection and psychological delusion, shimmering with warmth and mischief and sex.” I’m watching, twice. Netflix also offers 7 Prisoners, a 2021 Brazilian social thriller. Here, Christian Malheiros stars as Mateus, a teen who leaves his home in the countryside, to get a job with other boys, in a junkyard in Sao Paolo. But there, he finds his boss, Luca( Rodrigo Santoro), has something else in mind, with bone-grinding work and no pay, and threats if the boys try to leave. Knowing Luca is enslaving the boys, Mateus must decide whether to go along with him and help his family, or help the people enslaved by him. Bruno Rocha, Vitor Julian, Lucas Oranmian, Cecília Homem and Dirce Thomaz also star, with Alexandre Moratto directing. And this movie premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, where it won Best Film in a Foreign Language and gets a stunning 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Isabelia Herrera of the New York Times saying “rather than being a simple examination of a social problem, the film excels at excavating the deep-rooted, sprawling violence that affects everyone living under hierarchies of power.” It’s on my list. Also new and notable on Netflix is The Last Forest, a 2021 Brazilian documentary.This tells the story of the Yanomami people of the Amazon rainforest, often in their own words, with little outside narration. We’re told of the Yanomami daily life, and their long history in the Brazilian rainforest, which, at 1,000 years of residence, predates the European invasion of the 14th and 15th century. We get Yanomami mythology, too, with so much input from Shaman and elder Davi Kopenawa contributing so much that he is listed in the film credits as co-writer. Director Luiz Bolognesi(Ex-Shaman, also on Netflix) gives the Yanomami their own voice here, with cinematographer Pedro J. Márquez aptly depicts the vibrance of their world. This film won multiple awards in this year, including the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and Best Doc at the Montreal First Peoples Festival. And it gets an incredible 7.7/10 on IMDb, with Kimber Myers of the L.A. Times saying its “as poetic as it is insightful as the Yanomamis‘ current experience coexists onscreen with their mythology.” I’m tuning in. Unfortunately, Netflix has also added Red Notice, a 2021 thriller(?). Here, Special Agent John Hartley(Dwayne Johnson) enlists the help of top art thief Nolan Booth(Ryan Reynolds) in catching the infamous Bishop(Gal Gadot) a new thief in town, who has absconded with Cleopatra‘s golden egg(?!), a gift from Marc Anthony. And of course, they travel the world, living in luxury, and encounter peril and beautiful women as they go. Chris Diamantopoulos, Ritu Arya, Ivan Mbakop, Vincenzo Amato and Rafael Petardi also star, while Rawson Marshall Thurber(Dodgeball) directs. But it gets only a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair says its “is limp and dull, and does more to showcase the shortcomings of each of its marquee idols than it does to highlight their bankable charisma.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m not watching. And finally, Netflix has added the 2017 Korean historical drama, The Fortress. This tells the story of the Chinese invasion of 1636, when the Qing(Manchu) invaded Korea and King Inju refused to retreat to safety and instead take refuge in the mountain fortress in Namhansanseong. But inside, two ideological factions fight over the decision to fight or negotiate with the Qing. Park Hae-Il stars as King Inju, and Lee Byung-Hun, Kim Yun-Seok, Ko Soo, Park Hee-Soon, Jo Woo-Jin and Jo A-In also star, and Hwang Dong-Hyuk directed. And it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb, and Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote its “so evocative that by the end viewers may be as cold and hungry as the movie’s cast of courtiers.” And I love historical drama. I’m tuning in.
Amazon has one big add with Mayor Pete, the 2021 documentary. This tells the story of Pete Buttegieg‘s 2020 run for president of the United States, as the first openly gay candidate, vying to become the youngest president ever. It follows him through the campaign, with his win in Iowa, and his husband Chasten accompanying him on the grueling road trip that is a presidential run. Buttegieg also opens up about his coming out and his experience as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and even considers his shortcoming with the black community in that city. Lis Smith, Al Sharpton(!) and other movers and shakers appear, but the real story is the warmth and support between Pete and his partner, who seems to fuel Buttegieg through this demanding marathon race. Jesse Moss(Boys State) directs, and this premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival this October, and was nominated for Best Political Documentary, and Buttigieg was nominated for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary. And it gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com writes it “has a compelling subject, but it’s most gripping when it’s trying to secure your curiosity, not just your future vote.” I’m watching. Amazon has also added Always Jane, a 2021 limited docuseries about a transgender teen. Jane Noury is the teen covered here, in the cinema verite style, following her daily life with her family in Sparta, New Jersey, getting ready for gender-affirming surgery, and preparing for college and perhaps a career in modeling. And, though Jane doesn’t dwell on the bullying she endures in school, her supportive parents and her sister Emma talk more deeply about the difficulties she and all transgender people have faced, especially in recent years. Her 91 year-old grandfather Gabriel also appears, along with other family members and friends. There are 4 episodes here, all directed by Jonathan C. Hyde, and written by Kaitlin McLaughlin. There aren’t many ratings yet, but Jayasmita Dutta Roy of High on Film calls Always Jane “thrilling and heart-wrenching.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Amazon has added Season 1 of Irresponsable, a 2016 French comedy series. Sébastien Chassagne plays Julien, a 31 year-old man-child, still living with his mom, and hanging out with teens and smoking pot. So he’s quite shocked when his first love Marie(Marie Kauffmann), informs him they have a child together, specifically a 15 year-old boy, Jacques(Théo Fernandez),one of the boys he smoked pot with. No one is pleased about their new relationships, but Julien may surprise some people, if only himself. Nathalie Cerda, Amel Charif, Sebastien Chassagne, Mtilda Marty-Giraut, Aurélien Ibanez, Christine Paolino and Édith Le Merdy also star, and there are 10 episodes available to enjoy now. This series has won multiple awards in France, including the Best Series and Best Actor for Chassagne at the 2017 & 2018 L’Association des Critiques de Séries. And it gets an astounding 7.5/10 on IMDb. Pierre Sérisier of Le Monde , said the series “does not forbid the scabrous situations […] which never turn into the gritty, nor into the schoolboy mess. The subtlety is there, obvious, oscillating between the light and the serious. ” I’m tuning in. But remember to finish before December 1, when it returns to the Topic channel, only to be viewed for $4.99 a month.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!