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 intriguing adds this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has some exciting adds this week, like Mother/Android, the 2021 sci-fi thriller. This takes place in a near-future world, where humanoid robots live side by side with humans while serving them, and Georgia, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, finds she’s pregnant. But 9 months later, the the robots have violently revolted, and Georgia and her boyfriend Sam (Algee Smith), seek to escape with their lives, and save their future child, as well. So they must travel to Boston, where a haven of humans exists, evading the murderous robots at every turn. Raúl Castillo, Steve M. Robertson, Owen Burke, Kate Avallone and Jared Reinfeldt also star, while Mattson Tomlin(Little Fish) directs. And, no, this hasn’t gotten the best reviews, with only a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I love sci-fi, and Moretz makes everything interesting. Dennis Harvey of Variety says “it’s well-crafted and resourceful within its bounds, smoothly integrating Massachusetts locations and modest FX to create a credible-enough portrait of a civilized world that’s badly eroded in just a few short months.” I’m watching. But Hulu also has The Nowhere Inn, a 2021 comedy. This is a pseudo-documentary, with Carrie Brownstein(!) requested to do a doc of her real-life friend Grammy winning singer St. Vincent. But, of course, all does not go well, with the two egos clashing, and Brownstein trying to be a bit too honest for her star subject’s tastes. All while St. Vincent tours and sings. Dakota Johnson, Ezra Buzzington, Toko Yasuda and Chris Aquilino also star, and Bill Benz(Portlandia) directs. And it gets a respectable 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. Adam Mullins-Khatib of the Chicago Reader wrote “lavish sequences showcase the ingenuity of the lead pairing, who play off one another and pull out some of each other’s most vulnerable character traits in truly sincere and often amusing ways.” It’s on my list. Also new on Hulu is Moone Boy, a 2012 British comedy series. Here, David Rawle stars as Martin, a lonely 12 year-old living in 1989 Ireland, who has an unusual imaginary friend in grown-up Sean Murphy, played by Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids). And so Sean helps Martin navigate his many travails, like bullying at school, girls and a quirky family that isn’t always supportive. Deirdre O’Kane, Peter McDonald, Sarah White, Aoife Duffin, Ian O’Reilly and Clare Monnelly also star, and there are 3 seasons available, with 18 delightful episodes offered in all. This show won Best Comedy at the International Emmy Awards in 2013, and won Best Entertainment Programme at the Irish Film and Television Awards that same year, as well as numerous other nominations. And it gets an amazing 8.1/10 on IMDb and Mike Hale of the New York Times wrote its “the most charming new television comedy to arrive in America this year.” I don’t know how I missed this, but I’m watching it now. Big time. And, finally, Hulu has added All is Lost, the award-winning 2013 Redford thriller. Redford plays an unnamed mariner, here, who wakes on his solo voyage of the Indian Ocean, to find his vessel taking on water after a collision with a container ship. HIs radio and navigation equipment disabled and miles from land, he struggle to right his ship and to get near the shipping lanes, where he may be discovered. But sharks are circling, and supplies are low. Dyapa Gnaneshwar Reddy is the only other cast member, and there is little dialogue in this movie, aside from a few well placed four letter words. J.C. Chandor(Margin Call) directed, as well as wrote the script for this movie, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2013 Deauville Film Festival. Redford won great praise for his role here, and went on to win Best Actor at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, along with multiple nominations elsewhere. And it gets a stunning 8.1/10 on IMDb, and a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Michael Koresky of Sight and Sound said it “attains an operatic grandeur in its closing moments, and surprisingly earns it: Chandor‘s intensely physical, experiential work has brought us right up to the perilous edge between life and death.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Netflix has a few good offerings this week, like The Hand of God, the 2021 award-winning Italian drama. Written, directed, and produced by Paolo Sorrentino(Il Divo, The Great Beauty), this semi-autobiographical film tells his youth, with young Fabietto Schisa(Filippo Scotti) enjoying a sheltered and comfortable life in 1980‘s Naples with his father Saverio(Toni Servillo) and beloved mother Maria(Teresa Saponangelo), watching team Napoli play soccer and planning on a philosophy major in college. But all that changes with a devastating loss for his family, and his comfortable life derails. Marlon Joubert, Luisa Ranieri, Massimiliano Gallo, Renato Carpentieri and Betti Pedrazzi also star. This movie won the Grand Jury Prize at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, with Filippo Scotti receiving the Marcello Mastroianni Award, and Teresa Saponangelo winning Best Actress. And it’s selected as the Italian entry for the Best International Feature Film at next year’s 94th Academy Awards. And it gets an impressive 7.7/10 on IMDb, with A.O. Scott of the New York Times writing “it’s a beautiful tautology: a true-to-life movie about a life made for movies.” And the cinematography by Daria D’Antonio is spectacular. I’m tuning in. Netflix also offers Decoupled, a 2021 Indian comedy series. Here, an affluent married coupled, Shruti(Surveen Chawla) and Arya Iyer(R Madhavan) try to manage the dissolution of their marriage well, while living together not just for the sake of their unhappy daughter Rohini(Arista Mehta), and the success of their high-profile careers, as well. As their family tries to talk them out of divorce, their life together devolves into arguments and chaos, with Arya still hoping at least for sporadic hook-ups between them. Mir Afsar Ali, Aseem Hattangady, Atul Kumar, Mukesh Bhatt, Akash Khurana and Apara Mehta also star, and there are 8 episodes available for binging now. And this isn’t your average sappy Bollywood film, but a look at marriage with a cutting edge that’s been compared to Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Divorce with Sarah Jessica Parker. And it gets an incredible 8.1/10 on IMDb. The Times of India calls it ” a funny, yet relatable take on the politics of marriage.” I’m watching. Since the pickings are rather slim this week on Netflix, I have a chance to mention an add I missed(!) last week, Bathtubs Over Broadway, a 2018 doc. This stars Late Show with David Letterman writer, Steve Young, who developed a unique hobby while not writing for the show, when he discovered an old LP of a 60‘s General Electric musical in a bargain bin. And it turns out there was a whole industry for, well, industrial musicals, with hits like “My Insurance Man,” “The Dishwasher and the Disposal,” and, maybe best of all, “My Bathroom,” from the musical “The Bathrooms Are Coming!” And Young found that top talent was not only performing in these pieces, but composed them, too, with artists like Bob Fosse(!)and Broadway legend Sheldon Harnick participating. He also interviews tars like Chita Rivera, Florence Henderson and Martin Short, as well as, of course, David Letterman. And it’s all delightfully put together by first-time director Dava Whisenant. This won multiple awards in 2018, including Best Doc at Tribeca, Fargo, Vancouver, and finally, the Naples International Film Festival. And it gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Matt Fagerholm of RogerEbert.com saying “with its balance of exuberant humor and rigorous insight, Bathtubs Over Broadway provides as stellar an education for the uninformed as Siegel’s ‘The Bathrooms Are Coming!‘” And it’s so much fun, I’m watching twice. Netflix also offers The Hungry and the Hairy, a 2021 S. Korean food docuseries. Here, singer-actor Rain, the hungry because of his extreme diet to maintain his physique, and Hong-Chul Ro, the hairy, his best friend and reality show host, get on their motorbikes and travel the length of their country, searching out the best food and scenic locations around. But where other shows are more glitzy and unreal, this one shows the pair in their less than glamorous aspect, with the hapless pair suffering numerous indignities along the way. Lee Hyo-lee and Lee Sang-soon also star as unimpressed dinner guests, and there are 10 episodes available now. And it gets an impressive 7.1/10 on IMDb, with Joel Keller of the Decider saying ” stream it…is a fun travel series that doesn’t take itself or its hosts at all seriously, and that’s a good thing.” And it’s on my list. And finally, Netflix has added The Guardian, a 2021 Vietnamese horror flick. Here, a iconic pop star Phuong(Salim) meets a violent end, and we aren’t sure whether it was suicide, or her creepy looking Kumanthong doll, ever present in her life. But when her back up singer Ly(Trúc Anh), ascends in the pop world, the same eerie occurrences beset her, as she, too, becomes fascinated with the doll. Amee, Trong Trinh, Thanh Tuy, Thu Vu and Mao Bai Vinh also star, while Victor Vu directs. And this gets a 6.2/10 on IMDb, with Leisure Byte calling it “an effective horror, revenge-thriller that will keep you guessing.” But it’s way too violent for me. Still, I know you need horror.
Amazon’s big add this week is With Love, it’s in-house 2021 romantic dramedy series. This focuses on Lily(Emeraude Toubia) and Jorge Diaz Jr,(Mark Indelicato), two younger members of the Diaz family as it gathers for Noche Buena in Portland, Oregon, for the first episode. So, of course, everyone offers advice for the newly single(after a break-up) Lily, and for Jorge, too, who brought his vegetarian boyfriend Henry(Vincent Rodriguez III).Benito Martinez and Constance Marie star as their parents, and Isis King, Rome Flynn, Desmond Chiam, Todd Grinnell and Todd Grinnell also star, and there are 5 episodes available to devour now. And this program was developed by Gloria Calderón Kellett(One Day at a Time), and gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a warm hug of a show that pulls you in and reassures you everything’s going to be all right.” It’s on my list. Amazon also offers Boxing Day, a 2021 British holiday movie. Aml Ameen(Yardie) stars, here, as Melvin, an author returning to Britain from America with his American fiancée Lisa (Aja Naomi King), to introduce her to his eccentric British-Caribbean family for the first time. But all doesn’t go as planned, of course, as they run into Aml‘s ex-girlfriend, Georgia(Leigh-Anne Pinnock), not to mention the fact that Lisa‘s pregnant, and fears
Aml’s reaction, as he doesn’t like kids. Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Stephen Dillane, Sheyi Cole and Tamara Lawrance also star, and Aml Ameen impressively directs for his first time. And it gets a notable 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Amon Warmann of Empire writing “a few storytelling decisions don’t ring true, but the winning performances and loving celebration of Black British culture help conjure up just enough holiday cheer to make this worth watching.” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Amazon has added The Man in the Hat, a 2021 British comedy. Ciarán Hinds stars as an unnamed, middle aged man (in a hat) who travels across Southern France from Marseilles in his tiny Fiat, accompanied only by the picture of an anonymous woman in the seat next to him. And what starts out as a leisurely trip turns more urgent when he finds himself witnessing what might be a crime, and so followed by a car full of bald men, 5 to be exact, honking and yelling at him. And along the way, we are serenaded by the most beautiful, appropriate music, like a Canteloube aria, Try a Little Tenderness, and even a Schubert Lieder(!). Sasha Hails, Stephen Dillane, Maïwenn, Brigitte Roüan, Muna Otaru and Michael Padmore also star, and John-Paul Davidson and Stephen Warbeck co-direct. Ciarán Hinds was even nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role at the 2021 Irish Film and Television Awards for his role here. And this film gets an astounding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Jane Freebury of The Canberra Times (Australia)called it a “gentle picaresque adventure through rural France with a mute travel companion, it has impeccable comedic timing and a musical score that more than makes up for the silence.” And Nell Minnow of RogerEbert.com said it’s reminiscent of Jacques Tati. So if you can’t get to France this winter, consider this film instead. I know I am.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!