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 amazing new adds this week, so let’s get started!
Yes, Hulu has some exciting adds this week, like Rebecca, a 2022 French mystery series. And, no, thankfully this isn’t yet another remake of Daphne Dumaurier‘s classic novel, but a modern tale of an investigator in Paris, Rebecca, played by Anne Marivin (Call My Agent!), who gave up her job and her hunt for a serial killer six years earlier, but now returns to her job, and finds murders occurring matching her old nemesis’ MO. But her husband has also betrayed her, and she is beset by blackouts and gaps in her memory. Benjamin Biolay (Captaine Marleau), Clotilde Courau, Samir Guesmi, Grégory Montel and Valérie Karsenti also star, and there are 8 episodes available for binging now. And yes, if this sounds familiar, it is based on the hit British series Marcella. And it gets a 6.7/10 on IMDb. Johnny Loftus of The Decider calls it a “tingly French remake Of Marcella” And, I’m watching. I love a mystery. Hulu has also added the movie Georgetown, a 2019 mystery. This follows Ulrich Mott, played by Christoph Waltz, a compulsive lair and social climber in Washington, D.C., who hits the big-time when he marries Elsa Brecht(Vanessa Redgrave!) a 91 year-old journalist and socialite. But Ulrich’s lies spin out of control, as does his temper, and it becomes clear he is a danger, so when Elsa dies, her daughter Amanda(Annette Bening!), a law professor, goes to great lengths to find proof Ulrich is responsible. Corey Hawkins, Laura De Carteret, Dan Lett, Amin Bhatia and Vicki Papavs also star, and Waltz actually made his directorial debut, here. This is loosely based on the true story of Albrecht Muth; and the movie gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb. And, no, it’s not a perfect movie, but the cast is, and the acting is, of course, first-rate. Rex Reed of The Observer wrote “The acting is first-rate from start to finish, but it is really Mr. Waltz who keeps the action flowing. Both demon and clown, he’s horrifying, appealing and immensely mesmerizing in a film about the pitfalls that await anyone who falls for charm while ignoring the evils that can sometimes hide behind the façade of disingenuous priorities.” I’m tuning in. Hulu has also added Single Drunk Female, a 2022 comedy series. Sofia Black-D’Elia stars, here, as Samantha, a hard-partying, alcoholic media professional living in New York City, who finally goes too far, and gets court-ordered sobriety. So, she moves in with her mom, Carol(Ally Sheedy) in her home town in Massachusetts, and starts work in a grocery store. But she’s told to avoid triggers, which are hard to avoid in her old stomping grounds, especially with her always partying best friend, Felicia (Lily Mae Harrington). Rebecca Henderson, Garrick Bernard, Madeline Wise, Ian Gomez and Sasha Compère also star, and there are 2 episodes available now, with a new one dropping every Friday, after its Thursday night showing on Freeform. And this show gets an amazing 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Inkoo Kang of the Washington Post says “at least for this viewer, its spot-on satire of the media industry – so rare in pop culture – and its savvy sendups of pop feminism contribute to its aura of earned authority.” I agree. I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added Ailey, the 2021 doc about famed choreographer, Alvin Ailey. This covers the full spectrum of Ailey’s life, from his difficult childhood in rural Texas, including a near-drowning, that pushed him to perform, and echoes in his darker pieces of dance. It has plenty of first-person accounts from stars, like dancers Judith Jamison and George Faison, and even, Cicely Tyson, but most importantly, there is much testimony from Ailey himself. He talks of being the only one, the only black in the vast field of choreography, but also the only gay man represented in a straight world. All the while, we are treated to a present-day rehearsal of Lazarus by the Ailey Dance Theater, as well as wonderful archival clips of past performances, with classics like Revelations(my favorite) included. It’s a poignant tale, beautifully told by director Jamila Wignot, that was nominated for multiple awards last year, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. And it gets am 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Marina Ashioti of Little White Lies says that “poeticism ebbs and flows throughout Wignot‘s impressonistic mediation, fluctuating in parts,” and I’m watching twice.
Netflix, too, has some exciting adds this week like Munich: The Edge of a War, a 2022 WWII thriller. Based on the 2017 novel by Robert Harris, this takes place in 1938, with Hitler preparing to invade Czechoslovakia, and Neville Chamberlain(Jeremy Irons!) still hoping to find a peaceful solution. So when Chamberlain has a meeting in Munich with Hitler, MI6 asks Chamberlain‘s private secretary, Hugh Legat, played by George MacKay(1917), to meet with his old school chum, Paul von Hartmann (Jannis Niewöhner),there, in the hopes of getting top secret information. And Paul is now anti-Hitler, in fact, perhaps plotting against him, so the question is will Hugh and his friend survive this dangerous year? Jannis Niewohner, Robert Brathurst, Jessica Brown Findley, August Diehl and Sandra Huller also star, while Christian Schwochow(West) directs. And it gets a respectable 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times writes “Irons gives the kind of performance you want more of as a window into the psychology of leadership, so the fact that he has to share it in so disjointedly dull a slice of history as Munich: The Edge of War is regrettable.” I love historical drama, so I’m watching. But Netflix has also added Phantom Thread, the 2017 award-winning drama. Daniel Day-Lewis plays dress designer Reynolds Woodcock, the hit of 50’s London, living the life of a confirmed bachelor with his devoted sister, Cyril, played by Lesley Manville. But when he meets Alma, a waitress at a beachfront hotel, he finds a muse and is captivated. As their relationship progresses, Woodcock becomes more controlling about what Alma wears, who she sees, and where she goes. But she may be a challenge that he cannot overcome. Camilla Rutherford, Gina McKee, Brian Gleeson, Harriet Sansom Harris, Lujza Richter and Julia Davis also star, while Paul Thomas Anderson(There Will Be Blood, Licorice Pizza) directed. this won multiple awards, including Best Director for Anderson at the 2017 Boston Online Film Critics Association, Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and Best Foreign Film at the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics. And it gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.5/10 on IMDb. Jake Wilson of The Age (Australia) wrote “as visual music grounded in a feeling of preposterous luxury, this is as enveloping and experimental as anything Anderson has done.” Watch before you see Licorice Pizza. I know I am. Netflix also offers Donkeyhead, a 2021 Canadian comedy. Agam Darshi stars as Mona, here, an unsuccessful Punjabi Canadian writer, caregiving for her father, Marvin Ishmael, who suffers from cancer. But when he suffers a stroke, and is near death, the event shocks her into realization that her only role in life may end, and with the return of her more successful siblings, it becomes even more clear. Stephen Lobo, Huse Madhavji, Sandy Sidhu, Kim Coates and Balinder Johal also star, and Darshi made her directorial debut here, along with writing the script. And this film won four prestigious awards at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival in Toronto, including Best Supporting Actor for Stephen Lobo, Best Fiction Feature and Best Canadian Feature. And it gets an amazing 7.2/10 on IMDb. Jared Mobarak of The Film Stage says “no matter how funny Donkeyhead can prove, it’s also quite devastating. Just because the other three were able to survive [childhood] better doesn’t mean they avoided scars.” I’m definitely tuning in. Netflix has also added Midnight Asia: Eat · Dance ·Dream, a 2022 food travel series. Here, we get a look at the nightlife in different Asian cities, like Mumbai, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo. But this series gives us a look at how the locals of each city amuse themselves, not the glossy tourist sites. We get to see 85 year-old DJ Sumiko Iwamura, quite the hit in a Tokyo night club, and female wrestlers in Manila. And oh, the food. Crispy pork-topped rice porridge in Manila, Soul food fried chicken in Seoul and Oyster Omelets in Taiwan. And thee are 6 episodes in all, with no hosted narration, just the locals to guide you through each city. And this series gets a stupendous 7.7/10 on IMDb. And Greg Wheeler of the Review Geek calls it “a beautiful tribute to Asian nightlife.” Count me in. And, finally, Netflix has added Definition Please, a 2021 comedy. Sujata Day stars, here, as Monica Chowdry, living in Greensburg, Pa. with her ailing mother, but who never really got past her storied 2005 win at the Scribbs National Spelling Bee. Her mother still replays the tape of the win and Monica coaches kids in the neighborhood in spelling. But even the offer of a job at a clinical research lab doesn’t get Monica moving. Anna Khaja, Lalaine, Eugene Byrd, Jake Choi, Katrina Bowden and Ritesh Rajan also star, and Sujata Day made her directorial debut here, again, along with writing the script. And it gets a stupendous 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Beandrea July of the Hollywood Reporter calls it “a funny, reflective good time of a debut.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has one huge add with A Hero, the 2021 Iranian drama. This tells the story of Rahim, played by Amir Jadidi, who is imprisoned for a debt he cannot pay(!), and so, when on a 2-day furlough, tries to acquire the money to pay off that debt. And when he finds his girlfriend, Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldoust), has found 17 gold coins that, alas, is not enough to make up his deficit, he seeks out the original owner to return them. The story is picked up by the press, and Rahim becomes, well, a hero. And his creditor, Bahram (Mohsen Tanabandeh) is pressured to forgive his debts. But is everything as it seems? Mohsen Tanabandeh, Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy, Sarina Farhad and the award-winning Asghar Farhadi(The Salesman) directs. This film amazingly won 2 awards at Cannes last year, including the Grand Prix, 2 at the USA National Board of Review, including Best Foreign Film, and is Iran‘s entry for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Academy Awards. And it gets a stunning 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Jenny Nulf of the Houston Chronicle called it a “bubbling thriller about one man’s two-day leave from jail and how one innocence-driven good deed tangles itself in a mess that jeopardizes his chances of getting out of jail permanently.” I’m definitely watching. Amazon has also added the 2022 family comedy series As We See It. This focuses on Jack (Rick Glassman), Violet (Sue Ann Pien) and Harrison (Albert Rutecki), three 20 somethings on the autistic spectrum who, though friends since childhood, now room together with the help of their aide Mandy (Sosie Bacon, of Mare of Easttown), who helps them navigate some of their more challenging social difficulties. Joe Montegna plays Jack‘s ill father, Lou, Chris Pang stars as Violet‘s controlling brother Van, and Omar Maskati, Vella Lovell, Robby Clater, Arthur Keng and Angela Fornero also star, and there are 8 episodes available to binge on now. And this series is brought to us by Jason Katims(Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) whose own son dove him to bring autistic spectrum people to more human feature roles on television. And happily so, because it gets an astounding 7.5/10 on IMDb, and James Poniewozik the New York Times says it “carries all of this with a lightness that makes it a joy to watch. Yes, there are excruciating conflicts and screaming breakdowns. But there are also cry-laughs and moments of transcendence.” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Amazon has a great deal on a new channel, Screenpix, from the Epix channel. Screenpix offers classic movies from the 60’s, 70‘s and 80′s, like The Big Chill, Cold Turkey, and The Parallax View, but, more impressively 50’s Hollywood classics like Life Boat, Sunset Boulevard. And British classics like Blithe Spirit, Brief Encounter and The Importance of Being Earnest! And all for 99¢ a month for 6 months, going up to $2.99 thereafter. So if you miss TCM online, give Screenpix a try, right here. I know I am.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!