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 new adds this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has one major add this week with Deep Water, the 2022 psychological thriller from director Adrian Lyne(Fatal Attraction,9½ Weeks). This considers with the unhappy marriage of Vic (Ben Affleck) and Melinda (Ana de Armas)Van Allen, engaged in an unhappy marriage, further charged by the fact that Vic let’s Melinda sleep around, in order to avoid an messy divorce. But when Melinda’s lovers start turning up dead, people in town start getting suspicious, especially since he’s told the beaus that he was responsible. But given this is based on a 1957 Patricia Highsmith(Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley) novel, you can be sure nothing is as simple as it seems. Grace Jenkins plays the couples daughter, Trixie, Tracy Letts(!), Jacob Elordi, Rachel Balnchard, Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok and Finn Wittrock also star, and Zach Helm and Sam Levinson adapted the screenplay here. But, unfortunately, Deep Water doesn’t pan out with reviewers, getting a mere 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.5/10 on IMDb. Still some rave about it, like Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com, who says its “a vicious piece of work, a movie made by a filmmaker who is unafraid to see the primal, darker parts that beautiful people hide behind their gorgeous facades.” And I love Highsmith, so I’m watching. But Hulu also offers Life & Beth, a 2022 comedy series developed by, and starring, Amy Schumer! Schumer stars as Beth, of course, a woman nearing 40 who’s pretty unhappy with her seemingly perfect life, and it all starts to come apart with one tragic event. So, she burns a lot of bridges, including breaking up with her boyfriend, Matt(Kevin Kane), and leaves Manhattan for her home town in Long Island, and looks for a new career and, maybe, new relationships. Michael Cera stars as John, an aloof farmer in town, Violet Young plays the younger Beth(in flashbacks) and Laura Benanti, Yamaneika Saunders, Murray Hill, Larry Owens, Rosebud Baker and Michael Rappaport also star, and there are 10 episodes now available for bingeing. And it gets an amazing 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Caroline Framke of Variety writing “it’s frustrating that it takes until this sixth episode for some of the show’s puzzle pieces to find each other, but when they do, they make up a picture that’s more subtly moving than initially meets the eye.” I’m definitely tuning in. Hulu also offers Captains of Za’atari, a 2021 documentary. This film follows two Syrian refugees,best friends Mahmoud and Fawzi, in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, teens who dream of soccer. So when a famous Qatari soccer player comes to Za’tari to hold try-outs for a tournament in Doha, both boys go all out to make the cut. But when only one of the boys makes it, will it imperial their friendship? Ali El Arabi, a war correspondent in the Middle East, directed and produced this film, which was nominated for numerous awards in 2021 & 2022, and went on to win Best Arab Film at the El Gouna Film Festival. And it gets an incredible 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Tomris Laffly of Variety called it “a coming-of-age tale, an underdog story and an urgent humanitarian statement rolled into one, “Captains of Zaatari” claims a special place among all the recent documentaries about the Syrian crisis, with a melancholic final shot to soothe the soul.” I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, the 2021 award-winning Romanian comedy. Katia Pascariu stars here, as Emi Cilibiu, a teacher in a prominent secondary school in Bucharest, who privately filmed a sex tape with her husband, Eugen(Stefan Steel), only to have it made public, and put on the web, when Eugen takes the computer in for repair. But, in a story told in three vignettes that make up this film, Emi stand up to the posturing parents and leering men, with fortitude. Claudia Ieremia, Olimpia Malai, Nicodim Ungureanu, and Alexandru Potocean also star, and Radu Jude(Aferim!,Uppercase Print)wrote the script, along with directing here. And this was nominated for numerous awards last year, and went on to win the auspicious Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, among others. And it gets an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, with J. Hoberman of The New York Review of Books wrote “Bad Luck Banging, or Loony Porn, the Romanian director Radu Jude’s exuberantly rude and bawdy new film, is a movie about us. Or rather, it’s a comedy about our world.” I’m definitely tuning in.
The biggest title on Netflix this week has to be Windfall, the 2022 thriller. This has a down and out man, never to be named, but played by Jason Segal, break into the vacation home of a tech mogul, only to be surprised when the CEO(Jesse Plemons) and his wife(Lily James) unexpectedly arrive. But what starts as a hostage situation, devolves into the CEO telling the man what to do, and to wait for money to be sent in 36 hours, thus endangering them all. Omar Leyva plays the gardener, the only other cast member here, and Charlie McDowell(The One I Love) directs. But an imperfect script(and other problems) leads this movie to get only a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, John Nugent of Empire Magazine writes “Short, sharp and mostly satisfying, this is a thriller that sticks to the stripped-back fundamentals of the genre — no more, no less.” You decide. I’d rather watch Cracow Monsters, a 2022 Polish horror series. Barbara Liberek plays the central character Alex, a lonely college student in Cracow, heavily into science, haunted by spirits as well as her difficult past, who is invited by Professor Zawadzki(Andrzej Chyra) to join his team of monster hunters at the school. But as the demons and Slavic spirits proliferate, it becomes clear they are facing a new uprising, one that threatens Cracow, and the world. Malgorzata Rozniatowska, Stach Linowski, Kaja Chan, Małgorzata Bela and Mateusz Górski also star, and there are 8 episodes available to gorge on now. And, though it gets only a 5.2/10 on IMDb(it’s early), I agree with Daniel Hart of Ready Steady Cut who says “one must wonder why this series hasn’t had much promotion, because it certainly has the potential to be a popular horror.” I’m watching…from under the bed. But Netflix also offers Black Crab, a 2022 Swedish sci-fi thriller. This takes place in the bleak post-apocalyptic world , where soldier Caroline Edh, played by Naomi Rapace, is asked to be part of an unit seeking to cross the thin ice, too thin for vehicles, to transport two mysterious packages to the other side, and thus win the war. So the team sets off on ice skates( a tactic used during WWII) which Edh acknowledges is suicidal. Aliette Opheim, David Dencik, Jakob Oftebro, Dar Salim and Cecilia Säverman also star, while Adam Berg directs. But it gets only a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.5/10 on IMDb. And Sophie Butcher of Empire Magazine explains “though its core concept is executed well, Black Crab’s dour tone, shallow writing and derivative plot-beats make for a movie experience that leaves you as cold as the ice its characters are forced to skate on.” You decide. And, Netflix has also added the 2022 true crime series Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.. This considers the rise and downfall of vegan chef Sarma Melngailis, owner of the Pure Food and Wine, an A-list NYC restaurant, with celebrity diners and happy employees. Which all ended when Melngailis met Anthony Strangis online, with him claiming to lead a high-flying life, capable of all things, and boasting of riches and success. When she fell for it, he became abusive and controlling, actually claiming her was superhuman, and, if she joined his society The Family, she and her beloved dog could live forever. Which, of course, required money, and he then took over the restaurant, stealing thousands of dollars, and bringing everything down. They were eventually charged with grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and a scheme to defraud, to which she pled guilty and served 4 months in jail, along with 5 years of probation. But director Chris Smith(Fyre, The Pool) doesn’t let Melngailis off the hook, with her own father and sister father and sister interviewed, and stating she didn’t love Strangis, but wanted a savior for her financially strapped restaurant. It’s one heck of a spider’s web, with 4 episodes available to stream now. And it gets a stupendous 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is why I’m mentioning a true crime series, a genre I usually avoid. But this one’s a little unusual, as Alissa Wilkinson of Vox says “by not just telling us about the scam, but letting us feel a little of it ourselves, Bad Vegan gives us something less smug — and a little more of a story worth telling.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix has added The Cursed, a 2020 Korean horror/mystery series. Jung Ji so stars, here, as So Jin, a shamanistic girl with the power to curse others, whose mother was killed by Jin Jong Hyun(Dong-il Sung), a CEO taken over by an evil spirit. So when journalist Im Jin Hee, played by Ji-won Uhm, goes after Hyun’s IT company Forest, So Jin moves to help her, and they team up to battle the company and Hyun, who now has his own band of evil spirits working to destroy the pair. Min-soo Jo, Shin-Rock Kim, Min-Jae Kim, Moon-Sung Jung and Joong-ok Lee also star, and there are available to devour now. Oh, and this series was written by Yeon Sang-ho(Train to Busan!). And this series was nominated for several awards in 2020, including Best New Actress for Ji-so Jung at the Baek Sang Art Awards and Best New Actress for Shin-Rock Kim at the 2022 Director’s Cut Awards. And it gets an outstanding 7.3/10 on IMDb, with Karina “ScreamQueen” Adelgaard of Heaven of Horror writing “I would definitely recommend giving this 2020 The Cursed series a shot as well. It is an intriguing and interesting story…… It still has quite a lot going for it.” But it might be a bit too scary for me.
Amazon has one huge add itself, this week, with Master, the 2022 horror film. Regina Hall(!) stars, here, as Gail Bishop, acclaimed as the first black female master at Ancaster College, a college as old as our country, and built on a Salem–era gallows hill(!). But when freshman student Jasmine (Zoe Renee!) arrives at the mostly white school and feels the pressures and intimidations, those experiences pale when compared with being placed in “THE room,” the one where a black student died, supposedly cursed by Margaret Millet, a witch long ago, in the area. And as Jasmine begins to experience the hauntings of her room, she also gets an unfairly low grade from Gail‘s friend and colleague, Liv, (Amber Gray), and files a complaint. And Gail experiences some ghostly experiences in her new official residence, as well. Ella Hunt, Talia Ryder, Sofia Hublitz, Angela Grovey and Bruce Altman also star, while Mariama Diallo(Hair Wolf) directs. And Master premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, and, among it’s other nominations, it went on to win the Directors to Watch Award to Diallo at the 2022 Palm Springs International Film Festival. And it gets a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Ben Travis of Empire Mag said “well-performed, especially by Regina Hall, and directed with real flair and intention by Mariama Diallo, Master transcends its two-dimensional opening to become a complex, character-driven horror with much on its mind.” I’m tuning in. Amazon also offers Harina(Flour), a 2022 Mexican comedy series. This features the misadventures of Lieutenant Harina(Guillermo Villegas) and his partner, Officer Ramírez(Verónica Bravo), with Lt Harina a egotistical jerk, taking bribes and keeping a high presence on social media, while Ramirez trying to remain clean and above contempt. But when Officer Ramirez becomes convinced a serial killer, The Canceler, is at work in the city, she tries to keep the focus on solving that case. Guillermo Villegas, Luis Fernando Peña, Dagoberto Gama, Luz Aldán and Alfonso Barbolla also star, and there are 8 episodes available for streaming now. And, yes, it’s crass, and has a lot of off-color jokes, but it also gets an amazing 8/10 on IMDb. There are no critical reviews as yet, but who couldn’t use a laugh right now? It’s on my list. And, finally, Amazon has Olympia, a 2018 American drama. McKenzie Chinn stars as the title character, Olympia, a 30 year-old graphic artist in Chicago, struggling and disrespected in her entry level job, and her mother, wonderfully played by Ericka Ratcliff, dying of cancer. But Olympia meets Felix, Charles Andrew Gardner, respectful and exciting, who has to move to California, and wants her to join him there. Her mother encourages her daughter to make the move, but Olympia is stuck, and the specter of the change terrifies her. LaNisa Renee Frederick, Penelope Wallace, Sadieh Rifai, Shane Kenyon and Leah Karpel also star, with Gregory Dixon directing, and McKenzie Chinn wrote the script here, as well as performing. This movie premiered at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival where it won the Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast, and went on to win more awards including Best International Actress at the New Renaissance Film Festival, and Best Full Length Narrative at The Women’s Film Festival. And it gets a stupendous 7.2/10 on IMDb. And Pamela of Reel Honest Reviews wrote “Chinn’s succinct, humorous, and touching screenwriting paired Dixon’s deft direction, it’s a match made in heaven as the two create a well-balanced and meaningful story…capturing the beauty of art and the Second City.” I’m definitely tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!