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 a huge add this week with Mass, the 2021 drama. Martha Plimpton and Jason Isaacs star, here, as Gail and Jay, a couple who lost their child in a horrible tragedy, who agree to meet with the parents of the boy, also lost, responsible, Linda and Richard, played by Ann Dowd and Reed Birney. They agree to meet in an Episcopalian church in Utah, with the help of a counselor, Kendra, played by Michelle N. Carter, but much of the movie is just the interaction between the two bereaved pairs of parents. Breeda Wool, Kagen Albright and Campbell Spoor also star, and Fran Kranz directed (for the first time), as well as writing the script. This film was nominated for numerous awards this season, and went on to win the Robert Altman Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, as well as Best Acting Ensemble at the Online Association of Female Film Critics, the Seattle Film Critics Society and the Online Film & Television Association. And it gets a stunning 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.6/10 on IMDb. Jordan King of Empire Mag wrote “it may be a tough watch, but, boasting a quartet of excellent performances, Fran Kranz‘s directorial debut is a technically adept, emotionally exhausting yet deeply cathartic film that couldn’t be more timely.” I agree. I’m watching. Hulu has also added Hell Hath No Fury, a 2021 action movie. This takes place in war torn France, in 1944, where Marie, played by Nina Bergman, has been outed as a Nazi sympathizer, and only saved by American troops from an angry mob, but must pay for her safety by telling them where a Nazi cache of gold is. The trouble is, she’s not a sympathizer, but sought out a relationship with SS officer Von Bruckner(Daniel Bernhardt), with the intent to turn him over to the Resistance, which didn’t work out as planned. Timothy V. Murphy, Luke LaFontaine, Louis Mandelor, Dominiquie Vandenburg and Josef Cannon also star, and Jesse V. Johnson(Debt Collector) directed. And this gets an amazing 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, but only a 5.1/10 on IMDb. Definitely for those who love WWII action movies, but with a feminine twist. Johnny Loftus of the Decider says its ” is a small scale film with some strong performances and nice noir elements wrapped into its tale of people in war and the bad things they do.” I’d rather watch the 2021 documentary Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time. This chronicles the 25-year effort of director Robert B. Weide(Woody Allen: A Documentary) to make a movie about his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut. It began in 1982, when the 23 year-old Weide wrote a fan letter to Vonnegut, telling of his dream of making the doc., and follows with the decades long friendship that followed, with Weide becoming Vonnegut’s personal archivist. And while it tells of the author’s journey through life, his childhood and his horrific experiences in WWII as a soldier and as a Prisoner of War, it intermittently features the tale of Weide’s effort to make this film that never came during the author’s lifetime. So, while you get a good impression of Vonnegut’s life, intelligence, and unique writing style, you also get the story of the friendship that evolved over the years, between the two. Don Argott served as co-director of this film that went on to win 2 awards at the Indiana Film Journalists Association in 2021, including Best Documentary. And it gets an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.9/10 on IMDb. Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com wrote “in the end, any flaws or missed opportunities are subsumed by the movie’s sincerity and wealth of insight,” and I agree. I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall, a 2019 documentary. This tells the story of rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall, a man who lived a wild life as outlandish as many of his subjects, and got many of the most storied, intimate pictures of stars of the 60′s and 70‘s. Born in Chicago, Marshall started out as a journalist, who, while giving John Coltrane a ride to Berkeley, took pictures of him that that wowed the world. And other music stars, like Miles Davis, wanted the same treatment, and a career was born. Marshall went on to take some of the most iconic pictures of the rock and roll era, of giants like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Beatles. And we get testimony of the photographer’s wild life from many notables of the era, like Michael Douglas, Peter Frampton and Graham Nash, all woven seamlessly together by director Alfred George Bailey. And this film won Best Arts or Music Documentary at the Grierson Trust British Documentary Award in 2020, as well as the Audience Award at the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival. And it gets a notable 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. And Leslie Felperin of the Guardian said “the illuminating discussion that springs from close friends, lovers and collaborators and even Marshall himself in some archive material, makes the trip worth it.” It’s on my list.
Well, Netflix has one major add with the 2nd season of it’s hit series Bridgerton, the romantic drama series. This year’s story focuses on the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey, who is preparing for marriage. HIs sights are set on Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran), a very suitable candidate who happens to have an overprotective sister, Kate(Simone Ashley), who takes an instant dislike to the young man. So, you can guess what happens next. Claudia Jessie, Nicola Coughlan, Adjoa Andoh,Polly Walker and Ruth Gemmell also star, with everyone’s favorite Julie Andrews continuing her narration of the series as Lady Whistledown. And there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And Season 2 of Bridgerton gets a respectable 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Allison Stine of Salon.com writes “the new run of Bridgerton has less sex — but is sexier than the first season. It’s also more compelling in almost every way.” I may actually watch. Netflix has no other big titles added this week, but some true gems like Bulbul Can Sing, a 2019 Indian drama. This tells the story of 15 year-old Bulbul, played by Pakija Begam, a girl in rural Assam, trying to explore her identity and build relationships, but hindered by the rigid patriarchal society that runs her village. And while Bulbul tries to maneuver the strictures of being a female in her town, her friend Sumu(Manoranjan Das) must deal with the censure and real danger that comes with being gay. Banita Thakuriya plays their friend Bonnie, and Manabendra Das, Pakija Begam and Deep Jyoti Kalita also star, while Rima Das(Village Rockstars) directed. and this film went on to be nominated for many awards, and went on to win a special mention at the Berlin International Film Festival, as well as Best Director at Dublin International Film Festival, and Best Indie Film at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, and National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Assamese at India’s 66th National Film Awards. And it gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Deborah Young of the Hollywood Reporter calling it “an affectionate, insightful, honest look at an ordinary young woman growing up in a male-dominated society.” I’m definitely watching. But Netflix also offers Blade Runner 2049, the 2017 sci-fi sequel. Here, Ryan Gosling stars as Officer K, a new blade runner with the LAPD, who has discovered some shocking evidence about replicants. So he goes in search of information, and finally, to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), now missing for 30 years. Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto also star, with Denis Villeneuve(Arrival, Dune) directing. And this gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Max Weiss of Baltimore Magazine “on its own merits, Blade Runner 2049 is a very strong film; as a sequel, it’s nothing short of brilliant.” It’s on my list. But for those purists who didn’t want a sequel, Netflix has the original Blade Runner, as well. You decide. Also new on Netflix is Soil, a 2022 Belgian comedy drama series. This has Ismael Boulasmoum (Yassine Ouaich), a 20-something dreamer, uninterested in the family business, suddenly left 50% of it left to him by his retiring father Omar(Ben Hamidou). The family business is Assurances Omar, which handles death details for Moroccan immigrants in Belgium, including the important repatriation of bodies to Moroccan soil, a costly and time consuming effort. So when Ismael and best friend Jean-Baptiste(Ward Kerremans) lose a body on the way, and also comes upon a box of Moroccan dirt, he has a brilliant idea of shipping the dirt instead, to Belgium, thereby allowing people to remain in their adopted country, with their families. And so a new business is born, to the ire of his brother-in-law (and competitor), Rachid(Saïd Boumazoughe). Ahlaam Teghadouini plays Ismael’s sister Nadia, and Charlotte De Bruyne, Reinhilde Decleir, Tom Vermeir, Mourade Zeguendi and Barbara Sarafian also star, and there are 8 episodes available to enjoy now. And this series was nominated for 2 awards this year at the Film Festival Oostende, including Best Leading Performance-TV for Yassine Ouaich. And it gets an amazing 7.2/10 on IMDb, and Riya Singh of the Midgard Times said “the story of the Belgian series is extraordinary and no one would have imagined that such a plot would have been pulled up by the makers and actors with such sensibility. The actors have also given their best. “I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has the 2022 French comedy series, Standing Up. This focuses on the lives of 4 young Parisiennes struggling to make a living and to become popular stand-up comedians at the Drôle Comedy Club, run by Bling (Jean Siuen). But while some of the performers enjoy success, like Aïssatou (Mariama Gueye), others only elicit boos from the crowd, like Apolline(Elsa Guedj). And club owner Bling must deal with his once rising popularity is now waning, with age. Younes Boucif, Mouss Zouheyri, Pascale Arbillot, Marc Riso and Mathilde Lamusse also star, and there are 6 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series is brought to us by the creator of Call My Agent, Fanny Herrero! And it gets a 6.9/10 on IMDb. Daniel Hart of Ready Steady Cut writes its “worth the time, even if to at least appreciate a problematic form of performing art.” And I’m watching.
Amazon’s huge add this week is Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, a 2022 musical competition series. Here, the exuberant, and unabashedly big and beautiful, triple Grammy winner Lizzo is looking for backups dancers for her 2022 tour, and we see 13 large and lovely hopefuls that make the finals, compete. While doing so, they occupy the Big Grrls Ranch, and deal with intense competition, sometimes traumatic pasts, and injury while there. There are 8 episodes here to enjoy, with lots of good emphasis on body positivity, self love and beauty, but foremost, there’s music, dance and loads of fun. It’s too early for any reliable ratings, but Lucy Mangan of the Guardian says “this joyful show will water your parched soul,” and I agree. I’m tuning in. Amazon also has The Invisible Man, the 2020 thriller on its IMDb channel. Elizabeth Moss stars, here, as Cecilia Kass, girlfriend of tech wizard Adrian Griffin(Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who becomes increasingly threatening, so she leaves, knowing he is capable of tracking her electronically. But when he apparently commits suicide, she finds a new menace, as she senses a new presence in the house with her, and finds herself drugged. But when she comes forward to authorities about Adrian faking his suicide, using the new optics method he was developing to make himself invisible, then stalking her, she is rebuffed. And left to defend herself. Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman and Renee Lim also star, and Leigh Whannell directed, along with adapting the H.G. Wells classic for the screen, here. And this exciting film gets an outstanding 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Adam Nayman of The Ringer wrote its a “thriller whose mandate is to startle its audience with surface-level shocks while simultaneously subverting expectations in a deeper way, dropping us out of our comfort zone toward some sunken place.” I’m watching.. again. And, finally, Amazon has Corporate, a 2017 French drama. Céline Sallette stars as Emilie, a young up and coming headhunter in HR at a Parisian multinational food company, trained in the ruthless take-no-prisoners style of her superior, Stephane(Lambert Wilson). But when an employee she was pressuring to quit commits suicide, the investigation led by work inspector Marie (Violaine Fumeau) turns to Emilie, and she, in turn, may develop a conscience, and help. Which may place her life in danger. Colin Hansen, Stéphane De Groodt, Alice de Lencquesaing, ,Camille Japy and Yannick Choirat also star, and Nicolas Silhol directed. This film was nominated for several awards in 2017, including the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. And it gets a 6.4/10 on IMDb, with Guy Lodge of Variety calling it “a smart, slow-simmering French workplace thriller that wades in deep, chilly waters of moral corruption and compromise.” I’m definitely tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!