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 some amazing adds this week, with titles like The Girl From Plainville, a 2022 drama series. This tells the true story of Michelle Carter, the teen accused of goading her boyfriend into suicide, through texts. Elle Fanning plays Carter, an anxious and isolated girl who met Conrad Roy, played by Colton Ryan, on vacation in Florida, and start a romance. But a long distance one, as they live an hour apart in Massachusetts, and so their relationship is mostly virtual. And both share difficulties with depression and anxiety, and a romantic obsession with death. So, as Roy‘s depression worsens, the question is whether she pushed an already suicidal boy to kill himself, or whether Carter was just taking part in the assisted suicide of her depressed boyfriend. Chloe Sevigny plays Roy’s guilt-ridden mother, Cara Buono plays Michelle‘s mom, and Kai Lennox, Norbert Leo Butz, Callie Brook McClincy, Jeff Wahlberg and Ella Kennedy Davis also star, and there are 4 episodes available for streaming now, with 4 more on the way, in the coming weeks. And this series is based on a 2014 Esquire article of the same name., And this show gets a impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Peter Travers of ABC News writing “Thanks to the astounding Elle Fanning, this series about the Massachusetts girl who did jail time for texting her boyfriend to kill himself moves past true-crime clichés and persuades us to open our hearts to this troubled teen in all her flawed humanity.” It’s a much more tolerant true crime series. But Hulu has also added Death on the Nile, Kenneth Branagh’s 2022 production. Loosely based on the Agatha Christie 1937 classic novel of the same name, this has Hercule Poirot(Branagh) travelling on the steamer S.S. Karnak with a wedding party, when the bride, heiress Linnet Ridgeway(Gal Gadot) telling the detective she doesn’t feel safe, and pleading for his help. Needless to say, all does not go well, and a murder is committed. But can Poirot keep the body count to a minimum? Annette Bening(!), Tom Bateman, Ali Fazal, Russell Brand and Sophie Okonedo also star, and Michael Green wrote the screenplay here. But if you’re a fan of Christie’s, don’t bother, for this melodramatic monstrosity bears little resemblance to her masterpiece. So, despite it’s stellar cast, and the fact that the movie gets a so-so rating of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, I won’t be watching. Wendy Ide of the Observer said “the camera whirls giddily, dizzy from the sparkle and spectacle, but not quite able to conceal the fact that this is an empty bauble of a movie.” Better to read the book. Hulu has also added Love Me, a 2022 Australian romantic drama series. This tells three parallel stories of love and romance, with three different generations represented, with the viewer never realizing these people are all part of one family, until they meet for dinner, after a grievous loss. We meet Clara (Bojana Novakovic) first, a 30-something who bumps into someone interesting on the street, then Aaron (William Lodder), a young college student involved with Ella(Shalom Brune-Franklin). And finally, there’s the father of the pair, Glen Mathieson(Hugo Weaving!), whose wife(and their mother) Christine (Sarah Peirse) is bed-ridden and seriously ill, and so, prickly and unhappy. Bob Morley, Celia Pacquola, Heather Mitchell, Mitzi Ruhlmann and Cecilia Low also star, and there are 6 episodes available for streaming now. And this is based on the 2019 acclaimed Swedish series of the same name. And Love Me gets an incredible 7.8/10 on IMDb, and Luke Buckmaster of the Guardian calls it “gentle, polished and cinematic…..[and]……buoyed by thoughtfully developed characters and relatable circumstances, the series has a knack for making conceptually ordinary or even unappealing things interesting.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added Night Raiders, a 2021 Canadian sci-fi thriller. This takes place in the post apocalyptic Canada of 2043, where all children are taken as property of the state, and put in military institutions, to be trained as tools of war. Niska, played by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, is living in hiding with her child Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart), keeping her daughter safe, until Waseese is injured, and Niska needs medical help. She reluctantly has to surrender her girl to the state to get medical treatment, and then joins with the Cree resistance group, the Night Raiders, to free her. Amanda Plummer(!),Alex Tarrant, Gail Maurice, Violet Nelson and Suzanne Cyr also star, while Danis Goulet directed. And this film was nominated for numerous awards in 2021, and went on to win the Grand Prix Focus Award for Best Film at the Festival du nouveau cinéma and the Emerging Talent Award for director Goulet at the Toronto International Film Festival. And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Barry Hertz of the Globe and Mail saying it “should become the most talked-about Canadian film of the year. And for good reason.” I’m watching.
Netflix, too, has some big titles added this week, but none bigger than The Bubble, Judd Apatow‘s 2022 comedy. This features the filming of the 6th installment of Cliff Beasts, a dinosaur adventure movie, being filmed in Britain, under the direction of Darren (Fred Armisen!), during the Covid pandemic, so everyone is locked down together in an old mansion, constantly monitored. There’s Carol(Karen Gillan), reluctant to return and anxious to leave the franchise, Sean (Keegan-Michael Key), who’s obnoxiously into his positive lifestyle brand now, Howie (Guz Khan), hating the lockdown, and Dustin (David Duchovny) and Lauren (Leslie Mann), a couple whose rocky marriage is bound for divorce. And so, quite naturally, they go stir crazy, and are at each others throats within days. And plot their escape. Iris Apatow, Pedro Pascal, Kate McKinnon, Rob Delaney and Maria Bakalova also star, and Judd Apatow and Pam Brady cowrote the script. But this movie gets an alarmingly low 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, and doesn’t do much better on IMDb, with a 4.5/10. The main problem is it’s uneven script, as Adam White of the Independent cites “there are occasional flashes of barbed, satirical wit here. Generally, though, The Bubble resembles a flutter of loose ideas, to which a vast ensemble of reliably funny actors have been tasked with adding colour.” Better to watch The Last Bus, a British YA sci-fi comedy series. Here, a bunch of students attend a camp to announce the roll out miraculous AI-powered Genie Orbs, flying robotic units intended to clean up the environment. But, instead, they end up vaporizing members of the audience, and the kids escape the havoc in a bus, not realizing the devastation has reached their home town, and perhaps, beyond. So they go in search of the inventor of the orbs, billionaire Dalton Monkhouse(Robert Sheehan). The kids are played by Moosa Mostafa, Lauryn Ajufo, Daniel Frogson, Nathanael Saleh and Curtis Kantsa, and Marlie Morrelle, Phoebe De Silva and Tom Basden also star. There are 10 episodes available to binge on now, and this super-fun series gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb. And I agree with reviewers who say it’s not just for kids, but adults, too. Manjima Das of Leisure Byte writes “a series that deserves a family call, where parents as well as children sit together and laugh through the mishaps and, reflect on the potential reality and dangers of technology….it is by the end of the day a binge worthy-watch. ” I’m tuning in. But Netflix also offers We the Animals, a 2018 coming-of age drama. This film we see Manny(Isaiah Kristian), Joel(Josiah Gabriel), and Jonah(Evan Rosado), mainly through Jonah‘s eyes, grow up wild and unsupervised, often left alone as victims of their parents’ off-and-on, abusive relationship. As their father Paps (Raúl Castillo) leaves after beating his wife, Ma (Sheila Vand) takes to her bed, and food becoming scarce, the boys are left to find food, and sometimes reduced to stealing, to fend off the grinding hunger. Amelia Campbell, Michael Pemberton and Giovanni Pacciarelli also star, and Jeremiah Zagar directed. This stunningly beautiful film won multiple awards in 2018 & 19, including NEXT Innovator Award and Best of Next at Sundance for Zagar, and Best Ensemble, Best Music and Top Ten of the Year at the 2021 CinEuphoria Awards(late because of Covid). And We the Animals gets an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. David Lamble of the Bay Area Times said “director Jeremiah Zagar (with co-screenwriter Daniel Kitrosser) creates a child’s vision of a world filled with beauty and sheer terror.” It’s on my list. Netflix has also added Captain Nova, a 2021 Dutch sci-fi adventure movie. This takes place in the year 2050, with the world suffering from extreme heat and drought caused by climate change, with the only hope lying in fighter pilot Nova(Anniek Pheifer) to go back in time to 2025, with the hopes of still stopping the threat. But the trip back in time also causes Nova to return to the age she was in 2025, which was 12. The younger Nova, played by Kika van de Vijver, is helped from her plane by her robot ADD(voiced by Sander van de Pavert), and it finds help in a teen who witnessed the crash, Nas, played by Marouane Meftah. And together, the trio steal a car, and head off on their mission to save the world. Hannah van Lunteren, Joep Vermolen, Bram Blankestijn, Steef Cuijpers and Ricky Koole also star, while Maurice Trouwborst directed. And this film won 4 awards at the 2021 Cinekid awards, including Best Feature Film and Best Dutch Film. And it gets a 6.2/10 on IMDb, with Monica Meijer of Cine Magazine calling it “an exciting adventure, with an important message that is subtly woven into the story. Well acted and produced, this movie has all the puppets, resources and heart in the right place.” I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Tomorrow, a 2022 Korean fantasy drama series. Ro Woon plays Choi Jun–Woong, here, a young man who falls from a bridge trying to save a suicidal man, and who winds up in a coma. Whereupon he is recruited by the Grim Reaper, more specifically, the leader of their Risk Management team, Goo Ryeon(Kim Hee-sun), who wants Choi to help them work to prevent suicides. Yun Ji-On, Lee Soo-Hyuk, kim Hae-Sook, Kim Nu-Ri and Moon Suh-Yoon also star, and there are 2 episodes available for streaming now, with 14 more to come, a new one dropping every Friday. And this series gets an incredible 9.1/10 on IMDb, and Jonathan Wilson says it “but it has an intriguing premise and a fun tone.” And it’s not too dark, with a definite comedic overtones. I’m tuning in.
Amazon has a major add this week with The Outlaws, a 2022 comedy series. Here, seven different people are brought together to do community service for their misdeeds, to restore a derelict building into a community center. The only real criminal is Frank(Christopher Walken!), a conman who wrote fraudulent checks, but the others are minor offenders, like kleptomaniac Rani (Rhianne Barreto) or Greg(Stephen Merchant!), who got caught solicitating a (supposed) prostitute. But when the group finds a (big) cache of money in the dump, trouble arises, as some, like Frank, want to keep it, while others want to give it away. And, oh, the criminals who stashed the cash there, want it back, plus the blood of the people who took it. Eleanor Tomlinson, Clare Perkins, Darren Boyd, Jessica Gunning and Gamba Cole also star, and there are 6 episodes available to gorge on now. And this series gets a stunning 7.7/10 on IMDb. Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly says “court-ordered community service begets a perilous crime caper in this lively comedy-thriller from Stephen Merchant and Elgin James.” I’m definitely tuning in. But Amazon also offers Come as You Are, the award-winning 2019 comedy/drama. Here, a trio of men with disabilities, led by Scotty (Grant Rosenmeyer), after feeling isolated from women and sexually inexperienced, decide on a trip to a brothel in Montreal, that caters only to those with special needs. So Matt(Hayden Szeto) and Mo (Ravi Patel) set off in a van, with traveling nurse Sam(Gabourey Sidibe!) doing the driving, with no idea of their unusual destination. Janeane Garofalo(!), Martha Kuwahara, Jennifer Jelsema, Delaney Feener and C.S. Lee also star, and Richard Wong directed. This film won major awards in 2019, including the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tallgrass International Film Festival and the Audience Award for New American Cinema at the Calgary International Film Festival. And it gets an amazing 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Michael Rechtshaffen of the Los Angeles Times writing “At once frank, tender and unapologetically funny, Come as You Are is a sweet surprise.” I’m watching. And finally, Amazon has added Season 1 of Salamander, a 2013 crime drama series from Belgium, offered by the Topic channel. Filip Peeters plays Police Inspector Paul Gerardi investigating the robbery of the contents of 66 safe deposit boxes at Jonkhere, a private bank in Brussels. But when he is discouraged from finding them by the very owners of the boxes, he digs deeper and finds those owners are all members of a secret organization called Salamander. And that the contents of the boxes contain secrets of their mysterious operations, going back to WWII. Violet Braeckman, Tine Reymer, Koen Van Impe, Wim Opbrouck and Emilie Van Nieuwenhuyze also star, and there are 12 episodes available to enjoy now. And finishing them before May 1 should be easy, seeing as how the show gets an astounding 7.5/10 on IMDb, and reviewer Guy Adams called it “a perfectly enjoyable romp and the urge to ‘just watch one more episode’ is maintained throughout.” I’m tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!