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 few, more obscure, adds this week, like Mark, Mary + Some Other People, a 2021 comedy romance. Ben Rosenfeld and Hayley Law star as the title characters, Mark and Mary, two 20-somethings who meet unexpectedly after a college friendship, who marry after a whirlwind romance, although both definitely have problems with conventional marriage. So Mary wants to explore ‘open’ marriage, while Mark assuredly does not. Sofia Bryant stars as Mary‘s sister Tori, and Matt Shively, Odessa A’Zion, Nik Dodani, Lea Thompson, and Gillian Jacobs also star, while Hannah Marks wrote the script, along with directing, here. This film won Best Screenplay at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, and gets a 58% on Rotten Tomatoes. Amy Nicholson of the New York Times wrote “Marks is a sharp and funny observer of today’s youth paradox: How can her generation build stability on a foundation of temp jobs, shifting social mores and the suspicion that the entire planet might collapse before they cash in their 401(k)s?” It’s on my list. Hulu has also Snakehead, a 2021 crime thriller. This tells the story of Sister Tse, played by Shuya Chang, a young Chinese immigrant, brought to New York City’s Chinatown by a snakehead, or human smuggler, who must pay off her debt for working for a crime family to pay off her $57,000 debt for her trip. Working under Dai Mah, Sister Tse ends up rising through the ranks and finally, working as a snakehead herself. Yacine Djoumbaye, Richie Ng,Celia Au, Sung Kang and Devon Diep also star, with Evan Jackson Leong directing. And this was nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and gets a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. And Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com said it “entices you with a lurid premise, but the empathy that shines through the cracks of its tough exterior is the real surprise.” A bit too violent for me, though. But Hulu has also added Agnes, the 2021 horror movie. This revolves around Agnes, played by Hayley McFarland, a new nun at Santa Theresa, where they live in seclusion, as a Carmelite order. But when Agnes seems to develop psychotic symptoms, and goes haywire at a group dinner, she is tied down in her bed and prayed for, but ultimately, feared. Unfortunately, she is set to be ‘exorcised,’ by a rogue priest, Father Donaghue (Ben Hall), and his aid Father Ben (Jake Horowitz). Which doesn’t go as planned. Molly C. Quinn plays Agnes’ friend, Mary, and Sean Gunn, Chris Browning, Zandy Hartig, Rachel True, Bruce Davis and Mary Buss also star, and Mickey Reece directed. This movie won two awards at the Molins Film Festival, with Best Actor for Ben Hall, and Best Director for Reece. And it gets a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Richard Whittaker of the Austin Chronicle calling it a “strange and beautiful tale of sex, religion, and dysfunction at the Carmelite convent of Santa Teresa.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added Ladrones, a 2015 Mexican comedy. Here, Fernando Colunga and Eduardo Yañez play Alejandro and Santiago, respectively, two thieves(or ladrones) who are determined to help the Mexican-Americans in a small Texas town regain their land grants stolen by henchmen working for heiress Miranda Kilroy(Jessica Lindsey), and an opera singer. So they audition the townspeople to steal the papers back, from a safe on Miranda‘s property. And they get a ragtag group with abilities ranging from chemistry to immunity to pain. Miguel Varoni, Cristina Rodlo, Vadhir Derbez, Oscar Torre, Carmen Beato and Evelyna Rodriguez also star, and Joe Menendez directed. And this movie won Best Newcomer for Vadhir Derbez at the 2016 Mexican Cinema Journalists Awards, and gets a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. Randy Cordova of the Arizona Republic wrote it “lacks some of the edge of the original. But you know what? It still works, thanks to the breezy direction of Joe Menendez, who helmed the first film, and the good-natured camaraderie of the cast.” And I agree. I’m watching.
The biggest title added on Netflix, during an admittedly sparse week, is Metal Lords, a 2022 teen comedy. Here, the two teens, Hunter Sylvester(Adrian Greensmith) and Kevin Schlieb(Jaeden Martell) are determined to start a heavy metal band in a small high school that doesn’t seem to care. But their only chance to win the school’s battle of the bands lies in classical cellist Emily (Isis Hainsworth). Brett Gelman, Joe Manganiello, Sufe Bradshaw, Katie O’Grady, Noah Urrea and Michelle Fang also star, while Peter Sollett(Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) directed. But this movie is rather short on story, which may be why it gets only a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. But Noel Murray of the L.A. Times says its “disappointingly formulaic, but Hunter’s restless energy keeps the picture lively, all the way up to its cathartic musical finale.” So if you like heavy metal, you might tune in. But for outrageous comedy, I’d rather watch Dirty Lines, a 2022 Dutch comedy series. This takes place in 80’s Amsterdam, where psych major Marly Saolmon, wonderfully played by Joy Delima, finds that she can pay her rent by working for a fairly mild sex phone line, Teledutch, started by two brothers Frank (Minne Koole) and his brother Ramon (Chris Peters). Her work includes recording mildly exciting conversation on a tape, that are then played to multiple callers, but other workers, including Natasja(Charlie Chan Dagelet), come up with spicier lines to liven things up. And Teledutch’s popularity skyrockets, as Marly‘s parents kick her out of the house when they learn of her sideline. Julia Akkermans, Abbey Hoes, Julia Akkermans, Benja Bruijning, Joes Brauers and Manoushka Zeegelaar Breeveld also star, and there are 6 episodes available to gorge on now. This is another fun historical series that reminds one of Glow or Mrs. America, and so much fun and history. And it gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb. Joel Keller of the Decider writes it “does a good job of taking on a not-so-serious topic with a good mix of comedy and personal drama.” I’m watching. Netflix also offers Black Dog, a 2019 Korean drama series. Seo Hyun Jin plays Go Ha Neul, a naïve temporary teacher, just starting at a private school, Daechi High School, and instantly feeling overwhelmed. But she owes a debt of gratitude to her old teacher Kim Young-ha (Tae In-ho), and sticks it out. And gets the job. But she faces obstacles in the stern administrator Ms. Park Seong-soon(Ra Mi-ran), and others who think she used undue influence to get the job(she did not).Ha-Joon, Lee Chang-Hoon, Jung Hae-Kyun, Jo Yeon-Hee, Kang Shin-Ha and Lee Jang-Won also star, and there are 16 episodes available to enjoy now. and this series gets a stunning 8/10 on IMDb. and Joel Keller of the Decider says its “heartwarming but down-to-earth vibe is still a welcome change from some of the gloppier K-dramas we’ve seen recent months.” I’m watching. Netflix also offers Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, a 2022 true crime series. This considers the story of famed British comedian and tv star Jimmy Saville, who started as a DJ and ended up starring in British standards like Top of the Pops. After his retirement, he even did a lot of charitable work, raising millions for different organizations like hospitals like Stokely Mandeville hospital, garnering praise from people like Margaret Thatcher and Princess Di. What they didn’t know, and what no one knew, he would be accused of multiple cases of sexual abuse after his death, and rape by multiple women and children, which were widely rumored, but quashed, while he was alive. But even though this is only a two-parter, this show details true horror for Saville‘s victims, with enough detail to be very upsetting. So though it gets a respectable 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7/10 on IMDb, it is good to be mindful of the true enormity of this tragedy. Louis Chilton of the Independent says “at times, it simply feels too monstrous to be spun into Netflix entertainment. This isn’t a horror story, but a dismal, incomprehensible tragedy.” So I won’t be watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Dasvi, a 2021 Hindi comedy. Abhishek Bachchan stars as Ganga Ram Chaudhary, an arrogant Chief Minister of the fictional state of Harit Pradesh, arrested and jailed for fraud. So he names his shy wife Bimla Devi “Bimmo” Chaudhary(Nimrat Kaur) interim CM, until he is released. But Binmo becomes more assertive and confident in her role as time goes on, and dreams of making her assignment permanent, if she can just keep her husband in jail. All the while, Chaudary tries to earn his dasvi, or tenth level H.S. certificate. Yami Gautam, Arun Kushwah, Chittaranjan Tripathy and Danish Hussain also star, while Tushar Jalota directs. And this movie presented in true Bollywood style, with dancing and music that makes prison look almost delightful. And Dasvi gets an incredible 8.3/10 on IMDb., and Pooja Darade of Leisurebyte writes it “is impressive, and the amazing performances make it more fun to watch.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has one huge add this week with All the Old Knives, a 2022 spy thriller. Based on the novel by Olen Steinhauer(who also wrote the screenplay), the CIA suspects a mole caused a tragic event a decade ago, and operative Henry Pelham, played by Chris Pine, is asked to investigate his old girlfriend, and fellow operative, Celia Harrison, played by Thandiwe Newton. But others were involved in the incident, like Vick Wallinger (Laurence Fishburne!) and Bill Compton (Jonathan Pryce!). And no one’s giving anything away. Gala Gordon, Corey Johnson, Colin Stinton, Ahd and David Bedella also star, while Janus Metz directs. And this is an adult spy tale, more like John le Carré than Ian Fleming. And it gets a 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, with John Nugent of Empire Mag calling it a “smart, compelling, pared-down thriller for grown-ups, anchored by a pair of stunningly charming performances from Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton.” I’m definitely tuning in. Amazon has also added Jalsa, a 2021 Hindi mystery thriller. When a hit and run batters 19-year-old Aliya, journalist Maya Menon, played by Vidya Balan, investigates and finds that everything is not as it seems. Maya’s cook Ruksana is Aliya‘s mother and pushes for answers and consequences, while taking criticism for being a neglectful mother. Meanwhile, affluent Maya wants for nothing to care for her son, Ayush (Surya Kasibhatla), though she does know the stigma of being a single mother in India. Rohini Hattangadi plays Maya’s mom Rukmini, and Manav Kaul, Kashish Rizwan, Shafeen Patel, Vidhatri Bandi and Ghanshyam Lalsa also star, and Suresh Triveni directs. And this movie gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Anupama Chopra of the Film Companion saying its “a gripping and unsettling dissection of morality, motherhood and money.” And I’m watching. And, finally, Amazon is offering Season 1 of Arctic Circle, a 2019 Finnish-German crime drama. This takes place in Lapland, where Finnish police officer Nina Kautsalo (Iina Kuustonen) finds a sex worker, near death, in a ramshackle cabin. But when the woman is found to be infected with a contagious and deadly virus, she teams up with virologist Thomas Lorenz (Maximilian Brückner) to find a killer who is thought to be the vector of the disease. Pihla Viitala, Jan Virman, Clemens Schick, Joi Johansson, Susanna Haavisto and Venla Ronkainen also star, and there are 6 episodes to binge on before April 1, when the whole series disappears back into the Topic channel ether. And this series gets an impressive 6.9/10 on IMDb, and the EuroTvPlace calls it “bingeworthy,” and I agree. I’m tuning in. And, if Season 1 whets your appetite, Topic has Season 2, that you could definitely polish off on their 7-day free trial. I might do that myself.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!