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 major add with Fire Island, it’s 2022 inhouse romcom. This features a traditional, and much anticipated, summer visit to Fire Island by two (gay) best friends, Nosh, played by Joel Kim Booster and Howie, played by Bowen Yang, who anticipate a wild and romantic stay, and Howie, especially, hopes for a match-up. They stay with house mother Erin (Margaret Cho!) with friends Luke (Matt Rogers) and Keegan(Tomás Matos). But things are not perfect even at the LGBTQ Mecca, as we hear the phrase “No fatties, no femmes, and no Asians,” uttered early on. So will the party end early, or will Howie find true love. The screenplay, here, offers a nod to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, so we can hope so. Torian Miller stars as Max, and Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Tomas Matos and Zane Phillips also star, and Andrew Ahn directs, with Joel Kim Booster writing the script here, too. And it’s a wonderfully refreshing to note that most of this cast is actually gay, in reality. And this fun movie gets an amazing 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com writes “Ahn proficiently handles the numerous plot lines, character conflicts, and the tonal shifts between raunch and sweetness.” It’s on my list. Hulu has also added The Last Tourist, a 2021 documentary. This eye-opening doc shows the real effect mass tourism has done to the planet, with not only the decimation large numbers of visitors can cause to the remaining paradises that people actually come to see, but also to the vulnerable populations that live there. With many of the favorite destinations of huge cruise ships having the highest amount of poverty, and the local people not seeing the monetary benefit of the tourism, the low paying jobs accompanying the industry can be grindingly unrewarding. With experts like Jane Goodall and other social activists holding forth, we get great insight into the huge problem global tourism can be, especially since it’s risen serve literally billions of people, now. But we also get an insight into what can be changed, to make the industry more sustainable, less damaging, and more productive for local populations. Tyson Sadler directs this amazing film that gets a stunning 100%. Chris Knight of the National Post said it “sounds like the title of a horror movie. It’s actually a documentary. But it’s also quite frightening.” I agree. I’m definitely watching. Hulu also has Cloudburst, a 2011 romance starring Olympia Dukakis. Dukakis plays Stella, a irascible retiree happily living with her beloved, Dot, played by Brenda Fricker, until Dot‘s naïve granddaughter Molly has the blind Dot sent to a home, for professional care. And so Stella makes a clandestine trip to break Dot out, and they drive for Canada, to get married. On the way, they pick up Prentice (Ryan Doucette), a wanna be dancer or gigolo, dreaming of big money. But, of course, things don’t go as planned. Kristin Booth stars as Molly, and Dunsworth, Jeremy Akerman, Mary Colin Chisholm and Juanita Peters also star, and Thom Fitzgerald wrote and directed this film. And it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star writing “an affectionate twist on a classic tale of lovers on the lam, sprinkled with renegade hints of Thelma & Louise, Cloudburst is a life- and heart-affirming journey.” I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Hulu has added Pistols, the Hulu/Fx drama series. This is based on guitarist Steve Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol, and tells of the band from his perspective, as so we get a very different look at the Sex Pistols than past views. Toby Wallace plays Jones, who escapes an abusive home to meet manager/impresario Malcolm McLaren(Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and who morphs Jones’ band the Swankers into the Sex Pistols, and who has Johnny Rotten, aka John Lydon (Anson Boon), to frontman, instead of Jones. Louis Partridge stars as Sid Vicious, Emma Appleton plays Nancy Spungen, and Maisie Williams , Sydney Chandler, Talulah Riley, and Christian Lees also star., and this series is directed by the great Danny Boyle(Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire). And, though this series gets only a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, it gets an incredible 7.4/10 on IMDb. Melanie McFarland of Salon.com says “what some of us want is a different peek into a revolution, a taste of something real behind all the photos. What we get is another common souvenir, courtesy of a decently wailed version of a ditty we’ve heard before.” You decide.
Netflix actually has few new adds this week, with only one big title in Borgen-Power & Glory, the 2022 Danish updated political series. Sidse Babett Knudsen returns in her title role as Birgitte Nyborg, the first female prime minister of Denmark, who now serves the new prime minister Signe Kragh (Johanne Louise Schmidt) as her foreign minister. But when a new oil deposit is discovered in Greenland, it gives it’s people, with their large indigenous population, a chance to seize independence from Denmark, something Nyborg‘s own party, the New Democrats, and the prime minister, do not want. What follows is a crisis of faith for the old politician, faced with an up and coming new generation of politicos. Lars Mikkelsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Simon Bennebjerg and Özlem Saglanmark also star, and there are 8 episodes now available for streaming. and this series gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Tara Araiano of Vanity Fair writing its “the rare necessary TV revival...[that] still puts American political dramas to shame.” oh, and if you want to review past seasons, you can do that here. I’m watching. But Netflix also offers Two Summers, a 2022 thriller series. This tells of a group of friends that reunites after 30 years, for a birthday party visit to the same private island they visited decades ago. But the ugly truth that a rape occurred on the first visit, at an alcohol filled party, suddenly resurfaces when one of the men involved gets a text, threatening a release of a tape made of the heinous crime, unless payment is made. Tom Vermeir stars as Peter, one of the men involved, who receives the anonymous text, telling his fellow offenders, and they arrive at the assumption that the blackmailer will be at the party. But who is the extortionist..Sofie(Inge Paulussen), the woman they raped, or even one of the rapists, now anxious to make some money. An Miller, Herwig Ilegems, Kevin Janssens, Ruth Becquart Saskia and Vincent Van Sande also star, and Brecht Vanhoenacker directed all 6 episodes now available for viewing. and this series gets a 7/10 on IMDb. It’s not a perfect show, with too much sympathy shown for rapists, but, as Joel Keller of the Decider writes “despite the flaws, Two Summers is one of the more solid entries in this genre, mainly because it’s clear with its storytelling and has some well-defined characters among its massive ensemble.” Also new on Netflix is Bashar Shorts, a Saudi sci-fi series. Here, we get 6 different unnerving tales of life set in the near-future, with the line between AI and reality blurring even more, and with people troubled with retaining their independence from the technology that now infuses their whole world. There is the tale of Sumaya, who cannot make it to the mall without outwitting her self-driving car, and one of a birthday party with a holographic guest that upends everything. Elham Ali, Khaled Saqr, Aziz Garbawi, Fay Fouad, Sarah el Wakil and Ali Alsharif also star, and there are 9 episodes available for bingeing now. There is little information about this series online, without even an IMDb rating, but CNET calls it one of the “49 absolute best TV shows to watch” on Netflix, even comparing it to Black Mirror. So I’m watching. Netflix has also added The Perfect Mother, a 2022 French mystery series. Julie Gayet stars as Hélène Berg, a mother convinced that her daughter, Eden, played by Eden Ducourant, is innocent of the horrible murder of her rich date, Damien(Charles Créhange). But when her daughter is accused of the crime, and the story she tells doesn’t gibe with the facts, Hélène decides to investigate, with the help of her ex lover, lawyer Vincent Duc (Tomer Sisley). He takes the case, but as Anya‘s story falls apart, can Hélène accept the underlying truth that appears? Andreas Pietschmann, Maxim Driesen, Cyril Gueï, Sylvain Dieuaide and Inès Spiridonov also star, and Frédéric Garson directs all 4 episodes available now. And this series gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb, and Jonathon Wilson of Ready Steady Cut calls it “a lightning-fast, bite-sized whodunit….a perfect bite-sized binge-watch.” I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has Jana Gana Mana, a 2021 Indian crime drama. Here, when a young Muslim college professor Saba Mariam(Mamta Mohandas) is killed, with her body being burned and left behind for all to see. When the university chairman blames Saba herself, her students protest and cry for justice, with the police coming down hard on them. Under pressure, the government appoints ACP Sajjan Kumar, played by Suraj Venjaramoodu, to investigate, but when he finds the four people responsible, he is taken off the case. Knowing that government corruption is to blame, he ends up shooting the murderers himself, and so Kumar is defended in court by Adv. Aravind Swaminathan, played by Prithviraj Sukumaran, who seeks to prove the government’s corruption and complicity in the case. Sri Divya, Pasupathi Raj, G. M. Sundar, Shammi Thilakan and Dhruvan also star, while Dijo Jose Antony(Queen) directs. And this film gets an astounding 8.5/10 on IMDb. Deepa Soman of The Times of India writes “those who love a good political crime thriller inspired from real-life incidents can feast on Jana Gana Mana( The Minds of All People), that teaches you to think, question, challenge and more as a common man who consumes news at its face value.” I’m watching.
Amazon has a big add this week with Flag Day, the 2021 Sean Penn movie. Penn directs his daughter Dylan Penn as Jennifer Vogel, daughter of petty criminal John Vogel(Penn), who has to deal with the truth of who he really was when he is killed by police. When she and her family find he was one of the largest counterfeiters in U.S. history, they finally deal with a beloved father, who was never really there. Based on a Jennifer Vogel’s memoir Flim Flam Man: A True Family history, this stars Josh Brolin, Katheryn Winnick, Regina King(!), Norbert Leo Butz and even Hopper Penn(Sean‘s son) in a smaller role. It premiered at Cannes in 2021, but the script is rather thin, even though the performances are big. And so Flag Day gets only a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote it “has few tricks on offer but above all, delivers a solid reminder of Penn’s filmmaking talent, and welcome evidence that it runs in the family.” You decide. Amazon also has Season 1 of Topic‘s Pagan Peak, a 2019 Austrian-German crime drama series. Two detectives, German Ellie Stocker(Julia Jentsch) and Austrian Gedeon Winter (Nicholas Ofczarek) investigate a corpse that appears at the border, not knowing that it’s only the first in a series of murders. The killer wears a Krampus mask, and moves on to bombing a mall, always staying one step ahead of the investigation by hacking Ellie’s computer. Franz Hartwig, Hanno Koffler, Lukas Miko, Nataša Petrović and Theresa Martini also star, and there are 8 episodes available for gorging on now. And this series won numerous awards in 2019, including Best Casting and Sound Design at the German Television Academy Awards. And it gets an astounding 8/10 on IMDb. Thomas of the Leinwend Reporter calls it “one of the highlights of current German-language television. In eight beautifully illustrated, lavishly staged episodes, the series delivers atmospheric and well-acted genre entertainment that has plenty of potential for a sequel.” I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Amazon has added Season 1 of The End, the 2021 dark comedy series from Showtime. The great Harriet Walter(Killing Eve, The Crown)stars as Edie, a widow shipped off the family in Australia, and place in a retirement home after her attempts to kill herself have failed. Well-meaning daughter Kate (Frances O’Connor) admits her to a chic facility, which Edie hates, telling everyone she will try to die again. But though her husband’s death looms large, what really bothers her is his recently discovered diary, which recounts numerous affairs, rendering everything she thought was meaningful, hollow and insignificant. Kate’s family, meanwhile, is in turmoil, with her husband Christopher (Brendan Cowell) in jail, for a white-collar crime, and her teen children going through real difficulties of their own, including an attempted suicide. Morgan Davies, Ingrid Torelli, Brendan Cowell, Noni Hazlehurst and Sebastien Thornton-Walker also star, and there are 10 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets an impressive 7.2/10 on IMDb, with Kylie Northover of the Age(Australia) writing “it’s a joy to see older people, particularly women, in roles with genuine depth, and the divisive topic of the right to die being interrogated in such a unique fashion, at once profound and playful.” And, don’t worry, it’s funny! I’m definitely watching. But remember to watch these last two offers of television series before July 1, before they both return to their premium channels!
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!