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 very few notable adds this week, but do provide Indemnity, the 2021 thriller. Jarrid Geduld stars as Theo Abrams, an ex-firefighter who, after waking up next to his dead wife, and not knowing what transpired, must escape police and an unknown assailant, both hot on his trail. The fact that Theo suffers severe PTSD, causing sleep loss and a violent temper, doesn’t help his believability with the police. Nicole Fortuin plays his journalist wife Angela, and Gail Mabalane, Susan Danford, Andre Jacobs, Louw Venter and Abduragman Adams also star, and Travis Taute directed, along with writing this script. And this tight thriller gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Devika Girish of the New York Times wrote “haunted by the ghosts of many Hollywood blockbusters past, “Indemnity” trades plausibility and originality for a worthy substitute: a great deal of fun.” I’m definitely watching. Hulu has also added Try Harder!, the 2021 documentary. This considers life at one of the best high schools in the country, Lowell High School in San Francisco, where seniors vie to get into their targeted school, with the competition between excellent students is immense. Director Debbie Lum follows five students at the prestigious high school through their every day life, as they try to measure up at school, while facing the rigorous task of college applications. Many of the students are children of Asian immigrants, whose families pressure them to get perfect grades, and one teen is even facing homelessness. Still, Lum offers a piercing, yet light look at how tough it can be for college applicants in today’s world. And this enlightening doc was nominated for numerous awards this year and gets an astounding 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Amy Nicholson of Filmweek called it “a really well-crafted mix of the specific and the particular of the individual, and the larger. universal story of how screwed up the college admissions system have gotten.” It’s on my list. And Hulu has added Seasons 1 & 2 of Showtime‘s award-winning drama Vida. This tells the tale of Lyn and Emma, played by Melissa Barrera and Mishel Prada, respectively, two totally different Mexican-American sisters from East L.A., who are forced back together upon the death of their beloved mother, Vida. But when they discover the truth about their mother’s unconventional lifestyle, they find they have more in common than they realized. Ser Anzoategui, Chelsea Rendon, Carlos Miranda, Roberta Colindrez and Maria Elena Laas also star, and there are 16 episodes in all available to gorge on now. This series won the 2019 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and Best Director for Tanya Saracho at the 2021 Imagen Foundation Awards. And it gets an astounding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Eric Deggans of NPR saying “couching a familiar story in an authentic, specific experience helps create transformative, groundbreaking television. And Vida delivers.” I’m watching. And don’t forget, Hulu adds The Worst Person in the World, the last part of Joachim Trier’s Oslo Trilogy on Monday! One of the best movies of 2021, and my favorite, Renate Reinsve wonderfully plays Julie, here, a bright young woman lacking direction in her life, finding Aksel(Anders Danielsen Lie) an older successful comic book artist, but then finds herself becoming claustrophobic, and moves on to another man, Eivind(Herbert Nordrum). And then she wonders if she made a mistake. Thea Stabell plays Julie’s mom Ase, Vidar Sandem plays her neglectful dad, and Maria Grazia Di Meo, Lasse Gretland, Helene Bjørneby, Hans Olav Brenner and Karen Røise Kielland also star, while Trier co-wrote the script with Eskil Vogt, along with directing. And this movie was nominated for tons of awards last year, including 2 Oscars, and went on to win Best Actress for Renate Reinsve at the Cannes Film Festival, and Best Foreign Language Film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and the Portland Critics Association Awards. And it gets an amazing 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.9/10 on IMDb. Mark Kermode of the Observer (UK) said “blending melancholy wistfulness with unruly energy and piercing humour, it’s a down-to-earth tale of love and death, boosted by a brilliantly believable central performance and elevated by fantastical moments of hallucinogenic horror and ecstatic joy.” I agree. I’m watching. Again.
The biggest new title on Netflix has to be Hustle, the 2022 Adam Sandler movie. Here, Sandler plays down and out basketball scout Stanley Beren, who strikes gold when he finds Bo Cruz, played by Juancho Hernangómez, a prospect in Spain. But Stanley can’t sell his boss, 76ers owner Vince Merrick(Ben Foster) on Cruz, and so, quits his job, determined to boost his find. Queen Latifah plays Stanley‘s forbearing wife, Teresa, Jordan Hull– his neglected daughter, Alex, and Heidi Gardner, Maria Botto, Kenny Smith, Jaleel White, Anthony Edwards and Robert Duvall(!!) also star, while Jeremiah Zagar directs. And this movie gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, with David Fear of Rolling Stone saying “it’s a surprisingly good sports movie that wants little more than to be a surprisingly good sports movie, one that knows it’s working with creaky triumph-of-the-underdog clichés but is willing to do a full-court press to sell them.” It’s on my list. But Netflix also has First Kill, a horror/romance series. This tells the tale of a love story between Calliope, played by Imani Lewis, latest in a long line of monster hunters, and Juliette, played by Sarah Catherine Hook, who is, unfortunately, a vampire. And as their families disapprove, the kids stay together, until Calliope‘s parents actually decide to target Juliette and her vampire family. Elizabeth Mitchell, Will Swenson, Aubin Wise, Jason R. Moore, Dylan McNamara and Grace Dzienny also star, and there are 8 episodes available for gorging now. This series is based on a YA story by V.E. Schwab, who also wrote the first episode. But it is kind of cheesy, though, which may explain it 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Angie Han of the Hollywood Reporter says “it’s a pleasant distraction that goes down easy enough — but it comes nowhere near capturing the all-encompassing allure of a really irresistible binge, let alone of a forbidden first love.” You decide. Netflix also offers Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey, a 2022 docuseries. This unsettling series traces the rise and fall of the notorious Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS. When his father Rulon died and left dozens of widows, his son Warren married some of them, along with taking over leadership of the FLDS, later being forced to leave Utah over their doctrine of polygamy. The cult moved to Short Creek, Arizona, where he tightened his grip on the group and security, as well, eventually making it impossible to leave his Yearning for Zion Ranch, while separating members from their families in Utah. Jeffs at one point had 78 wives, 24 of whom were underage, and this series actually offers unseen archival footage of their lives on the ranch, as well as audio recordings of some of those wives. Which is one caveat of this series, it is definitely upsetting and to witness the stories of the young and abused women here. Still, director Rachel Dretzin maintains enough of a distance to give an effective look at the abuses and misogyny of a culture that allows such abuses. And it gets a respectable 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly writing “though the four-part series from director Rachel Dretzin is extremely hard to watch at times, the first-hand accounts from survivors are nothing short of awe-inspiring.” But remember, this has been called “has been called the ‘most traumatising’ Netflix true crime ever.” But, Netflix also offers the happier Straight Up, a 2019 romcom. James Sweeney stars as Todd, a young coder and housesitter with OCD, who tires of being gay and alone, and so decides to give being straight a shot, and tries to find a girl. Happily, he finds Rory, played by Katie Findlay, an equally hyper and lonely under-employed actress, who’s willing to give a sex-free relationship a whirl. But, of course, trouble lies ahead. Randall Park, Betsy Brandt, Dana Drori, James Scully, Tracie Thoms and Joshua Diaz also star, and Sweeney directed, along with writing this astonishingly witty script. And this film gets an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Gary Goldstein of the LA Times said “Sweeney and Findlay, who’s a real find, are head-spinningly good here, juggling their torrents of dialogue with aplomb.” I’m watching, twice. And, finally, Netflix has Intimacy, a 2022 Spanish crime thriller series. This explores the chaos that ensues when Malen Zubiri, played by Itziar Ituño, deputy mayor of Bilbao, has a sex tape leaked to the media, during her run for mayor. But as her anger erupts as her party asks her to resign, and she refuses and fights back, it becomes clear this is not an isolated incident, but a misogynistic crime that has hurt many women, including Ane(Verónica Echegui), who committed suicide after being publicly shamed for her released video. Patricia López Arnaiz plays Ane‘s outraged sister Bebo, and Emma Suárez, Yune Nogueiras, Ana Wagener, Elisabeth Larena and Miguel Garcés also star, and there are 8 episodes available now for viewing. And this gets a ridiculously low 5.7/10 on IMDb, with wonderful performances, suspense, and a very crucial message. Greg Wheeler of the Review Geek calls it “an important and intriguing thriller, ” and Ready Steady Cut says it’s a “insightful but exhilarating watch.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon‘s only big title this week is No Time to Die, the 2021 James Bond movie. In what seems like the millionth iteration of the James Bond story, Daniel Craig(!) returns to portray the spymaster, this time leaving retirement in Jamaica, at the request of a friend to rescue a kidnapped scientist Valdo Obruchev(David Dencik), creator of Project Heracles, a dangerous and ridiculous bioweapon, consisting of nanobots. Of course, things get hairy, and dangerous, but Bond also meets up with former girlfriend Madeleine Swann(Léa Seydoux), but when they both get infected with the nanobots, things get lethally complicated. Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz(!) also star, and Cary Joji Fukunaga(Beasts of No Nation!) directed. But even it’s all-star pedigree can’t save this movie for me, but it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is Craig‘s farewell performance as Bond. Wenlei Ma of News.com.au called it “on balance, a kinetic, expansive and stirring capstone to Craig’s adventures in those perfectly tailored Tom Ford suits.” You decide. I’d rather watch Season 1of The Paris Murders, a 2013 mystery series from PBS Masterpiece. Here, Odile Vuillemin stars as Chloé Saint-Laurent, psychology professor at Paris University and profiler for the Paris police, who investigates after receiving a panicked call on a late night radio hotline from a woman named Caroline, ending only in screams. Commissaire Lemark (Jean-Michael Martial), her partner, joins her the next day, but Chloé begins to wonder if the call was as it seemed, when they are pushed by the mother of a murder victim to solve his case before the 14-year statute of limitations for resolution on it expires. Raphaël Ferret, Valérie Dashwood, Philippe Bas, Vanessa Valence and Juliette Roudet also star, and there are 12 episodes available to devour before July 1, when they return to PBS Masterpiece country. And this series won Best Television series at the 2013 Festival de la Fiction TV, and gets an amazing 7.4/10 on IMDb. And though I can find no reviews of this show as I post, I love a mystery, so I’ll be watching. And, finally, Amazon has added June, Again, a 2021 Australian comedy. The inimitable Noni Hazlehurst(Little Fish, A Place to Call Home) stars as June, a woman long hospitalized for dementia, who suddenly regains her facilities, while not recognizing her nursing home or why she’s there. When the saccharine administrators tell her it will be a short-lived recovery, and want to keep her there, she bolts in a cab, and revisits her family, knowing she has little time to set everyone in her family straight. And the former businesswoman isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Stephen Curry stars as her former architect son Devon, Claudia Karvan as her daughter, Ginny, and Otis Dhanji, Nash Edgerton, Darren Gilshenan and Matilda Ridgway also star, with JJ Winlove directing, along writing the script. And because this movie well utilizes Hazlehurst‘s great wit, it’s not corny or overdone. This movie was nominated for numerous Australian awards last year, and went on to win Best Original Score in Film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards. And it gets an outstanding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Mel Campbell of ScreenHub writing it “captures something satisfying amid the bittersweet knowledge of life’s impermanence: that self-knowledge and care for others make it worth living.” I’m definitely tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!