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 one big title added this week, just The Princess, it’s in-house adventure movie. Joey King stars as the title character, named merely ‘the princess,’ who is betrothed to an overbearing suitor(Dominic Cooper), thanks to her spineless father, played by Ed Stoppard. So when she finds herself chained in a tower, waiting for her unwilling ceremony, she decides to fight her way out, with chain waving threat, and bone-breaking kicks. Veronica Ngo plays Linh, who befriends her, and joins her in her fight for freedom, and Olga Kurylenko, Antoni Davidov, Radoslav Parvanov and Ludmil Kehayov also star, while Le-Van Kiet directs. And, though this movie gets only a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, I loved it. It is a bit bloody, but as Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times said, it’s ” an unabashedly feminist action-adventure in which the central character rises from her dormancy to slash the patriarchy. It couldn’t be more timely, and it’s a good time too.” I agree, and I’m tuning in. Hulu has also added Every Last Secret, the 2022 drama. Sophie Turner stars as Penelope, a NYC teen who takes a veteran, Freeman Bender(Mark Kassen) on parole, who suffers from PTSD, and has definite tendencies toward violence. So Penelope‘s father Mr. Ancilla(the late Ray Liotta!) isn’t too pleased and is worried for his daughter, who won’t stay away from Freeman, even at his own request. But does her father have the same violent tendencies? Meadow Williams, Ivana Milicevic, Mark Margolis and Paulina Singer also star, and Matthew Coppola directed. This movie is so new, I could find few reviews, not even an IMDb rating. But it is violent and dark, with few assets, but for the late, great Ray Liotta. You decide. Hulu also offers The Accursed, a 2022 horror fable. Yancy Butler plays Hana, here, a woman from the Balkans whose family is cursed by a woman she betrayed, Aishe (Jena Carpenter),years ago, with the curse following her family to America. Though Hana and her sister Naida(Melora Walters) have fought it for years, on the eve of the wedding of Hana’s son Petar (George Harrison Xanthis), the curse is released with a vengeance. Goran Visnjic, Izabela Vidovic, Dana Melanie, Miraj Grbic and Brianna Joy Chomer also star, and Elizabeta Vidovic, Kathryn Michelle wrote the script, and co-directed, as well. And this movie, too, has few, ratings or reviews, but gets a 5.4/10 on IMDb. John Townsend of Starburst calls it “an impressive, at times unsettling watch, but lacks any moments of real terror to elevate it into something memorable.” I’m not watching, but for you horror fans, this may do the trick. And the pickings are slim, this week. And, finally, Hulu has added the British Shameless series. This series tells the story of the Gallagher family of Manchester, with the alcoholic Frank(David Threlfall) mostly absent(drunk), and so his daughter, Fiona(Anne-Marie Duff) picks up the slack and cares for her 5 siblings and their problems. And there are plenty of problems in their housing project, with debt collectors always about, and family members always trying to get by with little money they have, even if they have to break a few rules to do so. Annabelle Apsion, Maggie O’Neill, James McAvoy(!),Jody Latham, Gerard Kearns and Rebecca Ryan also star, and there are 11 stunning episodes available to gorge on now. And this show has won tons of awards and nominations and won Best Drama Series at the BAFTAs in 2005, Best TV Comedy Drama at the British Comedy Awards, that same year, and Best Drama Series/Serial and Best Actress for Duff at the 2005 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. And it gets an amazing 8/10 on IMDb, and David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle said “like other BBC America offerings, Shameless will leave you wondering why American TV can’t be this good.” I’m tuning in, but with subtitles, because the Manchester accents here are thick!
Thankfully, Netflix does have more good adds this week, like A Call To Spy, a 2019 spy drama. This is based on the true story of Virginia Hall, played by Sarah Megan Thomas, some of her comrades, who became the first female spies working for Britain, nicknamed Churchill’s Secret Army, in WWII. Radhika Apte stars as Virginia’s fellow trainee and friend, and an ace wireless operator, with the group being headed by Romanian-born Vera Atkins (Stana Katic). But as the women are sent into occupied France and thought to be less likely to be targeted as spies, the question is, will they survive, without being fingered? Joey King also stars here, as do Abby Quinn, Linus Roache, Rossif Sutherland, Samuel Roukin and Andrew Richardson. And Lydia Dean Pilcher(Normal) directed, while Sarah Megan Thomas also wrote the screenplay. And this movie gets a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Tim Cogshell of FilmWeek writing “the history here is extremely important and these are people whose names we need to know. There’s an OK little spy thriller in here, too, but it’s a little clumsy.” I’m definitely tuning in. Netflix also offers Blasted, a 2022 Norwegian sci-fi thriller. Here, a bunch of guys set off for scenic Hessdalen, for a bachelor party for Sebastian (Axel Bøyum), along with laser tag party, courtesy of his friend, Mikkel (Fredrik Skogsrud), a laser tag prodigy. But after all the venues, like the observatory and paintball course are empty, and finally they meet up with some people with oddly glowing eyes, they find their laser skills serendipitous, because the aliens are susceptible to lasers alone. They are alone in the town with the rabid, zombified aliens, until they find the heavily pregnant policewoman Hjordis (Ingrid Bolso Berdal). What remains is an epically comedic fight between alien and humans, with plenty of ectoplasmic goo resulting from exploding aliens. André Sørum, Fredrik Skogsrud, Mathias Luppichini, Eirik Hallert and Evelyn Rasmussen Osazuwa also star, while Martin Sofiedal directs. And this delightful sci-fi romp gets few ratings, since it’s so new, but Romey Norton of Ready Steady Cut calls it “two hours of intense insanity. It’s captivating, entertaining, and it’s hard to believe it’s based on a real event.” I’m watching twice. But Netflix has also added Falls Around Her, a 2018 Canadian drama. Indigenous actress Tantoo Cardinal stars as the famous Anishinaabe musician Mary Birchbark, who returns home to northern Ontario, hoping to escape her celebrity. But few people understand, from her sister Betty, played by Tina Keeper, to her frustrated manager, Keith, played by Rob Stewart. But then Mary begins to suspect she’s being watched, and followed, and wonders if she left her difficult life behind. Gail Maurice, Johnny Issaluk, J.D. Nicholsen, Hope McGregor, Billy Merasty and Will Strongheart also star, and Darlene Naponse wrote the script, along with directing, here. And this film was nominated for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, along with Tantoo Cardinal getting a nomination for Outstanding Performance – Female at the 2019 ACTRA Awards. And it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Courtney Small of Cinema Axis wrote “anchored by Tantoo Cardinal‘s captivating performance, Falls Around Her is a nuanced and empowering story of a woman reclaiming control of her life and land.” I’m watching. Also new and notable on Netflix is Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a 2017 doc. Directors Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana give us a thorough education on how integral Native Americans have been on the Rock scene starting, with Link Wray‘s seminal work Rumble from 1958, that Robbie Robertson, a Mohawk, says “changed everything.” We go on to hear Iggy Pop say that guitar instrumental made him decide to be a musician, and the legendary Taj Mahal say “music..here in the United States is fully supported by input from native and Indigenous people.” And, indeed Bainbridge and Maiorana introduce us to many integral Indigenous musicians and singers like Mildred Bailey, Charlie Patton and Jesse Ed Davis. There are tons of great talking heads like Martin Scorsece, Steven Tyler, Iggy Pop, Taj Mahal and Buffy Sainte-Marie, but, best of all, plenty of archival clips of musicians and singers you may not have heard before, or certainly, never have known they were Native American. And this amazing documentary gets an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Jack Hamilton of Slate says it “feels like something much bigger than the film itself comes entirely together: four men on a stage, being musicians, being Indians, being Americans, playing rock ‘n’ roll.” I’m watching twice. And, finally, Netflix has added Extraordinary Attorney Woo, a 2022 South Korean legal drama series. Park Eun-bin stars as the truly extraordinary Woo Young-woo, attorney at the Hanbada law firm, blessed with a high IQ(164!) and photographic memory, while being saddled with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which leaves social situations a bit baffling. While her sometimes awkward behavior puts people off at first, with time she wins important allies, like Lee Joon Ho, played by Kang Tae Oh, another lawyer at the law firm, as well as her mentor, CEO Han Seon-Young, played by Kang Ki-Young, and Ha Yoon-Kyung, Jin Kyung, Seol Chang-Hee, Lee Sang-Kyung and Jeon Bae-Su also star, and there are 2 episodes now available, with 14 more loading in the coming weeks. And this series gets an incredible 9/10 on IMDb. Jonathon Wilson of Ready Steady Cut calls it ” a sensitive and well-observed depiction of autism, Extraordinary Attorney Woo gets off to a fine start.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has one huge title added with The Terminal List, a thriller series starring Chris Pratt. Based on a bestseller by Jack Carr, this has Navy Seal James Reece return home to after his entire platoon is ambushed and killed. But upon returning home wondering if he is at fault, and wants to know more, but faces the difficulty of cognitive impairment, not knowing which of his own memories are valid and reliable. But he gets help and support from his friend and former SEAL Ben Edwards (Taylor Kitsch) and investigative reporter Katie Buranek(Constance Wu). And, of course, there’s a government conspiracy involved. Jeanne Tripplehorn(!) stars as Secretary of Defense Lorraine Hartley, and Riley Keough, Arlo Mertz,Alexis Louder, Jai Courtney, LaMonica Garrett and Patrick Schwarzenegger also star, and there are 8 episodes now available for streaming. But this show doesn’t really pan out, with tired material weighing it down. So it gets only a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it also gets an 8/10 on IMDb, so action enthusiasts must be pleased. But I agree with Brian Lowry of CNN when he says “despite the promotional benefits of featuring star-producer Chris Pratt as a grittier kind of avenger, this brutal eight-episode slog squanders its talent in front of and behind the camera.” Just not for me. Amazon also offers House of Gucci, the 2021 melodrama. This tells the unfortunately true story of fashion’s Gucci family, focusing especially on Patrizia Reggiani, played by Lady Gaga, the brash newcomer to the family, upon her marriage to Maurizio Gucci, played by Adam Driver. But Patrizia is not welcomed by patriarch Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), she is determined and driven and talks her husband out of law school, and pushes her way into the business, while turning Maurizio against most of his family. And so it ends in murder. Jared Leto, Al Pacino(!), Selma Hayek(!), Camille Cottin and Jack Huston star, and the great Ridley Scott directed. But the end result is less than the sum of its parts, and we end up with a soapy mess. And, so it gets only a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Mara Reinstein of Us Weekly wrote “it’s long and poorly paced and plays too loose with the facts. Oh, well! The bonkers true story that chronicles the unraveling of the Italian fashion empire is also first-class frothy and fun entertainment.” You decide. And, finally, Amazon has added the 1st season of Gåsmamman, a 2015 Swedish suspense drama from MHZ Choice. Alexandra Rapaport plays Sonja Ek, here, a woman with a good life and a good job as accountant , but when her husband Frederik is killed, she finds things were not as they seemed, and her life, and her family’s lives, threatened. the Mafia claims her husband owed them a lot of money, and she must pick up the bill, or pay, big time. Allan Svensson, Morgan Alling, Anja Lundqvist, Grynet Molvig, Lisette Pagler and Shebly Niavarani also star, and there are 8 episodes available to gobble up before the August 1 deadline, when they all go back to their premium haunt. This show has been nominated for numerous awards in its 4 year run, and Alexandra Rapaport went on to win Best Actress at the 2017 Kristallen Awards. And it gets an incredible 7.5/10 on IMDb. I could find no reviews, but this show was a big hit with Swedes, with its first season getting the biggest audiences in 5 years there. It’s on my list.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!