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 big adds this week, like The Bob’s Burgers Movie, the 2022 animated comedy. Based on the popular, emmy-winning series, this has Bob and the Belcher family looking forward to a successful summer, but fir they have to get an extension on their loan(they’re in debt up to their eyeballs) when a sinkhole opens right in front of the restaurant, which could spell disaster for their best season. So the kids embark on an adventure to solve a mystery, that could solve their parents problems. All the old gang is here, including H. Jon Benjamin(Bob), John Roberts(Linda), Kristen Schaal(Louise),Dan Mintz(Tina), and Eugene Mirman(Gene), as well as some regular guest stars, like Kevin Kline(Calvin Fischoeder), Zach Galifianakis(Felix Fischoeder) and Gary Cole(Sergeant Bosco). And Bob’s Burgers producer Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman direct the film. And it gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Adam Mullins-Khatib of the Chicago Reader writing “Bouchard and collaborator Nora Smith pen a fast and witty script, leaving few breaths absent of side jokes and offhanded puns. The pacing of the film drives straight forward.” If you enjoy the series, you’ll love this movie. I’m watching. But Hulu also offers The Hater, a 2022 comedy. Joey Ally stars as Dorothy here, an ardent liberal, anxious to change the world through politics, when she gets fired from her job on California senate campaign. So she returns home to Texas, to live with her grandfather Frank, wonderfully played by Bruce Dern(!), when she finds her old nemesis Brent (Ian Harding), is running for the State Senate seat. Remembering his dirty tricks pulled to win the class presidency, she becomes determined to beat him for Republican nomination, then dropping out, and guaranteeing the seat for the Democratic opponent. But as she befriends some of her Republican foes, Dorothy realizes that they aren’t all bad, and maybe she was wrong to try to game the system. Meredith Hagner, Ruby June Arnold, Michael Andrew Baker, James L. Brewster and Nora Dunn(!) also star, while Joey Ally makes her directorial debut. And this film gets an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Tim Cogshell of FilmWeek says “this movie manages to do correctly what a film like Don’t Look Up did so badly, which is to have a political point of view and believe in it while knowing that not everyone on your side of the camp is great while not everyone on the other side is evil.” I’m definitely tuning in. Hulu has also added Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons, a 2022 in-house docuseries. This three-parter examines the rise of Victoria’s Secret and it’s founder Leslie Wexner, branding the stores as empowering women through their hypersexualization(?), until in the early 2000‘s it all started to come apart. There was the bad publicity of Wexner opposing plus sizes and trans models, but what was never known was the CEO’s close relationship with the celebrity sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. It turns out, they were quite close, with Wexner selling Epstein certain properties, socializing and finally, with Wexner offering Epstein power of attorney, giving him an in for every possible situation. And, most disturbingly, there are first-hand stories of Epstein using that position to prey on women, like Alicia Arden, who went to what she thought was a job interview, and instead was assaulted by Epstein in a hotel room. Matt Tyrnauer directed this truly disturbing series, which gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Lucy Mangan of the Guardian says “it turns out that the multibillion-dollar lingerie chain that marketed its models as the last word in hotness and glamour was a ruthless capitalist enterprise dogged by accusations of harassment, corruption and abuse.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added The Cursed, a 2021 horror flick. This tells of a village in 19th century France, where mysterious deaths are occurring, soon after the cruel lord Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie) has his goons slaughter a group of campers on his land. Laurent’s children go to investigate the bloody site, with horrific and ghoulish results, and the deaths begin. Pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook), whose family was killed by werewolves, goes to investigate, and soon finds himself hunting the creature responsible. Kelly Reilly, Amelia Crouch, Max Mackintosh, Roxane Duran, Nigel Betts and Simon Kunz also star, and Sean Ellis is the writer and director, here. And this film premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for 5 awards this year, including Best Film at the Gérardmer Film Festival, and Best Director and Best Writer at the Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival. And it gets a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Tasha Robinson of Polygon writing “there’s a sumptuous feel to the staging — the costumes and sets all have weight, and the cast brings a compelling, convincing intensity to the material, but this is primarily a movie to watch for the visuals.” But this gory and oppressive experience is too scary for me, however artistic it is. I’m not watching.
The biggest title added on Netflix this week has to be Persuasion, yet another iteration of Jane Austen‘s classic novel. This one stars Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, a nonconformist who, with her family on the edge of bankruptcy, and forced to rent their Kellynch Hall out to Anne’s former suitor, Captain Frederick Wentworth, played by Cosmo Jarvis. Despite all the pressures of the day, Anne resists the obvious option to marry, much to the dismay of her father, Sir Walter (Richard E. Grant). Nikki Amuka-Bird, Henry Golding, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Suki Waterhouse and Nia Towle also star, and Carrie Cracknell directs. But if you love (or respect) Jane Austen, this is not the movie for you, as it’s totally updated, with the 4th wall broken for Johnson’s clever asides, and a modern spin put on everything. Along with Johnson’s belabored British accent . And so it gets only a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, and David Sims of The Atlantic says it “at times seems embarrassed by its source material, or at least overeager to spruce it up for audiences that might not be able to handle a gentler pace. The result is harried and forgettable.” I’ll skip it, and read the book instead. But, luckily, Netflix also offers Alba, a 2022 Spanish thriller/drama series. Elena Rivera stars as Alba, a young woman who wakes beaten and bruised, on the beach, after being gang raped, but with no memory of her attack or attackers. Her family rushes to her aid, and her boyfriend Bruno, played by Eric Masip, seems supportive and concerned, but as the investigation continues, and Alba memory returns, it becomes clear Bruno‘s rich friends are responsible, and Alba‘s support falls away, and the rich family of one of the boys moves mountains to coverup the crime. But are there other women victimized by the gang, as well? Caterina Mengs, Candela Cruz, Franky Martín, Jorge Silvestre, Tito Valverde and Adriana Ozores also star, and there are 13 episodes available to stream now. And it gets a 6.2/10 on IMDb, and Pooja Sharma of LeisureByte calls it “a riveting and tragic Spanish drama…one of today’s most powerful series that provides a realistic take on issues such as feminism and gender roles in the modern world.” And CNET calls it one of the 49 absolute best tv shows to watch. I’m definitely watching. Also new and notable on Netflix is How to Change Your Mind, a 2022 science mini-series. An outgrowth of Michael Pollan’s Bestseller of 2018, this series examines the positive impact of psychedelic drugs like mushrooms, psilocybin, LSD and mescaline on psychiatric diseases and disorders like Depression, PTSD and even alcoholism. Each of the 4 episodes here deals with a different drug, like psilocybin or LSD, how it works on the brain, and we hear from both scientists working in the field, and patients who have been helped by the therapy. We hear from plenty of scientists, like therapist Ben Sassa who describes himself as a ” pretty conservative and sober scientist, but it works,” and patients who said just a few treatments saved their lives. It’s impressive stuff, well told by directors Lucy Walker and Alison Ellwood. And it gets an incredible 8.2/10 on IMDb., and Ameen of Leisure Byte calls it “an eye-opening watch, especially if you have grown up with drugs are evil propaganda.” I agree, and I’m tuning in. Also new on Netflix is Valley of the Dead, a 2020 Spanish zombie flick. This takes place during the Spanish Civil War in 1938, with both sides killing each other with a fury, until they are beset by a whole new threat, zombies, rising from the ruins of their battles. When the Captain Jan Lazano(Miki Esparbe) and other fighters find that the zombiesm is caused by a blue powder contained in German bombs, the Nationalists and the Republicans find they have to unite and fight together against the undead. Aura Garrido, Luis Callejo, Luis Callejo, Jesus Carroza, Mouad Ghazouan and María Botto also star, and Javier Ruiz Caldera and Alberto de Toro co-direct. And this movie gets a 5.7/10 on IMDb. It’s kind of silly, but that’s what makes it fun! and Greg Wheeler of the Review Geek writes “may not bring anything new or different to the zombie field, but that’s not to say it isn’t a fun ride.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix has added Image of Victory, a 2022 Israeli war drama. Based on a true story, this tells of Egyptian journalist Hassanin, played by Amir Khoury, is paid to document the fighting over the Kibbutz Nitzanim. While there the Arab reporter meets the enchanting Mira Ben Ari, played by Joy Rieger, a young Jewish mother and fighter, and is torn by his employers, who want to see only the Arab side, and Jewish leaders, who want only their side told, as well. With the ordinary people caught in the crossfire. Yadin Gellen, Neta Roth, Meshi Kleinstein, Tom Avni, Alaa Dakka and Meshi Kleinstein also star, and Avi Nesher directs. And this film was nominated for 15 Israeli Ophir awards, and went on to win Best Makeup for Emily Faudem and Best Cinematography for Amit Yasur. And it gets an amazing 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.4/10 on IMDb. Hannah Brown of the Jerusalem Post wrote “in more than two decades of professional movie reviewing and even more of movie-going, it is one of the best movies I have ever seen. You will leave the theater filled with love and a desire to live life more fully.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has a big add this week with Don’t Make Me Go, a 2022 drama. John Cho stars, here, as Max, a single father who discovers he has an inoperable brain tumor, and decides to take his teen daughter, Wally, played by Mia Isaac, for a summer road trip to his 20th high school reunion. Wally is unaware of any problem, but Max hopes to find the girl’s estranged mother at the reunion. Kaya Scodelario stars as Max’s girlfriend Annie, and Jemaine Clement, Mitchell Hope, Stefania Owen and Jen Van Epps also star, while Hannah Marks directs. But this is pretty standard, cliched material, and so it gets only a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. Benjamin Lee of the Guardian says “a film that should be radiating warmth and humanity is in fact surprisingly cold, almost factory-made, a drama about the messiness of family that feels far too tidy.” Luckily, Amazon also offers Tin Star, a 2019 mystery series. Tim Roth(!) stars as Jack Worth, a former UK undercover cop who opts for a gig as police chief in a small town in the Canadian Rockies for a quieter life for himself and his family. But things aren’t as they seem in Little Big Bear, as a big oil company has plans for an oil refinery in the area, causing a schism within the community, and violence naturally ensues. And so Jack‘s former addictions loom large, tempting him with each new crisis. Sarah Podemski, Christina Hendricks, Abigail Lawrie, Oliver Coopersmith and Genevieve O’Reilly also star, and there are 3 seasons now available, with 26 episodes in all to enjoy. And it’s won some awards over the last few years, including Best Actress-Television for Abigail Lawrie at the BAFTA‘s. and the Gold Award for Dana Elena McCready at the New Zealand Cinematographers Society. And it gets a stupendous 7.2/10 on IMDb, with Brad Newsome of the Sydney Morning Herald said “Roth is great to watch and it’s very much his character’s show.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Amazon has Mr. Jones, a 2019 historical thriller. This is based on the true story of Welsh reporter Gareth Jones, played by James Norton(Nowhere Special, Grantchester) who risked his life in the 30‘s to tell the story of Joseph Stalin, and his human rights abuses, including his manmade famine in Ukraine. Vanessa Kirby(!) stars as Ada Brooks, another reporter scouting the story, and Peter Sarsgaard plays depraved expat Walter Duranty, who will give any story a pro-Stalin slant. Krzysztof Pieczyński, Joseph Mawle, Beata Pozniak, Kenneth Cranham and Fenella Woolgar also star, and Agnieszka Holland directed. This film was nominated for multiple awards in 2019 & 2020, including for the Golden Berlin Bear at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival, and went on to win Best Film at the Polish Film Festival. And it gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Tomris Laffly of RogerEbert.com wrote “compelling watch throughout in spite of its rambling feel.” I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!