Yes, it’s that time again, the weekend, and I’m back(after technical difficulties last week) to review the best new movies and television shows added online this week(and last week), to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. And there are some exciting new adds this week, so let’s get started!
Hulu has a huge add this week with Prey, the 2022 sci-fi thriller. A prequel to the Predator story, this takes place in 1719, where Naru, played by Amber Midthunder, a young Comanche trained as a healer, dreams of a being a great hunter, in the tradition of her brother Taabe, played by Dakota Beavers. So when she sees a “thunderbird”(really a spaceship) in the sky, she sees it as a sign, and soon, while the pair hunt a mountain lion, Naru finds the real threat is something much more menacing than any earthly creature. Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, and Julian Black Antelope also star, and Dan Trachtenberg(10 Cloverfield Lane!) directs. This premiered at this July’s San Diego Comic-Con, and gets an amazing 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.2/10 on IMDb. Christy Lemire of FilmWeek says “you may think you don’t need another Predator movie in your life, but you need this one — it is awesome.” But it might be too scary for me. Luckily, Hulu also offers Not Okay, a 2022 comedy. Zoey Deutch(!) stars here, as Danni Sanders, a young aspiring writer, desperate for attention and Instagram success, who finally breaks down and fakes a trip to Paris, from her mundane NYC existence. But when a terrorist attack strikes the City of Light the same day, she wakes to find herself awash in attention, with her mother, Judith (Embeth Davidtz) and followers alarmed. Even the jerk she likes at work, Colin (Dylan O’Brien), pays her heed. So, of course, she keeps up the illusion, and finds herself hailed as a hero, with her byword(s) “I am not okay.” But, of course, it has to all come crashing down. Mia Isaac, Sarah Yarkin, Karan Soni, Nadia Alexander, Brennan Brown and Neigh Farsad also star, and Quinn Shephard(Blame) directs. And it gets a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Brian Lowry of CNN says “isn’t the kind of movie that’s going to amass a vast audience, but it is one of those of-the-moment ideas that makes you take inventory of where we are, and the manipulation that can play into who commands the spotlight.” And Zoe Deutch makes everything better, so I’m watching. Hulu has also added Topside, a 2020 drama. Celine Held stars as Nikki, a young mother who lives with her 5 year-old daughter, Little, played by Zhalia Farmer, in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York City, having been evicted from their apartment. Little doesn’t remember the above ground world, so when the pair get evicted even from the subway, their flight through the icy winter streets of the city are frightening. And when the pair are separated on the subway, the terror is unbearable. Fatlip, Jared Abrahamson, Cynthia Tombros, Liz Cameron and Tavante Conyers also star, and Celine Held(!) and Logan George co-direct. And this film was nominated for multiple awards in 2020, and went on to win Best Technical Contribution for Held and George at the Venice Film Festival, and Best Narrative Feature at the SXSW Film Festival. And it gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Sheri Linden of the Hollywood Reporter calling it a “striking debut, cinematic and affecting.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has Hatching, the 2022 Finnish horror flick. This tells the tale of Tinja, a 12 year-old gymnast living under the pressure of her perfectionist(and cruel) influencer mom, played by Sophia Heikkilä. So one day, when Tinja finds an egg, she keeps it warm and protects it, until it hatches. But as the creature, nicknamed Alli, grows, it becomes clear it is a doppelganger of Tinja, and may express the girl’s suppressed anger in horrific ways. Jani Volanen, Reino Nordin, Oiva Ollila and Ida Määttänen also star, and Hanna Bergholm directed. This film was the hit of the awards circuit earlier this year; premiering at Sundance, it went on win the Grand Prix and the Prix du Jury Jeunes at the Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer 2022. And it gets an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Christy Lemire of FilmWeek calling it “completely [creepy], but also surprisingly sweet and observant about what it’s like to be a 12-year-old girl.” But there is a lot of graphic violence, here, with cruel violence toward animals and people. So I won’t be watching.
The monumental add for Netflix this summer is finally here, the 2022 sci-f/ fantasy series based on Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman. Tom Sturridge stars as Dream, aka the Sandman, who escapes from a 106 year long captivity, and set out to put the dreams and nightmares that have escaped his kingdom back in their rightful place. To do so, he must recover his magical items that give him his power, while earthlings deal with the nightmares that come to live on Earth. Charles Dance(!) stars as Dream‘s captor, Roderick Burgess, and Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar also star, and there are 10 episodes available for gorging, now. But this series gets only an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps because of the unrealistically high expectations surrounding it. But it also gets an 8.3/10 on IMDb, and Karama Horne of TheWrap calling it “a beautifully rendered and riveting horror thriller series with the potential to be a huge hit. Hopefully Netflix gives it another season for us to meet more of The Endless, and to work out its flaws.” You decide. Netflix also had a big add last week with Uncoupled, a 2022 romcom series. Neil Patrick Harris(!) stars, here, as Michael Lawson, a super successful real estate broker whose world is turned upside down, when his boyfriend of 17 years breaks up with him and moves out, on Michael’s birthday. So, at 50, he has to start all over, with no idea of how to be single again, not to mention dealing with his high pressure job, and his demanding boss, Claire(Marcia Gay Harden!). Luckily, he has his best friends, Suzanne(Tisha Campbell-Martin) and Billy(Brooks Ashmanskas). Emerson Brooks, André De Shields, Tuc Watkins, Nic Rouleau and Stephanie Faracy also star, and there are 8 juicy episodes available to eat up now. And if this reminds you of Sex and the City, you won’t be surprised that Darren Star, producer of that famed series, is one of the creators of this show, as well. And it gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Kevin Fallon of the Daily Beast says it “hits the tonal sweet spot for this kind of show.” It’s on my list. And Netflix also has Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99, a 2022 docuseries. This tells of the ill-fated effort in 1999 to relive the Woodstock experience, with organizers like promoter John Scher and Woodstock owner Michael Lang setting it up, and artists like James Brown(!), Jewel, Sheryl Crowe and Fatboy Slim , that went sour fast. We get 3 episodes, here, one for each day of the festival, where hot weather, low food and water supplies, and rowdy crowds(some called them ‘frat boy’) quickly led to violence, that escalated into rioting as time progressed. We get talking heads like Jewel, Jonathan Davis of Korn, and Fatboy Slim, and best of all, Woodstock ’99 goers themselves. Director Jamie Crawford gives us a good, exciting idea of why things went south, with organizers cutting costs, and so cut down on food and water, and oh, held the event on a hot tarmac. And it gets a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com writes “so much in this story could have been prevented, and predicted, and this documentary shows its collapse with one compelling passage after the next.” It’s on my list. But Netflix also offers Wedding Season, a 2022 romcom. Pallavi Sharda stars as Asha, here, a workaholic banker in NYC, who moves back to Jersey after her engagement breaks up, but, though Asha is still happy with her life, her mother Suneeta (Veena Sood) is in a blind panic, afraid her eldest daughter will never marry. So Asha agrees to meet Ravi, played by Suraj Sharma, a man her mother picked out for her online, and so Asha comes up with a plan to fake people out as a couple for 14 upcoming weddings. But Ravi‘s unwillingness to play along may put a hitch in Asha’s plan. Sean Kleier, Rizwan Manji, Damian Thompson, Arianna Afsar and Ruth Goodwin also star, while Tom Dey(Failure to Launch) directs. And this movie gets an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Tamal Kundu of The Cinemaholic says “despite its problems and obvious predictability, Wedding Season offers a fun and fulfilling ride. Although it is billed as a romantic comedy, it makes a dramatic shift about halfway into its runtime. This change might be surprising but not unwelcome.” And, finally, Netflix has added Reclaim, a 2022 Taiwanese drama. Nina Paw stars, here, as Yeh Lan-hsin, a housewife and mother who works endlessly for her family, keeping their small apartment organized and happy, enduring her bossy husband(Johnny Kou), and supporting her grown daughter (Chia-Yen Ko) . But when she wants to bring her aged mother, suffering from dementia to live with them, Miss Yeh realizes they need a bigger apartment, and in Taipei, that means money. Lots of it. But while Miss Yeh searches for the perfect home, she finds she has needs herself, and that her happiness was never a priority. Chia-An Yu, Yi-Ching Lu, and Mason Lee also star, and CJ Wang directs for the first time. And this impressive movie gets a 5.8/10 on IMDB. Kira Comerford of ReadySteadyCut calls it “a thought-provoking watch on how we view the women in our lives.” And the acting is superb. I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has some big adds this week, but none bigger than Licorice Pizza, the 2021 comedy/drama. Cooper Hoffman plays 15 year-old actor, Gary Valentine, growing up in1970’s San Fernando Valley, when he meets 25 year-old Alana, played by Alana Haim, and is thunderstruck. Alana is wandering, deciding whether to be an actress ..or something else, and wondering why she spends so much Gary and his friends. On the way, they meet Jon Peters(Bradley Cooper), Jack Holden, based on William Holden (Sean Penn!) and L.A. mayoral candidate Joel Wachs(Benny Safdie). Tom Waits, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Danielle Haim, Este Haim and Christine Ebersole also star, while Paul Thomas Anderson(Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood!) directs. This film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards this year, 4 Golden Globe Awards, and was named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute. And it gets an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com writing “Anderson has harnessed all the thrilling, muscular techniques that are his directing trademarks as well as his affection for high drama as a writer and applied them to telling a story that’s surprisingly sweet.” I’m watching. But Amazon also offers Thirteen Lives, the 2022 action drama. Ron Howard directs this action pic, based on the real events of 2017 that fascinated the world, when 13 members of a Thai boys soccer team became trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave in Thailand. Viggo Mortensen(!) plays Richard Stanton, a cave diver, who along with other hobbyist divers, come to save the boys and their coach. Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman also play some of the rescuers, while the Thai people effected by the tragedy, both parents and children, seemingly merit little screentime, here. Pattrakorn Tungsupakul, Theerapat Sajakul, Teeradon Supapunpinyo and Sahajak Boonthanakit also star, and William Nicholson (Everest) wrote the screenplay, while Howard directed and produced. But this is a surprisingly But it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly says “the filmmaking itself ultimately comes off more procedural than soaring, but also refreshingly stripped of the cloying or sentimental: a remarkable story torn from true life, and faithfully told.” You decide. And, finally, Amazon has last weeks amazing add, Paper Girls, the 2022 sci-fi series. Based on a comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan, this finds 4 paper delivery girls, played by Riley Lai Nelet, Fina Strazza, Camryn Jones and Sofia Rosinsky, from 1988 Ohio transported forward in time to 2019. There, dazed and confused, they find the future self of paper girl Erin, played by Ali Wong, who may help them return to their own time, if she is convinced they’re not crazy. But that’s only the beginning of their problems, because the kids are embroiled in a time war, waged between the pro-travel, and anti-travel factions, that may endanger their lives. Nathan Corddry, Adina Porter, Sekai Abenì, Daniel Rashid and Meg Thalken also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets a stunning 7.2/10 on IMDb, and an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Lucy Mangan of the Guardian wrote “it is tremendous fun. It has great Stranger Things energy (or should that be The Goonies and Stand By Me meta-energy?) but everything feels fresh.” I’m tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!