Yes, it’s that time again, the weekend, and time 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 some big adds this week, like Antlers, the 2021 horror flick. Brought to us by producer Guillermo del Toro(!), and based on Nick Antosca’s short story The Quiet Boy, this takes place in a small coal mining town in Oregon, where the mines have been shuttered, people are out of work and addiction runs rampant. Here, a withdrawn and neglected boy, Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas), draws the attention of his teacher Julia (Keri Russell) with his dark scary pictures, and she becomes convinced he has had encounters with a legendary creature from Algonquin yore, a wendigo. So when her brother Sheriff Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons), investigates a string of murders, with body parts strewn about the area, Julia becomes convinced she knows what he should look for. Graham Greene(!), Jeremy T. Thomas, Scott Haze, Sawyer Jones and Amy Madigan(!) also star, and Scott Cooper(Hostiles!) directed. But the talent can’t save the paltry writing here, and so it gets only a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.6/10 on IMDb. Wenlei Ma of News.com.au wrote “laden with doom, viscera and its own seriousness, Antlers is a sometimes effective, sometimes frustrating horror movie.” You decide. But Hulu also has Rosaline, a 2022 comedy. Based on Rebecca Serle’s young adult novel When You Were Mine, this tells the story of Juliet‘s cousin, Rosaline, played by Kaitlyn Dever, recently an attraction for Romeo (Kyle Allen), thrown over when he met Juliet (Isabela Merced). Rosaline is incensed and bent on revenge, specifically, on stopping the (large) marriage between the two, with the help of Italian bachelor Dario(Sean Teale). Bradley Whitford(!), Minnie Driver(!), Christopher McDonald, Nico Hiraga and Alhaji Fofana also star, while Karen Maine directs. But Shakespeare fans like me will probably not love this, with vast inconsistencies with the original play, awful accents, and modern language. Still, it gets a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, with wide appreciation for Kaitlyn Dever‘s performance. But Natalia Winkelman of the New York Times says “it’s a clever enough gimmick. But in playing out the reverie, the movie epitomizes a du jour Hollywood adaptation style that’s nothing short of agonizing, planting one foot in the source material and the other in a cheeky 21st-century sensibility,” and I agree. I’m not watching. Luckily, Hulu has also added Standing Up, Falling Down, a 2019 comedy/ drama. Ben Schwartz stars, here, as Scott, a stand-up comedian, who unhappily returns home to live with his parents in Long Island. Broke and running out of options, he bumps into Marty, played by Billy Crystal(!), relieving himself in a sink in a bar bathroom. When Scott discovers Marty is actually his dermatologist, the two become friends, relieving the disappointments in both their lives. Eloise Mumford, Grace Gummer, Jill Hennessy, Leonard Ouzts, Debra Monk and Kevin Dunn also star, and Matt Ratner directed. This film won several awards in 2019, including Best Actor for Crystal, and Best Feature Film. And it gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. Michael Medved of The Michael Medved Show called it “a welcome surprise with a small budget but big heart.” I’m tuning in. And finally, Hulu has added See for Me, a 2021 thriller. Skyler Davenport stars as Sophie, a former ski champion recently blinded in an accident, who takes a job cat sitting a luxurious house in the mountains. Her over-protective mother recommends the See for Me app, which allows a sighted person to offers assistance by seeing through the user camera, which Sophie ends up downloading. She quickly bonds with her helper Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), a military vet and gamer, which helps when Sophie starts to hear noises, and realizes there are intruders in the house with her. Kim Coates, Laura Vandervoort, Emily Piggford, George Tchortov and Joe Pingue also star, while Randall Okita directs. And this movie gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Jude Dry of indieWire said it “wastes no frame in its brisk 92 minute running time, it’s a tightly-wound thriller propelled by enough turns that you won’t want to miss a beat.” I’m watching. If it’s not too scary.
Netflix has a big title added this week with The Watcher, a star-studded thriller series. Based(loosely) on a true story published in the 2018 New York Magazine article, this focuses on the ‘dream house’ bought by Nora, played by Naomi Watts, and Dean Brannock, played by Bobby Cannavale, in Westfield, New Jersey, moving in with their two kids, and great expectations. But as the pair starts receiving ominous letters from The Watcher, that threaten their children, the couple is caught between sticking up for themselves, as Nora would like, and protecting family, which is Dean’s first concern. And as the tension rises, with colorful and even weird neighbors accumulating on their list of candidates for ‘the Watcher,‘ the stresses on the couple’s marriage threaten to break the family apart. Jennifer Coolidge(!), Isabel Gravitt, David Lake Bloom, Christopher McDonald, Michael Nouri(!), Mia Farrow(!) and Richard Kind(!) also star, and there are 7 episodes now available for bingeing. And this series was created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, which may be a problem for thriller fans, with Murphy soaping the drama up a bit, and leaving the tension behind. Still, it gets a very respectable 7/10 on IMDb. But Joel Keller of the Decider writes “SKIP IT. In another producers hands, The Watcher could have been a taut, tense thriller. But with Murphy and Brennan at the helm, it becomes more campy than tense, and even a stellar cast can’t save the show from itself.” And I tend to agree. I won’t be watching. Luckily, Netflix also offers Belascoarán, PI, a 2022 Mexican mystery series. Based on a series of books by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, this has Héctor Belascoarán Shayne, played by Luis Gerardo Méndez, quitting his job as a corporate lawyer in 70′s Mexico City out of frustration and as he puts it ‘asphyxiation,’ to become a private detective, or independent investigator, as he prefers to be called. Totally inexperienced, he’s aided by his sister Elisa(Irene Azuela), a union activist and one tough cookie, and his plumber Gomez (Silverio Palacios). And together the trio fight crime and vast corruption in Mexico City, and not to mention a strangler in the first episode. Paulina Gaitan, Irene Azuela, Mildred Mott, Macarena Garcia and Romero also star, and there are 3 engaging episodes available for goring on now. And this super fun series gets an amazing 8.3/10 on IMDb, and Karina “ScreamQueen” Adelgaard of Heaven of Horror says “if you’re looking for a crime-thriller series with both comedy and mystery, then this just might be one of the best new things on Netflix. Be sure to check it out!” And I’m definitely tuning in. But Netflix also has Jazzman’s Blues, Tyler Perry’s 2022 drama. But this isn’t your average Tyler Perry production, with no cross-dressing or broad comedy, instead, a story of Bayou, played by Joshua Boone, a jazz singer in 1937 Georgia, who meets LeAnne, played by Solea Pfeiffer, the young daughter of a well-off family. But that family doesn’t approve of Bayou, especially her mother, Hattie Mae(Amirah Vann), who has big plans for her daughter. Convinced her light-skinned LeAnne can ‘pass’ as white, Hattie Mae marries her off to a well off caucasian, and implicates Bayou with a dangerous lie that forces him to flee to Chicago. But the pair are destined to meet again. Brent Antonello ,Austin Scott, Milauna Jemai Jackson, Lana Young and Ryan Eggold also star, and Tyler Perry served as writer and producer, here, as well as director. And this movie gets a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 6.7/10 on IMDb. Andrew Lawrence of the Guardian writes “Jazzman isn’t just good for a Tyler Perry movie. It’s good full stop.” And I’m tuning in. Netflix also has Black Butterflies, a 2022 French thriller series. Nicolas Duvauchelle stars as Adrien Winckler, a struggling writer who takes an offer from an older retiree, Albert Desiderio, played by Niels Arestrup, to write his memoirs. Preparing himself for boredom, Adrien is instead confronted with a horrific love story, where Albert and the woman he loved, Solange(Alyzée Costes) indulged in a vengeful series of violent murders. As Adrien hears more, he is tempted to steal the outlandish story for a novel of his own, while Inspector Carrel(Sami Bouajila) investigates the cold cases the pair left behind. Axel Granberger, Brigitte Catillon, Lola Créton, Henny Reents and Marie Denarnaud also star, and there are 6 episodes available to devour now. And this series gets an incredible 7.5/10 on IMDb. And acinetvreview says that “skillfully juggling between flashbacks, the narration plays with time with great precision, the better to stage the electric face-to-face that inevitably develops between Niels Arestrup and Nicolas Duvauchelle. A thriller full of crazy twists and turns. These Black Butterflies have not finished haunting you. I may watch…from under the bed. And, finally, Netflix has added Missing: The Other Side, a 2020 S. Korean Horror series. This series focuses on Kim Wook, played by Go Soo, a con man who barely escapes thugs with his life, winding up in a secluded village inhabited by the dead. These dead people are stranded on earth since they cannot find their bodies, and only Kim Wook can see them, and he winds up helping them solve the mystery of their death, so they can finally rest in peace. Heo Joon-ho, Ahn So-hee, Ha Jun, Seo Eun-soo, Song Geon-hee and Lee Jung-eun also star, and there are 12 episodes now available for bingeing. And this series gets an incredible 7.7/10 on IMDb, and Jass K. of Jasmine Media called it “one of the best and most underrated Korean dramas of 2020.” I’m watching.
Amazon has one huge add this week with The Northman, Robert Eggers’ 2022 historical epic. Here, director Eggers(The Witch) brings us the hyper-violent tale of Amleth, played by Alexander Skarsgård, a Viking prince, bent on avenging the death of his father, King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke), at the hands of his uncle, Fjölnir (Claes Bang). Amleth joins up with a band of slaves, and meets Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), who speaks ancient tongues, and the pair team up to murder his uncle and save his mother the ex-Queen, Gudrún (Nicole Kidman). Oscar Novak plays the young Amleth, Ralph Ineson, Gustav Lindh, Rebecca Ineson, Olwen Fouéré, Björk and Willem Dafoe(!) also star, and Sjón and Robert Eggers wrote the script, here, along with Eggers‘ direction. And this film was nominated for several awards in 2022, including Best Thriller Film at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, and Best Supporting Actress for Taylor-Joy, Best Actor for Alexander Skarsgård, Best Director for Eggers and Best Picture at the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Awards. And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Nick Schager of The Daily Beast calling it a “death-metal ode to honor, retribution and sacrifice that casts payback in a surprisingly, and thrillingly, positive light.” But a bit too violent for me. Luckily, Amazon also offers access to Season 1 of Tales of Tomorrow, the 1951 sci-fi anthology series. In one of TV’s first sci-fi series, we get tales ranging from Shelley’s Frankenstein, starring Lon Chaney Jr(!), to stories of alien rockets crashing to earth, mutants on campus and a new race of immortal humans. And some of the stars include Thomas Mitchell(!), Leslie Nielsen(!), Thomas Redfield, James Doohan(!), Vera Massey(!) and Vicki Cummings, and works by sci-fi authors like Philip Wylie, Isaac Asimov(!), C. M. Kornbluth, and Robert Heinlein(!) are featured. And this fascinating series, with plenty of eerie theramin music included, gets an impressive 7.1/10 on IMDb. Just be sure to finish watching all 13 episodes available before November 1, when they disappear back onto the Best TV Ever channel. And its required viewing for sci-fi fans like me. I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Amazon has added High School, a 2022 Canadian comedy series. Based on the 2019 Bestselling memoir of the same name by Tegan and Sara Quin, this tells the tale of two twins, Sara And Tegan, played by Seazynn Gilliland and Railey Gillilan, respectively, who move to a new school in the 90‘s, at the same time their own relationship is on the rocks. And so the two, used to each other’s support, have to endure the stress of a new high school alone. Until they discover their guitars, and make music together. Cobie Smulders(!) plays their emotionally exhausted mother Simone, and Olivia Rouyre, Amanda Fix, Kyle Bornheimer, Esther McGregor and C.J. Valleroy also star, and there are 4 episodes available now, with 4 more yet to drop in coming weeks. And this series gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Rendy Jones of
RogerEbert.com calling it “a rich and timely teen drama that’s far more than just a gateway to becoming a Tegan & Sara fan.” And not just for teens. I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!