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 good adds this week, but none so hyped as Darby and the Dead, a 2022 teen horror/comedy flick. Riele Downs plays Darby, here, a less-than popular high school student who can see the dead, who is suddenly visited by her chief tormenter at school, head cheerleader Capri (Auli’i Cravalho), after she dies in a freak accident. It seems Capri still wants her Sweet 17 party, even after death, and wants Darby to make it happen, or she’ll haunt her forever. And, of course, Capri will remake Darby into a popular girl along the way. Chosen Jacobs, Asher Angel, Derek Luke, Tony Danza and Wayne Knight(!) also star, and Silas Howard directs. And this movie get a mere 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps given it’s predictable storyline. But appearances can be deceiving, because Riele Downs turns in an excellent portrayal, and a script that throws in some witty zingers now and then. And Natalia Winkelman of the New York Times says “as familiar as this tale of female transformation feels, there is an authentic sweetness to Darby and Capri’s fledgling friendship.” You decide. But Hulu also offers Kiss Sixth Sense, a 2022 S. Korean romantic mystery series from Disney+. This tells of of Hong Ye-sool, played by Seo Ji-hye, a young woman whose father was murdered when she was a child, and who see the future every time kisses someone, with visions good and bad resulting. When she accidentally(?) kisses her boss, Cha Min-hoo(Yoon Kye-sang), she learns they may have a future together, but what she doesn’t know is that he is investigating the murder of her father. And no one may be safe. Hwang Bo-ra, Yoon Jung-Hoon, Kim Gi-du, Jennifer Soo and Kim Hee-jung also star, and there are 12 episodes now available for bingeing. And this series, originally based on a toon series, gets a 7.3/10 on IMDb, but it doesn’t get all rave reviews. The South China Post says it “hits all the wrong beats.” You decide. Luckily, Hulu has also added Gone in the Night, the 2022 horror flick starring Wynona Ryder(!). Here, Ryder plays Kath, a woman who shows up with her boyfriend Max (John Gallagher Jr.) at a remote cabin they rented for the weekend, only to find another younger couple there, Al (Owen Teague) and Greta (Brianne Tju). When Max and Greta start openly flirting during a game, Kath turns in for the night, only to wake up in the deserted cabin, with Al outside telling her Max and Greta are gone. Though Kath tries to sluff the whole thing off and return to work and the city, she finally investigates, with the cabin’s owner, Barlow(Dermot Mulrooney!). But can she trust anyone, or anything she thinks is true? Sedrick Cabrera, John Gallagher Jr., Dustin Ingram, Yvonne Senat Jones and Alain Uy also star, while Eli Horowitz directs. And this film gets only a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the cast and the performances, are great. Lisa Kennedy of the New York Times said “twists galore follow, the torque of which surprises again and again.” So I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has Freddy, a 2022 Hindi Disney+ thriller. Kartik Aaryan plays the titular character, Freddy, a lonely dentist in search of a wife, who finally meets Kainaaz (Alaya F) and falls instantly under her spell. When he finds that she’s married, and to an abusive husband, he decides to use his dental skills to free her from him. Sajjad Delafrooz, Jeniffer Piccinato, Tarun Dudeja and Tripti Agarwal also star, and Shashanka Ghosh directs. And this movie gets an amazing 8.8/10 on IMDb, with Renuka Vyavahare of the Times of India writing “Kartik Aaryan is a revelation in this dark psycho-thriller.” But way too scary for me.
Netflix has a big title added with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a 2022 British adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s classic novel. Emma Corrin(The Crown) plays Connie Reid, here, who soon becomes Lady Chatterley, marrying Baronet Clifford Chatterley (Matthew Duckett) before he goes off to the Great War. When he comes home paralyzed, and still wanting an heir, he suggests his wife take a lover, purely for procreation, leaving her devastated. But when she meets gameskeeper Oliver Mellors, played by Jack O’Connell, she makes her move and their relationship soon moves beyond the ‘just physical’ stage, into a romance. And the Chatterley household takes notice, and erupt with indignation. Faye Marsay, Joely Richardson, Nicholas Bishop and Rachel Andrews also star, while Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre(The Mustang!) directs. And this film gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, Sheila O’Malley with of Roger Ebert.com saying “This new adaptation, directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, avoids the landmines remarkably well. The film shimmers and breathes, leaving space for discovery.” It’s on my list. But Netflix has also added Troll, a 2022 Norwegian fantasy adventure film. When rumbling begins at the mountain of Dovre, crumbling houses, no one suspects it’s the awakening of the legendary (and huge) troll, who soon lays waste to everything in his path, seemingly on his way to Oslo. Paleontologist Nora Tidemman (Ine Marie Wilmann) is called in, and soon she and the Prime Minister’s advisor, Andreas (Kim Falck) and soldier, Kris (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen). are running from the behemoth themselves, while trying to plan it’s demise, before it reaches the city. Gard B. Eidsvold, Anneke von der Lippe, Pål Richard Lunderby, Eric Vorenholt and Karoline Viktoria Sletteng Garvang also star, and Roar Uthaug directs, along with co-writing the script. And this movie gets a respectable 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Marco Vito Oddo of The Collider perfectly describing it as a “Scandinavian folklore spin on the Godzilla formula.” There’s nothing too deep here, but it sure is fun. And I’m watching. Netflix also offers Sr., a 2022 documentary. This is Robert Downey Jr.‘s bio pic dedicated to his father, the master director Robert Downey Sr.(Putney Swope), with multiple home videoes shot by Jr. himself, as the father and son talked and interacted through the years. In beautiful black and white shot by director Chris Smith (Fyre), we get to witness the rise of Downey Sr. during the 60′s and 70′s as a iconoclastic director of movies in underground cinema, while he raised his kids in an equally unconventional manner, even introducing them to drugs while they were teens. And so, Jr.‘s addiction is addressed, though not with blame or incrimination, the love between the two being the mainspring of this movie. That and Downey‘s Sr.s artistry and innovation both in film and family is unmistakable, too, with Sr. even editing some of Smith’s video for this movie itself. And it gets an incredible 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Gary M. Kramer of Salon.com calls it “understated, revealing, poignant, and funny…. Throughout “Sr.” its subject emphasizes how the best things often happen spontaneously. Smith’s film, a love story between father and son, reflects this salient point beautifully.” I’m tuning in. Also ne wand notable on Netflix is Farha, a 2021 Jordanian historical drama. This takes place in 1948, with the 14 year-old girl ,Farha, played by Karam Taher, pushing her father, played by Ashraf Barhom,to let her go to school, fighting the traditional gender norms of marriage and family. When he finally relents, she happily sets off with her friend Farida (Tala Gammoh). But things don’t go their way for long, when their Palestinian village is attacked by soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces, with their intent of taking over the village at any cost. When gunfire and violence overtake their town, Farha‘s father secretes her in the dark storage cellar, and she waits and watches as her friends and neighbors fall. Ali Suliman, Sameera Asir, Majd Eid, Firas Taybeh and Sameera Asir also star, and Darin J. Sallam(The Parrot) wrote the script and directed, here, as well. And this movie was nominated for numerous awards in 2022, like the Dragon Award at the Göteborg Film Festival and went on to win the Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the Malmö Arab Film Festival, the Special Mention Award at the Red Sea International Film Festival, and Best Youth Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. And it gets a stunning 8.4/10 on IMDb, with Beatrice Loayza of the New York Times saying it “depicts a relatively small-scale tragedy considering the scope of the violence. Yet the drama, which primarily unfolds in a tiny storage room, speaks volumes.” I’m definitely watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Hot Skull, a 2022 Turkish dystopian thriller series. Based on a book by Afsin Kum, in an Istanbul in quarantine, and fighting a disease, ARDS, which spreads madness by sound, or ‘jabbering,’ and so people wear noise-canceling headphones, and are fearful of hearing anything that might drive them mad. Our hero, Murat Siyavus, played by Osman Sonant, is a linguist who is immune to the disease, other than getting a bad fever, hence the ‘hot skull.’ And as Murat seeks the only man who can end the epidemic, Özgür Çağlar (Özgür Emre Yıldırım), Murat himself is of great interest to the Anti–Epidemic Institution (AEI). Tilbe Saran plays Murat‘s mother, Emel, and Hazal Subaşı, Kubilay Tunçer, Gonca Vuslateri, Sevket Çoruh and Hakan Gerçek also star, and there are 8 episodes available to devour now. And this sci-fi series gets an impressive 7/10 on IMDb, with Jonathan Wilson of the Review Geek calling it “quality, fresh take on the dystopian thriller…..[and a solid, intriguing, and extremely competent take on a well-worn genre.” And you know I love sci-fi. I’m watching.
Amazon has a hugely exciting add for mystery lovers like me with Three Pines, it’s new in-house mystery series. Based on the books of acclaimed author Louise Penny, this series features her seasoned Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, played by Alfred Molina(!), as he investigated murders in the remote village of Three Pines. There are 4 mysteries in all to be included here, each taking place in the weird little town that produces unusually high rate of murders per capita rate, with cases like an heiress found dead outside in a lounge chair in the snow, or the disappearance of an indigenous woman that the townspeople would like to forget. Through it all, Gamache is aided by local police officers Isabelle Lacoste(Isabelle Lacoste) and Jean-Guy Beauvoir(Rosif Sutherland). Anna Lambe, Sarah Booth,Anna Tierney, Julian Bailey, Marie-France Lambert and Tantoo Cardinal(!) also star, and there are 2 episodes available now, with 6 more to come in the future weeks. And this series gets a brilliant 7.3/10 on IMDb, and Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com calls it “a collection of intelligent two-hour mysteries that fans of Agatha Christie or even Columbo should watch.” I’m definitely watching. Amazon has also added the 2022 British drama series, Riches. This begins with the Roy family convening at the family estate for the reading of patriarch Stephen Richards’ (Hugh Quarshie), will, with the fate of the huge family company Flair & Glory held in the balance. And when an unlikely pair inherit, instead of their expected step-siblings, fireworks erupt and the ensuing tumult could threaten the company. Deborah Ayorinde stars as Nina, Emmanuel Imani stars as her brother Simon and Nneka Okoye, Sarah Niles, Ola Orebiyi and Brendan Coyle(!) also star, and there are 6 episodes available for viewing now. And this series gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Daniel D’Addario of Variety writing it “merges a sharply observed family dynamic with a high-stepping verve reminiscent of the best of the genre.” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Amazon Season 1 of the 2016 French crime drama series Munch, from it’s PBS Masterpiece Channel. This tells of attorney Gabrielle Munchovski, or Munch, played by Isabelle Nanty, who runs a law firm with her associate Hubert Bellanger (Lucien Jean-Baptiste), and doggedly defending the innocent and marginalized clients. Aurélien Wiik, Paloma Coquant, Tom Villa, Nicolas Carpentier, Hippolyte Girardot and Lola Andreoni also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now, which will all disappear January 1. And since it gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb, you might want to devour them as soon as possible, as so not to miss out. I certainly will..
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!