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.
HULUHulu has no blockbuster adds this week, but there are some surprisingly good finds, like The Night House, a 2020 horror flick. Rebecca Hall(Frost/Nixon) stars here, as Beth, a woman shocked by the sudden suicide of her husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), who decides to live in the house he built for them beside a remote lake. But as her nightmares increase, and egged on by her husband’s cryptic suicide note and her own guilt, she begins to investigate, and finds images of women who look a lot like her. And he’s built another house in the woods, an exact opposite of their own, in the forest nearby. But for what purpose? Vondie Curtis-Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Stacy Martin, David ABeles, Christina Jackson and Samantha Buck also star, while David Bruckner directed. And this movie wasnominated for numerous awards in 2021, and went on to win the Chainsaw Award(!) for Best Screenplay at the 2022 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. And it gets a 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Lindsey Bahr of the Associated Press writing “confidently directed by David Bruckner from a clever script written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, The Night House excels in tension building -it is both unpredictable and unnervingly restrained.” But Hall is the best reason to watch, playing a strong, confident woman investigating something that she may not survive. I’m watching,.. if only from under the bed. But Hulu has also added How to Please a Woman, a 2022 Australian comedy. Sally Phillips stars as Gina, a 50 year-old woman given a stripper visit by friends for her birthday, whom she quickly has clean her house, after shrinking from the striptease. And so, when she’s given the boot from her job, solely for her age, she decides to start her own company to serve women like herself, who may not be comfortable with an outright burlesque, but would love to have it include a more practical service. Erik Thomson, Josh Thomson, Caroline Brazier, Hayley McElhinney, Tasma Walton and Cameron Daddo also star, while Renée Webster directs. and this movie gets a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times said “while its premise is at times iffy, the movie as a whole has a refreshing randiness about it.” I agree. I’m watching. Hulu also offers Connect, a limited 2022 Korean series from Disney+. Jung Hae-in plays Ha Dong-Soo, a young man whose life is upended when he is suddenly kidnapped by traffickers, who remove his eye, for illegal organ donation. But since Dong-soo is part of a race of humans who can’t die, he survives to go on when they pitch him off a roof. But he feels he cannot survive the visons he keeps seeing from his stolen eye, which is now being used by a serial killer, who is terrorizing Seoul. So Dong-Soo hunts the murderer down. Ko Kyoung-Pyo, Kim Hye-Jun, Kim Roe-Ha, Jang Hee-Ryung and Kim Ye-Gyeom also star, and there are 6 episodes available for viewing now. And this series gets a 6.5/10 on IMDb, and Jonathon Wilson of Ready Steady Cut says its “messy and overstuffed with ideas and occasionally wonky CGI, but Takashi Miike’s k-drama Connect deserves some attention for being proudly, determinedly weird.” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Hulu has added Crimes of the Future, the 2022 David Cronenberg sci-fi/horror movie. In a near-future world beset by climate change, and the accompanying mutations, performance artist Saul Tenser, played by Viggo Mortensen(!), shows off his own mutations, due to his “accelerated evolution syndrome,” to audiences, with his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux). But they are hunted by Timlin (Kristen Stewart!), from the National Organ Registry, who becomes captivated with Saul, but who may also have ulterior motives of her own. Don McKellar, Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Tanaya Beatty and Nadia Litz also star, and Cronenberg directs, of course, who wrote the script, as well. And this is a gory, dark and sometimes outright revolting piece, true to Cronenberg‘s previous work, but also acclaimed by some; when it premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or, and actually got a 6 minute standing O there. It went on to win the Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award at the 2022 Directors Guild of Canada, and gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you can sit through 6 minutes of this, you have a stronger stomach than I, but Mark Kermode of Observer (UK) said it “remains a footnote to the main body of Cronenberg’s work – a playful step back rather than an evolutionary leap forward.” You decide. Needless to say, I’m not watching.
Netflix has a huge add this week with Guillermo del Toro‘s Pinocchio, a 2022 stop-motion animated movie. Said by del Toro to be the third in his a spiritual trilogy, alongside The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, this is a darker, more grown-up tale than Walt Disney production, adhering more closely to Carlo Collodi’s 1883 classic novel. Pinocchio, voiced by Gregory Mann, here more weird and gangly than cute, is carved by Gepetto(David Bradley) from the tree that grows over his first son’s grave, only to have the wooden boy run off to see the world, and meeting circus ringmaster Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz) find him fascinating, and wanting to exploit him for his shows. Ewan McGregor(!) voices Jiminy Cricket, and Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton(!), Finn Wolfhard (!), John Turturro(!), and Cate Blanchett(!) also star, and stop-motion expert Mark Gustafson co-directed with del Toro, here. And this movie gets an incredible 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Sam Adams of Slate saying “del Toro finds in this oft-told tale both the heart that has allowed it to endure for so long and an idiosyncratic connection that makes his version feel new.” I’m definitely tuning in. But Netflix has also added Emily the Criminal, a 2022 thriller crime drama. Aubrey Plaza stars as Emily, here, a talented artist, deeply in debt with student loans, and yet unable to get a job because of a prior minor criminal offense, who suddenly gets an anonymous text asking if she wants to make $200. When she takes the offer, she finds herself working as a dummy shopper using stolen credit cards, for the attractive middleman, Youcef (Theo Rossi). and descends into a life of crime. As she becomes more deeply involved in Youcef’s crimes, she finds her life threatened by thugs, and finally, finds herself threatening the lives of others. Megalyn Echikunwoke, Jonathan Avigdori, Kim Yarbrough, Bernardo Badillo, Wesley Han and Gina Gershon also star, while John Patton Ford directed. This film has already been nominated for 6 awards this year, and went on to win Best Actress for Plaza and Best Feature Film at the Annapolis Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Deauville Film Festival. And it gets an amazing 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Justin Chang of NPR writing “but if Emily the Criminal isn’t always successful as a genre exercise, it’s thoroughly gripping as a portrait of a woman always operating in survival mode.” And I agree, Plaza‘s performance is a must see, especially before the Oscars, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards. And I’m watching. Netflix also offers Smiley, a 2022 Spanish romantic comedy series. This begins with Álex, played by Carlos Cuevas, unlucky in love and suffering a terrible breakup with his boyfriend, Lola, sends him an incensed voicemail, but in his fury, accidentally sends it to Bruno(Miki Esparbé), an architect. So when Bruno answers it, Álex is shocked, and the two begin a very on-again off-again romance, that seems destined to fail. Pepón Nieto, Meritxell Calvo, Giannina Fruttero, Eduardo Lloveras and Ruth Llopis also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets an incredible 8.1/10 on IMDb. Greg Wheeler of The Review Geek says it “has absolutely no right to be as good as it is. This funny, heartwarming and emotional romcom takes all the usual tropes you’d expect and transports them into an LGBTQ+ series that’s an absolute must-watch.” It’s on my list. Netflix has also added Crooked Lines of God, a 2022 Spanish psychological thriller. Based on a Spanish classic novel by Spanish journalist Torcuato Luca de Tena Brunet( purportedly used by Dennis Lehane), that has 1970′s private investigator Alice, played by Bárbara Lennie, gets herself admitted to a mental hospital for paranoia to investigate an unexplained death in that hospital. As other mysterious incidents occur, and even deaths, it becomes clear that Alice is not safe, but she cannot convince anyone of her sanity. And the question for her and the viewer becomes, what is real and what is not. Eduard Fernández, Loreto Mauleón, Javier Beltrán,Pablo Derqui and Adelpha Calvo also star, and Oriol Paulo(Julia’s Eyes) directs. And this movie, released in October in Spain, gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2/10 on IMDb, with Javier Ocaña of El Pais (Spain) calling it a “film without social or psychological airs, more procedural and of intrigue than the source novel, but equally irresistible and fun.” I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has added Cat, a 2022 Indian crime drama series. Randeep Hooda plays Gurnam Singh, here, a peaceful Sikh who worked as a CAT, or informant for the police in his youth, but cleaned up his act to live a quiet life raising his younger brother,Sunny (Danish Sood), in the Punjab. But when Sunny is arrested for drug dealing, Gurnam is forced to become a CAT once more to save him. He goes undercover for Detective Sehtab Singh(Suvinder Vicky), and gets back into the dangerous and dirty business he thought he had freed himself from. Pramod Pathak, Hasleen Kaur, Geeta Agrawal, Kavya Thapar, Jaipreet Singh and Dakssh Ajit Singh also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets an amazing 8.8/10 on IMDb, and Archika Khurana of the Times of India calls it “a riveting thriller that soars on the strength of strong performances by Randeep Hooda and the rest of the cast. So, if intense dramas with interesting plot twists pique your interest, you can also give this one a shot.” I’m watching.
Amazon has a big title added with Something from Tiffany’s , their in-house romance. Zooey Deutch(!) stars as Rachel, a New Yorker involved, but not committed, to Gary(Ray Nicholson), her boyfriend, so when she gets a Tiffany‘s gift from him for Christmas, she waits to open it, fearing a proposal. When she actually opens it to find an engagement ring, her boyfriend is as surprised as she is, since he bought her only earrings, so when she goes to give the ring back to it’s original buyer Ethan, played by Kendrick Smith Sampson, sparks fly, and they have a whole new problem, especially since Ethan‘s girlfriend Vanessa(Shay Mitchell)is still awaiting her ring…and her proposal. Rose Abdoo, Leah Jeffries, Jonica T. Gibbs, Javicia Leslie and Chido Nwokocha also star, and Daryl Wein(White Rabbit) directs. But, it’s a bit predictable, and gets only a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. Carla Meyer of the San Francisco Chronicle says it “rides the line between Hallmark cheese and the Hollywood gloss of big-screen rom-coms once headlined by its producer, Reese Witherspoon.” Still, if you’re in the mood for holiday romance, you could do worse. I’d rather watch. The Bad Guy, a 2022 Italian comedic crime drama series. This tells the story of prosecutor Nino Scotellaro, played by Luigi Lo Cascio, who devoted his life in Sicily to fighting the Mafia, only to be legally accused of working for them. But after he is sentenced to 15 years in prison, and a prison bus accident that sets him free, he opts for revenge upon all his enemies. But can he evade the authorities that seek him, while he carries out his plan? Selene Caramazza, Claudia Pandolfi, Antonio Catania, Vincenzo Pirrotta and Guia Jelo also star, and there are 3 episodes available for streaming now, with 3 more to come. And this series gets a whopping 7.9/10 on IMDb, and Joel Keller of The Decider says to stream it, adding its “a transformation and revenge tale, but one where the person being transformed is fundamentally good, and becoming bad just to enact revenge. It’s an interesting concept that should lead to an entertaining series.” And, finally, Amazon has added Hawa, a 2022 French comedy/drama. Sania Halifa plays the title character, Hawa, here, a 15 year-old living with her dying grandmother Maminata, played by famed Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, in Paris. As her grandmother works to find an adoptive parent for her, Hawa becomes increasingly frustrated with the prospective parents and sets out on a search of her own, and comes upon her hero Michelle Obama as the only reasonable solution, what with her own children leaving home. Titouan Gerbier plays her best friend Erwin, and rapper Mister V, Jérôme Pouly, Yseult, and Thomas Pesquet also star, while Maïmouna Doucouré(Cuties) directed. This film premiered at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival, and gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Tomris Laffly of Variety calls it “a bold celebration of taking up space in places you’re told you don’t belong, Hawa is a crowd-pleasing fable with a fluffy heart, fierce spirit and disarming sense of humor,” and I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!