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 a huge add this week with Kindred, a Hulu original sci-fi drama series. Based on acclaimed author Octavia Butler’s classic novel of the same name, this tells of Dana, played by Mallori Johnson, who moves to L.A. in hopes of becoming a tv writer, with her Aunt Denise(Elisa Davis) fearing for her and her inheriting her mother’s ‘fragile psyche,’ and ability to see things that weren’t there. And, sure enough, Dana suddenly finds herself transported back to 1815 Maryland, and the Weylin plantation there. Since Dana is black, being black on a 19th century plantation could threaten her life, but a little (white) boy seems to keep calling her back. And so Dana and boyfriend Kevin ( Micah Stock) set out to figure out just what is going on, before she disappears into the past forever. Sheria Irving, Ryan Kwanten,Cherrie McRae, Sophina Brown and David Alexander Kaplan also star, and all 8 episodes comprising the 1st season are available now. But this series covers only about the first third of Butler‘s famous novel, and so it gets only a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, it’s thrilling and exciting enough to get a 7/10 on IMDb, and Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly writes “this gripping adaptation, developed and exec produced by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen), expands Octavia Butler’s groundbreaking exploration of America‘s racist history into a profound puzzle-box thriller.” I’m definitely watching..but reading the book first. Hulu has also added I Love My Dad, the 2022 comedy. Patton Oswalt stars, here, as Chuck, a divorced father who messed up with his depressed son Franklin, played by James Morosini, one too many times, and so got blocked by him on social media. But Chuck becomes so desperate for a connection with his son that he creates a fake account online, using the pictures a pretty waitress, Becca(Claudia Sulewski) for bait. But when Franklin wants to meet ‘Becca,’ Chuck talks him into a road trip to meet her. What could possibly go wrong? Amy Landecker, Lil Rel Howery, Ricky Velez, Rachel Dratch and Zae’on James also star, and James Morosini actually directed and wrote the script here. In fact, this whole story is based on Morosini’s own real-life experience, making this an audacious and brave move on his part. And this movie premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this year, and went on to win Best Narrative Feature there, as well as at the 2022 Chicago Critics Film Festival. And it gets a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times said “it’s exciting to see Morosini take so many chances with the way his narrative unfolds, even if they don’t all pay off.” I agree. I’m watching. But Hulu also offers Dunkirk, the Christopher Nolan‘s 2017 war drama. This movie tries to reenact the WWII evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940, with thousands of British, French and Belgian cut off and surrounded by Germans, hoping to be saved by incoming ships. Fionn Whitehead stars as Tommy Jensen, the sole British survivor of a Nazi ambush, and hoping to get aboard a hospital ship, which is soon sunk. Civilian sailor Peter Dawson, played by Tom Glynn-Carney, heads to beach, trying to help, and French soldier Gibson(Aneurin Barnard ) is also on the beach, hoping to be evacuated. But most of this movie has little dialogue, just trying to depict the action on land, in the air and by sea. Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance(!) also star, and Christopher Nolan wrote, directed and produced this epic. And it opened to immense praise in 2017, becoming the highest-grossing World War II film ever(or since), and got 8 nominations at the Academy Awards, and went on to win there for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing, along with BAFTA awards, and Movie of the Year at AFI Awards. And it gets a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com called it “lean and ambitious, unsentimental and bombastic, overwhelmingly guy-centric.” And yes, I don’t love only male protagonists(especially white ones), but it’s still on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added The Legend of Molly Johnson, a 2022 Australian western. Leah Purcell stars as Molly, a weathered woman struggling to survive in the outback, with her two kids, and her husband gone, herding sheep, all while heavily pregnant. Forced to defend herself and her family with her shotgun, trusting in little else, she begins to go into labor, and forced to trust Yadaka, played by Rob Collins, indigenous and an escaped prisoner. But the bond between the two grows, which only enrages the white colonists in her area, and Molly attracts the attention of the new town lawman Nate Clintoff(Sam Reid).Jessica De Gouw, Malachi Dower-Roberts, Benedict Hardie, Nicholas Hope and Maggie Dence also star, while Leah Purcell wrote, produced and directed, here. And this incredible film has won 4 awards thus far, including Jury Grand Prize at the 2021 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Best Producer and Best Writer for Purcell at the Australian Screen Industry Network Awards and Best Lead Actress in Film for Purcell at the AACTA Awards. And it gets an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Noel Murray of the L.A. Times saying “Purcell [gives] a heartrending lead performance, playing a woman whose iron will may not be able to withstand the mob’s prejudices.” I’m tuning in.
Netflix has a major add this week with BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, the 2022 fantastical black comedy from master director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. First, the Bardo is a Buddhist concept of the in-between world visited between lives, and here, acclaimed journalist and documentarian Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho, is in the Bardo, with a tour of his life, his loves and losses, most notably, the loss of his child that has haunted him and his wife, Lucía (Griselda Siciliani), for 30 years. He finds his dead father in the men’s room, poverty in Mexico, and he re-visists the Spanish conquest and the Mexican American War. Oh, and there’s the music, The Beatles and David Bowie, just to name a few tracks. Ximena Lamadrid, Íker Sánchez Solano, Hugo Albores, Luis Couturier and Luz Jiménez also star, and Iñárritu co-wrote the script with Nicolás Giacobone, along with directing. This movie premiered at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Lion, and went on to win the UNIMED Award there. It also won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2022 Camerimage Awards, and looks to be nominated for more awards in the coming season. And it gets 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, but a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Some may object to it’s length, at 2 hours, but I love longer movies and the ideas that come with this one are extraordinary. And Gary M. Kramer of Salon.com says “among the most remarkable, risky and fearless work to grace screens this year. Surrender to it. It is extraordinary.” I’m watching. But Netflix also offers Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery, a 2022 Christmas mystery. Yes, Senior Detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett!) returns, this time to solve the mystery of the murdered Santa, or at least someone dressed as Santa, who was shivved to death with a sharpened candy cane(!). Only guest stars Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph(!) ] haven’t been given a script, and so predictability is thrown out the window, and anything can happen. Eliza Coupe, Kurt Braunohler, Lilan Bowden, Dennice Cisneros and Courtney Parchman also star, and Laura Murphy directs. And this special gets a 6.6/10 on IMDb, and Adam Lock of Ready Steady Cut calls it a “hilarious and downright entertaining lark to enjoy this holiday season.” And it’s a great way to cut throught the cloying holiday sweets this season. I’m watching. Netflix has also added The Recruit, a 2022 espionage thriller series.Noah Centineo stars as Owen Hendricks, a new recruit for the CIA general counsel’s office, straight out of law school, who finds himself given grunt work by the two senior attorneys, that of chasing down threats from ‘crazies.’ When he finds a real threat in Max Meladze (Laura Haddock),imprisoned for murder, he delves deeper and , after getting beaten up, finds she may have a handler in the upper levels of the U.S. government. Aarti Mann, Colton Dunn,Laura Haddock, Daniel Quincy Annoh and Fivel Stewart also star, and there are 8 episodes available for streaming now. And this series gets a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.4/10 on IMDb. But Brian Lowry of CNN.com calls it a “junior spy yarn that, as a Netflix series, feels like a particularly tired twist on that very well-worn genre.” and I agree. I’d rather watch the 2022 historical drama series Blood Ties, from Colombia. Also called Las Villamizar, this tells the tale of 3 sisters, Carolina(Shany Nadan), Leonor(Estefania Piñeres), and Isabela Villamizar(María José Vargas Agudelo), go into training, with the help of their father,Gerardo(Estefania Piñeres), to work as spies with the rebels against the Spanish conquest, and also, to find the killer of their mother, Beatrice. Taking place during the Reconquista from 1815 to 1816, when then-king of Spain, Ferdinand VII, sent troops to Colombia(and other South American colonies, the young women learn to sword fight, and hand to hand combat, and carry out various sabotage missions for the Liberator Army. Rodrigo Poisón, Eloi Costa, Claudio Cataño,Paola Valencia and Alexandra Restrepo also star, and there are 74(!) episodes now available for bingeing. And this series gets an impressive 7.7/10 on IMDb, with Stuti Gokhale of the Cinemaholic calling it “an entertaining work of fiction that keeps the viewers hooked.” I’m definitely tuning in. Netflix has also added Private Lesson, a 2022 Turkish romcom. Bensu Soral plays Azra, here, a H.S. private tutor who poses as one teaching classic subjects, but really specializes in life counseling and improvement. Take Hande, played by Helin Kandemir, who is an outcast at school, and desperately wants the attentions of a certain university student, Utku. So when she hears of Azra’s special talents, she approaches her and arranges tutoring. Hatice Aslan, Halit Ozgur Sari, Rami Narin, Deniz Altan, Elif Ceren Balikci, Murat Karasu and Huliya Gulsen Irmak also star, while Kivanc Baruonu directed. And this fun movie gets a 5.5/10 on IMDb, but Lori C. of Ready Steady Cut says its a “sweet and romantic Turkish flick.” And I agree. So it’s on my list. And, finally Netflix has added Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventure, a 2022 Japanese animated series. This tells the tale of the adventures of Gudetama, an especially lazy egg, and Shakipiyo, a freshly hatched chick, with plenty of energy. When they hatch inside a carton in the refrigerator, Shakipiyo is certain they’re siblings, and wants to find their mother, while Gudetama just wants to find some soy sauce, and veg out. But off they go, seeking their mom(and adventure), and find plenty of fun along the way. For Shakipiyo at least, Gudetama thinks “our fate is to be eaten.” And one of the best features of this imaginative series is that the CGI figures have been very artfully inserted into live action scenes, so they slide along a Kaitenzushi, or sushi train, with little or no sign of seams or lines. Shunsuke Takeuchi and Seiran Fukushima voice Gudetama and Shakipyo, respectively, and most of the other characters, too, and there are 10 episodes available to devour(sorry) now. And the best news is that each episode has about 15 minutes runtime, so you can actually fit them in during this busy holiday season. And this series gets an amazing 7.8/10 on IMDb, and JonathanWilson of Ready Steady Cut writes “sometimes a show comes along that is simply unlike any other, and Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventure is very much one of them.” I agree, I’m watching again.
Amazon has an incredible add too, with Nanny, the acclaimed 2022 horror movie. Anna Diop stars as Aisha, a recent immigrant from Senegal, who takes a job as a nanny for the daughter of a rich couple, Amy (Michelle Monaghan) and Adam (Morgan Spector), in New York City. Aisha works only to reunite with her young son Lamine (Jahleel Kamara), and to bring him to live with her, and the safety and security of her new home. But the longer she stays with the strange couple, the more strained Ais Aisha becomes, and as Aisha starts have weird nightmares and night terrors, her employers begin to withhold her pay, endangering her reunion with her son, and reason for being. Rose Decker, Sinqua Walls, Zephani Idoko and Leslie Uggams(!) also star, while Nikyatu Jusu not only directed, but also wrote the script(!) here. And this movie premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, where it created quite a sensation, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Films, and Anna Diop went on to win the Rising Star Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, and Nanny won Best Feature Film at the Denver International Film Festival. And it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Kristy Puchko of Mashable saying it ” is a sensational directorial debut and one of the best horror films of 2022.” Tune in before awards season, like me. Amazon also offers Season 1 of Perfect Murders, a 2020 French mystery series from MHZ Choice. Isabelle Gélinas stars as Agnès and Arthur Mazet as Thibaud, two of the French detectives who investigate one perfect murder each episode, or what their perpetrators think is a perfect murder, only to find by the end of the show that they came up short. There are murders like one mimicking suicide, or a nurse who kills her stepfather..with no witnesses, and plenty of suspects. There’s even a murder at a funeral home. Antoine Duléry, Julie Ferrier, and Philippe Caroit also play featured investigators, while Wendy Nieto,Juliette Petiot, Isabel Otero and Eliza Rushke also star, and there are 18 episodes available to devour now. But be quick, because they all return to premium domain of MHZ Choice on January 1. And it gets 6.9/10 on IMDb, with calling it ” a light and enjoyable series…a pleasant and relaxed series to enjoy on our sofa, with no greater pretension than to entertain ourselves without making u think. ” Sounds like a plan. I’m in. And, finally, Amazon has added Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, the 2019 doc from master Werner Herzog. Here, Herzog honors and lauds his friend and colleague, writer and traveller Bruce Chatwin, author of In Patagonia. So Herzog travels the world, too, going to the places Chatwin loved, like Silbury Hill near Stonehenge and Patagonia. But the great director also travels to Australia, to mingle with Aboriginal peoples, who fascinated Chatwin, especially their songs, and their idea that song lines crisscrossed Australia, that inspired Chatwin’s masterpiece, The Songlines. It is a loving tribute not only to his dear friend that passed away in 1989, but also to nomads in general, in Australia, the Middle East or Siberia, with nomadism said to cure all ills. This film premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews, and gets a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Peter Sobczynski of RogerEbert.com wrote “even if [Herzog] one day set out to make an overt cinematic self-portrait of his life and work, it is hard to believe that it could be as penetrating and insightful as this film,” and I’m tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!