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 exciting adds this week, like Sharp Stick, Lena Dunham’s 2022 coming of age comedy. this tells the story of Sarah Jo Stick, played by Kristine Froseth, a naïve 26-year-old in L.A., a babysitter living with her mom, Marilyn, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, caught in a seemingly endless childlike biological phase, brought on by a medical emergency that required a total hysterectomy, and therefore, early menopause. Her inexperience and interminable innocence become unbearable in the company of her mom and her influencer sister, Treina, played by Taylor Paige, and so Sarah Jo decides to learn fast, confronting her employer, Josh(Jon Bernthal), with a proposition. Though he turns her down at first, her pursuit is relentless, so that the inevitable happens, while his pregnant wife, Heather (Lena Dunham) is away. But inevitable heartbreak awaits Sarah Jo, and she resolves never to be a sexual beginner again, even making an alphabetical list of the talents she wants to accrue. Scott Speedman, Luka Sabbat, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Janicza Bravo and Tommy Dorfman also star, and Dunham wrote the script, along with directing and producing this piece. And this film premiered virtually at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, to some acclaim. And this very sexually explicit movie gets a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps because of that very frankness. But many have raved over it, and it’s not porn, whatever some may think. Grace Korthuis of Bust magazine wrote it “went from a quirky story of an affair between a young girl and a married man to a frank portrayal of sex, human connection, and the fear accompanying it.” And it’s on my list. Hulu has also added Mack & Rita, the 2022 comedy. Elizabeth Lail stars as Mack Martin, here, a writer, always chided by her friends for being old-ladyish, and so, finally agrees to go to Palms Springs for the weekend with her friend, Carla(Taylor Paige!) for a bachelorette weekend with friends. But when Mack visits Luca(Simon Rex), a guy who offers past lives regression in a tent in a parking lot, she bites, and she finds herself turned into Aunt Rita, her lifelong(older) alter-ego, played by Diane Keaton(!). And of course, Luca is somehow gone, and so she can’t get back to her younger self, and so she’s forced to confront her friends with her new self. Carla somehow believes it her, and while they search for Luca to turn her back to Mack, Rita lives life with more self assurance, and confidence, and so finds more success as an older woman. Dustin Milligan, Loretta Devine, Lois Smith(!), Amy Hill and Wendie Malick(!) also star, and Katie Aselton(The Gift) directs. But the great potential of this wonderful cast doesn’t really pan out, maybe because of a muddled script or it’s inexperienced director. And so it gets only a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. Still the cast may make it worth your while. Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com said “somewhere inside Mack is an old lady, and somewhere inside this movie is a better one that never comes out.” I probably won’t watch. Hulu also offers Witness Number 3, a 2022 British thriller series. Nina Toussaint-White(The Bodyguard!) stars, here, as Jodie, a hairdresser and salon owner who witnesses a murderer and his victim moments before the crime. Approached by the police, Jodie becomes intent upon doing the right thing, but as threats appear left from the gang responsible for the murder, and her mother Cathy (Sue Johnston), and son Kyle(Cole Martin) are threatened as well, she wonders at her choice. And if she can even reverse course any more. Sion Daniel Young, David Crowley, Paul Tylak, Clare Dunne and Katherine Field also star, and there are 4 episodes available to enjoy now. And it gets a 6.2/10 on IMDb, with Hannah Davies and Rebecca Mahoney saying “tense thriller [that] will have you on the edge of your seat.” I’m tuning in. And, finally, Hulu has added If These Walls Could Sing, a 2022 Disney musical documentary directed by Mary McCartney. Here, McCartney revisits Abbey Road Studios, and the place she says she grew up at with her father Paul, while recording with the Beatles. But Abbey Road Studios began business in the 30‘s with Symphonic recordings, but only became famous worldwide in the 60‘s, recording Pink Floyd, Jimmy Paige, Elton John and the Beatles. Unfortunately, this movie seems to begins with the Beatles, and then other rock and rollers, until the boom faded, leaving the studio in financial trouble, until they hit upon recording movie scores, like Star Wars. And there is lots of archival videos from the 60′s, especially the Beatles, but also talking heads like Liam and Noel Gallagher, George Martin‘s son Giles, and Elton John(!). John Williams even talks about scoring and recording the soundtracks for Star Wars and the Indiana Jones franchises. And this movie gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Robert Daniels of RogerEbert.com said it “captures the soul and the earworm tunes that emanated from the studio’s surroundings with an endearing ease.” It’s not perfect, but it’s fun. And it’s on my list.
Netflix has a huge add this holiday weekend with The Glass Onion, a Knives Out Mystery, a 2022 mystery sequel. Yes, world-famous detective Benoit Blanc(Daniel Craig!) returns, when he unexpectedly arrives at the private estate on a Greek island, belonging to tech billionaire Miles Bron(Ed Norton!), for the super posh annual reunion of Brun‘s closest friends. Only this time, Miles plans a murder game, where he will be murdered(only fictionally), with the fun interrupted, of course, by a real murder. And Blanc only has hours to find the murderer, before someone else dies. Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn(!) also star, and Rian Johnson(!) returns to direct his second Knives Out mystery, along with writing the script. And while this sequel doesn’t really stack up with the first, it may be fun enough. And so it gets an impressive 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Rafer Guzman of Newsday calls it “bright and bubbly whodunit, perfect for holiday-season escapism.” But a little light for me. I’d rather watch Trolley, a 2022 S. Korean drama. This tells the story of Kim Hye-joo , played by Kim Hyun-joo, an introverted book restorer who assiduously avoids the spotlight, despite the fact that her husband, Nam Joong-do (Park Hee-soon)is a member of the National Assembly. Though her husband promised Hye-joo little publicity, when her daughter Yoon–seo(Choi Myung-bin) goes missing one night, Hye-joo wonders whether her husband’s odd behavior lately or his job is to blame. Or is something in Hye-joo’s own shadowy past the cause of all her troubles? Kim Mi-kyung, Seo Jeong-yeon, Kim Mu-yeol, Jung Soobin and Ryu Hyun-kyung also star, and there are 2 episodes available now, with 14 more to come by the end of February. And this series gets a stunning 8.4/10 on IMDb, with Nathan Sartain of Ready Steady Cut writing “packed with twists, revelations and sometimes poignant messaging, this political melodrama shrouded with tinges of mystery promises viewers an intense watch.” I’m tuning in. But Netflix has also added The Invitation, a 2022 mystery thriller. A New York ceramicist, Evie, played by Nathalie Emmanuel, is the recipient of the title invitation, from someone who claims to be her long lost British cousin, Oliver (Hugh Skinner).When she accepts his invitation to a wedding on their estate, she finds herself among a uniformly white, blond family(she is black), and Evie is attracted to the lord of manor Walter (Thomas Doherty). But as the maids of the house start to disappear, and her new relatives stare at her hungrily, Evie wonders what she’s gotten herself into, and if she’ll survive it. Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Sean Pertwee, Courtney Taylor and Jeremy Wheeler also star, and Jessica M. Thompson directed. But the ballyhoo at this film’s release fizzled into nothing, and it gets a mere 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com wrote “Thompson relies way too heavily on cheap jump scares to put us on edge, which is a shame, because there’s enough atmosphere within the film’s initial mystery.” Still, it gets a tolerable 5.2/10 on IMDb, so if you need horror this holiday season, you might tune in. But don’t forget, for a real holiday treat, Netflix will add Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, a 2022 British live action musical on Christmas Day. Alisha Weir stars in the title role, as Matilda Wormwood, the girl saved by books from an unhappy life with her uncaring parents, and sent to Crunchem Hall, where she has to battle the intolerant and imperious headmistress Miss Trunchbull, played by Emma Thompson(!). Luckily she has someone in her corner, in her teacher Miss Honey, played by Lashana Lynch, and her schoolfriends, too. And there’s plenty of singing and dancing to liven things up. Andrea Riseborough, Stephen Graham, Sindhu Vee, Charlie Hodson-Prior, Meesha Garbett and Rei Yamauchi Fulker also star, while Matthew Warchus directs. And this movie gets an 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Peter Travers of ABC News calls it “just the blast of wicked fun we need, using song and dance to enhance Dahl’s timeless tale of naughty children vs uncaring adults distilled as bookish Matilda (Alisha Weir is a one-girl talent explosion) battles with Emma Thompson’s hellish headmistress.” I’ll be tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has added Season 2 of Alice in Borderland a 2022 Japanese sci-fi series. Since I (ahem) missed season 1 of this series, I’ll start at the beginning, where our protagonist Ariso(or Alice), played by Kento Yamazaki, is a young slacker, preferring video games to real-life, even sighing ‘ If only we could reset reality,’ after his father kicks him out, only to find himself in a reset reality after he and his friends Karube and Chota exit a train station toilet, to find everyone in Tokyo gone. What remains is a world where only games matter, and you must compete and win, in order to survive. Keita Machida, Yûki Morinaga, Ayame Misaki, Tao Tsuchiya and Ayaka Miyoshi also star, and there are now 16 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets a impressive 7.6/10 on IMDb. Johnny Loftus of the Decider calls it “bloody, violent, and sometimes stingy with narrative facts. But it revels in making or breaking the rules it’s created for its topsyturvy world, and the core characters are compelling and fully rendered.” It’s on my list.
Amazon has no new adds worthy of mention this week, so I am going to truncate my post to save time, too, but Amazon does offer some incredible streaming deals on premium channels, like AMC+ with Dark Winds, Moonhaven, and soon, War of the Worlds, for just $1.99/month for 2 months, Britbox, with Doctor Who, Agatha Christie, and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, for $1.99/month for 2 months, and most importantly, you can get Showtime for the same price, for 2 months, and see The Banshees of Inisherin, After Yang, and what may be my favorite movie of the year, Everything Everywhere All at Once. Amazon also offers the same $1.99 deal on Starz, Paramount+, and the PBS Documentaries and Living channels. So check them out on Amazon soon, they won’t last long.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!