Yes, it’s that time again, New Year’s Eve(!), 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 few ostensible big titles announced this week, but if you look closely, you can find a few. One great title is Blade Runner the Final Cut, the definitive version of the classic 1982 sci-fi thriller. In this screen version of Philip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Harrison Ford(of course), stars here as Rick Deckard, a Replicant Hunter in a dystopian polluted Earth, where he is tasked with hunting down four replicants from the colonies. Meanwhile, the leader of the replicants, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), looks to gain more lie years for his group from their maker, CEO Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel). And Deckard falls for a woman, Rachael (Sean Young), who may or may not be human. Joanna Cassidy, Brion James, Daryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos and M. Emmet Walsh also star, and Ridley Scott(!!), of course, directed. And Zaki Hasan of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote “still profound 18 years after its sell-by date, Blade Runner remains worthy of acclaim and analysis even as it exists in a “future” with very little resemblance to the one that came to pass.” I’m watching. But Hulu has also added Ford v Ferrari, the 2019 drama. This tells the (truish) tale of Ford’s 1960′s attempt to beat Ferrari at Le Mans, where an American car had never won. Champion racer Carroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and racer Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, are tasked with putting together a winning team, with a winning car. They have to endure the pressure from Henry Ford II(Tracy Letts!) and Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal and Caitriona Balfe, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone and Josh Lucas also star, while James Mangold directs. And this movie got tons of nominations in 2020, and went on to win 29 awards mainly for sound and video editing, like the 2 Oscars it won for Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Sound Editing. And it gets an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, though it’s cast is hugely dominated by white males. Robert Daniels of Mediaversity Reviews said “while Ford v. Ferrari finishes first on a technical level, it serves as a myopic altar to a sport and era of white-male dominance.” I’ll watch something else. Luckily, Hulu has added The Legend of the Blue Sea, a 2016 Korean romantic comedy series. This tells of mermaid Shim Cheong(Jun Ji Hyun) who meets up with conman Heo Joo-jae (Lee Min-ho), who wants to take advantage of her, especially after seeing one of her fantastic jewels. But Shim Cheong wants to find her true love from a past life, and soon Ho Joo joins her in her quest. Moon So-ri, Sin-hye Hwang, Won Ho Shin, Shin Hye-sun, Na Young-hee and Lee Hee-joon also star, and there are 20 episodes available for goring now. And this series was nominated for 3 awards at the 2017 Macau International TV Festival, and went on to win Best Directing for a Television Series for Hyuk Jin. And it gets an outrageous 8.1/10 on IMDb, and Sana Patel of Popcorn Reviews said “has all the right ingredients to make it binge worthy..The audience will be pulled in immediately due to the wide-angle shots, beautiful locations and high action chasing sequences.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Hulu has added Underwater, the 2020 sci-fi thriller. Kristen Stewart(!) stars, here, as Norah, a worker in an underwater research center, miles below the surface, who finds herself stranded there after some force hits their station, and leaves it debilitated. With only 6 survivors trying to last until help arrives, or until they can find their own way to the world miles above them. Unless that unseen force hits their rig again. Vincent Cassel, Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick and John Gallagher Jr. also star, and William Eubank directed. And this is my kind of movie, a B horror/thriller, so even though it gets only a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m watching. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com called it a” lean and mean film that gets you into its action instantly and then doesn’t release the pressure until the ending credits.” I’m definitely tuning in.
Netflix has a huge add this week with White Noise, the 2022 absurdist comedy/drama movie. Adapted from Don Delillo‘s 1985 novel by famed director Noah Baumbach(!), this has the Gladney family, headed by professor Jack Gladney, played by Adam Driver, and his wife Babette, played by Greta Gerwig(!), trying to endure an environmental disaster in their hometown, when a train crash causes a toxic cloud. As the family tries to escape the cloud, while throngs of other do the same, it becomes clear they may not survive the evacuation, and it’s perils. But mostly, life’s everyday anxieties and worries accompany the clan, and the comedy does too. Don Cheadle(!), Raffey Cassidy, André Benjamin, Sam Nivola, May Nivola and Jodie Turner-Smith also star, and Baumbach wrote the script here, along with directing. And this comedy gets a 63% on RottenTomatoes, and Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times says “even with a black cloud literally chasing this family and much talk of the inevitability of death, White Noise has a weirdly optimistic side as well.” I agree. I’m watching. But Netflix also offers Treason, a 2022 British thriller limited series. This has MI6 thrown into turmoil with the poisoning of the head of the organization, Sir Martin Angelis, played by Ciarán Hinds, poisoned, and unable to fulfill his responsibilities, and so Adam Lawrence, played by Charlie Cox(Daredevil), steps into the power vacuum. But the problems are many for the outfit, not least of which the Russian spy, Kara (Olga Kurylenko), who poisoned the chief is still out there, and she has a history with Adam. And his wife Maddy(Oona Chaplin) doesn’t like the changes she see in her husband. Tracy Ifeachor, Beau Gadsdon, Samuel Leakey, Adam James, Dinita Gohil and Alex Kingston(!) also star, and there are 5 episodes available for bingeing now. And it gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb, with Vicky Jessop of the London Evening Standard writing “it’s exciting, breathless and full of twists and turns but it doesn’t quite measure up to the other new spy offerings out there. Best of all, you don’t have to be that intelligent to watch it; best leave that up to the people on screen.” And it’s on my list. Netflix has also added 7 Women and a Murder, a campy 2021 Italian mystery. A remake of François Ozon’s 8 Femmes (2002), this has everyone returning home, including Susanna, played by Diana Del Bufalo to patriarch Marcello‘s home, only to have the maid find him with a knife in his back. And the list of suspects grows from Marcello‘s wife Margherita, her sister, Agostina(Sabrina Impacciatore) and their elderly mother Rachelle (Ornella Vanoni), and Susanna‘s siblings to Marcello‘s newly arrived mistress Veronica (Micaela Ramazzotti).Benedetta Porcaroli, Luca Pastorelli, Margherita Buy and Luisa Ranieri also star, and Alessandro Genovesi directed. This was nominated for a Best Hairstyling Award at the 2022 David di Donatello Awards(!), and gets a 5.3/10 on IMDb. But it stars some of the best Italian actors of recent decades, all together in one place, and it’s funny, too. Lori C. of Ready Steady Cut says “if you’re looking for an amusing comedy to keep you entertained for just under 90 minutes, this film makes for a fun, quick watch.” I love a mystery. And I’m watching.Netflix also offers The Glory, a 2022 S. Korean thriller series. Song Hye-kyo stars as Moon Dong-eun, a woman so scarred by years of torture and abuse in high school, that she lives her adult life bent on revenge. Her main target is Park Yeon-jin(Lim Ji-yeon), the leader of the pack of bullies that made her life so miserable, but she is not limited to just one person. Nor is she limited by the law, as she even contemplates murder as an appropriate punishment. Ahn Gil-ho, Lee Do-hyun, Yeom Hye-ran, Park Sung-hoon, and Jung Sung-il also star, and there are 8 episodes available for gorging now. And this series gets an incredible 7.9/10 on IMDb, Srijoni Rudra of Digital Mafia Talkies calls it “an intense tale of vengeance and justice.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix has added Warriors of Future, a 2022 sci-fi thriller. This takes place on a future polluted Earth where robots fight wars between human states, and domes cover called SkyNets cover cities to protect them from such intruders, but the final indignity occurs when a meteor brings a killer plant called Pandora back to the planet. As Pandora can kill easily, but also bring healing to Earth with vegetation, Dr. Chong(Tse Kwan-ho) and Colonel Tam Bing (Carina Lau) try to figure out how to best stop the murderous plant without killing their own planet, too. Nick Cheung stars as commander Sean Li, and Louis Koo, Sean Lau, Wan Guopeng, Qian Wu and Xiaoxia Cheng also star, and Ng Yuen-Fai directs. And this crazy action packed gets a stupendous 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and James Mudge of easternKicks.com says “while not one for audiences looking for anything sensible or with substance, as an action-packed, cheerfully foolish crowd-pleaser it’s hard to fault Ng Yuen-fai’s debut, not least since the special effects impress way above and beyond.” I’m tuning in.
Amazon has an interesting add this week with Island, a 2022 Korean fantasy thriller. This takes place on the famed island of Jeju, where a gateway to another world has opened letting evil monsters back into the world, and Ban (Kim Nam-Gil) is one of the only people who can fight them, Having been raised to fight evil, he is now tasked with protecting the people of the island, like Won Mi-Ho (Lee Da-Hee), and keep the spirits from escaping into the world at large. Cha Eun-Woo, Sung Joon, Sung Joon, Hur Jung-Hee and Jeon Kuk-Hwan also star, and there are 2 episodes available for viewing now, with 4 more to come. And it gets an astounding 8.4/10 on IMDb, with Gabriela Silva of Cheat Sheet calling it “intense….prepare for a dynamic fantasy K-drama with darkness, demons, and saving the world.” It’s on my list. But Amazon also offers Wildcat, an amazing 2022 nature documentary. This tells the true story of Harry Turner, a British-born vet who suffered terribly fromPTSD after serving in Afghanistan, finally seeking solitude in the amazon after attempting suicide. But there he met Khan, an ocelot kitten rescued by American ecologist and partner, Samantha Zwicker, and his life was changed. As the two tried to educate Khan for reintroduction into the wild, instead of life in a zoo, Harry became intensely connected to the little ball of fur, seeing great similarities between the two, saying “We’re wild animals, me and you. We’re wild.” Filmmakers Melissa Lesh and Trevor Beck Frost capture the joy, horror and frustration of training a wildcat for the wild, something never done before, with great intimacy and beauty. And it gets a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote “it tunnels deep and becomes a statement about the beauty and cruelty of the world.” I’m watching. And, finally, Amazon has Museo, a 2018 crime caper. This is based on a true story of 1980‘s Mexico City, where Juan, played by Gael García Bernal(!), and Wilson, played by Leonardo Ortizgris, best friends since childhood, find themselves dissatisfied with their lives as adults. Both living at home with their parents in their 30′s, they decide to rob the National Museum of Anthropology(!) of it’s most prized(and beautiful) Pre-Columbian treasures. The duo’s incompetence is aided by the lack of security at the museum, but once they have the relics, they are left with the problem of getting rid of some really hot relics, with no criminal connections of their own. Simon Russell Beale, Lynn Gilmartin, Ilse Salas, Alfredo Castro and Leticia Brédice also star, and Alonso Ruizpalacios directed. And this movie gets an exciting 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Gary Goldstein of the L.A. Times calling it “a stylish, fun art-heist ‘replica’ with big questions about cultural plundering.” I’m definitely tuning in.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!