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 interesting adds things week, but none more interesting than True Things , the 2021 drama. Ruth Wilson(!) stars as Kate, a bored and unhappy claims officer, who meets ex-con, played by Tom Burke, and strikes up a relationship with him fast. That we never learn his name is telling here, and of their relationship, but Kate needs an escape from a job she hates, and an over-critical mother. As the hot and cold relationship inevitably devolves into manipulation and worse, Kate becomes desperate, and starts, finally, to crack under the pressure she’s always felt. Hayley Squires, Elizabeth Rider, Frank McCusker, Tom Weston-Jones and Ann Firbank also star, while Harry Wootliff(Only You) directs. And this movie got a lot of buzz when it premiered Venice in 2021, and went on to be nominated for multiple awards, like the Venice Horizons Award at the Venice Film Festival, with Wilson going on to win Best Actress at the 2021 Stockholm Film Festival. And it gets an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com writing “or those of you who miss films made by adults and for adults, films which treat things like sex and loneliness with respect and honesty, True Things isn’t to be missed.” It’s on my list. But Hulu also has Fire of Love, the acclaimed 2022 documentary. This tells of the amazing partnership, both romantic and professional, of French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft. Two volcanologists who met on a blind date in France, and went on to spend the rest of their lives immersed in their study, who also took tons of pictures and videos of their work together. That included work they thought was necessary, which was getting up close and personal with the dangerous volcanoes they studied, wlaking so close to the caldera they could fry eggs on the cooling lava there. And work that ultimately killed them both in 1991, in a volcanic eruption. Narrated by Miranda July(!) this is a sensitive and very touching movie, and more uplifting and humorous than one would expect, thanks to the direction of Sara Dosa. And this films premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award, and has since won more awards, like Best Documentary at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and the DocAviv Film Festival, and even won Best Feature Film at the Seattle International Film Festival. And it gets an amazing 98% on Rotten Tomaotes, and a 7.7/10 on IMDb. Ella Kemp of Empire Mag called it a “story of love and discovery told with curiosity and care, Dosa honours her unique subjects — lending tenderness and poetry to the archive footage.” But watch today, because tomorrow it shifts back to Disney+!I’m definitely tuning in! Hulu has also added The Territory, a 2022 nature doc. Here, director Alex Pritz gives us a compelling and intimate view of the fight of the indigenous Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people in the Brazilian Amazon forest, as they try to fight off illegal settlers seeking to burn off the forest, and farm their land. We’re introduced to young tribal leader Bitaté, who explains what’s at stake, not only for his people, but for the planet as a whole, if deforestation continues. And we get a look at the ‘settlers’ burning the land like Martins, explaining his side, saying he’s ‘never seen indians there.’ It’s a sobering and sometimes horrific look at the rapid deforestation under former president Bolsonaro, that’s won this film many award nominations already. It’s gone onto win John Schlesinger Award at the 2022 Provincetown International Film Festival, the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, and World Cinema Documentary Award for Best Documentary Craft and the Audience Award for World Cinema – Documentary at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. And it gets an incredible 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.6/10 on IMDb. Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury says “it’s an exceptional documentary that finds hope amid despair.” And I’m watching.And, finally, Hulu has added Runaway, a 2022 Turkish thriller series from Disney+. Here, reporter Mehmet(Engin Akyürek), photographer Ilker (Onur Bay), and an activist, Zeyneb(İrem Helvacıoğlu) cross over the Syrian border with a German activist group to (illegally) visit a Yazidi village. But when they see horrific things not meant to be seen, they’re lives are put in danger and there, with no way out, they become increasingly frantic, as their lives are threatened on all sides. Levent Ülgen, Serkan Genç, ArasAydin, Aziz Çapkurt, Dilan GeZaza and Leyla Tanlar also star, and there are now 8 episodes available for viewing. And this episodes was nominated for 2 Golden Butterfly Awards in Turkey in 2022, and gets a 6.1/10 on IMDb. It’s an exciting relevant series, It’s on my list.
And Netflix has a huge add this week with The Pale Blue Eye, a 2022 thriller . This tells the tale of a young Edgar Allen Poe, played by Harry Melling, a cadet at West Point, who becomes fascinated by a series of murders at West Point itself. Called in to investigate those murders is Augustus Landor, played by Christian Bale(!), who is stymied by the cadets code of honor, only to be aided by Poe, who doesn’t respect the code of silence, and has ideas of his own on the murderer. Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton and Robert Duvall also star, while Scott Cooper(Hostiles!) directs. And the mystery is good, but the history is better. And it gets a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, and BIlge Ebiri of New York Magazine/Vulture writes it’s “a mystery that’s more about mood than ingenuity. But the chill you feel in your bones may actually enhance the suspense; Cooper clearly understands that mysteries live or die on their atmosphere.” And I’m watching. But Netflix has also added Kaleidoscope, a 2022 thriller limited series. Giancarlo Esposito(Breaking Bad!) stars as Leo Pap, an ex con drawn back into crime to steal $7 billion in bonds from a very secure vault in New York. Of course, he needs the help of various other thieves, like safecracker Bob Goodwin(Jai Courtney) and chemist Judy Goodwin (Rosaline Elbay), but especially attorney Ava Mercer (Paz Vega). And if you think this sounds like Ocean’s Eleven, you’re right, but the shows creator Eric Garcia spices things up here, by telling the story in a nonlinear fashion, in fact, you can watch the series in any order you want, although it is advised you watch the episode White last. Tati Gabrielle, Peter Mark Kendall, S.J. Son, Hemky Madera and Rufus Sewell(!) also star, and there are 6 episodes available now for bingeing. And the chronological order of the series, which is not the way it’s presented on Netflix, is Violet, Green, Yellow, Orange, Blue, White, Red and Pink. And while this series gets only a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, it gets a sparkling 7/10 on IMDb. Michael Hogan of the Daily Telegraph (UK) says “stylish, suspenseful and cleverly executed, Kaleidoscope gathers binge-worthy momentum as it barrels towards its climactic showdown.” And I’m tuning in. But Netflix has also added Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, a 2023 limited docuseries. This series meticulously lays out Madoff’s rise to become one of the top traders to building one of the largest Ponzi schemes ever on Wall Street. and finally, being brought down in 2008. But only after authorities turned a blind eye to irregularities and inconsistencies, and after Madoff trained high school graduates to carry out his criminal plan. Director Joe Berlinger lays out the intricate scheme and even, to some degree, Madoff‘s psychology, as he uses archival footage, interviews former employees and financial reporters, and even includes some reenactments to make his point. And he does an impressive job, with a 4-part series that gest an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.4/10 on IMDb. Chitra Ramaswamy of the Guardian says “Joe Berlinger’s pacy four-parter treats the jaw-dropping story as a financial thriller, which makes sense.” It’s definitely on my list. Netflix also offers The Lying Life of Adults, a 2022 Italian drama series. Based on Elena Ferrante’s(!) 2019 coming-of-age novel of the same name, this tells the tale of teenage Giovanna, played by Giordana Marengo, living in 90’s Naples, with her impressive and highly esteemed parents, and feeling like an oddball. While her parents are academics, Giovanna gets only Cs and she overhears her father Andrea calling her ugly. And so she is drawn to her Aunt Vittoria(Valeria Golino), who Andrea also considers ugly, and off limits, which puts his daughter in a bind. And as her parents try more and more to get her to fit in, Giovanna finds herself becoming a rebel, and liking it. Alessandro Preziosi, Pina Turco, Rossella Gamba, Adriano Pantaleo and Luigi Chiocca also star, and there are 6 episodes available to enjoy now. And this series gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Rebecca Nicholson of the Guardian writing “when I read The Lying Life of Adults, I thought of it as a very internal and inward-looking story, but this version breathes new life into it, turns it outwards, and adds a touch of rocket fuel.” I’m watching. And, finally, Netflix has added Mars One, a 2022 Brazilian drama. This portrays the Martins family, a working class black family in the city, in the wake of far-right extremist Jair Bolsonaro’s election. As the reality of his presidency begins to set in, the Martins keep working and trying to make their dreams come true, like Deivinho, played by Cicero Lucas, who loves science and dreams of going to Mars as an astrophysicist, while all his sports crazy dad Wellington (Carlos Francisco) wants is for his son to be a soccer star. Meanwhile, Deivinho’s sister, Eunice (Camilla Damião), just wants to move out and live with a girlfriend, something she worries will crush her parents, too. Rejane Faria, Russo Apr, Ana Hilário, and Juan Pablo Sorín also star, and Gabriel Martins wrote and directed this film. And it premiered at the Gramado Film Festival, where it won the Best Music for Daniel Simitan and Best Screenplay for Martins. It was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema – Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival and won Best Narrative Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Outstanding International Narrative Feature at the L.A. Outfest, along with other awrds. And it gets an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.9/10 on IMDb. And Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times calls it “a big pumping heart of a movie..” I’m definitely tuning in.
Amazon has an exciting add this week with The Rig, a 2022 thriller series. This takes place on the Kinloch Bravo oil rig, more than 100 miles off the Scottish coast, which begins to suffer different strange occurrences, like seismic activity, fire, and finally, a huge fast moving fog that rolls in and refuses to disappear. As the survivors are trapped, with no communication link to the outside world, they begin to suspect that something sinister and supernatural is afoot, that will make escape all but impossible. Emily Hampshire, Iain Glen, Martin Compston, Abraham Popoola, Mark Bonnar and Rochenda Sandall also star, and there are 6 exciting episodes available now. And this series gets a respectable 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Lucy Mangan of the Guardian says “the faith that it won’t all descend into a Lost-style debacle will keep you going until the end.” It’s on my list. But, wait, it gets better, as Amazon also offers Dive, a 2022 Mexcan drama. Karla Souza stars as Mariel, an Olympic diver starting training for her second Olympic Games, and the pressure to win the Gold this time(she won Bronze the last) is ever present. But problems arise quickly, as an accident sidelines her diving partner and her coach, Braulio(Hernán Mendoza) forces a 14 year-old newcomer, Nadia (Dèja Ebergenyi) upon Mariel as her new partner. And things get worse, as the days pass. Fernanda Borches, Enrique Singer, Claudia Lobo, Mabel Cadena and Christian Vazquez also star, while Lucía Puenzo directs. And this film gets an outstanding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and Emiliano Basile of EscribiendoCine wrote Puenzo” ingeniously puts the audience in the protagonist’s skin and from there tells us about her personal struggles and triumphs as an athlete and as a woman.” I’m tuning in. And, finally(and I may have saved the best for last), Amazon has added Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul, the 2022 satirical comedy. Regina King(!) and Sterling K. Brown(!) star as the pastor Lee-Curtis Childs(Brown) and his first lady Trinitie Childs(King), humbled by a scandal that ruined their megachurch.. and their careers. Intent upon reopening their church, and their position in the community, the pastor hires a documentarian, Anita(Andrea Laing), to film their rise back to power, but things don’t go quite as planned, and her videos show a bit too much of the couple’s machinations. Austin Crute, Conphidance, Devere Rogers, Nicole Beharie and Greta Glenn also star, while Adamma Ebo directed. And this premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it’s already won the Rising Star Award for Ebo, along with other nominations. And it gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes(perhaps satires about the church aren’t welcome to all), and Tim Cogshell of Filmweek said “this movie is mostly funny, except for when it creeps on some fairly penetrating notions about faith versus being true to oneself.” I’m watching, twice.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!