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 good adds this week, like Piggy, the 2022 Spanish horror flick. Laura Galán stars as the title character, Sara, a teen who has been mercilessly taunted for her weight , especially by mean girls at school, hiding out in her parents butcher shop in their small town in Spain. So when she sees some of her tormentors attacked at the town pool, by a man who alone seems to have sympathy for her, she says nothing. Even when the mystery deepens, and the police investigate, Sara says nothing, and the peril deepens for everyone around her. Richard Holmes, Carmen Machi, Irene Ferreiro, Camille Aguilar and Pilar Castro also star, while Carlota Pereda directed. And this film was the smash at the awards circuit last year, and won Best New Actress at the Cinema Writers Circle Awards and Best Actress at the Toulouse Cinespaña awards. And it gets a smashing 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh of The Guardian said “while this intelligent Spanish slasher gleefully sloshes on the high-tension splatter, it also delights in inverting generic tropes, dishing up a lip-smacking level of moral complexity.” I’d love to watch, if it’s not too scary. But Hulu also offers Something in The Dirt, a 2022 sci-fi drama. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead stars as L.A. neighbors John and Levi, two very down-on-their-luck residents of an apartment building, who start trying to explain strange events(levitating crystals, fires in the hills) around them with every conspiracy theory they can think of. But their investigations go south, and things might not be at all what they seem. Sarah Adina Smith, Wanjiru M. Njendu, Vinny Curran, Gille Klabin and Megan Rosati also star, and Benson and Moorhead co-directed, while Benson alone wrote the script. And this dark comedy gets an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com said it “has the gritty DIY-vibe of the no-budget world from which it sprang, and is both thought-provoking and crazy-making, just like the mood it presents.” It’s on my ilst. Hulu also offers The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, the 2022 drama. BAsed on the bestseller of the same name by Gabrielle Zevin, this tells the story of A. J. Fikry, played by Kunal Nayyar, a bereaved bookseller on an island off Massachusetts, drinking to allay his grief, while treasuring his prized collection of Poe poems. So when that, too, is stolen, it seems things can get no worse, but then Amy, played by Lucy Hale, a supplier, walks into his bookstore, and things start to change, especially when Fikry is forced to care for a toddler in need. Christina Hendricks, David Arquette, Lauren Stamile, Blaire Brown and Chandra Michaels also star, while Scott Foley directed. But this romance gets a mere 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, given it’s predictability. Still, Sumner Forbes of Film Threat wrote “for the more casual viewer that is craving a traditional tear-jerker, this more than fits the bill and is a great date-night movie for the significant other that may not appreciate Tarkovsky in the same way.” You decide. And, finally, Hulu has added The Files of Young Kindaichi, a 2023 remake of a classic Japanese mystery series.Shunsuke Michieda stars as the title character, Hajime Kindaichi, a brilliant high school student with an IQ of 180, who solves cryptic mysteries with the aid of his friends Miyuki Nanase(Moka Kamishiraishi) and Ryuta Saki (Taisho Iwasaki) . In his investigations, Kindaichi meets Inpector Isamu Kenmochi (Ikki Sawamura), and the two gain a respect for each other they have for few others.Abby Espiritu, Yuuki Luna, Maika Yamamoto, Risa Mei and Reika Kirishima also star, and there are 10 episodes available for bingeing now. And it gets a respectable 6.6/10 on IMDb, and though I can find no reviews for this remake, I love a mystery. And I’m watching.
Well, the biggest title added on Netflix this week has to be Your Place or Mine, a 2023 romcom. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this has overworked mom Debbie, played by Reese Witherspoon, finally taking a bit of time off by switching houses with her best friend Peter, played by Ashton Kutcher, who lives, of course, in a swanky uptown NYC apartment. Sure, they had had a fling long ago, but now just besties, but when Debbie starts getting serious with a guy she meets in New York, Peter starts getting jealous, and wondering what might have been- had he just stuck with it. But is it too late? Tig Notaro(!) plays Debbie’s mom , and Rachel Bloom, Steve Zahn, Wesley Kimmel, Mystic Inscho and Zoe Chao also star, and Aline Brosh McKenna directs and wrote the screen play here. But it’s all pretty humdrum, and so it gets only a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. With the audience knowing what will happen by the end of the opening credits, it’s not my style, but as Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press writes “this Valentine’s Day, it hits the spot if you’re in the mood for pretty people acting insecure and clueless.” You decide. I’d rather watch The Substitute, a 2022 Argentinian drama. Juan Minujín plays Lucio, a rather embittered literature professor who takes a job as a high school substitute or supply, teacher, in his old Barrio in Buenos Aires. But as he deals with students grappling with poverty, a school overrun with police to deal with a drug problem and a daughter, Sol (Renata Lerman), he doesn’t really know, Lucio comes to realize his new job offers him something more than just a salary. Bárbara Lennie plays Lucio‘s ex-wife Mariela, and Rita Cortese, Marie Merlino, Lucas Arrua and Alfredo Castro also star, and Diego Lerman and Nicolás Avruj co-directed. And this movie premiered at the and won Best Supporting Performance for Renata Lerman at the 2022 San Sebastián International Film Festival and Best Director for Diego Lerman at the Havana Film Festival New York that same year. And it gets an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Jonathan Romney of Screen International called it “compelling and steely-minded, mixing Loachian social issue cinema with elements of a gangland thriller, with a thoughtful philosophical undertow and an insightful central character study.” And I’m tuning in. Netflix also offers Shahmaran, a 2023 Turkish fantasy series. This tells the story of Şahsu , played by Serenay Sarikaya, a PHD candidate who travels to see her grandfather, Davut (Mustafa Ugurlu), to have it out with him over his abandonment of her mother, who recently died. While in the village, people point to her as ‘the one,’ while her visions trouble her, and when meets with a mysticist, he tells Şahsu the legend of the Shahmaran, a mythical half woman, half snake creature, as the young woman encounters more visions of snakes and fire. As the perils grow, villagers talks of a mystical prophecy of doom, with only the Shahmaran standing in it’s way. Burak Deniz plays Maran, the man who comes to Sahsu‘s rescue, and Mahir Günsiray, Hakan Karahan, Mert Ramazan Demir and Nilay Erdönmez also star, and there are 8 episodes available now. And though this series gets only a 5.1/10 on IMDb, many reviewers recommend it, like oel eller of The Decider, who says to stream it, adding “Serenay Sarikaya’s striking presence as Sashu, along with just enough intrigue in the mystery surrounding the story, will keep us watching.” So I’m watching. Netflix has also added The Exchange, a 2023 Kuwaiti drama. Based on true events, this tells the story two women who infiltrated the all male world of the Kuwaiti stock Exchange in the 1980′s. There’s Farida, played by Rawan Mahdi, desperately in need of an income after her divorce, and so she takes a job offered by her cousin Munira (Mona Hussain) who works at the stock exchange. Outraged when she finds it’s just to serve tea and coffee(as befit a woman) Farida sets her sights on higher things, and finally, when the pair start working together, they realize the glass ceiling really is breakable, if you push hard enough. Mohamed Mansour, Jasem Al-nabhan, Faisal Al-Amiri and Maryam Saleh also star, and there are 6 episodes available to gorge on now. And this series gets an amazing 7.1/10 on IMDb, and Jonathon Wilson of Ready Steady Cut says it “has all the hallmarks of a solid TV drama, providing an enticing binge-watch first and foremost with real-life details informing the story rather than defining it completely.” I’m definitely tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has added Chromosome 21, a 2023 Chilean thriller series. This begins with a murder, a dead man being found with only Tomás (Sebastián Solorza), a young man with Down Syndrome, found on the scene, covered in blood. So lead detective Mariana Enríquez (Valentina Muhr) has to investigate the man, who likes to be called Tommy, and pursues information from his teacher Sofía (Claudia Di Girólamo), and others in Tommy‘s life. And there’s his brother, who likes to be called Beckham, who raises Tommy, after their parents died, long ago. Mario Horton, Gastón Salgado, Pía Urrutia, Daniel Muñoz, Alejandro Trejo and Amparo Noguera also star, and there are 8 episodes available now. And this series gets an amazing 7.1/10 on IMDb, and Karina “ScreamQueen” Adelgaard of Heaven of Horror calls it “an intriguing murder mystery with a premise that managed to point the spotlight on many issues. Especially how we act and react to someone who is different from the norm.” I’m watching.
Amazon has a huge Valentine’s Day add with Somebody I Used to Know, a 2023 romcom. Alison Brie(!) stars, here, as reality TV producer Ally, who returns to her hometown after a bad career break, and immediately reconnects with her old boyfriend, Sean (Jay Ellis), and dreams of what might have been, only to find he’s getting married soon. Worse yet, she’s enchanted with his fiancé, Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), and is shocked to find her a younger version of her unsullied self. And she’s tempted to warn Cassidy not to settle, like she herself did. Danny Pudi, Olga Merediz, Marian Li, Amy Sedaris(!), Haley Joel Osment(!) and Julie Hagerty(!) also star, while Dave Franco directed, while he and Brie co-wrote the script. But it gets a lukewarm 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Linda Marric of The Jewish Chronicle saying its “not terrible, but nothing to wrote home about. Kiersey Clemons is the real revelation here.” you decide. I’d rather watch Fakes (Farzi), a 2022 Hindi thriller series. this follows Sunny, played by Shahid Kapoor, a young artist who can duplicate any fine work of art through his painting, so, when his grandfather’s press business suffers a loss, he covers the 500 rupees through counterfeiting. But, of course, it is all too easy, and soon Sunny is creating millions of rupees, together with his friend Firoz. And the police are soon hot on his trail, with forensics expert (Raashii Khanna) and anti-fraud specialist (Tamil superstar Vijay Sethupathi) gaining ground every day. Not to mention organized criminals, that don’t appreciate a newcomer in their field. Kay Kay Menon, Amol Palekar, Bhuvan Arora, Regina Cassandra and Kubbra Sait also star, and there are 8 episodes now available for streaming. And this series gets an astounding 8.7/10 on IMDb, and Shweta Keshri with India Today calling it “an intriguing crime drama with solid performances” It’s on my list. And, finally, Amazon has added Season 1 of Mongeville, a 2013 French mystery MHZ Choice series. Francis Perrin plays retired judge Antoine Mongeville, who helps the young and ambitious Detective Axelle Ferrano (Marie Moute) solve crimes in Saignac, Bordeaux, much to the irritation of her boss, Commissaire Briare (Pierre Aussedat). As they successfully investigate crimes like a supposed suicide, a dead priest at a boarding school and other challenging mysteries, they ruffle the feathers of Axelle‘s superiors, and make a name for themselves as a crime solving duo. Jean-Philippe Lachaud, Marie Mouté, Gauthier Baillot, Jean-Pierre Bertrand and Léa Wiazemsky also star, and there are 12 episodes available for gorging now, that all disappear bac to MHZ Choice channel March 1. And this series gets an outstanding 7.8/10 on IMDb and Mark Glass of We Are Movie Geeks wrote “Mongeville is a character to admire and get comfortable with. As is typical of European crime series, the cast is less glamorous and the stories unfold with less violence than our typical prime-time domestic fare.” So I’m watching.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!