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 no showy titles added this week, but there are a few gems to be found if you look hard enough, like Rogue Agent, a 2022 British thriller. Based on a true story, this tells of Alice Archer, played by Gemma Atterton(!), a lawyer in 1993 London, who meets and falls hard for the charming Robert Freegard, played by James Norton(!), only to have him tell her he’s a special agent for MI5. She finds he’s even recruited other young women to work for him, but soon, gaps appear in his story, and when one of the women disappear, Alice begins to work with authorities to find her. Marisa Abela, Sarah Goldberg, Shazad Latif, Jimmy Akingbola, Freya Mavor and Edwina Findley also star, and Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn co-directed. And this movie gets an impressive 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Manuel Betancourt of Variety said “in Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn’s diligently crafted British caper Rogue Agent, the lines between a rakish spy and a dashing lover are blurred in the figure of Robert Freegard.” I’m watching. Hulu also offers The Night Manager, a 2023 Hindi spy series from Disney+. A new adaptation of John le Carré‘s novel of the same name, this one takes place in a hotel in Dhaka, where the hotel’s night manager and former soldier Shaan Sengupta, played by Aditya Roy Kapur, is asked to infiltrate the life of ruthless arms dealer Shailendra Rungta/Shelly(Anil Kapoor), and help authorities bring him down. But when Shaan begins to enjoy the luxuries of his new friends and becomes enamored with a woman among them, the government wonders if he can remain true to his cause.Sobhita Dhulipala, Tillotama Shome, Ravi Behl and Saswata Chatterjee also star, and there are 4 episodes now available for streaming. And this series gets an amazing 7.7/10 on IMDb, with Pooja Darade of Leisure Byte saying “a well-made and riveting espionage thriller.” And I’m tuning in. Hulu has also added Hold Your Fire, a 2021 documentary. This award-winning doc takes a look back at a tense situation in 1973 Brooklyn, when four young African American men stealing guns in sporting goods store got caught in the crossfire, with a cop being killed, and found the store surrounded by swarms of NYPD officers itching to pull the trigger. So when police psychologist Harvey Schlossberg came in and told them to talk the men out, everyone was appalled, but the success of the endeavor gained Schlossberg the moniker “the first hostage negotiator,” and a nationwide practice to save lives on both sides was begun. And director Stefan Forbes(Attica) gets us up close and personal with people involved on both sides, with one arrestee saying ‘ all my life, police just killed black people,” with a former policemen quoted next saying ‘I know for a fact that cops aren’t racist.’ It fleshes out a different era with surprisingly similar ethos, and an incredibly dangerous situation that could have ended so differently. And this movie was nominated for numerous awards and went on to win the Metropolis Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the DOC NYC and gets a smashing 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Mark Feeney of the Boston Globe saying “Forbes does something daring with the interviews. He will juxtapose comments that are contradictory, not necessarily in fact but in interpretation or emphasis. This creates a kind of stereo effect that enlarges the film.” And I can’t wait to watch again. And, finally, Hulu has added Big Mouth, a 2022 S. Korean detective series. Lee Jong-suk stars as Park Chang-ho, an unsuccessful lawyer call ‘big mouth’ by other lawyers, who comes upon a murder case that doesn’t add up and so investigates, but when he digs deeper, and is mistaken for the conman Big Mouth, his life is endangered. But when the life of his wife, Ko Mi-ho(Im Yoon-ah), he might quit, not knowing that she will take up his cause and help him solve the case.Yang Kyung Won, Lee Ki Young, Yoona, Kim Joo Heon and Kwak Dong Yeon also star, and there are 16 exciting episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets an incredible 7.9/10 on IMDb, and Rati Pednekar of The Review Geek says it’s absolutely worth watching, adding “Lee Jong-suk and Im Yoon-ah is a treat as they both show a wide range of acting skills. And the first fourteen episodes do take you on an exciting rollercoaster ride.” It’s on my list.
Netflix has an amazing add this week with The Woman King, the 2022 Oscar nominated action thriller. This tells the the remarkably true story of the Agojie, the team of woman warriors assembled and trained by General Nanisca, played by Viola Davis(!), who freed women enslaved by the slavers from the Oyo Empire. And so King Ghezo(John Boyega) of the 1830’s kingdom of Dahomey decides to wage total war against the draconian Oyo Empire, utilizing the all-female army under General Nansica.Nawi(Thuso Mbedu) is one of those young warriors, and when she hears that the Oyo are about to attack, with the help of Portuguese slave traders, the Agojie prepare for battle. Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Jimmy Odukoya also star, while Gina Prince-Bythewood directed. And this film premiered at the 2022 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has since received numerous nominations, like Best Director for Prince-Bythewood and Best Leading Actress for Davis at the BAFTAs, and Best Picture at this year’s upcoming Oscars, and gone on to win awards like the Chairman’s Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for Viola Davis, Best Ensemble, Best Director, and Best Picture at the Black Film Critics Circle Awards, and Movie of the Year at the 2023 AFI Awards. And it gets an outstanding 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Luke Goodsell of calls it “a big, mean, pulpy movie that drags the old Hollywood historical epic out of the shadows and into the cultural moment.” Tune in like me, if you want to see the performance that should have won Davis an Oscar nomination. I’m watching twice. Netflix also offers A Man of Action, a 2022 Spanish historical drama. This tells the true story of Lucio Urtubia , played by Juan José Ballesta, a Spanish anarchist of the 40‘s, whose youth in Franco’s Spain moves him toward anarchism and finally, crime, in support of that cause. After being born into poverty and working as a bricklayer, Urtubia sees such inequity, he gets involved with the anarchist movement and movement leader Quico Sabate(Miki Esparbé), which leads him to bank robberies, which gives 2/3 of their take to the poor and activists in prison. But then he moves on to counterfeiting, aimed at hurting the biggest banks in Paris, which is so successful it brings him into the crosshairs of America’s City Bank, and Inspector Castello, and ultimately, his downfall. Liah O’Prey, Luis Callejo, Alex Blazy, Ben Temple, Fred Tatien and Ana Polvorosa also star, and Javier Ruiz Caldera directed. And this film has been compared to Catch Me if You Can by the New York Times and gets a 6.3/10 on IMDb. Mekado Murphy Murphy of the New York Times said “Ballesta controls the frame as the unassuming Urtubia, who began as a simple bricklayer and rose to confabbing with Fidel Castro. Urtubia’s wholesome mien makes him easy to root for as a Robin Hood fighting an elephant of a system by copying checks to exploit the banking infrastructure. You can’t help but be charmed by him and this lighthearted and endearing film.” I’m watching. But Netflix has also added The Law According to Lidia Poët, a 2023 mystery series.Matilda De Angelis plays the title character, Lidia Poët, a young woman struggling to become accepted as Italy’s first female lawyer in 1883, with misogyny constantly blocking her, when she is approached by the mother of a man accused of a grisly murder. Unimpressed by the fact that she was hired merely because she was cheaper than her male peers, Poët investigates, and a practice is born. Pier Luigi Pasino plays her older brother(and lawyer) Enrico, and Sinead Thornhill, Nicolo Pasetti, Sara Lazaro, Dario Alta and Eduardo Scarpetta also star, and there are 6 episodes available for gorging now. And this series gets a stunning 7.3/10 on IMDb, with Daniel Hart of Ready Steady Cut calling it “a crowd-pleaser. Blending historical events, and creative flair, with an outstanding leading woman, The Law According to Lidia Poët deserves all the viewers it gets.” And I love a mystery. I’m definitely tuning in. Also new on Netflix is Red Rose, a 2023 British teen horror series. This follows the recent high school graduates in Bolton, who become victims of a new app, Red Rose, which offers the message “welcome to the new you.” But as new user Rochelle (Isis Hainsworth) becomes more and more involved with the app, she retreats from her normal life, and her family and friends, and it becomes clear the app’s aim is mor sinister than anyone thought. But can Rochelle escape it’s overpowering hold? Robyn Cara, Amelia Clarkson, Natalie Blair, Ellis Howard and Ali Khan also star, and there are 8 terrifying episodes available now. And it gets an outstanding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Shannon Connellan of Mashable writes it “takes the time to examine serious themes of grief, death, class, family, friendship, and early adulthood, all while our protagonists endure a tech–fuelled nightmare that will make you want to throw your phone in the sea.” But probably too scary for me. And, finally, Netflix has added Eva, Lasting, a 2022 Columbian comedy/drama series. This considers the earth-shattering arrival of the first girl, Eva Samper (Francisca Estevez), at the all boys Jose Maria Root Public School in Bogotá, 1976. As told by her now grown classmate, Camilo Granados (Emmanuel Restrepo), we learn of the seismic effect of the Eva‘s arrival in a group of boys unaccustomed to girls at all and the school’s grudging acceptance of her, which includes a knitting class they arrange especially for her(?). When all the boys even follow her there and sign up, a craze is born, but not all the students appreciate the new arrival, like Martin (Sergio Palau), who resents Eva as a ‘feminist,’ and searches for her secrets. But Eva offers more wisdom than just feminism, and unexpected surprises, too, for Camilo, who is smitten with her. Julián Cerati plays the youthful Camilo, and Cecilia Navia, Verónica Orozco, Santiago Alarcón, Brandon Figueredo and Adriana Arango also star, and there are 13 engaging episodes available now. And this series gets an outrageous 8.2/10 on IMDb. Veronica Loop of Martin Cid Magazine calls it “knows how to portray that kind of humor, yet at the same time maintain an elegant tone without losing the obvious adolescent naughtiness and at the same time construct a good “recall” of the Seventies which will also be enjoyed by the older generation. Besides, it’s funny and has emotional moments that are original as well as historic moments… It is also very naughty!” I agree, and I’m definitely watching.
Amazon has an amazing add with Brian and Charles, the quirky 2022 British comedy. David Earl plays Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who immerses himself in building weird contraptions that seldom work. But when he finally hits upon building a robot, after finding a mannequin’s head, he builds a rather awkward robot who names himself Charles Petrescu (Chris Hayward), obsessed with absorbing new knowledge. As Charles follows Brian constantly, and reads the dictionary overnight to learn English, the two become fast and inseparable friends. so when cruel villagers abduct Charles, Brian and his kindly neighbor Hazel(Louise Brealey) come to the rescue. Cara Chase, Nina Sosanya, Jamie Michie, Lynn Hunter and Sunil Patel also star, and Jim Archer directed. And this film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, and the Outstanding British Film of the Year at the 2023 BAFTA‘s, and it gets a very respectable 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.Mark Kermode of the Observer(UK) said it has “homemade charm to spare, proving delightfully ridiculous but also poignant.” I’m definitely tuning in. But Amazon has also added La Cabeza de Joaquín Murrieta(The Head of Joaquín Murrieta), a 2023 historical Western series. Juan Manuel Bernal (Monarca, Perfect Obedience) stars in the title role, as the historical true Murrieta,also known as the Mexican Robin Hood, who left the Mexican Army after Mexico lost Texas and California in the 1846-48 Mexican-American war, and went to fight for disenfranchised Mexicans in California. Murrieta teamed up with embattled Joaquín Carrillo(Alejandro Speitzer), to fight Harry Love(Steve Wilcox), a California Ranger tasked with tracking down and killing Murrieta. Yoshira Escárrega, Emiliano Zurita, Becky Zhu Wu, Michael Wilson Morgan, Liam Sharpe and Leidi Gutiérrez also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets an incredible 7.4/10 on IMDb, and there are few reviews yet, but Variety said it’s ‘action packed,’ adding it’s ‘one of Amazon’s most ambitious titles ever in Latin America.‘ And I’m watching. And, finally, Amazon has added Three Thousand Years of Longing, the 2022 fantasy adventure film from MGM+. Only available with a free 7-day trial of MGM+( and well worth it), this is based on the short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by A. S. Byatt, this has classics professor and narratologist Dr. Alithea Binnie, played by Tilda Swinton(!), ever logical and measured, frees a Djinn, played by Idris Elba(!), while she’s in Istanbul for a conference . Of course, the Djinn is anxious to gain his freedom and so offers the professor three wishes, but Alithea is well schooled in all the risks of wishes and is hesitant. And so, the genie tells her stories of his thousands of years of existence, thus beguiling her, and she ends up making a wish that surprises them both. Nicolas Mouawad, Burcu Gölgedar, Ece Yüksel, Zerrin Tekindor and Aamito Lagum also star, and the famed George Miller(Mad Max: Fury Road) directs, along with co-writing the script with Augusta Gore. And this film was nominated for muerous awards last year, and went on to win Best Actress in a Foreign Film for Swinton at the 2022 Sant Jordi Awards. And it gets a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Scott Tobias of The Reveal called it a “feast for the head and the heart and the eyes.” I’m definitely watching, and you can sign up for a free 7-day trial of MGM+ to watch here.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy