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 an impressive add this wee with Rye Lane, a 2023 British romance. This tells of Yas (Vivian Oparah) and Dom (David Jonsson), two 20-something Londoners who meet in a bathroom, and find themselves helping each other heal after bad breakups, only to find they have more in common than they knew. As they spend the day together in colorful South London, meeting with friends and finding adventure, their bond grows until they forget their previous losses in love. Benjamin Sarpong-Broni, Karene Peter, Simon Manyonda and Poppy Allen-Quarmby also star, while Raine Allen-Miller directs. And this movie was nominated for Best Feature Film at the 2023 Cleveland International Film Festival, and gets a stunning 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. Kristy Puchko of Mashable calls it “a winsome delight, alive with color, verve, humor, and heart. If you love rom-coms, it’s essential viewing. And if you don’t, well, this gem might just change your mind.” I’m definitely watching. Hulu also offers Great Expectations,a 2023 British adaption of the Dickens classic. This tells the tale of the orphan Pip, played by Fionn Whitehead, dying to leave Kent and his cruel brother-in-law Joe (Owen McDonnell) and his abusive sister Sara. When he is hired as a companion for Miss Havisham(Olivia Colman!),he falls prey to her bitter machinations(she was left at the altar), and so his love for her adopted daughter Estella(Shalom Brune-Franklin) is jeopardized. And so, when a benefactor pays for his journey to London, he takes him up on it, and so gets involved in the spice trade, only to come up against Miss Havisham‘s old fiancé, Bentley Drummle. Hayley Squires, Matt Berry, Owen McDonnell and Ashley Thomas also star, and there are 6 episodes available now for streaming. But you may want to just read the book, as this is an extremely disappointing adaption of a great book. And it gets only a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Robert Lloyd of the L.A. Times calls it ” dreary, dismal and not very Dickensian.” I agree, it’s a disservice, I’m not watching. But Hulu has also added The Marijuana Conspiracy, a 2020 Canadian historical drama. This dramatizes a true incident in 1972 , as the Canadian government funded with a 98-day study on a group of young women in Toronto who were paid to use pot twice a day while housed in a hospital. Women like street-smart Mary (Julia Sarah Stone) and Mary’s coworker Jane (Brittany Bristow) joined other like Mourinda (Tymika Tafari) and Marissa, and the group on marijuana at first, fare well, and are even more productive than the control group not on marijuana. So the doc in charge, behaviorist Dr. Barry (Gregory Ambrose Calderone) up the THC, hoping for more negative responses that the government is hoping for, and of course, he gets them. Morgan Kohan, Kyla Young, Luke Bilyk, Derek McGrath, Paulino Nunes and Marie Ward also star, and Craig Pryce directed. And though this movie gets only a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, I agree with RogerEbert.com‘s Odie Henderson who said “hippie-swooning temptations aside, I remained tethered to The Marijuana Conspiracy thanks to the excellent performances by the actresses playing the main roles.” I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has addd Hunt, the 2023 Korean historical thriller. In the directorial debut of Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game!), this takes place in 1980‘s S. Korea, after learning of a plot to assassinate the South Korea’s president, the Korean Central Intelligence Agency’s Foreign Unit, led by Park Pyong–ho(Lee Jung-jae!), searches frantically for a mole in among them who has been leaking intel. And since, during this period of a more authoritarian government, no one trusts each other, another unit entirely, the KCIA’s Domestic Unit, led by Kim Jung-do, played by Jung Woo-sung, looks for him, too. And the result is a tense situation, with no one knows what’s really going on. Heo Sung-tae, Go Yoon-Jung, Hye-jin Jeon and Kim Jong-soo also star, and this film was nominated for the Golden Camera at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and went on to win 3 Blue Dragon awards, including Best New Director, at the 2022 Blue Dragon Awards. And Hunt gets a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times writing it”works fine as a slam-bang action movie; but at heart it’s more of a cautionary tale.” I’m tuning in.
One of the biggest titles added on Netflix this week is Unstable, the 2023 Rob Lowe comedy series. Here, Lowe plays tech wizard Ellis Dragon, floored by the death of his wife, and looking for a way to snap back at his company, Dragon. But his weird behavior leads his top employees to approach his estranged son, Jackson(John Owen Lowe), also brilliant, of course, to come work with them, and help his dad get it back together. But, of course, all doesn’t go as planned, and daffy hijinks ensue, as well as explosions, fires and other disasters. Fred Armisen, Sian Clifford, Aaron Branch, Rachel Marsh, Emma Ferreira and Merrick McCartha also star, and there are 8 episodes available now for streaming. And this series gets a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Lucy Mangan of The Guardian writing “overall the ratio of jokes to things that resemble jokes in structure and rhythm remains too low and the schmaltz factor too high.” Still, if you want a standard sit-com, you could do worse. You decide. I’d rather watch Wellmania, a 2023 Australian comedy series. This has NYC food writer Liv, played by Celeste Barber(Seriously Red), offered the chance of a lifetime, to be a judge on a new celebrity cooking show, Banquet Royale. But first, she has to go back to Australia for the birthday party of her best friend Amy (JJ Fong), but all does not go as planned, and after she’s mugged, she loses her green card. And she can’t get another til she gets her health in better shape, with her sky high blood-pressure and cholesterol. And so, in desperation, she heads to a wellness spa with Amy, to get back to the states and her dream job. With disastrous results. Remy Hil, Lachlan Buchanan, Alexander Hodge, Virginie Laverdure, and Leah Vandenberg also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And this show gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Benji Wilson of the Daily Telegraph (UK) says “Barber, an Aussie comedian, is dynamite in the lead, an astonishing combination of one-woman disaster flick and flashes of vulnerability that, indeed, reminds you of Waller-Bridge in Fleabag in the very best way.” I’m definitely tuning in. Netflix also offers On The Fringe, a 2022 Spanish social drama. This tells the story of three people in Madrid trying to stay afloat; there’s supermarket worker Azucena (Penelope Cruz!) wife and mother, who has one day to avoid being evicted from their home, also activist and lawyer Rafa (Luis Tosar),whose obsession with his work is threatening his family life, and Teodora (Adelfa Calvo), an older woman whose son blames her for both of their financial woes. And the three people(and others) try to survive the day, with varying degrees of success. Nur Al Levi, Aixa Villagrán, Irene Bueno Royo, Christian Checa and Fabrice Boutique also star, and Juan Diego Botto directed. This premiered at the 79th edition of the Venice Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Venice Horizons Award, and was nominated for 5 Goya awards as well. It went on to win Best Supporting Actress for Calvo at the 2023 Spanish Actors Union awards, and gets a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. Mirito Torreiro of Fotogramas said “Tosar and Cruz are simply dazzling and moving…” And I’m watching.Netflix has also added Kill Boksoon, a 2023 S. Korean thriller. Jeon Do-yeon plays a single mom Gil Bok-soon, whose difficulties with her teen daughter, Gil Jae-young (Kim Si-a), are difficult to juggle with her secret job as a contract killer. Gil, or Kill Bonsoon, as she is known, is employed by the MK, a high-powered job agency for professional killers, where she is pressured by their rules of always carrying out a contract, and no kids, as well as competitors, like the up and coming Hee Sung (Koo Kyo-hwan). But she’s always up to a good fight, with sword, gun or fists. Sol Kyung-gu, Esom, Lee Yeon, Koo Kyo-hwan and Hwang Jung-min also star, and Byeon Seonghyeon directed, along with writing the script.And this movie gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com says it “remains impressive, if only for its unexpected sensitivity and considerable emotional range.” It’s on my list. And, finally, Netflix has added Heaven and Hell: Soul Exchange, a 2023 Japanese mytery/comedy series. Here, harassed Tokyo detective Ayako Mochizuki (played by Haruka Ayase)is determined to save her image(after arresting the wrong person), and is hot on the trail of the man she believes to be a serial killer, Haruto Hidaka (Issey Takahashi), a chemist and CEO. But just when she is about to arrest him, their souls are switched(!), and the pair might be forced to work together to end their dilemma. Tasuku Emoto, Yuri Nakamura, Kazuki Kitamura, Junpei Mizobata and Sakoda Takaya also star, and there are 10 exciting episodes available to enjoy now. And this series gets a 9.1/10 on Viki, and Jess Doshi of the Midgard Times writes its “a must-watch series for lovers of Lucifer and Brooklyn 99. It was a captivating series that merged mystery and humor in the perfect amounts and didn’t overdo either of them.” I’m tuning in.
The biggest title Amazon has added this week is The Power, a 2023 sci-fi series. Based on Naomi Alderman’s novel, this takes place in the alt-world where teen girls around the planet develop the power to electrocute at will. Jos Cleary-Lopez(Auliʻi Cravalho), daughter of Mayor Margot Cleary-Lopez(Toni Collette!) and Dr. Rob Lopez(John Leguizamo!), is one of those girls, confused and stunned by her new power. As she and her parents try to adapt and investigate, other authorities join them, as the girls themselves discover they can pass the power on to older women, as well. And as the government starts to test all women for that power, the question is will it liberate women or destroy everyone. Toheeb Jimoh, Ria Zmitrowicz, Halle Bush, Nico Hiraga, Heather Agyepong, and Daniela Vega also star, and there are 3 episodes available now, with 7 more to come. And this series gets an 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Nicole Vassell of the Independent (UK) says “with a punchy script from an all-female writers’ room and characters who both inspire and feel accessible, the story is as timely as it has ever been.” I’m definitely tuning in. Amazon also offers Guilty Minds, a 2023 Indian legal drama series. Here, two young lawyers, Deepak Rana (Varun Mitra) and Kashaf Quaze (Shriya Pilgaonkar) find themselves confronting each other in court often , even though they are friends. And though a romance is hinted at , their opposing styles on positions may jeopardize any future relationship, especially when Quaze‘s escalation of the issues may threaten Rana‘s family, especially her father, Justice Quaze (Benjamin Gilani). Satish Kaushik, Virendra Saxena, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, and Namrata Sheth also star, and there are 10 episodes available for streaming now. And this series gets an amazing 7.3/10 on IMDb, and Anuj Kumar of the Hindu said “raising the bar and with immaculate casting, creator-director Shefali Bhushan has come up with a cogent series that informs and entertains in equal measure.” It’s on my list.And, finally, Amazon has added season 1 of Magellan, a 2013 French mystery series from MHZ Choice. Jacques Spiesser stars as Inspector Simon Magellan, working in the imaginary town of Saignac(but filmed in and around Lille), where curious murders seem to occur on a regular basis. Murders like that of an aristocratic author who dies at his own book launching, or an amateur actress who dies onstage. On the job, he is aided by Lieutenant Selma(Selma Kouchy), but at home, he has to deal with two daughters, and a romantic entanglement with a reporter. Nathalie Besançon, Bernard Alane, Marie de Stefano, Franz-Rudolf Lang and Flore Bonaventura also star, and there are 9 episodes available for bingeing now. And since this series gets an incredible 7.1/10 on IMDb, you might indeed want to binge. The New York Times writes that it follows the standard conventions, “but if they’re to your taste, you won’t find them better executed.” So I’m tuning in. And I love a mystery.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!