Yes, it’s that time again, the weekend, and time to review the best new movies and television shows added online this 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 week with Both Sides of the Blade, the 2022 French drama. Based on Christine Angot’s 2018 novel Un Tournant de la vie, Juliette Binoche stars as Sara, a woman happily married to Jean, played by Vincent Lindon, and living in Paris. But everything changes when she catches sight of her former lover, François(Grégoire Colin), a former colleague of Jean‘s, on the street. And when François offers Jean a much needed business opportunity, his presence in their lives is cemented, and as Sara is tempted into an affair, everything threatens to fall apart. Mati Diop, Issa Perica, Bruno Podalydès, Lola Créton and Bulle Ogier also star, while the great Claire Denis(Beau travail) directs. And this film had it’s world premiere at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, where it competed for the Golden Bear, and Denis received the Silver Bear for Best Director. And it gets an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Justin Chang of NPR said it “wants us to see its characters rage, but it never loses sight of the larger world raging outside their windows. It’s a different kind of melodrama — and a great one.” I’m tuning in. Hulu also added The Little Things, the 2021 thriller starring Denzel Washington(!). Washington stars as Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon, a Kern County deputy sheriff who is sent to L.A. in the 1990‘s, to investigate a murder that reminds him of one he never solved…that has obsessed him ever since. And so he finds himself working with lead detective Jimmy Baxter, played by Rami Malek(!), but as the pair face more murders and zero in on one suspect, Albert Sparma(Jared Leto), they both find themselves becoming obsessed with the crime (and the criminal), in a very unhealthy way. Chris Bauer, Terry Kinney, Michael Hyatt, Isabel Arraiza and Sofia Vassilieva also star, and John Lee Hancock directed. This movie got 3 nominations in 2021, with Leto even nominated for Best supporting Actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. But the movie somehow doesn’t pan out, and so it gets only a 45 % on Rotten Tomatoes. M.N. Miller of Ready Steady Cut wrote “what exactly went wrong with Mr. Hancock’s ode to ’90s Hollywood crime thrillers? The Little Things is frustratingly bland.” If you want something fresher, and downright delightful, Hulu has also offers Lucky, the 2017 drama starring Harry Dean Stanton(!). Here, Stanton plays the title character,Lucky, an ornery 90 year-old atheist living in Arizona, who has survived WWII and smoking, who suddenly finds he has to come to terms with his own mortality, after a fall sends him to the doctor. And though the doctor (Ed Begley Jr.!) can’t find anything wrong, Lucky is still shaken, and determined to face his end, whatever it is. And so he goes on a journey to find the existential truth in his life. Barry Shabaka Henley, Yvonne Huff, Bertila Damas, David Lynch and Beth Grant also star, while John Carroll Lynch directed. And this movie was nominated for many awards in 2018, and Stanton won Best Actor at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Indiana Film Journalists Association and the Gijón International Film Festival, to name a few. And it gets an astounding 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.3/10 on IMDb. Leonard Maltin called it “a remarkable film, a living testament to the talent and formidable screen presence of the late Harry Dean Stanton. I think we are the lucky ones to have such a beautiful film to remember the actor by.” I agree, and I’m watching. And, finally, Hulu has added Doctor Lawyer, a 2022 Korean drama series from Disney+. Han Yi-han (So Ji-sub) is a cardiac surgeon at Banseok Foundation & Hospital, engaged to prosecutor Geum Seok-yeong (Im Soo-hyang). But when Seok–yeong’s brother, Seok-ju (Han Seung-bin), dies after his heart transplant, and a very rich patient attains a new heart that same night, Yi-han smells a rat, and after he seeks the truth, he is blamed for Seok-ju‘s death, himself. Shin Sung-rok, Lee Kyung Young, Kim Tae Gyum and Woo Hyun Joo also star and there are 16 episodes available now. And this series gets an amazing 7.2/10 on IMDb, and Gwenchanoona.com calls it “a fantastic and wild ride, definitely a worthy comeback project for superstar So Ji-sub.”
Netflix has a huge add this week with Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a 2023 limited historical drama series .In this prequel to the Bridgerton story, the German aristocratic teen Charlotte, played by India Amarteifio, finds herself betrothed to King George III(Corey Mylchreest) against her will, and sent to London to wed. But despite the romance between the two, the marriage is troubled, with George struggling with mental health issues, and Charlotte pressured to bear children and uphold the family line. And so Charlotte is relieved to find a friend in Lady Agatha Danbury(Arsema Thomas), which helps her survive the i the Queen Mother (Michelle Fairley). Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh, Sam Clemmett, Hugh Sachs and Golda Rosheuvel as the older Queen Charlotte, also star, and there are 6 sumptuous episodes available for bingeing now. And this series gets an momentous 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Cristina Escobar of Roger Ebert.com calls it the “best Bridgerton ever, “as does Alison Herman of Variety, who adds its “not a break from precedent. Instead, it’s a return to form for [Shonda] Rhimes.” I’m tuning in. Netflix has also added Soft & Quiet, a 2022 horror/thriller flick. This follows the seemingly ordinary kindergarten teacher, Emily (Stefanie Estes), through her day, and as she meets with other white women in the afternoon, we come to realize she’s a white supremacist. Not only she, but all her friends, are invested in racism, and while discussing their first issue of their new magazine, they decide to get more wine. But while at the store, they meet woman from Emily‘s past, and an altercation spins rapidly out of control into brutal violence. Jon Beavers, Nina E. Jordan, Jayden Leavitt, Olivia Luccardi and Eleanore Pienta also star, with Beth de Araújo directing, along with writing the script(!). And this movie premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Award, and de Araújo was nominated for Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at that year’s Gotham Awards. And it gets an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Beatrice Loayza of the New York Times called it “a palpable joyride steered by the kinds of women who, de Araújo seems to think, could easily get away with it.” But way to scary for me. Luckily, Netflix also offers Love After Music, a 2023 Argentinian biographical drama series. This tells of the life and career of one of the most prominent Argentinian rock stars ever, Fito Paez, played by Iván Hochman, musicians in , as he grows up with his father, Rodolfo(Campi), and his love of music. And this takes place against the backdrop of political and social upheaval of the late 70‘s and 80‘s, as Fito grows more popular in 80‘s music, and his father’s health falters. Micaela Riera, Matías Okosi, Nahuel Monasterio, Daryna Butryk, Gaspar Offenhenden and Javier Morado also star, and there are 8 episodes available now. And it gets an incredible 8.2/10 on IMDb, and Greg Wheeler of the Review Geek says its a “well-written, fast-paced music drama.” And I’m watching. Netflix has also added the 7th and final season of Workin’ Moms, a 2023 CBC comedy series. Catherine Reitman(Blackish, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia ), creator of this series, plays PR executive Kate, always trying to balance the onerous(and thankless) work of motherhood and business, and so going to her mommies’ support group. Its led by her best friend, psychiatrist Anne, played by Dani Kind, and they’re joined by IT tech Jenny and real estate agent Frankie. Together they deal with the chaos of their lives, and the unrealistic expectations they have to deal with, not to mention the bizarre occurrences in their daily lives. Enuka Okuma, Jessalyn Wanlim, Philip Sternberg, Juno Rinaldi and Nikki Duval also star, and there are 7 seasons(!) of this show to catch up on now. And I must catch up, because this show gets an outstanding 7.8/10 on IMDb. Valerie Anne Liston of Autostraddle wrote “it was instantly clear to me that Workin’ Moms was bold and hilarious and raw and it not your everyday sitcom about modern motherhood.” And I’m tuning in. And, finally, Netflix has added Sanctuary, a2023 Japanese drama series. This tells of Kiyoshi Oze, played by Ichinose Wataru, a former judo champion whose family debt drives him to small time criminal behavior, with a trick turning mom and an ill father drives him to despair. And so he decides to go into Sumo wrestling, going toToyko from his hometown to train, not quite realizing the hell he is signing up for. The Toyko stablemaster (Pierre Taki)puts him through the wringer, but he is still one of the worst wrestlers there. Then he is approached by a reporter, Asuka Kunishima (Shiori Kutsuna), asking him to help her expose the brutal practices of Sumo into the open. Sometani Shota, Pierre Taki, Taguchi Tomorowo, Kaku So and Hiroki Sumi also star, and there are 8 episodes available for bingeing now. And it gets a stunning 7.8/10 on IMDb, and Joel Keller of the Decider says to stream it, adding “it’s a fascinating look inside sumo wrestling that should be of interest to anyone who has an interest in Japanese sports culture.” I’m definitely watching.
Amazon has a wonderful (though little publicized) add this week with Margrete: Queen of the North, the 2021 Danish biopic. This tells the story of the legendary Queen Margrete, played here by Trine Dyrholm, who unified Denmark, Norway and Sweden in peaceful union, by acting as regent for the young King Erik(Morten Hee Andersen), who she adopted. To strengthen the kingdom and stave off invasion, she arranges a marriage between Erik and Princess Philippa of England, but on the eve of the wedding, a stranger(Jakob Oftebro) suddenly arrives, claiming to be the real King Oluf, her dead son. And though Margrete condemns him as a liar, and has him imprisoned, she begins to have doubts about her decision, and whether he is indeed her long-lost son. Which brings her into conflict with Erik and his supporters. Søren Malling, Jakob Oftebro, Paul Blackthorne, fand Agnes Westerlund Rase also star, and Charlotte Sieling directed. And this film was nominated for 13 Danish Film Awards, and 7 Bodli Awards, where it went on to win the Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay awards, among others. And gets a phenomenal 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Paul Byrnes of the Sydney Morning Herald writing “a big, dark, roiling cauldron of politics and emotion, and satisfying as all that — even if a lot of it is speculation.” And I’m tuning in. But remember, it’s offered with English dubbing, which is always horrible, so I’m switching to subtitles. Amazon has also added A Man Called Ove, the 2016 Swedish dark comedy. Based on Fredrik Backman‘s 2012 highly acclaimed novel, this tells the tale of Ove, played by Rolf Lassgårdan, an ornery and unhappy older man, who recently lost his wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll), and so decides to make everyone else miserable, until he decides to take his own life. Which doesn’t succeed, and so when a new family moves in next door, he is predictably disgusted, but his new neighbor Parvaneh (Bahar Pars),an Iranian immigrant, has a thicker skin than most, and so the two become friends. Tobias Almborg, Filip Berg, Ingrid Engvoll, Tobias Almborg, Klas Wiljergård, and Stefan Gödicke also star, and Hannes Holm directed, along with writing the script. And this film was Sweden’s official Oscar submission, and won 3 Guldbagge Awards, including Best Actor for Lassgård. And it gets an 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and David Hughes of Empire Mag said “Holm‘s well-judged adaptation of the bestseller keeps the maudlin to a minimum and plays the black comedy just right. A strong contender for feel-good film of the year.” so if you’re thinking of streaming A Man Called Otto, Tom Hanks‘ adaptation of this story, I thought you might want to check this (better) version out, too. And, finally, Amazon has added The Villainess, the 2017 South Korean thriller. Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim)is title character here, trained from childhood to be a killer by mafia boss, Joong- sang (Shin Ha-kyun), who gets a chance to leave her hated vocation behind, but only if she works for the government’s secret service as a sleeper agent for 10 years. And so she takes the bait, finally going on a bloody of revenge to earn her freedom. Bang Sung-jun, Ha-kyun Shin, Jun Sung, Seo-hyeong Kim and Eun-ji Jo also star, while Byung-gil Jung directed. And this film premiered at the 70th Cannes Film Festival 2017, and went to win numerous awards that year, including Best Cinematography at the 54th Grand Bell Awards and the 26th Buil Film Awards, and Kim Ok-bin won Best Actress at the Chunsa Film Art Awards and the Baeksang Arts Awards. And it gets an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Tara Brady of the Irish Times called it “2017‘s most breathtakingly unhinged action film.” But it is outrageously violent, so be forewarned.
So sit back and binge this weekend, on classics, old and new, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!