Film noir, with its spooky mood and stark and menacing style, is all but a thing of the past. But this week, a modern take on film noir comes to Hulu.
Gemini (2018) stars Zoë Kravitz as movie star Heather Anderson, with Lola Kirke as her personal assistant Jill. Things start to get mysterious and murderous in the high life of Hollywood, and John Cho (of Harold and Kumar and Star Trek fame) shows up as a police detective who’s determined to get to the truth.
“Why aren’t there more films like (director) Aaron Katz’s ‘Gemini’?” asked Salon critic Max Cea, calling it “a brilliant, modern take on the murder mystery.”
Gemini comes to Hulu on Friday.
New to Hulu last week is Love, Simon (2018), a romantic comedy-drama about a gay teen, directed by prolific TV director-producer Greg Berlanti. It’s based on the 2015 young-adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli.
“Like the chorus of a latter-day Taylor Swift song, (Love, Simon) will lift you up, goddammit, and good luck trying to stop it,” wrote Vulture critic Emily Yoshida.
In another recent Hulu arrival, Keira Knightley plays the beloved French novelist Colette in the 2018 film of the same name. New York Observer critic Rex Reed calls Colette, “the most important woman writer in the history of French literature” and says the film “is the best and most lavishly appointed, gorgeously photographed period movie in years.”
Also new on Hulu recently: Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018), the third and final film in the teen sci-fi dystopian saga.
And On Chesil Beach (2018), stars Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle as a British couple whose sexual inexperience leads to disaster.
However you’re feeling about travel these days, it’s perfectly safe to take a trip to La La Land this week. The 2016 musical stars Ryan Gosling as a pianist and Emma Stone as an actress who fall in love in LA, and it’s now on Hulu. The film is perhaps best known for not winning the best picture Academy Award at the 89th annual Oscars.
It’s only September, but if you’re already looking toward Halloween, Hulu has you covered. The spooky 2002 American remake of Japan’s The Ring is available now, and it’s just as scary as when it first came out. Sure, it may seem a bit dated that the movie that kills you seven days later is still available on videotape, but the idea is the same.
Need more scares? The Omen, in which Gregory Peck slowly realizes his adopted son, Damien, is the antichrist, was scary back in 1976, and it still is now. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005) offers a horror-themed animated musical fantasy (that’s a lot of genres). And if you still want to believe, a la Fox Mulder, The X-Files film (1998) is on Hulu now as well. The truth is still out there.
In addition to the movies above, you can check out our list of best Hulu original films.
Best Hulu original movies
It was only a matter of time before a documentary chronicling the remarkable story of teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg came around. I Am Greta is an intimate look at Thunberg’s one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish parliament. We also see a little of her life as a shy student with Asperger’s. The rare footage is in the sure hands of Swedish director Nathan Grossman, following Thunberg’s galvanizing impact from those steps to the rest of the world.
On the surface, this extraordinary documentary from Bing Liu is a love letter to skateboarding. But scratch a little deeper and you’ll find Minding the Gap’s vast depths. A rich and thoughtful tale of young people growing up in 21st century America, it explores domestic trauma, systemic racism and classism. It resonates beyond the skate park.
Plan B (2021)
This road trip comedy covers familiar territory, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles star as odd best friends: one a straitlaced student, the other a slacker who helps the former track down a Plan B pill in conservative small-town South Dakota — within 24 hours of a regrettable first sexual encounter. Following in the footsteps of the fast-paced and fresh Booksmart, Plan B is a witty, bawdy ride that holds nothing back.
Palm Springs slots right into the charming indie movie category: Its fresh sci-fi premise acts as a gateway to exploring deeper ideas. Cristin Miloti and Andy Samberg star as Sarah and Nyles, two strangers who meet at a wedding and get up to all sorts, including stumbling into a Groundhog Day time loop. Their only chance of escape seems to be tied to having personal breakthroughs. Very much sticking the landing, Palm Springs should be on your list of viewing destinations.
Big Time Adolescence is a coming-of-age movie told with an emphasis on the messiness of growing up. Pete Davidson plays a slacker who befriends 16-year-old Mo. His influence sees Mo try new things, from alcohol to impressing girls at parties. Lessons, as you can expect, are learned. A smart ensemble, including Jon Cryer, is the cherry on the cake bringing together this heartfelt gem.
If you like your Christmas movies with a dash of substance, then Happiest Season is one of the best new gems to slide onto your holiday viewing shelf. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star as loving couple Abby and Harper, who encounter a single spanner in their relationship: Harper hasn’t come out to her conservative family yet. Delivering all the warmth of a Hallmark card with none of the cheesiness, and bolstered by a stellar supporting cast including Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie and Dan Levy, Happiest Season is a smart, modern Christmas movie with emotional punch.
Cortesía de TIFF
Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland has been sweeping awards at film festivals and unsurprisingly won best picture, best director and best actress at the Oscars. Zhao’s a true workhorse, directing, editing and writing this contemplative and fascinating drama about a woman (Frances McDormand) who leaves her home to travel around the American West. Get this: Members of the supporting cast are real-life nomads playing fictionalized versions of themselves. See this extraordinary piece of filmmaking from the director who’ll bring her unique lens to Marvel’s Eternals later this year.
Sarah Paulson’s had a big year, starring in Mrs. America, Ratched and now Run, a thriller from Aneesh Chaganty (check out his excellent directorial debut Searching). In Run, Paulson plays Diane Sherman, a mother looking after her daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen), who uses a wheelchair. But their mother-daughter relationship is more disturbing than it seems. Be captivated by the suspense, mystery and horror as Diane takes helicopter parenting to a new level.
As the great Fleabag once said, “Hair is everything.” Bad Hair might just take that to the next level. The horror satire set in the ’80s follows a young woman who reluctantly agrees to get a weave — but changing her image to please the image-obsessed music industry has its consequences. Absurdly funny and disturbing at the same time, Bad Hair unravels an entertaining fable that reflects on modern life.
Zombies, the Australian outback and a school bus of happy-go-lucky children are a mix you can expect to end badly. Little Monsters follows kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) on her gargantuan task: Keep her charges safe and oblivious to the flesh (and echidna) eating monsters. If she pulls it off, she’ll be teacher of the year. With a scene-stealing Josh Gad in tow, Little Monsters is ridiculous fun using a fresh brain to tackle the genre.