‘Tis the season to have impassioned arguments about which is better: Home Alone 1 or 2 (the answer is 2) or The Grinch or Elf (it’s Elf). Netflix has a smorgasbord of festive treats for us, no matter your demographic.
Christmas queen, Spielberg Obsessive, Will Smith aficionado — however you identify yourself, there’s something new for you this month. Here is the low down of the best additions to the service.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
An early-ish Spielberg masterpiece, Close Encounters of the Third Kind has reached cult status since its release in the seventies. Concerned with the ever-festive topic of UFOs and obsession, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) becomes preoccupied with extra-terrestrial activity after witnessing a UFO. Watch for cinephile points and classic sci-fi.
The Holiday Movies That Made Us (Volume 1) (2020)
A comprehensive list and discussion of the plethora of holiday movies (not just Christmas movies) that have had a cultural impact on various generations. Expect much discussion around the various merits of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, National Lampoon and Meet Me in St Louis.
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
This is one of Daniel Day Lewis’s most well known and well-regarded roles, though this film also offers other impressive exciting performances including from Cherokee actor Wes Studi. Last of the Mohicans is based on a novel of the same name and tells the historical fictional tale of Hawkeye, a white man brought up in a Native American tribe. This film is a classic love story, as well as being a well made historical drama. Classic status for good reason.
The Prestige (2006)
This Christopher Nolan classic relies less on the concept of time bending and time travel than more recent offerings (anyone else need to see Tenet another 7 times?) but still messes with the audience’s ideas of reality and possibility, and it relies heavily on science fiction tropes and narrative. The Prestige blends history with magic with science with drama, to great effect. The cast is flawless and although it isn’t a holiday movie, it definitely has an element of festivity to it thanks to the showmanship and theatrics at work throughout.
Wild Wild West (1999)
From the creator of Men in Black, Barry Sonnenfield, Wild Wild West is a hilarious, fast-paced, comedy western starring a post-Fresh Prince Will Smith and pre-De Lovely Kevin Klein. The film also has a weirdly developed supporting cast including Kenneth Branagh and Salma Hayek. The film’s plot unfolds in a fabulously bizarre way, swinging from the American Civil War to headless scientists to, naturally, mechanical spiders.
This brand new Taiwanese horror series is based around the video game of the same name. The series included supernatural elements and it revolves around the premise of restrictive and claustrophobic political control of civilians and the kind of censorship experienced during the White Terror in Taiwan. In the series, a new student at Greenwood High leaves the beaten path and encounters a spirit who leads her through the history of the institution. The series promises to be thought-provoking, chilling and frightening.
Stage Mother (2020)
Completely predictable chaos and heart-warming content ensues when a conservative Texan church-going hyper maternal choir leader inherits her estranged gay son’s sinking drag club in San Francisco along with its ragtag bunch of tagalongs that come as standard with the joint. Predictably, the audience is shown the protagonist capability to rethink her prejudice and change her ways in the name of her late son. The film is ultimately lovely and a fun ride. Ideal watching for a feel-good zone out.
The Prom (2020)
Another stagey feel-good film, this one has an unarguably all-star cast to boot. Waning stage stars played by James Corden and Meryl Streep use a small-town prom to elevate their public image by supporting one girl’s crusade to be allowed to bring her girlfriend to prom. Predictably life-affirming, fun and cosy, The Prom promises to be a very comforting watch.
Big Mouth season 4
The popular animated series about the terrible journey through puberty returns.
A new one from the legendary director David Fincher, about Herman J. Mankiewicz, screenwriter for Citizen Kane.
Alice in Borderland season 1
A mind-bending live-action series based on the popular Japanese manga.
Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
Saorise Ronan brings the famous monarch to life in this biographical costume drama.