If you decided to ignore my tirade against Netflix at Christmas, there is plenty of fare, both festive and not so festive, that will be winging its way to the streaming service this Christmas.
The Christmas Chronicles (22/11/18): Kurt Russell, in my opinion, should always have a beard. In this festive story of two children who decide to kidnap Santa, the veteran actor tries his hand at portraying the Man in the Big Red Suit and, judging by the trailers, pulls it off magnificently with his usual charisma, a dose of impish charm and a truly magnificent bush of facial hair. There are real vibes of The Santa Clause about this one, complete with magical Christmas gadgets and the like, and Kurt Russell is always fun to watch. Streaming on Netflix as of the 22nd of November (criminally early), it is definitely one to get you in a Christmas mood before the exams start and destroy all your seasonal goodwill.
Peaky Blinders, Season 4 (19/12/18): Ok, so not very festive, but Netflix have finally caught up with the BBC in terms of airing the immensely successful tv series featuring Cillian Murphy in 1920s Birmingham. Having watched it as it was aired last Spring, I can assure you that this season is even more bombastic and spectacular than its predecessors. As Tommy Shelby and his family deal with their success, a threat arises in the form of an old enemy (you’ll be forgiven for forgetting who this particular family are) in the form of an Italian mafioso played with slick menace by Adrien Brody. Throw in a host of famous actors and several cameos from quite possibly television’s best ever secondary character, Alfie Solomons, Peaky Blinders is more than worth catching up on. Pretty sure there’s an episode set during Christmas somewhere in the series too so there’s your link if you want it.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (07/12/18): A bit of a strange one seeing as there was a remake of The Jungle Book which came out just last year featuring an all-star cast. This one had to change its name for obvious reasons, but features a similarly star-studded cast (Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Harris etc) and Andy Serkis in the director’s chair. The Jungle Book was pretty bad so hopefully this one will be a bit better. It does have the feel of a Christmas afternoon movie and the visual effects look impressive, although the vibes might be a bit dark for a proper family film.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Christmas Special (14/12/18): The successful reboot of the Naughties original gets a Christmas Edition. Darker than its predecessor, but with quirk and an arresting performance from Kiernan Shipka, this one off promises to be festive but with Halloween-esque undertones.
About A Boy (07/12/18): This gem of a movie combines the good guy English gentleman that is Hugh Grant with the boyish charms of a youthful Nick Hoult. A story about a boy, funnily enough, who struggles to fit in at school (might have something to do with his god-awful haircut) but befriends a listless 30-something year old bachelor living off the royalty money from a Christmas song his father wrote. If that’s not enough of a festive connection for you, the movie is a feel-good look at friendship, love and every-day life with winning performances from the leads and witty English humour at its finest. Definitely a good one to sit down and watch with the family.
The Big Lebowski, Sherlock Holmes, T2 Trainspotting (7th, 15th and 22nd respectively): If the feel-good vibe and children’s films aren’t your idea of a fun Christmas then movies that feature respectively: The Coen Bros at their finest; a wonderfully Victorian Guy Ritchie adaptation; and the long-awaited sequel to Danny Boyle’s 90s original all come to Netflix this coming month. Commonly hailed as one of the best indie films ever, The Big Lebowski spawned multiple pop culture references and immortalised its title character The Dude, as well as popularising the White Russian cocktail. Jeff Bridges embodies the laid-back eponymous character and is aided by great performances from the likes of John Goodman, Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Steve Buscemi. This movie is another one of those you should be able to say you’ve seen. Guy Ritchie’s take on Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson and a creepy Mark Strong doing his best bad guy, is great to look at, comical, features a great chemistry between the leads that often makes you laugh out loud, and inspired a style of title and credit sequences that have been copied time and time again due to their striking visual impact. Finally, the sequel to the original Trainspotting arrives on Netflix a few days before Christmas and it is much more expansive and comical than its predecessor. All of the original cast return for the movie, that although explores new avenues to No.1, loses none of the original’s charm and brutal honesty.