Header images courtesy of Niko Tavernise / Netflix
Netflix continues to deliver on its winning “something for everyone” formula with a mix of explosive action shows, Christmas rom-coms, feel-good flicks, Oscar-bait dramas, and more. Paul Hsiao, chart maker and film enthusiast at Movieconomist, lists his most-anticipated releases arriving on Netflix Hong Kong this December.
Do not let the name mislead you—this is not a feel-good animation about mankind’s best friend. Instead, The Power of the Dog is a moody Western drama about the pitfalls of toxic masculinity starring Doctor Strange himself: Benedict Cumberbatch. Mr Cumberbatch plays an intimidating rancher whose jealousy bubbles to the surface when his younger brother (a not-so-baby-faced Jesse Plemons) brings home a bride (Kristen Dunst) and her son in 1920s frontier America. A broody opening to the holiday season—thanks, Netflix!
Like this? Consider The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an anthology of darkly humorous Western tales.
Now here is the Netflix holiday schmaltz that we’re looking for! Peter (Michael Urie) is a young man who convinces his roommate (Philemon Chambers) to act like they are in a relationship during a holiday visit to his hometown. However, things go awry—and jealousy sparks—when Peter goes on a blind date with an attractive fitness trainer. Single all the Way is best enjoyed with Lactaid pills as it looks to be a super cheesy time.
Like this? Consider the Christmas rom-com classic Love, Actually, when unconventional politicians at 10 Downing Street were something to laugh about instead of cry about.
In a new series produced by auteur David Fincher (the director of Fight Club and The Social Network), Voir examines the unforgettable moments during cinema history and the unique magic of movies.
Like this? Consider watching a film in the theatres (while following health guidelines).
Sandra Bullock knocks out a dramatic turn as a newly released prisoner who spent nearly two decades in prison after committing a violent crime in small-town America. Can she move on from her violent past and reconnect with her surviving family? Will Sandra Bullock pull another Oscar nomination? Only time will tell.
Like this? Consider Breaking Bad, a slow-burning crime epic starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
After spending an unforgettable Christmas tending a farm during last year’s holiday season and subsequently falling in love with a woman aptly named Callie (“It’s Callie from the Valley!”), Joseph is brought back to the “big city” of San Francisco. Tensions flare as Callie meets Joseph’s old flames and familial bonds are tested with the prospect of a dramatic inheritance. We’re just surprised that no one is named “Frannie from San Francisco” in this holiday film sequel. Available 16 December
Like this? Consider To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, arguably the best Netflix rom-com out there.
Toss a coin to your... author! English accents, sweeping shots of medieval architecture, and brutal action scenes await as Henry Cavill returns as Geralt, a swordsman-for-hire in a fantastical medieval landscape. In this season, war brews between two large factions in a spiritual follow-up to Game of Thrones. Available 17 December
Like this? Consider Gladiator, which revived the swords-and-sandals drama during the turn of the millennium.
Emily in Paris was my very guilty pleasure because it features expats behaving badly and yet the show remains incredulously charming. Lily Collins returns as a young American woman who works out of Paris as she navigates French culture, French men, and French fashion. Life could be harder. For those still hunkered down due to the pandemic (or should I say pain-demic?), this might be the closest thing to a European vacation during the last few weeks of 2021. Available 20 December
Like this? Consider Ratatouille, the Pixar animation that provides a more highbrow and wholesome window into Parisian life. It will certainly make you hungry by the end of it.
The cast alone makes this worth watching. This political satire features Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, who play two scientists attempting to warn the proper authorities (including President Meryl Streep) about an incoming comet that could end all life as we know it. Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, and Cate Blanchett round out the stellar cast in a dramedy from the director of The Big Short and Vice. Available 24 December
Like this? Consider the Tim Burton classic Mars Attacks! that contains similar themes of political dysfunction.
Olivia Coleman—the thespian who played not one, but two British monarchs—turns up the creepy vibes as a middle-aged woman who carries the mystery involving her two missing daughters while vacationing on what should have been an island paradise. Directed by Maggie Gyllenhall, the cast also includes Dakota Johnson, Ed Harris, and Peter Saarsgard. Available 31 December
Like this? Consider Shutter Island, a Martin Scorcese mystery featuring Leonardo DiCaprio.