Netflix just keeps getting better. This year, a film by the Coen Brothers, second season of the incredible Mindhunter and a new David Letterman talk show are just several of the gems coming to the streaming service. Mixing originals alongside existing titles, the platform is now an unparalleled wealth of entertainment – and this is what to expect this January…
Designated Survivor Season 2
Are you ready for the return of one of the most binge-worthy series to ever grace Netflix? With ever-escalating tensions, cover-ups and stand-offs, this is a rare example of a show that flits between psychological thriller and all-out blockbuster. There are gunfights, but then there’s a lot of Kiefer Sutherland’s put-upon POTUS moping around the Oval Office. It’s better than it sounds…
Two years ago, when this sci-fi hit cinemas, it brought with it critical acclaim. The plot may sound a little shaky – Michael Shannon’s Roy Tomlin and his biological son, Alton Meyer, have to escape from both the government and a cult, after discovering that Alton has special powers – but give it a chance and you’ll discover a genuinely moving performance by Shannon, and an impressive breakout from Jaeden Lieberher as his son.
Not to be confused with the 1980s coming-of-age film starring Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze, this is a Netflix original starring Oscar-winning actor and recently underwhelming Joker Jared Leto as an American solider broken out of prison with his Yakuza cellmate. However, this debt of gratitude will require Leto to dive even further into the criminal world to pay the gangsters back.
Rave reviews are swirling around Annihilation – the new film by Alex Garland, and one of the first bought off Paramount Pictures for a release on Netflix. After Natalie Portman’s Lena goes through a personal tragedy, she and a group of military scientists enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone that is full of mutating landscapes and creatures. Trippy, but promises to be a great watch.
Ricky Gervais: Humanity
With Ricky Gervais’ The Office among one of the most streamed programs on Netflix, it makes sense that the streaming giant would shell out for his latest, critically-acclaimed stand-up special. Humanity deals with its titular theme in typical Gervais fashion – biting, close to the bone observations and real, deep laughs.
The Man from UNCLE
If Guy Ritchie ever directed a Bond film, it’d probably look a lot like this. If Henry Cavill ever landed the role of Bond, it would probably look a lot like this. This is The Man from UNCLE, a sixties-set spy caper with more one-liners, sharp suits and femme fatales than all of 007’s outings combined. Strap in for a no-holds-barred film of action, fashion and general fun. And Hugh Grant pops up, too.
Captain America: Civil War
Starring Gentleman’s Journal cover star Jeremy Renner alongside Marvel big-hitters Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans, in this latest comic book movie to hit Netflix, the Avengers – who are to assemble once more this year – are split down the middle when questions about their culpability begin to circulate.
How Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t win an Oscar for his portrayal of an emaciated stringer, who records violent late night events across Los Angeles and sells the footage to a local television station, we’ll never know. Also featuring a performance from Gentleman’s Journal cover star Riz Ahmed, this is a dark urban noir, gritty and unsettling, but unmissable all the same.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard
On the other side of the coin comes The Hitman’s Bodyguard. To all intents and purposes, it’s a bit rubbish – but Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson’s central partnership keeps things ticking along, and the laughs coming. And, if you’re waiting to watch Gary Oldman win an Oscar for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, witness him at his worst here – playing the villain-by-numbers.
Jessica Jones Season 2
Another Marvel entry, Jessica Jones is the superhero we need for the #metoo age. Fiesty, fiery and angry all of the time, she is nevertheless one of Netflix’s wittiest and strongest heroes. Despite not quite hitting her stride in the disappointing Defenders, this looks set to up the personal stakes, dig into back story, and be quite the ride.
Know your movie stars? Read up on our Woman of the Week, Jennifer Lawrence…