Despite the oncoming onslaught of yuletide joy, jingles, and jolliness, when it comes to all-things cinematic this month, we’re saying a firm no to noël by circumventing the annual viewings of Hugh Grant, Macaulay Culkin, and Will Ferrell in Spandex – instead, we’re ushering you towards the bizarre and the peculiar, with many of the below films and series being underpinned by abstract and, often, apocalyptic themes, all of which should (hopefully and rather aptly) bookend this near-three-year period that’s also been defined by the abstract and the apocalyptic.
Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, most notably, adds his sombre, near-eerie signature quality to his take on Pinocchio; Alejandro G. Iñárritu blurs and mixes the boundaries in his introspective quasi-autobiography; there’s murder and mystery, as expected, in the follow-up to 2019’s Knives Out; John Boyega dives deep into a dark surveillance plan; and Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver’s comfortable life in the suburbs is upended and twisted when a noxious black cloud looms large…
The Masked Scammer, 1 December
Continuing its long-line of con-artist-themed originals, this crime documentary covers how scamming mastermind Gilbert Chikli used a silicone mask to impersonate a French minister, in order to dupe the affluent out of £48m. Throughout the 90-minutes, interviews with Chikli’s accomplices and victims reveal how the scheme, which took place between 2015 to 2016, unravelled.
Sr., 2 December
Already landing a 100-per-cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Sr. is a portrait of the original Robert Downey, the underground filmmaker and father to the Marvel icon; his work, including the seminal Putney Swope, the 1969 satirical comedy; generational trauma; and the notion of creativity. Alongside Emily Barclay Ford, Kevin Ford, and Susan Downey, Downey Jr. produced and oversaw the film over a three-year period, with the Sherlock actor stating in an Instagram post: “He was a groundbreaking filmmaker. As well as my dad. It’s not uncomplicated…”
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, 9 December
Through the tactile quality that stop-motion animation brings to the screen, doyen of the cinematic Guillermo del Toro revamps and breathes a new style into Carlo Collodi’s classic telling of the renowned wooden puppet – it is a masterful take worthy of sitting alongside the other big-hitters, such as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, that reside inside the Mexican filmmaker’s portfolio.
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, 16 December
Co-written, produced, edited and directed by the five-time Academy-Award-winning Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the black comedy Bardo plays out like a semi-autobiography, in which a journalist and documentarian who, on his return home, traverses an existential crisis via an abstract stream of consciousness – a journey, Netflix says, that he goes on in order to “reconcile with the past, present and his identity.”
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, 23 December
In his first appearance since his final outing as Bond, Daniel Craig reprises his role as master detective Benoit Blanc in the Knives Out sequel, helmed by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. Swapping its East Coast setting of the first film to the balmy backdrop of Greece, the follow-up will star Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, and Ethan Hawke.
The Witcher: Blood Origin, 25 December
Set over a millennium before the main Netflix show that starred Henry Cavill, Blood Origin portrays the story of the very first Witcher, which will be recounted across a four-episode mini-series lead by Michelle Yeoh.
They Cloned Tyrone, 30 December
A triumvirate of lifelong friends, (John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx) join together to unravel the heinous government activity that’s occurring in their neighbourhood. When recently discussing the upcoming sci-fi film, John Boyega said that it was a “stateside version of Attack the Block,” and also said: “It’s his [Juel Taylor’s] first feature, but there’s a reason why it attracted the likes of Jamie Foxx to his project. The script is phenomenal.”
White Noise, 30 December
An examination of the mundane, the decisions made in the face of adversity, and life’s ultimate curtain call, this apocalyptic disaster film, which is based on the 1985 dark comedy novel by Don DeLillo, stars Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver as a husband and wife whose straight-laced suburban life is thrown into disarray when their hometown is enshrined by a black cloud, following spillage of chemical waste.
Want more Netflix recommendations? Here are the best new titles to land on the streaming service in November 2022…
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