This month, loyal Netflix viewers will be rewarded. The streaming service may be suffering from a dearth of original films in January, but it’s offering several new seasons of several established series as binge-watching recompense.
There’s the third and final series of Ricky Gervais’ comedy-drama, After Life. There’s the latest story in crime anthology series The Sinner. And there’s the newest batch of episodes from the Ozark saga. Add to that a handful of classic comedies and some more recent edge-of-the-seat thrillers, and you’ve got a wide-ranging, riveting start to your small screen year…
Planes, Trains and Automobiles, January 1st
Filmmaker John Hughes sure knew how to throw a good film together. From The Breakfast Club to Uncle Buck, Sixteen Candles to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Hughes’ work defined comedy cinema throughout the 1980s. But his best film is surely this; the bittersweet, belly-laughing tale of an odd couple trying to make it back to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Prick your ears up for a particularly good soundtrack, featuring Ray Charles, Westworld and more.
Silver Linings Playbook, January 1st
It’s almost been a whole decade since David O. Russell’s comedy-drama dominated awards season, and propelled star Jennifer Lawrence to superstardom. Also featuring Bradley Cooper (with a natty buzzcut), this slow-burning, thought-provoking film features one of Robert De Niro’s most understated, but effective performances of his later career.
The Gentlemen, January 3rd
Well how could we not suggest The Gentlemen? Featuring our former cover star, Matthew McConaughey, as the free-wheeling, drug-dealing Mickey Pearson, the film traces the troublesome web of lies, murder and marijuana that unfurls when he decides to sell up his narcotics empire and retire. The highlight? A deliciously sleazy Hugh Grant (and his deliciously retro sunglasses).
The Nest, January 3rd
If you’ve made a resolution to watch films outside your comfort zone this year, stick on The Nest. Unsettling in the extreme, and an education in tension-wringing, this eerie Jude Law-starring period piece follows an American family’s twisted, troubling move to an English country estate. Watch for Law at his best.
After Life: Season 3, January 14th
The first of several series to return this January, Ricky Gervais’ acclaimed comedy-drama returns for its final run this month. With Gervais’ Tony now struggling with the loss of his wife and his father, expect more swearing, bigger characters and even better songs on the soundtrack. And don’t worry — we’ve been assured that the dog doesn’t die.
Greed, January 15th
Steve Coogan’s portrayal of fictional fashion mogul Sir Richard “Greedy” McCreadie is some of his stronger character work of recent years. With a story loosely based on the life of high-street tycoon Philip Green, this Michael Winterbottom project is soaked in satire, stars a lion (off its mane on cocaine) and features a surprisingly affecting turn by recent Gentleman’s Journal cover star, Asa Butterfield.
Munich: The Edge of War, January 21st
One of the few Netflix originals that looks worth watching this month, this pre-war drama is set in the autumn of 1938 — as Hitler was preparing to invade Czechoslovakia. Jeremy Irons, fresh off another historic turn as Rodolfo Gucci, plays Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who travelled to Munich to discuss peace alongside a trusted British civil servant (here played by George MacKay).
Ozark: Season 4 - Part One, January 21st
A lot has happened since Ozark debuted back in 2017. But still, the Netflix original holds its own — and has made it to a rare fourth series for the streaming service. This clutch of episodes, however, will be the crime drama’s last, marking the final chapter in the Byrde family’s journey from suburban Chicago life to their criminal enterprise in the Ozarks.
The Sinner: Season 4, January 26th
Yet another series wrapping things up, The Sinner began — like Ozark above — in 2017. This last series of the police procedural will be another standalone story, solely connected to its predecessors by detective Harry Ambrose, played with gruff intensity by Bill Pullman. In this final outing, a now-retired Ambrose travels to norther Maine, where the daughter of a prominent family dies in suspicious circumstances.
The Invisible Man, January 29th
When Gentleman’s Journal interviewed the titular invisible man, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, back in 2019, he said of his villainous character: “He’s terrifying because he’s real. We’ve come across people like him.” Thankfully, we never have — because the actor’s antagonist in the Elisabeth Moss-starring film is a seriously sinister piece of work. Watch this one if you’re looking to add some jump-scares to your January.
Want more ideas for film night? These are the best films about financial scandals to watch right now…
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