Look, we’ll level with you: we’ve not got you a Christmas present this year. We know, we know, we’re sorry. We forgot. Ran out of money. Couldn’t find the wrapping paper. Just didn’t really fancy it.
Of course we’ve got you a gift! A gift so special that it’s impossible to wrap. Really, we tried. Complete mess. Terrible scenes. See, what you’re getting from us this year is the gift of ultimate festive chill – just you, your hand swimming in the Quality Street tin, your new pyjama bottoms on, ten days of stubble clinging to your chops, and everything you’ll find below.
We’ve pulled out the fifteen finest additions to Netflix this December, so you, with your totally clocked-out attitude, don’t have to. There’s dollar-spinning blockbusters, cult Westerns, family-friendly fairytales, not-so-family-friendly fairytales, gruesome thrillers, brilliant comedies, tear-jerking documentaries, and more.
Scroll down now, and start to plan your festive laziness accordingly...
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (TBC)
A strong contender for the best film of 2016, this Kiwi comedy sees the odd couple of “gangster” kid Ricky (Julian Dennison) and foster father Uncle Hec (Sam Neil) become the object of national manhunt after they go missing in the bush. From Taika Waititi, director of vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, it’s unsurprisingly off-beat and packed with eccentric ideas. A funny as it is touching, without ever clobbering you with forced sentimentality.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
On The Waterfront (21 Dec)
Classic crime drama and Marlon Brando’s greatest performance without cotton wool stuffed in his chops. Brando plays a dockworker struggling to rise up against the mob-run unions whose control of the waterfront leaves a trail of murder and corruption. Famous for its “I coulda been a contender” speech. After the film bagged eight Oscars, sounds like you’ve done alright after all, sunshine.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 98%
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Three (19 Dec)
The hit US comedy continues, this time recruiting Bill Hader as the irritatingly efficient Captain Seth Dozerman, who joins the already brilliantly funny cast of Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Andre Braugher, and Giant Human Muscle Factory Terry Crews. It’s one of those “takes a while to get into” American shows, but by season three you’ll be glad you took the time.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Green Room (27 Dec)
Playing against type (and then some), Patrick Stewart leads a mob of skinheads, who hold a punk band hostage backstage at less-than-delightful Nazi boozer. It’s an exercise is pure adrenaline-fuelled tension as the threat of very graphic, very unsettling violence builds behind the green room door. Also features one the last performances from the late Anton Yelchin. Not for the faint hearted (or weak stomached, for that matter).
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 91%
Bone Tomahawk (12 Dec)
Few people have been happily rubbing their giant calloused hands together at 2016’s Western resurgence quite like Kurt Russell, who was able to bathe his mega ‘tache from The Hateful Eight in a second spotlight in this little cult beauty, which may have flown under your radar first time around. It’s real a doozy – all the Stetsons, spurs, six-shooting and general bastardry you want from the Wild West, but with added gruesome flesh-eating mutant thingys for Kurt and co to get all gunny on.
Rotten Tomatoes rating - 90%
A Most Violent Year (20 Dec)
Oscar Isaac – the guy we all think we dance like after six beers in the local discotheque. The guy we all hope to look like whilst wearing a brown leather jacket. And here, being the guy we all want to be like when it’s 1981 in New York City and you’re just trying to make a good clean honest living as the owner of a heating company but brutish gangster violence, hijacking and corruption keeps trying to drag you down.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 89%
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (22 Dec)
You’ve been sat down at the kids’ end of the Christmas dinner table. Again. Your Ma’, despite years and years of pleading, still not able to admit her little boy’s now a 28-year-old man with a real-life job, a real-life flat, a real-life car and a real-life phone contract he pays all by himself. Find at least the tiniest bit of conversational common ground with your pint-sized cousins that surround you and your mountain of turkey by watching this, the second installment of the teen-pleasing Hunger Games trilogy and, according to its Rotten Tomatoes rating, the best one of the lot.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 89%
Iron Man 3 (25 Dec)
You know the score. We all know the score. Your boy Iron Man’s doing his Iron Man thing again, and we laaaahve it. In fact, we laaahve it so much that this hyperblockbuster made $175m of its $200m budget back in the US opening weekend alone. Madness. This isn’t the one with the bald-headed Jeff Bridges or the one where Mickey Rouke looks like he’s off to a industrial heavy metal rave in a Berlin dungeon club, but the one with Mandarin, and the one where Ben Kingsley reminds you of Tom Hardy in Mad Max a little bit.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 79%
The Intervention (29 Dec)
If your other half’s parading around your living room with a finger-and-thumb L-shape pressed to her head to really turn the knife on how you lost at “who choses tonight’s movie” rock-paper-scissors, pray she picks this girly flick. Four couples head off for a weekend getaway together, only for one of the duos to discover it’s all just one big intervention on their marriage. Gets pretty funny. Cobie Smulders is in it too, and she’s great.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 79%
The Way Back (1 Dec)
This one’s set in a Russian gulag in 1940s Siberia, so was never really going to be a belly-grabbing gigglefest, was it. Seven prisoners are escaping form the hellish conditions on a ridiculously ambitious 4,500-mile trek that’ll take them through the Himalayas, the desert and other nasty parts of Earth. You’ve got craggy hero Ed Harris, thuggish Colin Farrell and Brit actor Jim Surgess to spur on across the God-awful terrain.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 75%
The Clan (30 Dec)
Open wide for a nice big fat slice of kudos-enhancing international cinema. The Clan is a critically-acclaimed Argentine flick all about the real-life Puccio crime family and ‘the disappearances’ (read: kidnappings) that took place during, and after, the rule of Jorge Rafael Videla in the late seventies through to the eighties. It gets grisly, not least during an phenomenally realistic attempted suicide scene that’ll leave your jaw floored, but in all, your cultural bragging rights good and ripe for the office.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 90%
Into The Woods (4 Dec)
A ‘keep the whole family happy and not arguing’ crowdpleaser now as a handful told-to-death fairytales get mashed up into one star-studded narrative. Your Cordens. Your Hendrickses. Your Streeps, your Pines, your Blunts. All ganging up and giving Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack of Beanstalk fame and Rapuzel a modern update. And of course, of course, Depp’s in it too. What gothic fantasy flick would be complete without a little Deppage?
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 71%
Tale of Tales (12 Dec)
More fairytale action here, but way waaay more gruesome and grim and disturbing and plain bonkers than all that kiddy stuff in Into The Woods. Hey, it’s a tiny Toby Jones cuddling up to a giant gross flea! Oooh, there, look, it’s beautiful Salma Hayek eating a big plate of raw organs! Aaah, and John C. Reilly, good old John C. Reilly, reliably likeable as ever. John C Reilly. Love that guy. Sure hope nothing utterly terrible happens to him in the first 15 minutes of this film, right guys! Fingers crossed!
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 82%
Newtown (1 Dec)
December 14th 2016 will mark the fourth anniversary of the deadliest school shooting in American history – the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Newtown is a tear-spilling and powerful documentary that details aftermath of that atrocity amongst the local community, painting the heart-wrenching picture through never-before-heard accounts from those parents so tragically left behind. Give your loved ones an extra squeeze after viewing this.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – 93%
Tales of Masked Men: A Journey through Lucha Libre (1 Dec)
Dissapointed that your Xmas dinner didn’t quite provide you with enough men in brightly coloured pants and a greasy torsos chokeslamming other men in a billowing capes through tables? Line this 55-minute Lucha Libre-tastic doc up on the screen for a far healthier dose. It’ll take you through the history of the theatrical sport to see how a bunch of bulky blokes in masks became such a fundamental pillar of Mexico’s identity.
Rotten Tomatoes rating – n/a