Oscar season is just around the corner and Netflix can smell it. Here’s HLN’s pick of what the streaming giant has got in store for us over the holidays – and they’re not all festive flicks...
By Christopher Kingston
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Out now, Netflix
Ok, so this one may be a fantastically festive feel-good. Jingle Jangle follows kindly toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) who, after his invention is stolen by his former apprentice, finds new hope when he is visited by his granddaughter. With music provided by John Legend and a supporting cast that includes Hugh Bonneville (of Downton fame), Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose and Ricky Martin, Jingle Jangle promises perfect cosy viewing for those dark winter nights.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Out now, Netflix
Starring our forever-favourite Viola Davis, produced by Denzel Washington and featuring the last (and many are saying finest) performance from the late, truly great Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom tells the story of one of the earliest African-American recording artists. We predict (and can only hope) that this is a shoo-in for Oscar season – and the brilliantly bluesy soundtrack is reason alone to watch.
Out now, Netflix
This feel-good musical comedy has an all-star cast – including Her Royal Highness Meryl Streep and ultimate legend Nicole Kidman – and a director, Ryan Murphy, who keeps knocking out hit after hit for Netflix (we’re looking at you, Ratched). A group of down-on-their-luck Broadway stars shake up a small Indiana town when they rally behind a teen who just wants to attend prom with her girlfriend.
Out now, Netflix
Movie buffs listen up because you’re likely to love this tribute to the golden age of cinema. Shot entirely in black and white, Mank is literally a film about filmmaking – and boy, do they have the cast for it. Starring Oscar-winner Gary Oldman, Mamma Mia’s Amanda Seyfried and Game of Thrones bad grandpa Charles Dance, Mank is the story of alcoholic screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz and his tumultuous development of the iconic 1941 movie, Citizen Kane.
The Midnight Sky
23rd December, Netflix
Quite possibly the unofficial inspiration for Miley’s latest banger. In this post-apocalyptic thriller, it’s up to dashing lone scientist Augustine (George Clooney) to warn a crew of astronauts not to return to Earth after global catastrophe strikes. He’s also living in the Arctic, which tends to complicate matters. Among Clooney’s co-stars are Rogue One’s Felicity Jones and star of Selma, David Oyelowo.
Christmas Day, Netflix
This Regency romp is based on the Jane Austen-inspired books of American novelist Julia Quinn, and has been brought to the screen by the brains behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, Shonda Rhimes. Set amongst the wealthy aristocrats of early 1800s London, we follow the eight, close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family. The eldest, Daphne, begins a clandestine romance with a Duke, however, soon finds out all is not as it seems. Think Downton Abbey meets Gossip Girl. And if that doesn’t sway you, maybe this will: OG Queen of Genovia Julie Andrews is in it.
BEST OF THE REST
No, they’re not on Netflix, but we couldn’t not tell you about these three dream streamers:
We’ve all waited too long for this one. Finally, a low-key cringeworthy Christmas cracker of a film with two LGBT leads. At the helm is Kristen Stewart as Abby, who is planning on proposing to girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis, of San Junipero fame) on Christmas Day after she’s finally invited to meet her family. The only problem? Harper hasn’t come out to her conservative parents yet.
Out now, Amazon Prime, Sky Cinema and NOW TV
Pixar’s latest flick follows middle-school teacher Joe (Jamie Foxx) who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of being human. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions. Featuring the most unlikely band to soundtrack a cartoon in Nine Inch Nails and a special appearance from Graham Norton.
Christmas Day, Disney+
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special
Yes, you read that right. Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is now on Apple TV+ and is the answer to all of our festive viewing prayers. In the special, Santa faces a crisis of holiday cheer (classic 2020), so he calls on the only person who could possibly save the day – Mariah Carey. And her journey to single-handedly saving Christmas results in more than a few run-ins with a star-studded cast which includes Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, Snoop Dogg, Misty Copeland, Jermaine Dupri and Mykal-Michelle Harris, as well as guest appearances from Mariah’s adorable twins Moroccan and Monroe.
Out now, Apple TV+