James King is back with his latest Netflix recommendations! As we grow closer to December, it's never too early to deck the streaming service with festive options, alongside classic rom-coms and some top-notch superhero movie options. With no further ado, check out the best of the best films for November here...
The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2 (2020)
Who knew that Hollywood’s golden couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn would make such a cute Mr and Mrs Claus? No wonder they’re reprising their roles in this sequel to the Netflix hit from a couple of years ago, the plot this time following moody teen Kate (Darby Camp) as she helps her old pal Santa to save Christmas.
Julian Dennison plays Belsnickel
The Speed Cubers (2020)
If The Queen’s Gambit has got you interested in brain-teasing pastimes, check out this doc about 1980s phenomenon Rubik’s Cube and its present-day champions. Short and sweet it might be, but The Speed Cubers still has plenty of ‘twists and turns’ to keep you hooked. You might even find yourself adding one of the infuriatingly addictive Cubes to your Christmas list...
WATCH: Amazing new films to watch in November
Jack Reacher (2012)
Okay, so Tom Cruise’s more petite, brunette Jack Reacher might not be much like the sandy-haired giant of Lee Child’s mega-selling books but both this film and its sequel (Never Go Back, also on Netflix) are still solidly entertaining tough-guy thrillers. The regal Rosamund Pike co-stars in the first film too, which is never a bad thing.
Tom Cruise stars as Jack Reacher
Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square (2020)
You might expect a Dolly Parton festive musical to be a little cheesy but nothing could prepare you for the industrial levels of fromage in Christmas on the Square. Dolly plays a rhinestone-clad angel, trying to convince local baddie Regina (Christine Baranski) not to sell off her town and ruin everyone’s holiday, in this take on Scrooge that’s more of a corny Christmas card than an actual film. Loved it!
This already sounds like it might be our Christmas number one!
About a Boy (2002)
Not a Christmas film as such but there’s a fair chunk of the festive season in this charmer starring Hugh Grant as a committed bachelor whose life is turned around by geeky adolescent Marcus (played by a very young Nicholas Hoult.) It’s still one of Hugh’s best roles and with support from Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette - plus a sublime soundtrack - About a Boy is a delight.
Settle in with a total classic
Followers of star Christina Aguilera on Instagram will know she’s been posting a lot about Burlesque recently, all in celebration of its tenth anniversary. The story’s a Coyote Ugly-style tale of a young woman (Christina) who moves to the city with big dreams, but who ends up working in a less-than-wholesome bar. Hardly original. Yet it’s the presence of Cher and Stanley Tucci as the club’s bigwigs who make this a thing of sparkly joy.
Fancy a bit of sparkly joy?
Shawn Mendes: In Wonder (2020)
Following similar docs about Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa, the million-selling Canadian Shawn Mendes tells his own story ahead of upcoming album Wonder. And just like those other films, there’s a surprising amount of insight into life on the road, family and the 22-year old’s relationship with fellow megastar Camilla Cabello.
Shawn Mendes tells his own story
A recent Oscar nominee this one (for Best Animation), Klaus is a Spanish reimagining of Santa’s story, told with stunning visuals and a warm heart. Voice talent includes Jason Schwartzman, JK Simmons and Rashida Jones.
Need a new favourite Christmas film?
Dolemite is My Name (2019)
A return to form for comedy legend Eddie Murphy, telling the incredible - and somehow true - story of eccentric comedian Rudy Ray Moore and how he became the star of several low-budget movies in the seventies. Eddie is clearly having the time of his life but it’s an hilarious cameo from Wesley Snipes that steals the show. Glorious.
A return to form for comedy legend Eddie Murphy
The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)
Vanessa Hudgens cements her position as the Queen of Netflix Christmas Rom-Coms by following the original 2018 Princess Switch - plus last year’s The Knight Before Christmas - with this sequel where she not only plays three (!) different roles but also acts as producer. And fear not, The Princess Switch Part 3 is already in production for next year!
Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Vanessa Hudgens and Vanessa Hudgens!
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Cute Christmas animation from the boffins at Aardman Animation that just gets better with time. James McAvoy voices the title character, the nice-but-dim son of Santa who finds the success of the family business suddenly riding on him after a glitch in their present delivery system. Support comes from a Who’s Who of British talent, including Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Laurie, Jane Horrocks and Jim Broadbent.
Need a joyful family Christmas film?
Enjoyed Anika Noni-Rose as Jessica in new Netflix holiday hit Jingle Jangle? Then why not check her out alongside Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and a certain Beyoncé in this blockbuster musical too? Anika plays Lorrell Robinson, one third of a sixties girl group who endure highs and lows both professionally and personally, belting out some fine soul tunes along the way.
Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson star
O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
George Clooney is at his quirkiest in this thirties-set romp about three convicts on the run in Mississippi. Based on an ancient Greek myth, O Brother is a brilliantly bonkers, full of surreal imagery and crazy musical moments. It’s a testament to Clooney’s considerable charm that he’s able to pull it off.
O Brother is brilliantly bonkers
With Barack Obama’s latest autobiography flying off shelves around the world, here’s his other half Michelle’s recent documentary about her own book and the accompanying tour that saw her playing to sell-out crowds around the world. Polished it might be, but here’s a film that really captures Mrs Obama’s greatest strength: she cares about people. Inspirational stuff.
You read the book, now watch the documentary
The American President (1995)
Not had enough of US politics yet? Even if you think you have, it’s still worth giving this charming romance - now celebrating its twenty fifth birthday - a try. Michael Douglas stars as the big man in the White House, a widower wooing a smart environmentalist (Annette Bening) in the run-up to an election. Classy stuff - and the inspiration for writer Aaron Sorkin’s next project: legendary TV show The West Wing.
Michael Douglas stars
The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020)
If you’ve been enjoying Netflix’s recent addition of classic nineties teen drama Dawson’s Creek to their line-up, here’s former Creek star Katie Holmes in her latest incarnation. Dare to Dream is based on the principles of bestselling self-help book The Secret and is undeniably clunky. But it’s also a reminder that Katie and co-star Josh Lucas are really appealing, even in something this cheesy!
Loved the self-help book? Now watch the film!
One of Angelina Jolie’s best - but least remembered - movies, this one. Based on a true story and set in late twenties Los Angeles, Angie plays single mother Christine Collins, understandably distraught when her nine-year-old son goes missing. Yet when he returns several months later, she’s now unsure whether he’s actually the same boy. A must-see.
Angelina's film is a must-see
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020)
A third movie outing for the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom and it's as wonderfully bonkers as before. This time around Spongebob's pet snail Gary gets stolen by sea god Poseidon, so beginning a hyperactive tale that features zombies, Snoop Dogg, 'Living La Vida Loca' and Keanu Reeves as a wise sage... made out of sage. Genius.
The Spongebob Movie is the perfect family film
Only You (2018)
Excited by the new season of The Crown? If you're a fan of Josh O'Connor - who plays Prince Charles in the award-winning drama - check him out in this hidden gem from a couple of years back, with Josh and Laia Costa as a couple struggling to deal with the pressure of IVF. Tender and touching.
The Crown star Josh O'Connor in Only You
Sorry to Bother You (2019)
One of the strangest comedies of recent years but also one of the most inventive, starring Lakeith Stanfield as a hard-up telemarketer who discovers a corporate cover-up going on in his office. Both surreal and socially aware, Sorry to Bother You is like nothing you've seen before: strangely beautiful and wonderfully funny.
Sorry to Bother You is the next comedy you need to watch
Jingle Jangle: a Christmas Journey (2020)
Billed by Netflix as 'a new holiday classic', here's a family musical starring Forest Whitaker as an elderly toymaker who needs help from his granddaughter for one of his greatest inventions. Featuring Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose and - wait for it - actual Ricky Martin!
Jingle Jangle will get you in the holiday spirit
The Holiday (2006)
Yep, it's time once again to revisit this Christmas favourite starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as strangers who swap houses for the festive season, finding love along the way. Cheesy but charming, Cameron and co-star Jude Law have never looked more gorgeous.
The Holiday never gets old
Gangster Squad (2013)
Ryan Gosling turns the big 4-0 this month so let's celebrate with Gangster Squad, the second of three films he's made with Emma Stone and a enjoyably flashy crime thriller to boot. Sean Penn co-stars as the 1940s criminal Ryan’s LA cop is out to catch.
Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn star in Gangster Squad
The Five Year Engagment (2012)
The plot might be thin (a couple find their wedding drifting ever further away the longer they're engaged) but it's the cast that make this rom-com gold: Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans and Chris Pratt.
The Five Year Engagement has the perfect cast
Sacha Baron-Cohen's most famous character Borat is back causing havoc over on Amazon but Netflix fans can enjoy the even more outrageous Brüno - his flamboyant Austrian fashionista - in this feature film from the noughties. Expect more excruciating 'interviews' (Paula Abdul's being a highlight) and unrepeatable gags.
Sacha Baron Cohen as his outrageous character Brüno
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
The best Spidey movie yet? It could well be. With awesome animation and a killer script, Into the Spider-Verse sees teenager Miles Morales as an aspiring new Spider-Man, taking over from Peter Parker. But he’s very much not alone. Prepare to be wowed.
What can be better than one Spiderman? Dozens of them of course!
White Boy Rick (2018)
Have you read Matthew McConaughey’s new memoir Greenlights yet? It’s as enjoyably quirky as this little-seen film from a couple of years back, loosely based on the true story of a son helping the FBI to catch his criminal father in eighties Detroit. A great soundtrack plus, of course, McConaughey steals every scene he’s in.
Matthew McConaughey stars
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Category: True Story
An all-star cast including Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Sacha Baron Cohen and Michael Keaton lead this brand new Netflix drama about anti-war protesters wrongfully arrested in 1968. Yes, the subject is serious but the story is told with real pizazz and sparkle, capturing an era of American turmoil with an energy that makes for a riveting history lesson.
This true story looks at anti-war protesters wrongfully arrested in 1968
With its sequel After We Collided currently doing big business at the cinema, now’s the time to check out the first film in this YA series. Originally premiering on Netflix last year, Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Ralph Fiennes’ nephew) star in this glossy, sexy and undeniably watchable tale of star-crossed college students. No wonder it’s a sensation.
Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin star
The classic novel by Daphne Du Maurier might have been adapted for the screen many times before but with Armie Hammer and Lily James as the leads, this Netflix original boasts the hottest stars of the moment. James plays the new Mrs Maxim de Winter, brought back to her husband’s mansion after a whirlwind romance, only to discover that the memory of his late wife lingers on. A lush and eerie period piece.
Lily James and Armie Hammer star
READ: Fans have mixed reviews on Netflix's Rebecca
Calm With Horses (2020)
If you’re in the mood for something gritty then this Irish crime drama is a must-see. Telling the story of ex-boxer Arm (Cosmo Jarvis), it’s a moody study of divided loyalties and personal struggles featuring yet another standout performance from Barry Keoghan, recently seen in Dunkirk and soon to star in The Batman.
Barry Keoghan stars in the crime drama
A United Kingdom (2016)
Category: Period drama
David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike shine in this gripping true story of the romance between African prince Seretse Khama - heir to what would become Botswana - and English woman Ruth Williams. Set in the aftermath of the Second World War its period details are second to none but it’s the harrowing story of social injustice that really hits home.
David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star
Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang (2010)
Before Emily Blunt rebooted Mary Poppins, Emma Thompson was doing her own thing for quirky childcare in two Nanny McPhee movies. This one’s the sequel and arguably even better than the first, with Dame Emma helping exhausted mother Isabel (Maggie Gyllenhall) deal with bringing up a family while her husband fights in the 2nd World War. A delight.
Emma Thompson plays the delighted Nanny McPhee
Missing Link (2019)
An all-star voice cast of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Fry and Zach Galifianakis feature in this exquisite animation about a Victorian explorer who discovers an eccentric yeti in the American wilderness. You’ll laugh, yes - but there’s a sweetness too that might just have you in tears.
Check out this charming family film
Category: Foreign Language
A mother in Madrid (Emma Suárez) tries to reconnect with her estranged daughter, remembering moments from her own past in the process. A sad, sexy and a downright stunning drama from Spain.
Want a little cry? Try this one
Over the Moon (2020)
Beautiful animation from China that follows a young girl determined to build a rocket ship and meet an outer space goddess. Based on an ancient Chinese myth, this is perfect for those of all ages looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
Hamilton's Phillipa Soo voice stars in this new animation
READ: Fans shocked as Netflix cancels Hilary Swank show Away
Dr Suess’s The Grinch (2018)
The evergreen tale of Whoville’s local Christmas-hater gets another reboot, this time with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the title character - and clearly loving every second. Made by the same team as Despicable Me, this is gloriously odd fun that also boasts a surprisingly cool contemporary soundtrack.
Benedict voices The Grinch
The Devil All the Time (2020)
Category: Brand new
Fresh to Netflix and featuring an all-star cast, THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME is a brooding drama about family and faith set mainly on 1950s Ohio. In truth it might have worked better as a mini-series but stars such as Tom Holland, Riley Keough and Robert Pattinson keep things enjoyably moody - as well as a scene-stealing turn from former Hogwarts star Harry ‘Dudley Dursley’ Melling as a crazed preacher.
The much-anticipated film is now available to watch
Mixing Second World War realism with a fantasy storyline about mutants, Overlord is a blast. Okay, American soldiers didn’t really discover secret Nazi experiments to create a race of zombies back in 1944 but put your cynicism to one side for a couple of hours and you’ll love the thrills and tension of this comic-book style romp.
Fancy a WWII film with zombies?
Music & Lyrics (2007)
An underrated gem starring rom-com royalty Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore as a former pop singer and an aspiring writer, falling in love as they pen tunes for a new starlet (Haley Bennett). Perfect escapism and the songs are surprisingly good too.
Get ready for 'Pop! Goes My Heart' to stay in your head for weeks!
About Time (2013)
Richard Curtis’s most personal film to date explores the relationship between father and son Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson, who just so happen to both have the power to time travel. The plot wobbles more than a school kid on a scooter but, as always, it’s the copious amounts of charm that Richard Curtis sprinkles throughout that make this an easy watch.
About Time is a must-watch!
Netflix cements its position as the home of both new romantic comedy and Christmas films with this blend of the two starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey. As singletons Sloane and Jackson they both hate the pressure to find love during the festive season... so maybe then can help each other out?
Emma Roberts stars in new festive film
Daddy’s Home (2015)
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg re-team after the success of The Other Guys for this battle-of-wills between a nerdy stepfather and the cool dude biological dad of his wife’s children. The gags might be simple but the two leads’ chemistry is a joy, whilst support from Linda Cardellini and John Cena adds to the charm. No wonder it’s Ferrell’s most successful live-action movie.
The comedy follows the dynamic of a nerdy stepfather and the cool dude biological dad
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
Maybe not the best in the Bridget trilogy but with pitch-perfect performances from Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and especially Hugh Grant there’s still a lot to enjoy - not least Bridget’s rendition of ‘Like a Virgin’ whilst finding herself an unlikely prisoner in a Thai jail.
Enjoy a night in with Bridget Jones
Game Night (2018)
One of the best Hollywood comedies of recent years comes to Netflix at the perfect time. Who doesn’t need a laugh right now? Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star as a suburban couple whose weekly game night takes a surprising turn. Look out for the brilliant Sharon Horgan too.
Game night goes horribly wrong in hilarious comedy
Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb (2020)
Like a real-life Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Mummy, this jaw-dropping Netflix Original follows the discovery of an Egyptian tomb, unopened for 4500 years - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for archaeologists to learn more about an ancient culture and for film-makers to capture the magic as it happens.
This film follows the discovery of an Egyptian tomb
David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet (2020)
The beloved broadcaster and naturalist brings this new documentary to Netflix that reflects on humanity’s impact on the planet. It’s tough but ultimately optimistic and all told in his inimitable style. When Sir David talks, we listen.
Sir David is back with yet another incredible documentary
Celebrate the life and work of the recently passed Ruth Bader Ginsburg - a groundbreaking lawmaker in the US - with this gripping documentary that highlights her early struggles, subsequent success and current status as an iconic figure in the fight for women’s rights. She may have only stood a shade over five feet tall but when it comes to social reform, ‘The Notorious RBG’ was a giant.
This documentary celebrates the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Rising Phoenix (2020)
Get ready to have goosebumps on your goosebumps as this new Netflix documentary charts the story of the Paralympic Games from its humble origins in the aftermath of the 2nd World War to the global even it became during London 2012. World athletic icons such as Johnnie Peacock and Bebe Vio tell their jaw-dropping stories of dedication and focus for a film that’s heartbreaking at times, but ultimately uplifting.
Rising Phoenix will leave you stunned and inspired
Get On Up (2016)
Category: True story
Before he was T'Challa, aka Black Panther, the late Chadwick Boseman caught Hollywood's eye in this biopic of legendary soul man James Brown. It's not easy to portray one of the most energetic - and eccentric - entertainers in history but like Brown, Boseman also had charisma to spare. It's a performance that should have been an award winner.
The late, great Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up
MORE: Get the details on your next Netflix obsession, Bridgerton
Dwayne Johnson and a giant gorilla? What’s not to like?! Okay the premise of Rampage, with Dwayne as a tough guy primatologist battling mutant beasts, is ridiculous. But if there’s one man who can turn something so silly into something incredibly watchable then it’s The Rock. Co-starring Naomie Harris.
Dwayne stars in thrilling action film
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019)
Keanu Reeves might be currently in comedy mode on the big screen (in the most excellent Bill & Ted Face the Music) but only last year he was at his most menacing in this latest John Wick sequel. The visuals are breathtaking and the addition of Halle Berry to the plot is a masterstroke, but it’s the jaw-dropping martial arts that still make the John Wick franchise a must-see. As Keanu himself would say, “Whoa!”
Keanu might be currently in comedy mode
Apollo 13 (1995)
Category: True story
Tom Hanks is as majestic as ever playing astronaut Jim Lovell in this recreation of a real-life space tragedy from back in 1970. Alongside an all-star cast including Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris and Bill Paxton, Tom shows the human side of a journey to the moon that took a dramatic turn, suddenly becoming a rescue mission. Nominated for nine Oscars.
Tom Hanks stars in top space drama
First Man (2018)
Category: True story
This critical favourite about astronaut Neil Armstrong lands on Netflix with plenty to recommend it. Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy give beautifully understated turns as Armstrong and his wife Janet while the moon landing sequence itself is a thing of eerie wonder. Don’t expect high-octane action though. This is way more intimate.
Ryan Gosling goes to space in this hit film
The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
The renaissance of Shia LaBoeuf continues in this moving, often hilarious, tale of a young wrestling fan with Down’s Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) who escapes from his care home and befriends a fisherman (LaBoeuf) who's also on the run. Think Huckleberry Finn with a modern twist. You won't see a more charming film this year.
Dakota Johnson and Shia LaBoeuf
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
There are Bourne films a-plenty of Netflix right now, including this fourth entry in the series where Jeremy Renner took over from franchise favourite Matt Damon. Renner’s reign was only brief but there’s still a lot to enjoy in this gripping tale of a top-secret government program, not least glittery support from Rachel Weisz, Ed Norton, Joan Allen and Oscar Isaac.
Jeremy Renner and Ed Norton star
Enjoying Nicole Kidman in her latest must-see TV show The Undoing? Then check her out in this underrated crime drama co-starring Sebastian Stan, in which an unrecognisable Nicole plays a frail cop still coming to terms with a tragedy from her past. Breathtaking.
Nicole shines in thriller
Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this thriller
State of Play (2009)
Originally a gritty BBC mini-series starring James McAvoy and Kelly McDonald, this Hollywood remake brings in movie heavyweights Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe and Helen Mirren to its story of high-level corruption and investigative journalism - and loses none of its power. In today’s political climate it’s no wonder this is finding new fans on Netflix, where it’s currently a Top 10 hit.
MORE: How French viewers have reacted to Netflix's Emily in Paris
Check out this top ten trending hit
The Handmaiden (2016)
Category: Foreign language
This ravishing - and thrilling - romance is new to Netflix after winning a host of plaudits on its cinema release a few years back. You might recognise the story from Sarah Waters' bestselling novel Fingersmith, already adapted into a BBC mini-series back in 2002. But by switching the action from Victorian London to early 20th century Korea, there’s a whole new mood. Doomed love and dark twists have never looked so beautiful.
The Handmaiden is a visual masterpiece
Book Club (2019)
Hollywood veterans Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen breeze through this cheeky rom-com about four friends having their eyes opened by Fifty Shades of Grey. The jokes aren’t exactly subtle but with legends like this, it’s easy to be forgiving.
Check out this charming comedy
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