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It's that time of year again: where families get together for massive feasts, the sun goes down way too early, snow sprinkles the land with its softness, and we all cuddle under blankets watching the best movies and TV series. But what to watch? It happens to everyone, over and over – you spend more time browsing Netflix deciding what to watch then you do actually watching whatever it is you eventually settle on. So here's a list of our Top 7 Picks from Netflix to add to your queue now, so you won't have to waste more time deciding what to watch. These seven films are verified as some of the best films released by Netflix this year. Other 2022 favorites aren't out just yet – Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (on Netflix starting December 9th) and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (on Netflix starting December 23rd). Until then, we highly recommend watching any (or all!!) of the films below and choosing wisely when you browse Netflix this holiday season.
"It was this idea that films kinda brought us together, and to this day, still do." Same with my Dad and me. Netflix has revealed the official trailer for an acclaimed documentary film titled simply Sr., directed by award-winning doc filmmaker Chris Smith (American Movie, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, Fyre). The title is a reference to Robert Downey Sr., the father of actor Robert Downey Jr. (they even make fun of the title in this trailer). The very intimate, very personal film is about their father-son relationship and his father's work in the film industry. Like Father. Like Son. Like No Other. Sr. is a lovingly irreverent portrait of the life and career of maverick filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. (who passed away in 2021) that devolves into a meditation on art, mortality, and healing generational dysfunction. The film originally premiered at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival and also showed up at NYFF, AFI Fest, and DOC NYC this fall. It has been receiving glowing reviews and is expected to get some documentary nominations during the awards season.
"Why are you here?" "I'm here for my fate." Whoa!! Hell yes, this is awesome. Evenveil is an incredible fantasy short film made by a company called Rainfall Films, written & directed by Sam Balcomb. A warrior in exile, bearing a fated weapon, enters the ruins of a dead city to unlock a mysterious power known as the Red Veil. It's a fantasy epic packed into 10 mins - better than most feature films released this year. "Evenveil is a proof-of-concept fantasy short from director Sam Balcomb and Rainfall Films. The conceptualization of the environments and characters began in 2020, as Rainfall started developing new techniques for world-building visual effects and implementation with live action." The short stars Alexis Peters, Aria Song, Nick Apostolina, Dawson Mullen, Gregory Lee Kenyon, & Ralph Lister. Of course, this is part of a "a larger, sprawling narrative" that they hope to develop further. I'm in!! The visual quality, the character design, the music, the lore of this all kicks ass. And I really dig this double-axe weapon she's after. Fire it up.
"They watch the art. They watch you watch the art. But who watches what the art does to them?" A potent opening question. Did you know that there's security guards working at famous museums in New York City who are also artists themselves? Osmosis is a fascinating 3-minute documentary short quickly profiling 9 of these security guards / artists. They work at iconic places around NYC: The Met, The Guggenheim, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Noguchi Museum. I love this reminder that just because they work as a guard it doesn't mean they don't have a life outside of that work, but it's especially enlivening to see the connection between their passion and their workplace. Though it's also a bit sad their art is not in these museums they work at, but this has always been a struggle for artists. Maybe one day they will be exhibited!! This video has some wonderfully creative editing that really makes an impact within a limited amount of time. Great work.
Netflix has unveiled a behind-the-scenes first look at an interactive streaming series arriving in 2023 called Kaleidoscope. Formerly known as Jigsaw, this "non-linear" anthology series is similar to Netflix's clever interactive "Bandersnatch" episode of Black Mirror. This one focuses on the largest heist ever attempted, and the vengeance and betrayals that surround it. Inspired by the story of money going missing during Hurricane Sandy in NYC. The compelling crime series takes a non-linear approach, building intrigue and suspense uniquely, with Netflix viewers each having a different experience. Some may start out with certain episodes (like "Yellow" or "Green"), then move deeper into their own personal viewing order with options ("Blue" or "Violet" or "Orange," then "Red" or "Pink") until the epic "White: The Heist" finale. Everyone will eventually see all episodes, but the order in which they watch the episodes will affect their viewpoint on the story, the characters, and the questions and answers at the heart of the heist. How will you experience the colors of Kaleidoscope? It stars Giancarlo Esposito, Paz Vega, Rufus Sewell, Tati Gabrielle, Peter Mark Kendall, Rosaline Elbay, Jai Courtney, Niousha Noor, Jordan Mendoza, Soojeong Son, and Hemky Madera. I will fully admit this got my attention. I always love a good heist - let's go, Giancarlo.
"You have no idea who you're dealing with." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an intriguing new dystopian thriller from Turkey titled Hot Skull, which will be out to watch on Netflix starting in December. Adapted from a Turkish novel of the same name, this sort of apocalyptic story involves a cool sci-fi concept where talking can spread a disease by connecting pathways in one person's mind. In a dystopian world, as an epidemic spreads through verbal communication, a tyrannical institution pursues a linguist immune to the disease. This seems like clever contemporary commentary where fascist ideas are turned into a physical disease, hence the epidemic, and some people wear headphones all day to stop themselves from catching it. The main character is a linguist, played by Osman Sonant, who is hunted by the ruthless Anti-Epidemic Institution. The cast also includes Şevket Çoruh, Hazal Subaşı, Tilbe Saran, Kubilay Tunçer, Özgür Emre Yıldırım, Gonca Vuslateri, and Zerrin Sümer. It actually looks pretty cool, not sure where the story is headed and what exactly it's trying to say, but I'm hoping there's a few good twists in it. Take a look.
"So, what are we hunting?" Marvel has launched an animated short film titled The Daywalker, the latest in a series of short films telling the prequel stories that lead to the creation of the Midnight Suns superhero team. This is actually a promo for a new Marvel video game, but while we wait for Disney to figure out how to make the next Blade movie, we can enjoy this in the meantime. The Daywalker is the 4th of 5 Prequel Shorts that explain how & why the Midnight Suns heroes have united to oppose the Mother of Demons. "After years of losing himself to the vampiric beast within, Caretaker helped him regain control to become the Blade we know and love (and who vampires fear and hate). She’s one of the few people he respects, and it’s largely because the feeling is mutual." There's no info on who exactly is voicing Blade in this, but it's cool to see him back anyway. The short is only 2-and-1/2-minutes – but it's worth a watch if you're a Marvel fan.
"If you want to stay in the industry, you gotta play the game." Gravitas Ventures has released an official trailer for a documentary titled Jurassic Punk, made by filmmaker Scott Leberecht. This first premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, and also stopped by the Sitges Film Festival in Spain. "You can't revolutionize the History of Cinema without being an anarchist." Steve "Spaz" Williams is a pioneer in computer animation. His digital dinosaurs of Jurassic Park transformed Hollywood forever, but his own appetite for anarchy and disregard for authority may have cost him the recognition he deserved. This is the true story of the man who helped revolutionize the VFX industry, convincing Steven Spielberg to switch to using CGI dinosaurs for Jurassic Park in 1993 (and also T2 and The Abyss). He was a big part of ILM, but there's more to his story. This should be playing as a double feature with Disney's excellent Light & Magic doc series about ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) on Disney+ right now (Spaz is in it plenty), but it's an indie film barely getting a release this year. I'll definitely be watching! I want to learn all about him. Check it out.
"Your secret will remain yours." Screen Daily has revealed the first official trailer for The Chambermaid, a historical drama from a Slovakian filmmaker that is premiering this week in Estonia. It's world premiering at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (aka PÖFF) which is underway right now. Originally titled Slúžka in Slovakian, the film is described as "a touching romantic melodrama about 15-year-old Anka and wealthy-born Res who is exactly her age, but at the other end of the social ladder." It's a historic story about two female lovers, remaining secret in a world of men, until their lives are torn apart by the chaos of war. "They both realise that they have found a soulmate in each other – like in many world literature classics. The two of them become best friends and lovers, but a tragedy strikes them during World War I." The Chambermaid stars Dana Droppová, Radka Caldová, Vica Kerekes, Zuzana Mauréry, & Anna Geislerová. This is a good trailer, setting up the passionate romance. But it's definitely NSFW - featuring some nudity & sex.
"I just have one question. You're not a ghost?" Let's go, Refn!! Netflix has debuted the main official trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn's experimental streaming series called Copenhagen Cowboy, which is set to launch on Netflix starting in January. It first premiered with episodes at the 2022 Venice Film Festival a few months ago and is ready to debut soon. The series introduces a brand new young heroine, Miu, who travels through Copenhagen's criminal netherworld. More of these intense, mesmerizing, crime-filled neon lights stories from the Refn-verse to enjoy this fall. He also adds: "With Copenhagen Cowboy, I am returning to my past to shape my future by creating a series, an expansion of my constantly evolving alter-egos, now in the form of my young heroine, Miu." The series stars Angela Bundalovic as Miu, with Lola Corfixen and Zlatko Buric, plus a supporting cast featuring Andreas Lykke Jørgensen, Jason Hendil-Forssell, Li Ii Zhang, Dragana Milutinovic, Mikael Bertelsen, Mads Brügger, and more. This looks awesome!! Refn's epic neon style works so well for this, bringing us deep into the Copenhagen underworld. Take a look.
"Weirdly I just couldn't stop thinking about my job." What do you think about on your day off? Maybe some of these same thoughts? 3D filmmaker / animator Julian Glander has released his new short film online titled Tennis Ball on His Day Off. It's a whimsical, thought-provoking, amusing 2-and-1/2-minute short featuring a tennis ball talking about his (or her) thoughts that come to mind while he's not being a ball on a tennis court. A tennis ball reflects on aging, self-improvement, hustle culture, and his own mortality. Julian adds: "Well I sure do hope u all 'love' watching this short film! Don't worry it's just a tennis joke it'll make more sense after u watch it." Featuring singer Clairo as the voice of the ball, plus Karsten Runquist as Handsome Howie. This would be perfect as a short film opener with Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Enjoy.
"With arbitrary codes used to justify toxic behavior, his characters are shown to be, simply, performing masculinity." There's a new film written & directed by English filmmaker Martin McDonagh playing in theaters now called The Banshees of Inisherin. It's his fourth feature so far, and one of his best yet, with critics raving about it ever since the Venice Film Festival premiere a few months ago. In celebration of the release of Banshees, Little White Lies commissioned writer Will Clempner to make a video essay examining How Martin McDonagh Deconstructs Masculinity. This video focuses specifically on his acclaimed feature debut, In Bruges, which opened in 2008, and also co-stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. These three reunited to make The Banshees of Inisherin, which is why there is a link between the films. Both are about stubborn men refusing to grow up, resulting in more violence. Listen to the analysis from Will below.
"Believing what you fear will bring to the victim what they are afraid of." Hidden Empire has debuted an official trailer for Fear, yet another January horror film releasing at the end of the first month in the New Year. From director Deon Taylor, best known for his films The Intruder, Fatale, and Black and Blue. A year into living through a worldwide pandemic, a group of friends gather in the remote Tahoe Mountains to stay at the "Historic Strawberry Lodge". But celebration turns to terror as one by one each guest faces their own worst fear. Plenty of other films have had this "confront your fears" concept, so what's the hook in this one?? The horror movie stars Joseph Sikora, T.I., King Bach, Terrence J, Ruby Modine, Annie Ilonzeh, Iddo Goldberg, and Jessica Allain. Not a very good trailer, with erratic editing making it extra confusing to know what is real and what is their fear and what is going on. Don't think this will be a big hit in January.
"Hell shall come to Earth." Samuel Goldwyn Films has released the full trailer for a sci-fi horror film called The Devil Conspiracy, which is set to hit theaters in mid-January. They're hoping this one will be one of the big horror releases in January, since it's always that time of the year when not-that-great movies can end up becoming hits. The plot involves a biotech company creating a technique to clone the greatest minds and figures from history. However, the company is run by a cabal of Satanists whose ultimate goal is to resurrect Lucifer himself. They plan to do this by offering up Jesus once they've cloned him from a sample of his DNA found on his shroud. Let the religious battles ensue. The film stars Alice Orr-Ewing, Joe Doyle, Eveline Hall, Peter Mensah, Joe Anderson, Brian Caspe, and James Faulkner. This looks so hyper-stylized, with so many epic costumes it almost seems like an Asylum creation. This is an awful trailer, my goodness.