Christmas is but a mere month away and the sitcom Christmas specials will be flooding in, Die Hard will be be on at least every English language channel and someone’s probably going to die in Eastenders, Albert Square is, after all, the worst place to be during the festive period. I will be piecing together a special Christmas Netflix News for next month but there’s no reason we can’t start the proceedings off here as the star-studded cast of A Very Murray Christmas is nearly with us. But first (just to ease you in) let’s have a look at some news.
Better Call Saul Season 2
Season Two of the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated series Better Call Saul, consisting of 10 episodes, will premiere exclusively on Netflix on Tuesday 16th February 2016.
Of course if you haven’t watched Season One yet, it is all available to stream right now and you should definitely check it out. It may not be the epic drama of Breaking Bad, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable watch. It may not be advisable to watch the trailer below if you haven’t seen the first season yet, you have been warned.
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Disney, Marvel, Pixar & LucasArts team up with Netflix
Exciting news for anyone who likes Disney, Marvel, Pixar or LucasArts movies (which I think might cover absolutely everyone on Earth) as Netflix have signed a four year deal to bring you the latest movies shortly after they leave the big screen. Now I can’t find whether or not the deal is exclusive to Netflix US or will be spread to all Netflix regions (i.e UK & Ireland) but I am assuming it will.
This is a huge deal for Netflix and Netflix fans alike as the amount of (likely) big box office hits already lined up under the Disney distribution is pretty damn impressive. Some titles that will fall under this four-year contract are: Zootopia, the Jungle Book live action movie, Captain America: Civil War, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Finding Dory, The BFG, Star Wars: Rogue One, The Avengers: Infinity War and more. Yes, a lot more.
It would be amiss of me not to note that the information of the deal is, although promising, not detailed enough for me to say with 100% confidence that it will be every movie and to the Irish Netflix. It is also worth nothing that the deal begins next year and so will not include the much anticipated Star Wars revival, The Force Awakens, or Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur.
A Very Murray Christmas (2015) [D[Dir. Sofia Coppola, Starring: Bill Murray and everyone else]h3>
Coming 4th December
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A Very Murray Christmas is an homage to the classic variety show featuring Bill Murray playing himself, as he worries no one will show up to his TV show due to a terrible snow storm in New York City. Through luck and perseverance, guests arrive at the Carlyle Hotel to help him; dancing and singing in holiday spirit.
The star-studded cast also includes George Clooney, Paul Shaffer, Amy Poehler, Julie White, Dimitri Dimitrov, Michael Cera, Chris Rock, David Johansen, Maya Rudolph, Jason Schwartzman, Jenny Lewis, the band Phoenix, Rashida Jones, Miley Cyrus, and more. The Hollywood A-listers are guided along their merry way by Sofia Coppola, who previously directed Murray in Lost in Translation.
Netflix’s Original content has been of an incredibly high standard so far, and if you add in the brilliance of Murray this will surely not disappoint.
Real Rob (2015) [Sta[Starring: Rob Schneider, Jamie Lissow]>
Coming 1st December
Real Rob is an “Original Netflix Series”. I add the inverted commas as the show is actually fully funded by Rob Schneider himself, not Netflix. It will however be exclusive to Netflix so if falls somewhere in the middle. It follows Schneider as he plays himself in a fictionalised version of his own life; living in Hollywood, dealing with the business, his wife and kids. The eight episode series will be in the vein of Seinfeld or Louis, featuring scripted content as well as cuts of stand up comedy. I hazard a guess that Real Rob will be nowhere close to either of the aforementioned brilliance from Jerry Seinfeld or Louis CK but if you’re a fan of the man himself I am sure this will be right down your alley. If, like me, you find Rob Schneider’s comedy a chore to watch, this may be one to miss but in fairness it does look better than The Ridiculous 6 (I’ll talk more about that next time).
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New To Netflix:
Scorpion (2014 – present) [Starr[Starring: Elyes Gabel, Robert Patrick]
[youtu[youtube id=”QBp8FykCf9E” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”702"]p>Scorpion is based very oh-so-slightly on an Irish businessman and computer science genius, Walter O’Brien. He claims to have one of the highest IQs of all time at 197 (both Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein have an IQ of around 160) but this is questioned by many.
The show itself is of the same ilk as The Mentalist and Numbers. O’Brien has set up a team of friends who are genii (that’s geniuses not genies) in their respective fields, psychology, mathematics and engineering, and together help out the Homeland Security on cases where their joint expertise can lend a hand. They are brought these cases by Special Agent Cabe Gallo, portrayed by Mr. T-1000, Robert Patrick. They are also accompanied by a “normal” (someone like you and me, a non-genius) Paige, she interprets the real world for them while they try to help her understand her genius son.
The show is not only far-fetched but it is also incredibly enjoyable. I am a sucker for cop shows and will happily watch several hours of Criminal Minds, NCIS or anything else that solves random crimes in an hour long format (don’t judge me). But what Scorpion has that these other shows don’t, is comedy. Although Walter (Gabel) swears not to show any emotional attachment or joke around with his friends (due to a higher IQ and lack of EQ or emotional intelligence quotient), the supporting cast of Ari Stidham, Katharine McPhee, Jadyn Wong and especially Eddie Kaye Thomas make up for the lead’s lack of humour with witty banter and outright wackiness.
The entirety of Season One is available on Netflix while Season Two is currently running on TV.
Derek (2012-2014) [Dir. Ri[Dir. Ricky Gervais, Starring: Ricky Gervais, Kerry Godliman, Karl Pilkington]>[youtube[youtube id=”Hd5WdxGRNG8" align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”702"]Derek is now available in its entirety including the hour-long final episode. Originally released on Channel 4, the show has had mixed critical reviews but is a worthwhile watch for any Gervais fans.
Gervais portrays 50 year old Derek Noakes, a socially awkward, kind-hearted carer in an old-folks home. Ostracised by the outside world, Derek is in his element in the care home, he is a vulnerable yet ultimately kind human, and as you can guess from a Gervais comedy, good for a laugh. There are a lot of similarities with other work from Gervais, the mockumentary style and sheer cringe-factor but there is another level of heart to this that is different. It is not up to the comedy level of Extras or The Office (which is a very high level indeed) but it is a different animal altogether and that might be its most charming characteristic.
Mordecai (2015) [Dir. David [Dir. David Koepp, Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor]ector Koepp wrote some quality movies in the 90s; Death Becomes Her, Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way and Mission: Impossible. Johnny Depp has starred in fantastic stuff too; Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Branco, Fear and Loathing, Blow and even Rango. This is why I think we should just ignore the fact that this utter mess of a “comedy” exists and move along. Here’s the trailer if you don’t believe me.
[youtube id=[youtube id=”aW_sfxUnbZA” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”702"]Love is Strange (2014) [Dir. Ira Sach[Dir. Ira Sachs, Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina]n (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) take advantage of New York’s new marriage laws and tie the knot after being together for 39 years. Unfortunately, the Catholic school where George teaches does not approve, and they reluctantly fire him, forcing the couple to split up and stay with friends while they sell their apartment and look for cheaper housing. George crashes with two gay police officers, while Ben, who’s a painter, bunks with his nephew’s family in Brooklyn—a temporary situation that weighs heavily on all involved.
[youtube id=�[youtube id=”RuJsduRY5ik” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”702"]n’t yet watched this but is has received fantastic reviews across the board. It has been noted that the film’s heart, honesty and authenticity are the true winners with both Lithgow and Molina giving excellent performances.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005) [Dir. Tetsuya No[Dir. Tetsuya Nomura & Takeshi Nozue, Starring: Takahiro Sakurai, Ayumi Itô, Shotaro Morikubo]u played Final Fantasy VII? If your answer was yes, you’ve probably seen this movie. If you answered no, then this film is not for you. Not only do you need to be versed in the storyline of the precursor video game but they also don’t spend too long re-introducing the characters in this follow up to the massively loved franchise. The graphics look very “computer-gamey” but, they were the peak of awesome when I saw this 10 years ago. I checked out the trailer and I was a little let down by the quality but also filled with those nostalgia feels that are hard to get rid of. Will I be re-watching it? Probably not, but if FFVII was your jam and you haven’t (somehow) seen this; get a watching.
[youtube id=”w[youtube id=”wut2am39z-c” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”702"]ristmas Carol (2009) [Dir. Robert Zemec[Dir. Robert Zemeckis, Starring: Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey]meckis was all about the motion capture 3D films there for a while, The Polar Express in 2004, Beowulf 2007 and finally A Christmas Carol in 2009. The technology he used along the way was getting better and A Christmas Carol is, visually, the most impressive of the three.
I remember being blown away by the 3D effects at the time, although a few animations were doing it, Up, Monsters Vs Aliens, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (all out in 2009*), I had only seen Up in 2D and didn’t get to the others in the cinema. The special effects were outstanding and Jim Carrey’s performance as Scrooge (throughout different age-groups) as well as all three of the Christmas ghosts, was fantastic. The late great Roger Ebert called the film “an exhilarating visual experience” and gave it full marks, that should be good enough for anyone.
[youtube id=”VZ3[youtube id=”VZ3lr3urgDU” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”702"]ord of warning to any parents reading this, the film is PG and although it is a Disney production, do be wary that some scenes are quite scary. It has got scary ghosts after all. Just because it’s Disney doesn’t mean it’s going to be suitable for your 4-6 year olds. There are two Mickey Mouse Christmas adventures to keep the tiny tykes happy instead. I’d recommend Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas narrated by Kelsey Grammer.
*December 2009 saw the release of Avatar. For all the “it’s just Pocahontas meets FernGully” sludge that gets thrown at the movie (and much of it deserved) it blew the whole idea of 3D wide open, especially for a live action movie.
Last Chance To See:
Although I haven’t seen it, I hear What Maisie Knew is a heartfelt and important film about separation and child-custody. It stars Julianne Moore, True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård and Steve Coogan, with Onata Aprile as the titular Maisie. If you fancy a divorce drama, that will probably make you cry, you have to do so before the 30th of November.
For any of you Trekkies out there, the high-praised documentary Trek Nation will be calling it a day on December 1st. Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, explores his father’s creation and the influence that it has has on its fans. With appearances from the likes of George Lucas, Stan Lee, Patrick Stewart, and JJ Abrams, the documentary catalogues the history of the iconic series from the original series to the 2009 reboot. If this it your thing, you will also like to know that Netflix recently added two other Star Trek documentaries; The Captains, where William Shatner interviews all of the Captains that followed and Chaos on the Bridge, which again features Shatner as he takes viewers inside the making of The Next Generation.
December 1st is also the start of the end for many animated/children’s shows on Netflix. On Dec 1st all of the Ben 10 (both animated and live action) titles will be taken off. Yo Gabba Gabba, Pet Alien and Monster Math Squad will all also be removed from the catalogue.
And now for the bad news. Ben 10 isn’t the only Cartoon Network show leaving us very shortly. on December 9th both Courage the Cowardly Dog and Regular Show will be taken down, followed shortly on the 15th by Adventure Time.
I’m a big fan of all three of these shows. They are, each, a fantastic excuse to watch cartoons when younger siblings or relatives call over or if you just need a 10-12 minute respite after a hard days work or in-between episodes of The Bridge, when shit gets all too real. I also just watch them because they are hilarious and I like cartoons. I’m going to have to cram a few more re-watches in during the next few weeks.