It’s December, and the weather is (presumably) colder, shopping malls are crowded, and everyone is inviting you to their holiday parties. In other words, we know sometimes you just need to stay home, kick up your feet, and stream some quality TV. With that in mind, here are some choice selections on Netflix that should keep you entertained on your night in.


December 1 – December 3

 

Full Metal Jacket (1987) 90%

Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio star in Stanley Kubrick’s Certified Fresh Vietnam War movie, which takes viewers through a grueling boot camp before dropping them directly into the field of battle.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


Tyson (2008) 85%

James Toback offers up this documentary portrait of the former boxing champ that utilizes intimate interviews to delve into his colorful past.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


While You Were Sleeping (1995) 81%

Sandra Bullock stars in this romantic comedy about a lonely toll booth operator who falls in love with one of her customers and is mistaken for his fiancee when she intervenes in a tragic accident that leaves him comatose.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


The Young Victoria (2009) 76%

Emily blunt and Rupert Friend star in Jean-Marc Vallée’s historical biopic about the relationship between England’s Princess Victoria at age 18 and Prince Albert.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


8 Mile (2002) 75%

Rap superstar Eminem stars in Curtis Hanson’s musical drama about a troubled kid from Detroit trying to survive his environment and make a name for himself in the underground hip hop scene.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


V for Vendetta (2006) 73%

Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving star in this dystopian thriller about a lone freedom fighter plotting a series of revolutionary bombings against a tyrannical government who recruits a young woman to join his cause.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


Exporting Raymond (2010) 72%

Phil Rosenthal’s documentary chronicles his own misadventures that ensued when he, as producer and writer of hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, traveled to Russia to help create a version of the show for Russian audiences.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


Wackness (2008) 71%

Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby, and Ben Kingsley star in Jonathan Levine’s drama about a high schooler who spends his last summer before college dealing drugs and trying to woo his shrink’s stepdaughter.

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


Hitch (2005) 69%

Will Smith stars as a legendary “date doctor” who’s playing matchmaker for a schlub (Kevin James) and his celebrity crush (Amber Valletta) while wooing a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes).

Available 12/1 on: Netflix


December 4 – December 10

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) 85%

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and the rest of the crew return for the second installment of this wildly popular Marvel space adventure, which finds the Guardians struggling to keep their family united in the face of a grave galactic threat and secrets from their pasts.

Available 12/5 on: Netflix


The Crown: Season 2 (2017) 89%

This Netflix original series charts Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her 1947 wedding to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the present day.

Available 12/8 on: Netflix


December 11 – December 17

 

The Magicians: Season 2 (2017) 91%

This SyFy fantasy series centers on two friends who take wildly divergent paths to learn magic — critics found the second season a great improvement on the first.

Available 12/11 on: Netflix


The Santa Clause (1994) 73%

Tim Allen stars in this holiday family comedy about a divorced father who accidentally kills Santa Claus and inherits his job. The film’s two sequels are also available to stream.

Available 12/12 on: The Santa ClauseThe Santa Clause 2The Santa Clause 3


Halt and Catch Fire: Season 4 (2017) 100%

Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, and Kerry Bishé star in AMC’s drama about the wild and wooly early days of the personal computer revolution. The entire series will be available to stream.

Available 12/14 on: Netflix


December 18 – December 24

Peaky Blinders: Season 4 (2017) 89%

Cillian Murphy stars in this BBC period drama (available as a Netflix original) about the rise of the Peaky Blinders gang in post-WWI England.

Available 12/21 on: Netflix


Bright (2017) 27%

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton star in David Ayer’s Netflix original sci-fi crime drama about a pair of cops — one human and one orc — who find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous plot involving a mysterious elf and an ancient relic of untold power.

Available 12/22 on: Netflix


Creep 2 (2017) 100%

In this sequel to the 2014 indie horror film, Mark Duplass reprises his role as the titular sinister weirdo, who this time allows a video artist to chronicle his life… and discover he’s not exactly what he seems to be.

Available 12/23 on: Netflix


December 25 – December 31

Planet Earth II: Miniseries (2016) 100%

David Attenborough returns to narrate this second installment of the groundbreaking nature series, ten years in the making, which depicts rarely seen animals and animal behaviors in far-flung locations across the world.

Available 12/25 on: Netflix


Black Mirror: Season 4 (2017) 86%

This anthology series explores the tricky relationship between society and technology, often depicting a heightened reality set in contemporary times or the ominous possibilities of the future.

Available 12/25 on: Netflix


Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 2 (2017)

In this Netflix original series, the one-time “Science Guy” explores various topics related to science along with a panel of experts and celebrities.

Available 12/25 on: Netflix

It seems like we’ve been saying this for quite some time now, but yet again, the home video market offers up precious little this week. There are some Blu-ray releases for relatively popular old movies, like the John Cusack comedy Better Off Dead, and then there are a handful of notable reissues for Westerns that have already seen a Blu-ray release (The Magnificent Seven, A Fistful of Dollars). On top of that, there are some lazy two-packs newly available, like Gladiator/Braveheart and Godfather/Godfather II. But we won’t go into those, because for all intents and purposes, they’re not new releases. Instead, we’ll focus on a couple of highly rated animated films (one for kids and one for adults), an inspirational surfing movie, a funny documentary, and a couple of Schwarzenegger classics. See below for this week’s choices!

Rio

72%

Jesse Eisenberg’s star seems to be rising by the minute, and once you attain a certain level of prestige in Hollywood, it’s customary that your next big move is to lend your voice to an animated film. Okay, not really, but that seems to be the trend as of late, and Eisenberg follows that trend by voicing the main character in Rio, a bright, colorful film about a domesticated macaw named Blu (Eisenberg) living in Minnesota who believes himself to be the last of his kind. When Blu learns that his female counterpart exists back in Rio de Janeiro, he is flown to Brazil, where he meets and falls in love with Jewel (Anne Hathaway). Unfortunately, they’re both captured by bird smugglers, and soon they’re off on a rousing adventure to escape their captors. Critics found Rio charming, and its gorgeous visuals, catchy musical performances, and funny performances helped it to a Certified Fresh 72%. Animated fare has been hit or miss lately, but this one is likely a safe bet.

Exporting Raymond

72%

Phil Rosenthal is best known as the creator, producer and writer of the hit television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, one of the most popular shows in recent memory. Foreign markets often adapt successful shows for their own audiences, and when the call came to create a Russian version of Raymond, Rosenthal himself traveled overseas to help with its production. What ensued was a genuine “fish out of water” story which saw Rosenthal lost in Russia, frustrated with his situation, surrounded by unfamiliar people with strange customs, and driven to the brink of insanity. The documentary Exporting Raymond chronicles Rosenthal’s efforts to create Everybody Loves Kostya and the various unforeseen misadventures he finds himself in, and critics mostly feel it’s a hilarious look at a frazzled man coping in a foreign land. The culture clash depicted in the film is often silly and nonsensical, but it’s all very real, and that makes it all the more entertaining for the rest of us.

Soul Surfer

46%

Inspirational sports stories will always have a place in our culture, because no matter how many times and in however many different ways we see the same basic storylines play out, sometimes we just like seeing the underdog come out on top. If the story being told is based on true events, even better. Such was the case for Soul Surfer, the story of real-life surfer Bethany Hamilton, whose left arm was bitten off near the shoulder by a shark when she was only 13. The film dramatizes the events of the tragedy and continues on to portray how Bethany (played by Annasophia Robb), a devout Christian, overcame all odds, embraced her new life, began surfing again, and inspired countless others. Unfortunately, critics weren’t entirely kind to the film, saying its amazing and uplifting “true story” origins were drowned in waves of Hollywood cheese, and that its spiritual messages were so watered down as to be an afterthought. If you’re a sucker for these kinds of stories, you may enjoy the film, but if not, at 50% on the Tomatometer, there’s no telling how you might like it.

My Dog Tulip

90%

It’s nice to know that, even in this age of computer-animated wizardry, there are still people out there willing to explore stories with traditional animation. Wait… What’s that? My Dog Tulip is, in fact, the first film ever to be hand-drawn and colored without using pen and paper (i.e. computer only). There is no polished sheen to this film, no eye-popping colors, no talking animals. But what does appear on screen complements perfectly the story, which is ostensibly about a middle-aged bachelor who adopts a German shepherd and forms an unlikely bond with her. Based on the 1956 memoir of the same name by J.R. Ackerley, My Dog Tulip features the distinguished voices of Christopher Plummer, Isabella Rossellini, and Lynn Redgrave (in her last role before she passed away in May of 2010), and it’s Certified Fresh at 89%. It’s an animated film made with adults in mind, and with its unconventional art style, it may not appeal to everyone, but a viewing of this is sure to be a heartwarming and meditative look at life in general.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)/Conan the Destroyer – Blu-ray

65%

Jason Momoa is all set to wreak havoc as the new Conan the Barbarian in just a couple of weeks, but just so we don’t forget who the “original” was, Universal is releasing both 1982’s Conan the Barbarian and its 1984 sequel Conan the Destoryer on Blu-Ray. For those unfamiliar, Conan the Barbarian was a character first created by Robert E. Howard in 1932 via a series of pulpy stories, which then led to several incarnations in fiction, comics, and film over the subsequent decades. But the most iconic portrayal belongs, of course, to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the two films mentioned above, which are huge favorites among fans of Ahnuld’s movies, even if Destroyer wasn’t as well-received as Barbarian. One more thing to note about this week’s Blu-ray releases of both films: while Barbarian comes with a decent helping of extras from previous editions, along with some new content (a short doc on swordmaking and on-set interviews with the cast), Destroyer doesn’t come with any at all. Somewhat puzzling, but definitely something to keep in mind if you’re considering either of these.

This week at the movies, we’ve got speedy autos (Fast Five, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker), a night to remember (Prom, starring Aimee Teegarden and Thomas McDonell), and a fractured fairy tale (Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil, with voice work from Hayden Panettiere and Patrick Warburton). What do the critics have to say?

Fast Five

77%

Action sequels are always mercenary cash-grabs, and by the time a fifth installment hits theaters, any pretension to quality has pretty much evaporated. Right? Not necessarily, if the reviews of Fast Five are anything to go by — critics say this installment delivers high-octane thrills and rarely pauses for thought, leaving the sporadic success of the first four films in the dust. Once again, ex-cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) team up with a bunch of their old comrades to participate in a daring street race (this time in Rio) while staying one step ahead of the law. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Fast Five is borderline avant-garde in its refusal to adhere to logic or the laws of physics, but that’s one of its strengths — the action sequences are breathtaking, and a sly sense of humor and breakneck pace keep things from ever getting stuck in neutral.

Prom

35%

Given that it’s a Disney release, one can safely assume that Prom won’t delve into the ribald, risqué territory that many associate with (or remember from) prom night. And while critics say this sweet, good-natured comedy has its virtues — among them an appealing young cast — it’s really, really predictable, and a little too squeaky-clean. The film follows Aimee Teegarden and a group of her friends who are trying to plan out every detail necessary for the perfect prom. However, sometimes real life intrudes on even the best laid plans, and soon friendships are tested and nerves are frayed. The pundits say Prom is generally better than it has to be, offering a wish-fulfillment fantasy that’s sincere and non-threatening, but it’s also clichéd, lighter-than-air fluff. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable movie proms).

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil

11%

Hoodwinked didn’t exactly set the world afire, but a few critics found its Little Red Riding Hood-meets-Rashomon conceit charming and sporadically funny. Now comes Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil, and critics say whatever modest pleasures were to be found in its predecessor have been steamrolled by middling animation and played-out pop culture references. Hayden Panettiere steps into the role of Red, who’s joined a paramilitary group and is tasked with rescuing Hansel and Gretel from an evil witch. The pundits say Hoodwinked Too! is weighted down by corny wisecracks and sub-par animation, stranding a talented voice cast in a kiddie flick that’s unlikely to delight tots or their parents.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

5%

It appears that the folks behind Dylan Dog: Dead of Night knew their flick was a dog, since it wasn’t screened for critics prior to its release. Brandon Routh stars as the title character, a private investigator whose clients include werewolves, vampires, and zombies, all of whom are ready to duke it out if our hero can’t track down a mysterious artifact. Kids, put down those comic books and guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Werner Herzog‘s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a 3-D documentary about ancient cave paintings, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.

  • The Arbor, a documentary/fiction hybrid based upon Andrea Dunbar’s celebrated play, is at 89 percent.

  • Takeshi Miike‘s 13 Assassins, a period samurai epic about a group of warriors who must stop the rise of a potential tyrant, is at 88 percent.

  • Lebanon, Pa., an indie dramedy about a thirtysomething advertising exec in town for his father’s funeral, is at 81 percent.

  • The Robber, a drama about a successful distance runner who was also a skilled bank robber, is at 78 percent.

  • That’s What I Am, starring Ed Harris and Molly Parker in the coming-of-age story about a bright kid who’s paired with the class outcast for a school project, is at 63 percent.

  • Exporting Raymond, a documentary about the attempt to adapt Everybody Loves Raymond for Russian television, is at 62 percent.

  • Some Days Are Better Than Others, a drama interweaving characters searching for meaning and ways to communicate with others, is at 50 percent.

  • Sympathy for Delicious, starring Mark Ruffalo and Orlando Bloom in a dramedy about an up-and-coming underground dj, is at 33 percent.

Finally, props to ThePotterBuster for coming the closest guessing Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family ‘s 37 percent Tomatometer.