What to watch on Netflix Canada in January 2019

NOW critics pick the best movies and TV shows joining the streaming service’s library this month


WHAT WE CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH

Black Earth Rising

Written and directed by Hugo Blick (Sensitive Skin, The Honourable Woman), this recent BBC series about the relationship between the west and Africa has a fairly clever conceit and a fantastic cast. The Crown’s Harriet Walter plays an English lawyer working to bring a Rwandan warlord to justice at the International Criminal Court, and Chewing Gum breakout Michaela Coel is the adopted daughter she rescued from Rwanda during the genocide, who’s now apprenticing with a rival barrister played by John Goodman. January 25

Sex Education

In the hormonal Jacuzzi that is British high school, awkward teen Otis Thompson (Asa Butterfield of Hugo and Ender’s Game) discovers that being the son of a renowned sex therapist (Gillian Anderson) has given him a genius-level knowledge of human sexuality – which he and a fellow misfit (Emma Mackey) decide to dispense to their classmates for a nominal fee. And they say there are no great teen-comedy premises left. January 11

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

The luxury music festival that never was is now the subject of a Netflix documentary. The resounding failure that was 2017’s Fyre Festival promised “two transformative weekends” on a private beach in the Bahamas but turned into a disaster that ultimately landed its founder behind bars on fraud charges. Now everyone who wasn’t rich enough to get stranded with little more than cheese sandwiches and emergency tents can experience the lack of magic, the lack of music and the lack of everything as advertised.  January 18

Comedians Of The World

Can’t get enough of Netflix stand-up specials? This new original series sees 47 comedians, including Toronto’s own DeAnne Smith, from 13 regions perform half-hour sets, some of which were recorded at Just For Laughs in Montreal. Other stand-ups were taped in Brazil, Mexico, India, Germany and the Netherlands, so expect to hear jokes in a variety of languages – seven in addition to English. All episodes will be released at once. January 1

IO

In this post-apocalyptic adventure Earth is dying, the last shuttle is leaving and a young woman (The Leftovers’ Margaret Qualley) must race to catch it or be stranded forever. We assume there’s more to the story, given that the cast also includes Anthony Mackie and Danny Huston…but if it’s just Qualley running through a series of disasters to make her flight, that could be fun too. January 18

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

In 2014, professional organizer Marie Kondo convinced millions of people worldwide to reevaluate their stuff and throw out anything that didn’t “spark joy.” In fact, the Japanese cleaning consultant’s book was on the Toronto Public Library’s most-borrowed list in 2018. In this Netflix original series, Kondo makes house visits and helps clients clear out the clutter. Think of it as the opposite of Hoarders. January 1

Kingdom

Netflix’s Korean original series is an epic historical drama about a prince (Ju Ji-hoon) sent to investigate a mysterious plague spreading across his kingdom… which turns out to be an outbreak of good old zombieism. (So, Game Of Thrones if Ned Stark had listened to that guy in the first episode.) Adapted by Kim Eun-hee from her web comic Land Of The Gods, and directed by Kim Seong-hun, whose 2016 thriller Tunnel was a nicely claustrophobic twist on disaster movies, this sounds like a bloody good time. January 25

Trigger Warning With Killer Mike

Killer Mike isn’t just a great rapper. The Run The Jewels MC’s political activism runs deep in both music and just getting out there. And his opinions aren’t all easy to digest. He’s an NRA member and staunch defender of the Second Amendment. Trigger Warning, Mike’s new six-episode variety series is touted to provoke and expand the conversation with unconventional methods. It will likely be hard to watch and end up being totally disagreeable, but Killer Mike demands and deserves the attention. January 18

Carmen Sandiego

The television series based on the popular 1980s game gets an animated reboot on Netflix, likely making most millennials nostalgic for that catchy theme song by Rockapella. In this 20-episode series, the enigmatic international criminal is voiced by Gina Rodriguez of Jane The Virgin Fame. Suffice to say, you can expect a lot of Carmen Sandiego costumes next Halloween. January 18

And Breathe Normally

Icelandic filmmaker Ísold Uggadóttir won a directing prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival for this drama about a single mom and airport worker (Kristín Thóra Haraldsdóttir) who befriends an asylum seeker from Guinea-Bissau (Babetida Sadjo) who winds up stuck in Iceland while en route to Canada. Uggadóttir, who has won acclaim for her short films, set out to show a different side of a country that is typically portrayed as a breathtaking tourist destination on screen. January 4

Girl-Netflix.jpg

Courtesy of Netflix

Lukas Dhont’s Girl won best first feature at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

SOLID BETS

Girl

Lukas Dhont’s drama about a 15-year-old dancer transitioning from boy to girl while beginning rigorous training at a top ballet academy earned its director the best first feature prize at Cannes, with special raves for Belgian dancer Victor Polster in the lead. The film also played TIFF, but the critical traction seemed to end there, despite gender and trans issues remaining topical. January 18. UPDATE: Release has been pushed back to an unspecified date.

Bring It On

For millennials of a certain age, no sleepover was complete without cheerleading comedy Bring It On. Starring Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union, this cult classic has spectacular routines, ridiculously catchy cheers and one of the best on-screen teen romances of the early aughts, which was recently immortalized in Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next video. It also offers a surprisingly progressive take on cultural appropriation and racial politics. On the other hand, we can’t say the same about any of the direct-to-video sequels – four of the five are hitting Netflix, too – so just stick to the original. January 2

Bad Boys

From misogyny to a bludgeoning action style that favours spectacle over coherence, all the problems in director Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are right here in his debut. But this buddy-cop comedy is special, plotted by genre clichés but enlivened by its two Black stars (a first for a studio action movie at the time). Martin Lawrence and Will Smith graduated from sitcoms to big-screen leads in Bad Boys, the latter going on to A-list status thanks partly to those shots where he’s running down Miami streets in an open shirt, sweat glistening. Bad Boys has groan-worthy moments, but Bay’s stylish visuals wowed before eventually influencing Hollywood for the worse. January 1

Loving

Jeff Nichols’s sensitive look at Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), the interracial couple who fought down anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. Supreme Court, is quietly powerful. Instead of relishing the “Whoop! There it is!” legal victory, the director focuses on nuances in the couple’s relationship, their resilient bond, and their awkwardness when racist forces meddle in their lives. The film portrays the Supreme Court victory on their terms – a decision that offers them a little more peace of mind and confirmation they have the right to simply be. January 1

The Bourne Supremacy

The first four Jason Bourne movies are hitting Netflix, and while Identity and Ultimatum are nothing to sniff at, The Bourne Supremacy is where it’s at. The second film in the franchise and the first team-up between Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (taking over for Doug Liman) features a more soulful, self-critical Bourne. His climactic feat is a sincere apology that’s something considering this is one of the best action movies since Die Hard. There are so many show-stopping sequences and that final car chase, where two vehicles swirl through a narrow tunnel like they’re doing a tango, is near-Frankenheimer level great. January 2

My Best Friend’s Wedding

There’s no better time to watch a feel-good rom-com than the depths of January, so thank you, Netflix, for adding My Best Friend’s Wedding. The 1997 film stars Julia Roberts, who realizes that she’s in love with her best friend three days before his wedding and tries to sabotage it in various ways: from the petty and silly (forcing the fiancée, a terrible singer, to do karaoke) to the straight-up illegal (forging emails). If you’re still craving more Julia Roberts when it’s over, Netflix is also adding Mona Lisa Smile. January 1

Full list of new titles available in January, by date:

TV SHOWS

January 1

Comedians Of The World

Pinky Malinky

A Series of Unfortunate Events (season 3)

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

January 10

When Heroes Fly

January 11

Friends From College (season 2)

ReMastered: Massacre At The Stadium

Sex Education

January 15

Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry

January 18

Carmen Sandiego

Grace and Frankie (season 5)

Trigger Warning With Killer Mike

Trolls: The Beat Goes On! (season 5)

January 21

Justice

January 24

Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

January 25

Black Earth Rising

Club de Cuervos (season 4)

Kingdom

Medici: The Magnificent

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (season 4, part 2)

January 27

Z Nation (season 5)

January 29

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All

Coming Soon

Marvel’s The Punisher (season 2)

MOVIES

January 1

Across The Universe

Adrift

Bad Boys

Black Hawk Down

Blood Diamond

The Cable Guy

Daddy Day Care

Grown Ups 2

The Karate Kid Part II

Loving

Mona Lisa Smile

My Best Friend’s Wedding

The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants

Tears of the Sun

xXx

XXX: State of the Union

January 2

Bring It On

Bring It On Again

Bring It On: All Or Nothing

Bring It On: Fight To The Finish

Bring It On: In It To Win It

The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Ultimatum

A Quiet Place

Red Dragon

January 4

And Breathe Normally

Lionheart

January 9

Godzilla: The Planet Eater

Solo: A Star Wars Story

January 11

The Last Laugh

Solo

Titans

January 15

The Devil We Know

The Reaping

Revenger

January 17

Fist Fight

January 18

Close

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Girl – Release date pushed back

IO

Soni

January 21

Book Club

January 24

Gotti

January 25

Animas

January 26

Whitney

January 29

Ant-Man And The Wasp

January 30

The Incredibles 2

January 31

Brooklyn

[Rec]

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

LAST CALL

TV series and movies leaving Netflix this month.

January 1

The Book Of Life

Shrek

Straight Outta Compton

January 15

Suicide Squad

January 18

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

January 25

Captain America: The First Avenger

January 28

Arrival

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