Every month, Netflix takes some of its offerings away from its streaming service, but in return, we get several new things to watch as well. Of course, that trade isn’t always an equal one. December saw the departure of 11 seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Young Frankenstein, so the new offerings would need to be solid indeed to fill that gap.
There are a few things that stand out on the list of new arrivals, from Netflix originals to both newer and older movies. Here are a few suggestions as to what you should check out in December.
The trailer for Bright caught everyone’s attention when it was first shown off back in July. The Netflix original film stars Will Smith as an LAPD officer in a world that’s similar to ours, except that it is also inhabited by fairies, orcs, elves, and other fantastic creatures. Smith’s new partner is an orc, played by Joel Edgerton. As they try to keep the peace with tensions running high among the various races, a mysterious girl with a magic wand appears, and the pair must try to keep her safe.
Bright looks like a weird cross between Training Day and The Lord of the Rings, but it also looks intriguing enough to be worth a watch when it lands on Netflix December 22.
The Crown Season 2
Arriving on Netflix December 8, Season 2 of The Crown takes viewers back into the world of Queen Elizabeth II. Set in the years from around 1956 to 1964, Season two will kick off with the Suez Crisis, as those who watched the end of season one would expect. You can also expect to see the show delve into the matter of Prince Phillip’s fidelity, Princess Margaret’s newest love, and JFK’s visit to England, among other topics. It’s yet another original series that Netflix seems to be knocking out of the park, as evidenced by the Golden Globe won by Claire Foy for playing the title role.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The sequel to the acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy hits Netflix on December 5. Picking up where the first film left off, Vol. 2 has the Guardians taking on a job to protect valuable batteries for the Sovereign race, but as you’d expect, the job goes sideways. Along the way, the team will have to decipher who Star Lord’s real father is, and what his past holds. Of course, there’s also a new foe that wants to take over the entire galaxy that the Guardians will need to deal with as well.
Another Netflix original with a very different twist, Wormwood is a new docudrama that spends four-and-a-half hours digging into the CIA’s real-life experiments with LSD. The show focuses on Frank Olson (played by Peter Sarsgaard), a CIA operative and Army scientist who died in 1953 after leaping out of a hotel window. But was it suicide, or was he tossed out? Was Olson connected to the infamous MKUltra mind-control program? This six-part series will attempt to answer those questions, and will use archival footage, interviews, and scripted scenes to do the work.
The new miniseries is directed by Errol Morris, and hit Netflix (and select theaters) on December 15.
V for Vendetta
The 2005 dystopian political thriller V for Vendetta landed on Netflix December 1, and for those who haven’t seen the film by the Wachoski brothers, it’s almost a must-watch. Set in an alternate future where the United Kingdom is run by a neo-fascist regime, Vendetta stars Hugo Weaving as the titular “V,” an anarchist attempting to foment a revolution through increasingly elaborate terrorist acts. Along the way, he saves a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) from the secret police, and she becomes an ally in his fight.
The film has been cited by many groups as representing oppression by government, and many political groups point to it as supporting their beliefs. Whatever your political leanings, V for Vendetta is worth checking out.
Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War film is likely one of the most-quoted movies of all time, thanks to the stellar performance of R. Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. The first half of the film focuses on one platoon’s progress through basic training at Parris Island, focusing on two Privates: Joker (Matthew Modine) and Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio). After a number of incidents throughout their training, the film jumps forward to follow now-Sergeant Joker on his travels through Vietnam as a war correspondent. The horrors of war even reach the journalism staff before the film ends.
Full Metal Jacket still ranks as a classic film, as the Academy Award nomination it received for Best Adapted Screenplay makes clear. It’s certainly worth your time to stream, and it’s available now on Netflix.
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
If you’re looking for something silly to round out your December streaming list, look no further than Jim Carrey’s unforgettable performance as Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. Both Pet Detective and its sequel, When Nature Calls, hit Netflix on December 1, and both combine Carrey’s goofy antics with a hilarious story. Pet Detective teams Carrey with Tone Loc and Courtney Cox as they try to track down the missing Miami Dolphins mascot, Snowball. You can also expect to see a sizable cameo from Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, along with a bevy of wild animals. The sequel is worth watching for big Carrey fans, but it falls short of the original in many ways.