Life in a Year

Life in a Year (new on Amazon Prime Video)

What’s new on Netflix, Prime Video, Crave, CBC Gem and Criterion

A sad rom-com with Jaden Smith and Cara Delevingne, Ron Howard awards-bait (or not?), a new Melissa McCarthy comedy & more!

A weekly round-up of the new movies and TV series on Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime Video, CBC Gem and Criterion Channel

New on Netflix

new on Netflix
Hillbilly Elegy (new on Netflix)

Netflix clearly had a lot of hopes hanging on Hillbilly Elegy, the adaptation of JD Vance’s memoir of the same name, when they greenlit it with Amy Adams and Glenn Close in the leads and Ron Howard in the director’s chair. Releasing it right in time for Thanksgiving suggested that Netflix was hanging a lot of awards hope on the film — awards that are not likely to come, because advance reviews suggest that Hillbilly Elegy is actually garbage and not likely to win any awards even in a year with this little competition. Gabriel Basso stars as Vance, who grew up in the Appalachians with a heroin-addicted mother (Adams).

Christmas on the Square Dolly Parton new on Netflix
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (new on Netflix)

You’re much more likely to get what you expect from Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, a Debbie Allen-directed musical starring Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski and Treat Williams. (Dolly Parton loves Christmas and making Christmas specials, while I do not believe that Ron Howard cares particularly for hillbillies and hillbilly movies.) In that same Yuletide vein is The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2, a sequel to the Kurt Russell-starring comedy that hit Netflix a few years ago. Russell has quite insanely cited The Passion of the Christ as an inspiration, so I suppose it’s worth a look just to see exactly what he’s talking about. 

The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame) are the producers behind Mosul, an Iraq-set action drama from director Matthew Michael Carnahan (the screenwriter of Deepwater Horizon, Dark Waters and World War Z). The interesting thing about Mosul is that despite the production being a predominantly American one, there are no western actors or characters in the film, which tells a resolutely Iraqi story. Whether or not that’s a positive thing remains to be seen.

In terms of catalogue titles, it’s a maligned-sequel-heavy week with The Hangover III, the two Matrix sequels and the recent Halloween sequel by David Gordon Green all coming out this week. The highlight from the bunch of licensed titles has to be Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, however. 

New on Amazon Prime Video

new on Netflix
Life in a Year (new on Amazon Prime Video)

The Pack is described as The Amazing Race with dogs, which sounds absolutely insane but almost certainly has a healthy potential audience as we enter the eighth month of lockdown. Life in a Year, like Hillbilly Elegy, probably had a significantly larger push when it went into production in 2017 — how can you miss with hot young stars like Jaden Smith and Cara Delevingne? The dying-teen romance has sat on the shelf for nearly three years, something that can probably be explained by the presence of both Chris d’Elia and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the supporting cast. Either way, no one has seen it in those three years, so advance buzz is completely non-existent.

New on Crave

Superintelligence (new on Crave)

It’s a smorgasbord of trashy reality TV shows over at Crave, including but not limited to: seasons 6 through 9 of Teen Mom, the first six seasons of 16 and Pregnant and seasons 28 to 30 of The Real World. Movie-wise, Nov. 20 marks the streaming debut of two movies I hated: the big-budget boondoggle Dolittle and Benh Zeitlin’s car-commercial-slick follow-up to Beasts of the Southern Wild, the Peter Pan reimagining Wendy. Slightly better but benefitting from zero buzz due to getting lost in the COVID-19 shuffle is Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Sweetness in the Belly, starring Dakota Fanning as a white Ethiopian immigrant in London.

new on Netflix
Between the World and Me (new on Crave)

On Nov. 21, you can stream Between the World and Me, an adaptation of Ta-Nehesi Coates’s non-fiction book of the same name in which several high-profile stars (Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, Mahershala Ali) turn Coates’s words into monologues spoken directly to the camera. Documentarian R.J. Cutler directs Belushi, about the life of John Belushi; it hits the service on Nov. 24. On the same day, you can also stream The Mystery of DB Cooper, yet another look at that most mysterious of hijacking stories. On Nov. 26, you can stream the HBOMax exclusive Superintelligence, a feature comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, James Corden and Brian Tyree Henry. The film was originally set for a theatrical release on Christmas Day.

New on CBC Gem

new on Netflix
Defending the Guilty (new on CBC Gem)

CBC Gem presents two world exclusives this week. Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice return to their beloved roles of Kenny and Spenny for Paldemic, a pandemic-themed half-hour special. On the same day, you can stream Death and Sickness, the new film from Sook-Yin Lee and Dylan Gamble. It, too, is a pandemic-centric dramedy. (I would imagine there’s more where that came from.) Defending the Guilty is a British comedy series set in the law world that stars Will Sharpe and Katherine Parkinson; the first season drops on CBC Gem this Friday, Nov. 20. Also available on Nov. 20 is Patricia Rozema’s Into the Forest, starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood.

New on Criterion Channel

Werewolf (new on Criterion Channel)

The Criterion Channel’s recurring programming segment Queersighted focuses on queer horror this week. It’s a little late for your Halloween viewing needs, but the collection offers 12 queer classics including 1934’s The Black Cat, The Haunting and Hellraiser. On Wednesday you can stream the great Canadian addiction drama Werewolf from 2016 as well as two shorts from director Ashley Mckenzie. Finally, Thursday sees the release of a handful of shorts starring W.C. Fields. ‌■

See what’s new on Netflix Canada here.

For what’s new on Crave, click here.

Find out what’s new on Amazon Prime Video here.

For what’s new on CBC Gem, click here.

See what’s new on Criterion Channel here.

For more film coverage, please visit the Film & TV section.

A weekly round-up of the new movies and TV series on Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime Video, CBC Gem and Criterion Channel