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From ‘The Social Network’ to ‘Big Fish’: 7 Best New Movies on Netflix in January 2022

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From ‘The Social Network’ to ‘Big Fish’: 7 Best New Movies on Netflix in January 2022

Netflix, that ever-changing tease, is at it again.

It’s a new month, which means new movies and TV shows are now gracing the streaming service’s library. The January 2022 line-up of new films emerging from the vault certainly does not disappoint with a mix of Oscar-winners, epic action classics, childhood favorites, and more. With picks like these, this new year is off to an excellent streaming start. So once fatigue sets in during your The Witcher, Emily in Paris and/or Queer Eye binge, here are seven of the best movies from the list of greats Netflix dropped this month.

RELATED: The Best Thrillers on Netflix Right Now (January 2022)

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The Social Network (2010)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Brenda Song, Rooney Mara, Rashida Jones

A searing fictionalization of Facebook’s origin story, David Fincher‘s The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin, follows Mark Zuckerberg played by Jesse Eisenberg on his journey from desperate Harvard nobody to tech tycoon. Featuring performances by Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, and Rooney Mara, The Social Network explores the deep, human insecurities from which Facebook exploded onto the scene. We see, in almost Shakespearean fashion, a deeply flawed Mark take all the wrong turns as he builds his behemoth in the hopes of finally earning the one title that’s always alluded him – being cool.

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Winning a slew of awards, including Oscars and Golden Globes, this movie only ripens with age, particularly as Facebook’s present-day narrative continues to insight more and more real-life drama.

True Grit (2010)

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Halie Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Elizabeth Marvel

This Coen Brothers Western follows 14-year-old Mattie Ross played by Hailee Steinfeld as she coerces notoriously boozey Deputy Cogburn played by Jeff Bridges to help her track down her late-father’s killer. An adaption of Charles Portis‘s 1968 novel, True Grit celebrates the bravery of a young girl, determined to avenge her beloved father’s death no matter what.

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Steinfeld and Bridges’ pairing makes for an odd-couple-like dynamic, their bickering eventually blossoming into mutual admiration. This classic was nominated for ten Oscars. While it didn’t win, it did launch Steinfeld’s career. Witnessing the strength and gumption of her rookie performance is reason alone to watch this classic.


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Director: Mel Stuart

Writers: Roald Dahl, David Seltzer

Cast: Gene Wilder, Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Paris Themmen, Michael Bollner, Denise Nickerson, Jack Albertson

Gene Wilder at his finest, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of Charlie Bucket played by Peter Ostrum and four other lucky Golden Ticket winners who get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory, meet the great chocolatier Willy Wonka himself (Gene Wilder), and have the opportunity to win a lifetime supply of chocolate. Alas, it’s not long before the sensory overload of such a fantastical experience inspires these lucky children to start acting out and letting their vices take the wheel. Filled with catchy tunes, psychedelic magical realism, and so, so much delicious prop candy, this Mel Stuart directed comedy is a childhood classic.

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In the years since its release, Johnny Depp took up the mantel of Willy Wonka in the 2005 remake Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Timothée Chalamet is reportedly portraying Wonka in a prequel, slated to hit the big screen in 2023.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle

A classic Martin Scorsese crime drama, Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a dishonorably discharged veteran turned taxi driver working in gritty New York City. Set after the Vietnam War, Bickle meets all sorts during his night shifts, struggling to cope with his PTSD and insomnia. Eventually his journey leads him to meeting Iris, a child prostitute played by Jodie Foster who he surmises that he can save from exploitation.

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A chillingly paranoid anti-heroic look at vigilante-ism, this film explores the arena of mental health in ways still, unfortunately, incredibly relevant today. If you’re craving a cathartic powerhouse drama that will make you think as much as it will make you feel, this is the watch for you.

Casino Royale (2006)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Judi Dench

Daniel Craig‘s first stab at Bond, James Bond, Casino Royale is a non-stop action extravaganza. From Craig’s first chase sequence, clamoring through Madagascar, his vehement determination tinged with almost a ballet-like grace, this film establishes Craig as a suave, sexy, no-holds-barred Bond. Packed with twists from beginning to end, this James Bond installment features all the great Bond tropes – a do they/don’t they trust each other dynamic between Bond and M played by Dame Judi Dench, a will they/won’t they romance between Bond and Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green, and a slew of double crosses and backstabs.

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Whether you’re a longtime Bond aficionado, or you’ve just seen Craig’s fifth and final Bond farewell in No Time To Die and can’t remember how it all started, now’s the perfect time to go back to this Bond’s in-no-way humble beginnings and reinvest in this thrilling secret agent saga all over again.

The Holiday (2006)

Director: Nancy Meyers

Writer: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black

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The holidays might be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to box up this seasonal Nancy Meyers rom-com. The Holiday is a classic story of love and friendship following Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet), two women desperate to escape their respective ruts. They find one another online and decide, in an albeit wild leap of pure faith, to swap houses for the holidays. By literally flying out of their comfort zones, these women each heal and find new friends and love interests that empower them to live life bolder than ever before.

With Jack Black and Jude Law as this film’s love interests, it’s no surprise this movie’s become a timeless romance. While the romantic relationships both women find on their respective trips are certainly precious, it’s also the friendships they forge with one another, and that Iris in particular forms with Amanda’s elderly screenwriter neighbor Arthur (Eli Wallach) that elevate this film from your run-of-the-mill rom-com to a layered exploration of love, trust, and compassion.

Big Fish (2003)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: John August

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman, Robert Guillaume, Marion Cotillard, Steve Buscemi, Danny Devito, Matthew McGrory

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A Tim Burton classic written by John August, Big Fish tells the winding tale of Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) desperate to unravel fact from fiction within the stories his father Edward’s (Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney) told him all his life, as Edward nears death. McGregor plays young Edward, who we follow through all sorts of trials and tribulations-ridden magical re-imaginings of the stories Will has always heard and can no longer trust.

A magical journey into the fantastic wonder that is Tim Burton’s imagination, Big Fish explores powerful themes of memory and forgiveness. A beautifully heartwarming look at the power of storytelling, this film begs the question… who gets to write the stories of our lives? It reminds us that the stories we tell ourselves and each other can absolutely rewrite our realities.


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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