That’s it, the Christmas countdown is on! With the year we’ve all had, it’s hard not to want to get shoulders deep into the festivities ASAP. Whether you have your decorations up, or are yet to dig them out of the cupboard, you can still get into the mood with our Netflix Christmas film Advent Calendar Countdown.
Originally, this article was just going to be run-of-the-mill top 10. However, there’s just so much festive Christmas content on Netflix, we thought we’d do our very own version of an advent calendar, the best way we know how… with films.
After watching the majority of the Christmas films on Netflix, below are 24 films we believe will get you in the festive mood between now and the big day. There is a mix of animations, classics and Netflix’s own to get your teeth into.
So, get out the mince pies, chocolates, or both, and don your Christmas onesie as you get ready for a film marathon like no other.
Tuesday 1st December watch:
The Holiday Calendar
The first on our list is a 2018, Netflix own, romantic comedy. The Holiday Calendar is the best way to start off our countdown as it’s about an advent calendar – what a match. It is also the perfect mix of cheesy Christmas acting and feel-good outcomes, with a dash of festive fantasy. After watching this film, you’ll be looking through your grandparents’ attic for your very own magic antique holiday calendar.
Wednesday 2nd December watch:
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
If you feel December 2nd is still too early for you to celebrate, you will be in good company with Dr. Seuss’ the Grinch. This version of the story has to be our favourite. Okay, Jim Carrey’s ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ is great. But the 2018 film not only has Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of The Grinch, but the talented Pharrell Williams as the narrator. This classic story is a must watch around this time of year and, just like the Grinch, Cindy-Lou Who and the villagers of Whoville will really get you in the Christmas mood.
Thursday 3rd December watch:
Let It Snow
When you think ‘teen movies’, you probably imagine coming-of-age, anxious young people trying to fit in. Lot’s of unrequited love, cliques, college worries, underage parties and unrealistic romance. Well, this movie has all this and more, including Joan Cusack, hanging around covered in tinfoil, being her perfectly quirky self… we love it. Following a Love Actually/Valentine’s Day style format, you follow several different stories about a group of teens on Christmas Eve. It’s heart-warming, funny and full of all the Christmas feels.
Friday 4th December watch:
It’s time for another Netflix original, and this one is an animation. An imaginative story of how Santa Claus came to be. It’s centred around a postman who was made to work in a very undesirable location called Smeerensburg. The original story is written and directed by Sergio Pablos, who also wrote the original storyline for Despicable Me. So you’re in good hands and got a lot of humour coming your way.
Saturday 5th December watch:
Holiday In The Wild
Taking you out of the winter snow and off to warmer climates is this 2019 romantic comedy, starring Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis. Holiday In The Wild is a simple, heart-warming story: there’s no bells or whistles, just elephants and a good ol’ fashioned romance.
Sunday 6th December watch:
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
If you’ve missed theatre this year, and could do with a festive family musical, Jingle Jangle is for you! From the first scene, you are transported into an imaginary world of wonder. New for 2020, you’ll join Jeronicus (played by Forest Whitaker), who was an eccentric yet brilliant toymaker. He is transported back to his glory days when his granddaughter Journey (played by Madalen Mills) comes to live with him. The film is full of bright colours, catchy songs and magic. There are also appearances from Hugh Bonneville and the voice of Ricky Martin.
Monday 7th December watch:
This one is a slightly different pace to the other films. The concept of a scary Christmas movie might sound odd, but it’s actually pretty good. It’s got everything you need in a good family scarefest. Including an unruly younger son, a creepy grandmother and a wise-cracking aunt who teaches the kids how to make cocktails (basically, who I aspire to be). Amongst the scares, the film has some comedic lines and scenes woven into the dialogue and visuals.
Beware: this one is not suitable for a younger family audience. It is a certified 15, similar to a good old 90’s Goosebumps episode in tone.
Tuesday 8th December watch:
Christmas with the Kranks
Let’s face it: at one point or another, I’m sure we’ve all wanted to skip Christmas. That’s exactly what Luther (played by Tim Allen) and Nora (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) tried to do in this 2004 festive classic. It’s hard to not get a little annoyed by their neighbours, as they try to force them to celebrate Christmas. Especially when it comes to the ‘Frosty The Snowman’ debacle (which you will understand when you watch it).
Wednesday 9th December:
Now, while it may not have quite achieved the popularity of Love Actually (which isn’t on Netflix). The Holiday is arguably up there as one of the best Christmas rom-coms. Again, they went all out with the casting on this one, with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz playing the leading females, and Jude Law, Jack Black and, one of Hollywood’s greats, Eli Wallach, as their male counterparts. This 2006 film, truly is a winter warmer and should definitely be on everyone’s list.
Thursday 10th December watch:
A lot of the films on this list, and indeed on Netflix, are romantic comedies – after all, Christmas is the season for love. However, Christmas is also the season for families and for being together, and that definitely comes across in the 2019 Netflix Original, Holiday Rush. There’s a light smattering of romance, but this film is more about looking around at who you have in your life, rather than what you’ve got.
Friday 11th December watch:
If by 11th December, you’re still not feeling the festive cheer, it’s time to get out the big guns… all three of them! Nativity 1, 2 and 3 are all on Netflix, and the perfect Christmas films to watch. They are full of quintessential British humour and cute children. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve watched them all before, as they are so rewatchable and a true Christmas classic. Plus, the first one stars Martin Freeman before he was Bilbo Baggins.
Saturday 12th December watch:
Christmas Made to Order
Who doesn’t love a bit of unrealistic romance this time of year? It’s nice to let go of our inner cynic and believe in true romance, something made much easier with this 2018 romantic comedy. Christmas Made to Order is full of comedic and sentimental moments, and it’s got a great soundtrack.
Sunday 13th December watch:
This film is made by Hallmark. So you should know what you’re getting yourself into when you press play. There will be a lot of cheese, romance and warm Christmas feelings, with a dash of predictability. It’s perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon.
Monday 14th December watch:
A Christmas Prince
Just like with Nativity, A Christmas Prince is the Christmas film that just keeps giving. There are now three of them. So you choose between A Christmas Prince, A Christmas Prince – The Royal Wedding and A Christmas Prince – The Royal Baby, or just binge all three! You might have seen films like this before (cough The Prince and Me cough). But these films are slowly gathering a cult following, and I’m pretty sure next year there will be A Christmas Prince 4 of some description. Maybe A Christmas Prince – The Royal Twins? You never know.
Tuesday 15th December watch:
Operation Christmas Drop
This year, another Netflix romantic Christmas movie hit the playlist: Operation Christmas Drop. It’s a bit of a change to your normal Christmas film setting as, instead of snow and hot chocolate, there’s sun, sand and helicopters. But, there is still romance and the odd Christmas hat.
Wednesday 16th December watch:
We couldn’t have a list of Christmas films without a shout out to the singles that are fed up with being single over the Christmas period. The Netflix description of this film is: “All they want is someone to drunk-mock strangers with on the holidays. No pressure. No romance. And no chance it’ll lead to love.” You may read that and think ‘this look’s predictable’… and you would be right. But it’s still a great movie, full of laughs and it’s Christmas, so why not indulge?
Thursday 17th December watch:
El Camino Christmas
Tim Allen is back, with an action/black comedy film that will get you giggling in your eggnog and doing shocked faces to your elf on the shelf. If you’re like us, who believe Die Hard is a Christmas movie (it is!), then this one’s for you.
Friday 18th December watch:
Christmas with the Coopers
This film is set around a family Christmas the way it should be: pure chaos! It is packed full of famous faces, including Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Ed Helms and Family Guy’s Lois Griffin – Alex Borstein – just to name a few. The film shows four generations of Coopers, all with their own stories, coming together for a reunion on Christmas Eve.
Saturday 19th December watch:
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Come on, who doesn’t love Dolly? If you liked her Heartstrings series, you will love this! As you may have guessed, this is a musical. The film is a light take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis and, of course, Dolly Parton herself. Now, it may be a little cheesy in places, but it is very entertaining, heart-warming and full of Dolly tunes. See, what’s not to love?
Sunday 20th December watch:
The only film we’ve included on this list without watching, at the time of writing, Angela’s Christmas is yet to be released. However, judging by the trailer, this 40-minute short film is going to be one of this year’s must-watch Christmas animations. The film will be released on 1st December.
Monday 21st December watch:
A Bad Mom’s Christmas
2017’s A Bad Mom’s Christmas is as funny (if not more) as the original Bad Mom’s film and has such an incredible cast. Alongside our original moms, Mila Kunis, Kirsten Bell and Kathryn Hahn, are acting legends Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines. All 6 actresses bring a huge dose of humour, some drama, a little conflict and a stocking load of Christmas cheekiness. Just what we have come to expect from our bad mums.
Tuesday 22nd December watch:
Another easy Christmas romance is this Netflix Original. It’s a classic, humbling riches-to-rags story about a wild child that’s soon to inherit the title of CEO from her dad. But, after some bad behaviour, she is sent to her dad’s hometown to hopefully learn something from the locals in the lead up to Christmas.
Wednesday 23rd December watch:
By far, one of the best Christmas animations, and one of the best underdog stories. Perfect for the whole family, Sony Pictures Animation really knocked it out of the park with this one. The animations, storyline and characterisations are top-notch. Plus, there are some amazing one-liners we’ll be repeating for Christmases to come, such as “everything’s better with a bow” and “Hey Soldier, get off your baubles”. It’s another one with a host of famous voices, including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy and Ashley Jensen, among many others. If you haven’t watched it, you need to.
Thursday 24th December watch:
The Christmas Chronicles 1 and 2
We’ve saved the best until last. You can’t get to Christmas without watching this epic adventure. Even though this film was released in 2018, it’s reminiscent of the classic 90s films, such as Santa Clause: The Movie and Home Alone. Netflix has done a great job with this film, as it’s funny, heart-warming, full of adventure, and casting Kurt Russel was a good choice, as he plays the best cool Santa.
If this film leaves you wanting more, Netflix has only gone and dropped The Christmas Chronicles 2 into our stockings. And this time, we get more Goldie Hawn too. Maybe save that for the big day itself; it sounds like a perfect Christmas evening watch to me, after the Queen’s speech, of course!
Wrapping up Christmas
So, there you have it for our Christmas Countdown! I hope it gets you ready for the big day.
How did we do? If you have any other Netflix films you think should have been on this list, let us know below. Also, let us know what you thought of the films!
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Check out more or our Netflix articles HERE.
Read IMDB information about Christmas Chronicles 2 HERE.
No Time To Die – Review
No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.
A step up?
This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.
That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.
The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.
Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.
There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.
Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.
The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.
Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.
It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.
I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.
Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.
It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.
Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.
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