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Christmas movie heaven for yuletide fans: This week’s best and biggest on Netflix

Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on CityNews Halifax
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Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on CityNews Halifax.

The Noel Diary

What would Christmas season be without a Netflix original tearjerker?

The wonderful Justin Hartley – best known for his work on This Is Us – gives a moving performance in this pure, adorable little flick.

Based on Richard Paul Evans’s best-selling novel, it follows a famous author who returns home at Christmas following the death of his estranged mother.

While cleaning up, he discovers the diary of a woman who used to work for his family, and goes on a trip with the daughter of the woman to find answers.

Director Charles Shyer – who made his mark with involvement in films Private Benjamin, Father Of The Bride, and The Parent Trap remake – puts out his first film since 2004 here. It’s a wonderful festive treat.

I smiled, I teared up, and I thoroughly enjoyed the pureness of this one. I bet you will as well.

4/5 Stars

Christmas With You

Are you between the ages of 30 and 40, and looking for some serious nostalgia for the holidays?

Christmas With You stars former 90s teen heart-throb Freddie Prinze Jr., and I was totally here for it.

It follows a pop star – on the edge of losing her career – who heads to a small town, begins to write a Christmas hit with a single dad, and falls for him.

It’s a familiar, well-worn trope, but it’s cinematic comfort. Director Gabriela Tagliavini knows the type of film she’s making and leans into what makes it work.

Prinze Jr. and co-star Aimee Garcia (of Lucifer and Dexter fame) have a good rapport, and keep things brisk and lively.

It’s a fun, musical little movie that will keep you mildly entertained, and who doesn’t love a Christmas rom-com anyway?

3.5/5 Stars

The Stranger

I’m honestly a bit dumfounded that this one hasn’t received more attention this year.

It’s a fabulous, tense slow-burn of a thriller that enthralled me entirely. I love this movie – Every singular frame of it.

Based on Kate Kyriacou’s book, it follows two men who meet on a bus. Paul is headed on a job and quickly enlists quiet loner Henry into his work. They form a quick bond and Henry gets involved in criminal dealings that slowly unfold before his eyes.

It’s a movie where nothing is as it seems and it requires a mature audience, keen eye and is a thoughtful endeavour.

Director Thomas M. Wright – mostly known for acting in Everest, The Bridge, and Top Of The Lake – crafts a magnificent film.

Sean Harris gives a career-best performance, and he’s joined by Joel Edgerton, Jada Alberts, and Steve Mouzakis.

It’s definitely a slower film, but it’s intricate and beautiful. Check it out.

4.5/5 Stars

The United States Vs. Billie Holiday

This is one of those films that lives and dies on its central performance, and our Billie Holiday absolutely stuns.

Andra Day won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination for playing the songstress in a film that punches above its weight due to her commitment.

It follows Holiday’s career as she’s pursued by the Federal Department of Narcotics, and the on-and-off affair she has with the man leading the investigation.

Day is fabulous, as are Moonlight alum Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne and the late, lovely Leslie Jordan.

Directed by Lee Daniels – who made Precious and The Butler – it marks an admirable, even if uneven, effort for the well-known auteur.

See it for Day’s performance. You won’t be disappointed.

3.5/5 Stars

Firefly Lane

This soapy Netflix drama comes from producer and writer Maggie Friedman, best known for work on Dawson’s Creek, Jack & Bobby, and Eastwick.

It follows lifelong best friends Tully and Kate, who have stayed close despite their obvious differences. Tully is a career woman, while Kate is more focused on settling down.

But they're always there for each other, and when life gets turbulent, they steady the ship.

Katherine Heigl – a fantastic actress whose career was derailed by scandal – does her best work since Grey's Anatomy, and Sarah Chaulke from Scrubs is also amazing.

The second season of this girl-power drama comes out this week, and I thoroughly enjoy it.

4/5 Stars




About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk.
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