TORONTO — With the Omicron variant spreading quickly, this winter seems like it'll be another season of binge-watching the hours away. Luckily, streaming platforms have lined up a stellar month of entertainment in January to sate an array of tastes.
Here are several of the standout film and TV titles ready to stream:
"The Woman in the House Across the Street from The Girl in the Window"
Kristen Bell plays a single suburbanite who lives life by the glass of vino. When a charming and handsome neighbour moves in across the street, her eye begins to wander into his private life, until she sees more than she bargained for through his window. Convinced she witnessed a murder, she begins to probe deeper into the mysterious heartthrob, divided over whether she'd rather he be innocent or proven right. Fast-paced, witty and full of twists, this eight-episode dark comedy skewers the crime-thriller trend of recent years with a biting accuracy. (Netflix, Jan. 28)
Agatha Christie was never known for her comic timing, which gives "21 Jump Street" creators Chris Miller and Phil Lord an opportunity to swing onto the scene with the most riotously entertaining murder-mystery this side of the Orient Express. Stacked with an ensemble cast that includes Tiffany Haddish, Dave Franco and Ilana Glazer, the eight-episode series centres on a high school reunion where one of the most successful classmates turns up dead. Left with many questions, a detective (Haddish) descends on the scene to grill the suspects. Each episode revisits the fateful night from the perspective of a different character who brings their own film genre lens to the way they recount how everything transpired. (Apple TV Plus, Jan. 28, episodes weekly)
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s knack for sharp morality tales helped familial drama "A Separation" win the 2012 foreign language Academy Award. And his latest, “A Hero,” is likely to return him to the Oscar race as it was selected to represent Iran this year. The film tells the story of Rahim, a man who’s given a two-day leave from his prison sentence for unpaid debts. Hoping to use his temporary freedom to reverse a complaint against him, he is presented with an opportunity that could sway the option of his creditor. But the situation quickly gets out of his control in a spiralling series of bad fortunes. (Amazon Prime Video, Jan. 21)
Call it a spin-off of the reboot. Last summer's feature-length DC Comics flick "The Suicide Squad" introduced John Cena in the role of Peacemaker, a masked man who believes in peace at any cost — no matter how many people he needs to kill along the way. And while the cinematic storyline found a particular fate for his character, the new James Gunn-created TV series finds a different trajectory for his story while keeping many of the supporting actors from the movie around to drive the new plotline. The series co-stars Robert Patrick as Peacemaker's abrasive father. (Crave, Jan. 13, episodes weekly)
ALSO THIS MONTH:
"Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts" – Reunited cast members Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson look back on the beloved fantasy film series. (Crave, Jan. 1)
"The Many Saints of Newark" – A young Tony Soprano is shaped by the family around him in a prequel to HBO series "The Sopranos." (Crave, Jan. 7)
"The Tender Bar" – George Clooney directs a coming-of-age story set in the 1970s and co-starring Ben Affleck. (Amazon Prime Video, Jan. 7)
"Eternals" – Chloe Zhao ("Nomadland") directs an epic new chapter of the Marvel superhero story. (Disney Plus, Jan. 12)
"The Sparks Brothers" – "Baby Driver" director Edgar Wright’s lively documentary on pop duo Sparks who've gone largely underappreciated for 50 years as they worked the grind of the music scene. (Netflix, Jan. 13)
"Ray Donovan: The Movie" – Cancelled after seven seasons, the Showtime TV series about a professional “fixer” (Liev Schreiber) wraps up loose plot threads in a feature-length film. (Crave, Jan. 14)
"We Need to Talk About Cosby" – Spurned comic Bill Cosby is the vehicle for W. Kamau Bell’s four-episode examination of how we engage with the work of problematic artists. (Crave, Jan. 30)
RETURNING SERIES: Crave delivers weekly episodes of HBO's teenage wasteland drama "Euphoria" (Jan. 9) and televangelist satire "The Righteous Gemstones" (Jan. 9, episodes weekly), as well as the final season of "Search Party" (Jan. 7) and Showtime's "Billions" (Jan. 23). Netflix returns to "Ozark" (Jan. 21) and "Snowpiercer" (Jan. 25, episodes weekly), while the Emmy-winning cheerleader docuseries "Cheer" returns (Jan. 12). Meanwhile, Apple TV Plus debuts the third season of M. Night Shyamalan thriller "Servant" (Jan. 21, episodes weekly) and CBC Gem welcomes season two of coming-of-age comedy "Pen15" (Jan. 3).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published December 31, 2021.
David Friend, The Canadian Press