Netflix Canada in November 2019: What’s coming and going - Macleans.ca

Netflix Canada in November 2019: What’s coming and going

Here’s Jaime Weinman’s rundown of all the new shows and movies worth checking out this November on Netflix in Canada—and what to binge-watch before they’re gone

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Olivia Coleman stars in season three of The Crown. (Netflix)

It’s somehow appropriate that the month after Martin Scorsese dared to criticize Marvel movies, earning the enmity of everyone who takes criticism of Disney blockbusters as a personal insult, one of Netflix’s big new releases is a new Scorsese picture, The Irishman. Not everything in the world breaks down into Netflix vs. Disney, but as Disney+ draws ever nearer, Scorsese’s comments do illuminate the difference between Netflix’s current strategy and the Disney model. Under Robert Iger’s leadership, Disney now dominates the global film industry by focusing mostly on the intellectual property it owns: Marvel superheroes, Star Wars, previous Disney movies. Netflix can’t compete on Disney’s turf, because most of the franchises it owns are new and untested. Instead, it may be selling itself as a haven for the types of projects that have been driven out of theatres by Disney: not only big-budget movies for adults, but smaller or more arty movies that used to play the repertory houses that Disney may be driving out of business.

If Disney+ becomes the place everyone goes to watch that thing that is from the same franchise as that other thing, then Netflix may respond by positioning itself as the home for originals that actually are original. Or it could be that movies like The Irishman are just a stopgap until Netflix has bought someone else’s back catalogue of remake-worthy franchises, or until enough Netflix originals become old enough to franchise. Yes, it’s possible that Disney’s strategy may take over everything, and that we’ll eventually get a live-action remake of Netflix’s new animated film Klaus, or a cinematic universe based on The Crown. But when that happens, Martin Scorsese can always get work directing a spinoff of Joker.

What’s coming and going on Netflix Canada in November: Featured reviews

American Son

November 1

In 2018, a Miami playwright named Christopher Demos-Brown had one of those Cinderella stories that can still happen in the theatre: his play “American Son,” a real-time drama about a black woman and her white ex-husband trying to find their missing 18 year-old son, attracted the attention of star Kerry Washington and director Kenny Leon, who brought the show to Broadway. (Leon described Demos-Brown to Broadway.com as “a combination of Lanford Wilson, August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry,” which may have been putting a bit too much pressure on him.) Now the same cast, director and writer have adapted the play for Netflix, which describes the result not as a movie but a “television event”: it uses realistic sets and lighting, but still has some of the feel of one of the medium’s oldest genres, the televised play with a hard-hitting topical subject.

The Crown, Season 3

November 17

This lavishly-produced series about the (fictionalized) life of Queen Elizabeth II is one of Netflix’s signature TV shows: it’s part of a familiar genre—in this case, the type of middlebrow Anglophile period drama that North Americans have been in love with since the 1970s—but with a twist, in this case, the use of different actors to play characters at different points in their lives. In the two-year delay since the second season, Olivia Colman (The Favourite) has taken over the role of Elizabeth originally played by Claire Foy, with Tobias Menzies taking over from Matt Smith as Prince Philip. Whether audiences will accept this kind of cast turnover in the middle of a serialized drama—and without the Doctor Who explanation that the Queen has taken another form—is unclear, especially since it’s already becoming a bit old-fashioned to hire different actors to play characters at different ages (see below). Still, the new season will begin in the Swinging London era of the late 1960s, so at least there may be some cool fashion and music.

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings

November 22

What would MTV music videos for the binge-watching era look like? Possibly something like this eight-episode anthology series, produced by Parton, who is also expected to appear in each episode in some capacity. All the episodes are named after one of the many hit songs written by Parton, telling episode-length stories in various genres based on or inspired by the subject of the song, sometimes in unexpected ways: for example, the first episode is based on arguably her most famous song, “Jolene,” but it focuses on the life and career of the title character (Julianne Hough), who we never really found out much about in the song itself. Will it finally confirm the theory that Jolene had no intention of taking the singer’s man?

The Irishman

November 27

Few movies have a lineup that is more emblematic of the pre-Netflix, pre-Marvel Hollywood establishment: directed by Martin Scorsese, co-produced by Irwin Winkler (Rocky, Raging Bull), written by Steven Zallian (Schindler’s List) and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. The premise, based on a true story, is almost deliberately evocative of Goodfellas: De Niro plays a retired hitman looking back on his career and his role in the fate of labour boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). One thing that marks it as a movie of our time, though, is that it literally couldn’t have been made in the Goodfellas era: making it was dependent on modern de-aging technology that allowed stars in their seventies to play much younger men. This technology has become familiar to audiences through its successful use in Marvel movies, where it was used to de-age actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson. Proving that even directors who don’t care for Disney blockbusters can make use of the company’s technical advances.

Atlantics

November 29

In 2009, the French-Senegalese director Mati Diop made the documentary short Atlantiques, about two people who tried to get from Senegal to Spain via a dangerous boat voyage. Ten years later, Diop returned to a similar subject and title for her first full-length fiction film, adding elements of romance, the supernatural and even what Diop has described as “Afro capitalist neo-feminism” in the story of Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), a 17 year-old who is preparing for an arranged marriage after her lover (Ibrahima Traoré) leaves for Europe. The film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was also the first film by a black woman that had ever been shown in-competition. The film is also notable for being shot with a largely non-professional cast, with Diop searching for people who came from what she called “the social environment of the film’s characters,” and then setting up workshops to teach them to act on film.

Coming and going in November

Available Nov. 1

American Son 

(Netflix Television Event)

See introduction for details

Kerry Washington stars in American Son. (David Lee/Netflix)

Atypical: Season 3

(Netflix Original)

Another year in the life of Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a young autistic man navigating the world of relationships—his own, and his parents’. As this season begins, Sam beings his first year of college.

Drive

(Netflix Film)

This drag-racing heist movie, starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez, was originally expected to have a theatrical release in India, but wound up going direct to Netflix.

Fire in Paradise

(Netflix Documentary)

A documentary about the 2018 California wildfire, the worst in over a century, that destroyed a town called Paradise and left 85 dead. Featuring real eyewitness footage as well as interviews with survivors.

Hache 

(Netflix Original)

Ariana Ugarte stars in this Spanish series as Helena, who works her way up the ladder in a Barcelona drug ring in the 1960, a premise that makes it sound like a cross between Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Hello Ninja

(Netflix Family)

Animated series about two boys and a cat who can turn themselves into ninjas when they say the magic phrase “Hello, ninja,” which, conveniently, is also the title.

Holiday in the Wild

(Netflix Film)

One area where Netflix is outmatched by a competitor is in the field of Christmas movies, still dominated by Hallmark. But this early-bird Christmas film features sophisticated New Yorker (Kristin Davis) going on a safari in Africa after her husband dumps her, and finding a new lease on life when she meets an adorable baby elephant and an equally adorable human male (Rob Lowe).

The King

(Netflix Film)

Timothée Chalamet stars as King Henry V and Joel Edgerton is his alcoholic buddy Sir John Falstaff in David Michôd’s historical drama based on Shakespeare’s history plays, but translated into English.

The Man Without Gravity

(Netflix Film)

Italian fantasy film about a guy who was born unaffected by gravity and floats away like a balloon if he’s not tied down.

Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!

(Netflix Original)

The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy stars head to Tokyo, where they try to teach four local people that their lives are worthless unless they know the right way to eat, dress and decorate their homes.

We Are the Wave

(Netflix Original)

A six-episode series from Germany, partly based on the American novel The Wave by Todd Strasser, where a charismatic high school student becomes a Hitler-like figure to some of his classmates.

Other movies coming to Netflix:

A Christmas Special: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (2016)

Apache Warrior (2017)

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Go Team Roberts, season 1 (2018)

Christmas Break-In (2018)

Christmas With a View (2018)

Cleo & Cuquin, season 1 (2018)

Ferdinand (2017)

Holiday Joy (2016)

Lawrence of Arabia: Restored Version (1962)

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, seasons 1-2 (2015)

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Santa Girl (2019)

Spitfire: The Plane that Saved the World (2018)

The Christmas Trap (2018)

The Public (2018)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Leaving Netflix Nov. 1:

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Available Nov. 4

The Devil Next Door 

(Netflix Documentary)

Documentary about John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian living in Cleveland who was charged with serving as a guard at a Nazi death camp.

Other movies coming to Netflix:

A Holiday Engagement (2011)

Christmas Crush (2019)

Dear Santa (2019)

Available Nov. 5

The End of the F***ing World: Season 2

(Netflix Original)

In the new season of the dark series based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel (which doesn’t have the *** in its title), the troubled teenage protagonists, James and Alyssa, face an antagonist who wants revenge for someone they killed.

Giants of Africa

A 2016 film about basketball camps for young people, set up in several African countries by Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri.

Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby 

(Netflix Original)

Seth Meyers, the Lorne Michaels protégé whose NBC talk show comes on an hour later than that other NBC talk show with that other Lorne Michaels protégé, takes some time off from Trump jokes to appear in his first Netflix stand-up comedy special.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 4

(Netflix Family)

Another season for the reboot of the He-Man spinoff, which seems to have surpassed its parent show in cultural relevance. This time around, She-Ra continues to defend Etheria (not to be confused with He-Man’s home, Eternia).

Tune in for Love 

(Netflix Film)

This self-described melodrama, set in South Korea in the 1990s, follows two young people (Kim Go-eun and Jung Hae-in) whose attempts to find romance are complicated by the 1997 economic crisis and the ensuing recession.

Available Nov. 6

SCAMS

(Netflix Original)

Another Netflix offering set around the time of an economic disaster: this one is set at the time of the Lehman Brothers collapse of 2008, which leads the protagonist to get involved in a phone scam business.

Other movies coming to Netflix:

Burning Cane (2019)

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Honey (2003)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Patch Adams (1998)

Shadow (2018)

Available Nov. 8

Busted!: Season 2

(Netflix Original)

This South Korean series has a premise that is sort of a combination of a mystery thriller with a panel game show: a group of celebrity detectives have to solve mysteries in every episode as well as the larger mystery of how they got their detective skills.

Greatest Events of WWII in HD Colour

(Netflix Original)

Ted Turner may have given up colourization, but Netflix is carrying the banner with this series, which attempts to give a new lease on life to familiar archival Second World War footage by presenting it in colour and high-definition.

Green Eggs and Ham

(Netflix Original)

Remember the Dr. Seuss book about the guy who didn’t want to eat green eggs and ham, and the other guy who pestered him until he ate it? That’s a multi-episode animated series now, starring the voices of Michael Douglas and Adam DeVine.

Let It Snow

(Netflix Film)

CHRISTMAS MOVIE ALERT: Based on the book Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances, this film deals with teenagers who find adventure and love during a huge snowstorm on Christmas Eve.

Paradise Beach

(Netflix Film)

Sami Bouajila stars in this French film as an ex-con who discovers that his former partners in crime are living the high life at the titular beach.

Wild District: Season 2

(Netflix Original)

Netflix’s first original show from Colombia continues the story of a former guerrilla fighter (Juan Pablo Raba) trying to build a new life in Bogotá and discovering that the city is just as violent as the jungle.

Available Nov. 9

Little Things: Season 3

(Netflix Original)

Dhruv Seghal created and co-stars (with Mithila Palkar) in this series that explores modern relationship issues through the story of two lovers: this season, they are living in separate places and have to adjust to a long-distance relationship.

Available Nov. 11

Chief of Staff: Season 2 

(Netflix Original)

A new season of the drama starring Lee Jung-jae as an ambitious political operative; as this season begins, he has been elected to political office himself.

Available Nov. 12

Harvey Girls Forever!: Season 3

(Netflix Family)

This modern animated take on the female characters from the old Harvey comics—Little Dot, Little Audrey, and the less-little Little Lotta—now expands its reach with a visit from the most famous Harvey character of all, Richie Rich.

Jeff Garlin: Our Man In Chicago 

(Netflix Original)

The veteran comic (Curb Your Enthusiam) shot this stand-up special in his native Chicago to celebrate the 37th anniversary—what metal anniversary is that?—of his first comedy set.

Available Nov. 13

Maradona in Mexico

(Netflix Documentary)

This seems to be the year for Diego Maradona documentaries. HBO aired a film last month that focused on the 1980s prime of the Argentine soccer superstar, and now comes this documentary about the present-day Maradona coaching a team in the middle of Sinaloa Cartel territory.

Available Nov. 14

The Stranded

(Netflix Original)

Netflix’s first original series from Thailand focuses on the aftermath of a tsunami that wipes out a private high school on a remote island, and the mysteries the surviving students discover while trying to escape the island.

Available Nov. 15

Avlu: Part 2

(Netflix Original)

As mentioned in an earlier entry, Netflix has a lot of women’s prison shows. This Turkish series (sometimes also called “The Yard”), an adaptation of the Australian drama “Wentworth”), premiered on Netflix last month, and a new batch of episodes is here already.

The Club 

(Netflix Original)

A group of rich kids in Mexico decide to get into the drug dealing business, and discover that this gets them into trouble with drug dealers who actually need the money.

Earthquake Bird

(Netflix Film)

An adaptation of the novel by Susanna Jones, this film takes place in Tokyo in the 1980s and stars Alicia Vikander and Riley Keough as two expats who get into a complicated love triangle with a photographer (Naoki Kobayashi) which turns into a possible murder case when one of the women disappears.

The Fanatic

Fred Durst’s widely-panned take on Misery stars John Travolta as a man who begins stalking his favourite horror movie star (Devon Sawa). It was released to theatres earlier this year, but made so little money it might just as well be a Netflix Original.

GO!: The Unforgettable Party

(Netflix Family)

Another season of in the Argentinian musical drama series Go!, starring Pilar Pascual as a girl attending a prestigious music school on a scholarship.

House Arrest

(Netflix Film)

This dark comedy stars Ali Fazal (Victoria & Abdul) as a man who decides to escape the torments of modern life by refusing to leave his house.

I’m with the Band: Nasty Cherry

(Netflix Original)

A six-episode documentary profiling, and promoting, Nasty Cherry, a new all-female alt-pop band created by Charli XCX. The show follows the musicians as they live and work together and get ready for their debut.

Klaus

(Netflix Film)

CHRISTMAS MOVIE ALERT: Sergio Pablos’s animated film, made in Spain but with English-language voices, is billed as Netflix’s first original animated feature. J.K. Simmons is the voice of the title character, a humble toymaker who becomes the man we know and love as Santa Claus.

Llama Llama: Season 2

(Netflix Family)

Another season of animated adventures based on Anna Dewdney’s children’s books.

Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue

It’s Paw Patrol. If you want to know what it is, as a kid.

The Toys That Made Us: Season 3

Netflix Original)

This series is about the secret origins of franchises that either were created to sell toys, or wound up spinning off a lot of toys. This season’s episodes include My Little Pony and Power Rangers – franchises that were aimed at children but will probably outlive us all.

Available Nov. 17

The Crown: Season 3

(Netflix Original)

See introduction for details

Available Nov. 19

Iliza: Unveiled

(Netflix Original)

Shlesinger’s relationship with Netflix goes all the way back to her first comedy special in 2013; this is her fifth stand-up special on the service, focusing on her recent wedding.

No hay tiempo para la verguenza

(Netflix Documentary)

This documentary series focuses on the Argentine fashion designer Santiago Artemis.

Available Nov. 20 

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator

(Netflix Documentary)

Documentary about “hot yoga” enterpreneur Bikram Choudhury, who fled the U.S. in 2017 due to a series of lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Dream/Killer

2015 documentary about Ryan Ferguson, a murder convict whose father helped prove his innocence.

Lorena, la de pies ligeros

(Netflix Documentary)

Documentary about Lorena Ramirez, a young Rarámuri woman who became a long-distance running star.

Available Nov. 21 

The Knight Before Christmas

(Netflix Film)

CHRISTMAS MOVIE ALERT: A knight is transported from the era of King Arthur’s court to modern-day Ohio and has to figure out how to get home. The plot summary doesn’t say how Christmas will figure into the plot, but it’s right there in the title.

Mortel

(Netflix Original)

French TV series about three high school students who acquire voodoo powers.

Available Nov. 22

Dino Girl Gauko

(Netflix Family)

Animated series about an ordinary tween girl who turns into a dinosaur when she gets angry, sort of like the Incredible Hulk for kids (well, the Hulk is for kids, but you know what I mean).

Julianne Hough and Dolly Parton in Heartstrings. (Netflix)

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings

(Netflix Original)

See introduction for details

The Dragon Prince: Season 3

(Netflix Family)

New season of the animated fantasy series.

High Seas: Season 2

(Netflix Original)

This Spanish series takes place on a cruise ship, but it takes place in the 1940s and involves murder mysteries, two things that set it apart from The Love Boat.

Mon frère

(Netflix Film)

French film about a teenager who is accused of murder and must learn to survive in a violent custody centre while awaiting trial.

Nailed It! Holiday!: Season 2 

(Netflix Original)

CHRISTMAS SHOW ALERT: Netflix’s bake-off show returns with the second of its special holiday-themed competitions.

Narcoworld: Dope Stories

(Netflix Original)

Documentary series looking at the drug trade around the world.

Nobody’s Looking

(Netflix Original)

Brazilian series about a Guardian Angel who rebels against the angel rules and decides to do things his own way.

Singapore Social

(Netflix Original)

New show about the work and dating lives of young people in Singapore.

Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 8

(Netflix Family)

Another very short season of the DreamWorks animated series about, well, trolls.

Other shows coming to Netflix:

Frontier: Season 3

Available Nov. 24

Final Space: Season 2

(Netflix Original)

The most recent season of the Conan O’Brien-produced cartoon about astronauts.

Other movies coming to Netflix:

Florence Foster Jenkins

Available Nov. 26

Mike Birbiglia: The New One 

(Netflix Original)

The comedian’s Off-Broadway show was so popular that it transferred to Broadway, where Netflix captured it live in the theatre.

Super Monsters Save Christmas

(Netflix Family)

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL ALERT: The Super Monsters, who previously saved Halloween on Netflix, now turn their attention to Christmas.

Available Nov. 27

Broken

(Netflix Documentary)

Netflix already gave us “Rotten,” about the horrible materials and labour practices that go into making the food we eat. Now the same creators give us a show about the horrible materials and labour practices that go into making the inanimate products we buy.

Joe Pesci (left) and Robert DeNiro in The Irishman. (Netflix)

The Irishman

(Netflix Film)

See introduction for details

Available Nov. 28

Holiday Rush

(Netflix Film)

CHRISTMAS MOVIE ALERT: Romany Malco plays a widower with four children who can’t buy them Christmas presents after he loses his job as a disc jockey. Also starring Sonequa Martin-Green and Christmas music legend Darlene Love.

John Crist: I Ain’t Prayin For That 

(Netflix Original)

Crist, the homeschooled son of a clergyman, has risen to fame in the last few years for his comedy routines and videos that make fun of U.S. evangelical Christian culture (with titles like “Christian Moms Be Like…”) from the perspective of a believer. This is his first Netflix special, filmed in Birmingham, Alabama.

Merry Happy Whatever

(Netflix Original)

CHRISTMAS SHOW ALERT: This sitcom stars Dennis Quaid as a long-suffering dad who doesn’t approve of his daughter’s new boyfriend. The twist is that every season is expected to cover a different holiday: these eight episodes will take place around Christmas, and other holidays will follow until they get cancelled or run out of holidays, whichever comes first.

Mytho

(Netflix Original)

Marina Hands stars in this French comedy-drama series as Elvira, a young wife and mother who tries to win back the attention of her family by pretending to have cancer, only to discover that this zany scheme doesn’t work out as flawlessly as she expected.

Available Nov. 29

Atlantics

(Netflix Film)

See introduction for details

I Lost My Body

(Netflix Film)

Jérémy Clapin directed this animated feature film, based on a novel by Guillaume Laurant, about a sentient severed hand trying to reunite with the kid whose body it belongs to. It won the Nespresso Grand Prize at International Critics Week at Cannes.

The Movies That Made Us

(Netflix Original)

A spinoff of Netflix’s “The Toys that Made Us,” each episode of this series will focus on the production and impact of a classic old movie: Ghostbusters, Dirty Dancing, Die Hard, and Home Alone. Yes, these are old movies now. We all have to deal with that.

Sugar Rush Christmas 

(Netflix Original)

CHRISTMAS SHOW ALERT: A special Christmas-themed episode of Netflix’s bake-off competition series.

Other movies coming to Netflix:

Masterminds (2016)

Movies leaving Netflix Nov. 29:

Coco (2017)

No date set

Levius 

(Netflix Animé)

CGI-animated anime series based on the manga by Haruhisa Nakata.