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Movie magic: Netflix rolls out heavy hitters for December

DECEMBER movie magic on Netflix is gloriously epic and entertaining with more and more acclaimed films available for one to stream and download anytime, anywhere.

“The Irishman”

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.

Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.

“The King”

Hal, the wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned King Henry V and is forced to embrace the life he had previously tried to escape. Now the young king must navigate the palace politics, chaos and war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life—including his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the ageing alcoholic knight, John Falstaff.

“The Laundromat”

When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Academy Award winner Meryl Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world’s

wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming—and very well-dressed—founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Academy Award winner Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Golden Globe nominee Antonio Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen’s predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world’s corrupt financial system.

Zipping through a kaleidoscope of comic detours in China, Mexico, Africa (via Los Angeles) and the Caribbean en route to 2016’s Panama Papers publication—where journalists revealed the secret, leaked documents of Mossack Fonseca’s high-profile patrons—”The Laundromat” is directed by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s Eleven,” “Magic Mike”) with a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, The Report), adapted from “Secrecy World” by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jake Bernstein. The film is produced by Lawrence Grey, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Sugar and Burns with a cast that includes Jeffrey Wright, Melissa Rauch, Jeff Michalski, Jane Morris, Robert Patrick, David Schwimmer, Cristela Alonzo, Larry Clarke, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, Nonso Anozie, Larry Wilmore, Jessica Allain, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rosalind Chao, Kunjue Li, Ming Lo, with James Cromwell and Sharon Stone.

“Dolemite is my Name”

Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Academy Award nominee Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else. Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play. Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era. Comics and rappers have praised Moore as a pioneering influence over the past few decades, and Dolemite Is My Name is a hilarious celebration of a singular talent who made his own legend.

From director Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow,” “Empire”); Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (“Ed Wood,” “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”); and the producing team of Oscar and Golden Globe nominee John Davis (“Ferdinand,” “Joy”), Golden Globe nominee John Fox (“Joy”) and Murphy; the film features an all-star supporting cast—including Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Luenell, Tasha Smith—plus costumes designed by Academy Award winner Ruth E. Carter (“Black Panther”).

“Marriage Story”

(Streaming Dec. 6)

“Marriage Story” is Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star.

“The Two Popes”

(Streaming Dec. 20)


From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award-nominated director of “City of God,” and three-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world. (PR)


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