Here we go again. A brand new Zack Snyder film is upon us — as per usual with the Snyder oeuvre, it’s one with a massive budget, eye-popping special effects, and expansive world-building that critics have nonetheless ripped to shreds and audiences by and large feel mostly entertained by. Okay, that last part is just my guess of what’s going to happen once Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire debuts with the rest of the newest Netflix releases just a few days from now, following its limited theatrical run.
That same thing has already happened plenty of times this year, of course — critics piling on to a movie that fans end up thinking is mostly okay. Then again, this is the Snyderverse we’re talking about, and there are few, if any, Hollywood directors working today who are as divisive as the man behind such big-screen not-quite-classics as 300, Watchmen, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Indeed, his Star Wars ripoff Rebel Moon has already attracted some pretty scathing reviews from critics ahead of its Dec. 21 release date on the streamer — like one from IndieWire lambasting the movie as “dreadful” and basically the “cinematic equivalent of an NFT.” I hope the man has thick skin, because that’s gotta hurt.
However, don’t miss this next point: Even reviewers who’ve slammed Rebel Moon to kingdom come have grudgingly acknowledged that Snyder’s existing fans are likely to be pleased by this one. “Fans of Snyder’s heightened brand of stern, muscular filmmaking won’t be left wanting,” Total Film opines. Adds Variety: “Rebel Moon, while eminently watchable, is a movie built so entirely out of spare parts that it may, in the end, be for Snyder cultists only.”
Sofia Boutella stars in the movie as a young woman who lives on a far-flung moon and organizes a resistance when soldiers threaten her home. “When a peaceful settlement on a moon in the furthest reaches of the universe finds itself threatened by the armies of the tyrannical Regent Balisarius,” the official Netflix summary explains, “Kora (Sofia Boutella), a mysterious stranger living among the villagers, becomes their best hope for survival.” She rounds up a band of warriors to make a Star Wars-style stand against a tyrannical empire.
The critical barbs notwithstanding, I’m pretty excited to check this one out. And while Rebel Moon might be the biggest of the coming week’s new Netflix releases, it’s also (thankfully) not the only one worth checking out. As for the other big Netflix releases that we think will be worth your time over the next seven days, here’s a rundown of some of the other notable titles — from K-dramas to standup comedy specials and at least one more high-profile Netflix original feature film.
Maestro: In Bradley Cooper’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2018 directorial debut A Star is Born, he stars as the music and cultural icon Leonard Bernstein. The film, which Cooper co-wrote in addition to starring in, focuses on Bernstein’s lifelong relationship with actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, who’s played here by Carey Mulligan.
“Maestro is a towering and fearless love story,” Netflix explains about the movie. “A love letter to life and art, Maestro at its core is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love.” Release date: Dec. 20.
Gyeongseong Creature (Season 1 Part 1): Maybe it’s just me, but the vibe I got from this next title coming with the latest batch of new Netflix releases sort of feels like a K-drama Indiana Jones. Gyeongseong Creature, starring K-drama heavy-hitters Park Seo-jun and Han So-hee, is set in the spring of 1945 at the mysterious Ongseong Hospital in Gyeongseong, where an entrepreneur and a sleuth fight for survival and confront a creature born from human greed.
Park Seo-jun plays Jang Tae-sang, a man caught up in a web of mystery and darkness. “Faced with the urgent task of locating Commissioner’s missing lover before the cherry blossoms wither,” Netflix explains, “Tae-sang joins forces with Yoon Chae-ok, portrayed by Han So-hee, and her father. Together, they embark on a perilous mission to penetrate the enigmatic Ongseong Hospital. Their investigation propels them headfirst into a clash with the forces veiled behind the city’s opulent exterior.” Release date: Dec. 22.
Carol & the End of the World: From Netflix’s official logline for this 10-episode animated limited series, “With a mysterious planet hurtling towards Earth, extinction is imminent for the people of the world. While most feel liberated to pursue their wildest dreams, one quiet and always uncomfortable woman stands alone — lost among the hedonistic masses.” Now streaming.
Trevor Noah: Where Was I: Ahead of his Grammy hosting duties in February for the fourth year in a row, catch Trevor Noah here in the comedian’s latest Netflix project. Explains the streamer: “Returning to Netflix for his fourth original comedy special, Trevor Noah shares his hilarious experiences from his recent travels around the world, ranging from foreign national anthems to varying cultural norms.” Release date: Dec. 19.