New Year, new things to stream! Cheddar's Digital Team recommends modern romance in the Big Apple, the instant Disney classic with yet another slapping soundtrack, a ghost story/murder mystery for the chills of January, and the feature-film return of a fearless girl adventurer.
Harlem - Amazon Prime
Picked by Producer Lawrence Banton
Let's kick off 2022 with a New York City love story, Harlem. The story follows a young Columbia University professor named Camille Parks (played by Meagan Good) and the path she takes in life after a heartbreaking split with her longtime boyfriend Ian ( Tyler Lepley) who stumbled upon a job opportunity in Paris. Several years and new relationships later, the two again cross paths in Harlem. So, how does it end up? It's messy to say the very least. Love, new relationships, and familiar sex? Sounds like a disaster worth diving into for your viewing pleasure, if you ask me. Not only does the story follow these two and their friend groups, but the neighborhood of Harlem itself plays a major character in the series, often finding itself at the intersection of authenticity and gentrification.
Encanto - Disney+
Picked by Sr. News Editor Dina Ross
I jumped on the Encanto train last weekend and was not disappointed. The latest animated Disney movie is filled with joy and hope, bright colors, and beautiful music. It tells the tale of a Colombian girl who is the only person in her family without a magic power of her own. The young Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) has an unstoppable optimism, despite constant criticism from her firm grandmother (María Cecilia Botero), which she uses for better or worse. It's a fun, uplifting film that viewers of any age can enjoy.
Seance - Amazon Prime Video, Shudder
Picked by Alex Vuocolo
Most hardcore film fans like to have their best-of lists wrapped up before the turn of the new year, but for me, January has always been a catch-up month — helped in no small part by all the great rankings and round-ups floating around. By that token, I've caught up with several 2021 releases this week, and my favorite was a little horror film called Seance. Directed by Simon Barrett, the screenwriter behind The Guest and You're Next, Seance is a murder mystery crossed with a ghost story, which is set inside a prestigious boarding school. Someone or something is picking off the students one by one, and it's up to a recent transplant (played by Suki Waterhouse) to figure out if it's a ghost or one of the other students. While the concept may sound familiar, the filmmakers give it a fresh twist with some excellent casting, sharp dialogue, and surprising plot turns. Overall, Seance is a modest but effective horror flick, well worth cozying up with on a cold winter night.
Hilda and the Mountain King - Netflix
Picked by Digital Editor Mike Nam
**SPOILERS** if you haven't caught up with the series.
This absolutely delightful animated show about an adventurous girl named Hilda, who grows up in a fantastical woodland but eventually moves to the walled city of Trollberg, ended on a cliffhanger in Season 2. This new feature-length special on Netflix picks up where the series left off with the young adventurer magically swapped with a troll changeling and forced to navigate a new world while a conflict between the maltreated magical creatures and the humans of Trollberg gathers steam. The entire show should be a family staple for years to come, and the movie alone is a 90-minute, emotional lesson about a mother's love and true tolerance rising out of a history of oppression and fear. Season 3 is also still in the works!