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"A Knight's Tale" is a reminder of the (Credit: Columbia Pictures)

"A Knight's Tale" is a reminder of the late Heath Ledger's matinee idol charm.

Best new movies and shows on Netflix: December 2014

December isn't just a busy month at the multiplex -- there's a veritable feast of movies, TV series and specials joining Netflix streaming. Here are some highlights:

American Beauty

The Oscar-winning suburban satire starring Kevin Spacey and
(Credit: DreamWorks Pictures)

The Oscar-winning suburban satire starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening indelibly imprinted late-'90s movie culture. December 1

A Knight's Tale

It's a reminder of the late Heath Ledger's
(Credit: Columbia Pictures)

It's a reminder of the late Heath Ledger's matinee idol charm and sprinkled with stylistic innovations (i.e. the "We Will Rock You" opening). December 1

Almost Famous

Cameron Crowe masters the coming-of-age narrative with this
(Credit: DreamWorks Pictures)

Cameron Crowe masters the coming-of-age narrative with this magical, semi-autobiographical celebration of great music and the joy of finding yourself on the road. December 1

American Horror Story: Coven

I'm not as crazy about this show as
(Credit: FX)

I'm not as crazy about this show as many but I feel it's my duty to let you know that the previous season is coming. December 6

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

OK, so it's not as funny as the
(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

OK, so it's not as funny as the original, which is pretty much a minor classic. But the laugh quotient is much higher in this sequel than your average comedy. December 6

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The Wolf of Wall Street

This brilliant critique of Wall Street excess is
(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

This brilliant critique of Wall Street excess is one of the most apt satires of the corrupt ideologies that spurred the 2008 recession. December 11

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

There's just never a wrong time to go
(Credit: Touchstone Pictures)

There's just never a wrong time to go back to school with Romy and Michelle, in one of the all-too-few comedies starring women. December 22

Nick Offerman: American Ham

There are few men capable of making you
(Credit: Six Two and Even Production)

There are few men capable of making you laugh and building a really good piece of wooden furniture. Nick Offerman is one. December 12

It'd be worth experiencing this sequel to "The
(Credit: IFC Films)

It'd be worth experiencing this sequel to "The Trip," in which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon sample Italian cuisine, for the imitations of Michael Caine and others alone. December 23

Marco Polo

Netflix has a pretty good track record with
(Credit: Netflix)

Netflix has a pretty good track record with original series so there's reason to feel optimistic about this one chronicling the explorer. December 12

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