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What to stream: Christmas edition

By Jeff Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Dec. 23 2013 4:16 p.m. MST

“The Sword in the Stone” Still arguably the best version of the King Arthur story ever put on film, this 1963 animated feature is the latest of the Disney classics to make its way to Netflix Instant, joining other recent additions like “Robin Hood.”

Rating: G

Available on: Netflix Instant

“Blackfish”Since its premier at Sundance back in January, this well-researched documentary about why orcas are particularly unsuited to being put on display at marine animal parks has made waves, showing on CNN and sparking an intense back-and-forth between the filmmakers and SeaWorld, which is portrayed in the documentary in a less-than-favorable light. Suffice it to say, “Blackfish” is one of the best films of the year and a must-watch for documentary fans.

Rating: PG-13

Available on: Netflix Instant

“The Endless Summer” – This documentary could either be the best or worst movie to watch if the cold winter months are starting to wear on you. Filmed in 1966, it follows a couple of surfers traveling around the world in search of the best surf spots. Dated in all the best ways, it’s a nice dose of escapism, taking viewers on a journey to beautiful, exotic locations — some of which no longer really exist — in a very different time. Recommended for real surfers and channel surfers alike.

Rating: Not rated

Available on: Netflix Instant

“The 47 Ronin Parts 1 and 2” — Often described as the national legend of Japan, the 18th-century tale known as the revenge of the 47 Ronin is landing in theaters this Christmas in a brand new, CGI-heavy version starring Keanu Reeves as a half-Japanese swordsman battling demons, dragons and ogres. For those interested in a more faithful adaptation, though, check out this two-part version directed by the great Kenji Mizoguchi from 1941.

Rating: Not rated

Available on: Hulu Plus

“Becket” – One of eight roles for which the late Peter O’Toole received Oscar nominations — without ever winning — in a career that spanned six decades. O’Toole plays King Henry II opposite Richard Burton’s Thomas Becket, the king’s former drinking buddy-turned-enemy/Christian martyr. A great historical film, and one of O’Toole’s most memorable performances.

Rating: PG-13

Available on: Netflix Instant

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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