Here are my picks for the best movies coming to Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Criterion Channel, and HBOMax in December. This month has Netflix coming strong with original content that they hope will garner awards attention and HBOMax growing its strong library and releasing Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day, which is huge for streaming.
Full list of everything coming to Netflix in December can be found here.
E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
- Spielberg’s classic is one of the director’s best.
JURASSIC PARK/THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK/JURASSIC PARK III (Steven Spielberg, 1993/Steven Spielberg, 1998/Joe Johnson, 2001)
- Though the sequels don’t reach the height of the first film, these are all well-made, wildly entertaining films.
LITTLE NICKY (Steven Brill, 2000)
- An underrated Sandler vehicle. A very weird movie, but a very funny one.
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (George C. Wolfe, 2020)
- One of Netflix’s big awards contenders stars Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman in his last acting performance.
MANK (David Fincher, 2020)
- David Fincher’s behind-the-scenes look at Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (a sensational Gary Oldman) is one of the best movies of 2020.
THE MIDNIGHT SKY (George Clooney, 2020)
- George Clooney directs and stars in this sci-fi thriller about a lonely scientist in the Arctic who races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.
THE PROM (Ryan Murphy, 2020)
- Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Keegan Michael-Key, James Corden, and Kerry Washington lead Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the hit Broadway play.
RANGO (Gore Verbinkski, 2011)
- This Oscar-winning animated film about an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the lawless, Wild West outpost called Dirt.
Full list of everything coming to Prime Video in December can be found here.
AIR FORCE ONE (Wolfgang Petersen, 1997)
- A 90’s action classic with a terrific Harrison Ford and legendary villain performance by Gary Oldman.
I’M YOUR WOMAN (Julia Hart, 2020)
- A slow-burning gangster film straight out of the 70’s featuring a great performance from Rachel Brosnahan and Arinzé Kene.
THE HURT LOCKER (Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)
- Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director for her intense, realistic look at a bomb squad in Iraq.
THE KING’S SPEECH (Tom Hooper, 2010)
- Though it gets dragged in the mud because it beat such modern classics as The Social Network, Inception, Black Swan, and True Grit, The King’s Speech is still an inspiring, masterfully acted true story.
THE SOUND OF METAL (Darius Marder, 2020)
- Riz Ahmed gives one of the best performances of 2020 in this gripping portrait of a heavy metal drummer who’s progressively losing his hearing.
SYLVIE’S LOVE (Eugene Ashe, 2020)
- One of the most talked about titles out of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (Jason Reitman, 2006)
- Jason Reitman’s debut film is a biting comedy about the tobacco industry.
TOMBSTONE (George P. Cosmatos, 1993)
- A fun and entertaining modern western with an all-star cast.
TRUE LIES (James Cameron, 1994)
- A big, brash, exhilarating action film from the great James Cameron.
Full list of everything coming to Hulu in December can be found here.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY (Oliver Stone, 1999)
- Oliver Stone’s aggressive look at the NFL features a slew of agro performances, most notably from the great Al Pacino.
CLIFFHANGER (Renny Harlin, 1993)
- Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow star in this high-octane, mountain-set action film.
THE COLOR OF MONEY (Martin Scorsese, 1987)
- Martin Scorsese’s sequel to The Color of Money features an Oscar-winning performance by Paul Newman and a perfectly-cocky Tom Cruise.
EYES WIDE SHUT (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
- Legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s final film is a dark, twisted odyssey about sex and relationships.
THE HULK (Ang Lee, 2003)
- Though divisive at the time of its release, Ang Lee’s Hulk is a very interesting watch compared to today’s comic book films. It’s meditative, quiet, weird, and very true to its comic book origins.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY (Peter Jackson, 2001/2002/2003)
- Peter Jackson’s landmark fantasy films is one of the greatest trilogies of all-time.
SHE DIES TOMORROW (Amy Seimetz, 2020)
- One of the hottest titles of 2020 looks a woman named Amy who thinks she is going to die tomorrow…and it’s contagious.
Full list of everything coming to Disney+ in December can be found here.
BIG (Penny Marshall, 1988)
- Tom Hanks became a star for his wonderful performance in Penny Marshal’s fantasy comedy.
THE MANDALORIAN (Various Directors, 2020)
- The second season of the hit show comes to a close this month.
MULAN (Nikki Caro, 2020)
- You can now watch Disney’s big live-action remake for free.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (Phil Johnston, Rich Moore, 2018)
- A great animated sequel that looks like masculine insecurity on the internet.
SKY HIGH (Mike Mitchell, 2005)
- An underrated, original, and fun movie about trying to be a normal teen when you’re the son of superheroes.
SOUL (Pete Docter, 2020)
- Pixar’s latest film is a deeply emotional and creative look at what it means to be alive.
Full list of everything coming to Criterion Channel in December can be found here.
*The Criterion Channel does things a little differently than every other streaming service. The Criterion Channel, a wonderful streaming service that focuses on independent, foreign, and under-appreciates movies, doesn’t just throw a bunch of random movies to stream. They get more creative by having categories like “DOUBLE FEATURES” or “FILMS FROM…”, giving us curated lists of films that somehow blend together or feature a specific artist.*
THREE BY TERRANCE MALICK
Days of Heaven (1978)
The New World (2005)
- Terrance Malick is a director I really want to dive into, so I am excited to check out his first two films and one of his more under-seen ones.
THREE BY BARBARA STREISAND
The Prince of Tides (1991)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
- One of the many hyphens attached to Barbara Streisand’s name is director and though she’s only directed three films, Streisand established herself as a powerhouse behind the camera.
CITY LIGHTS (Charles Chaplin, 1931)
- One of Charlie Chaplin’s most iconic films.
SHORT + FEATURE: IT’S A MAD, MAD CHRISTMAS
Santa, The Fascist Years (Bill Plimpton, 2008)
The Silent Partner (Daryl Duke, 1978)
- I haven’t seen either of these movies, but they both sound like dark, unique, twisted Christmas films.
I PUT A SPELL ON YOU
Bell, Book, and Candle (Richard Quine, 1958)
I Married a Witch (René Clair, 1942)
- Two classic romantic comedies featuring modern takes on witches.
AND TO ALL A GOOD FRIGHT
Cronos (Guillermo Del Toro, 1993)
Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
- Two Christmastime horror films, one being a vampire fable from Guillermo Del Toro, the other a groundbreaking cult classic that spawned the slasher genre.
CARY GRANT COMEDIES
Over a dozen films featuring one of Hollywood’s greatest actors in his funniest roles.
- I’m No Angel (Wesley Ruggles, 1933)
- She Done Him Wrong (Lowell Sherman, 1933)
- The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)
- Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
- Holiday (George Cukor, 1938)
- My Favorite Wife (Garson Kanin, 1940)
- The Talk of the Town (George Stevens, 1942)
- Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra, 1944)
- The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (Irving Reis, 1947)
- Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (H.C. Potter, 1948)
- Indiscreet (Stanley Donen, 1958)
- Operation Petticoat (Blake Edwards, 1959)
- The Grass Is Greener (Stanley Donen, 1960)
- That Touch of Mink (Delbert Mann, 1962)
- Father Goose (Ralph Nelson, 1964)
Full list of everything coming to HBOMax in December can be found here.
GLADIATOR (Ridley Scott, 2000)
- Ridley Scott’s Best Picture winner features thrilling action and an iconic Russell Crowe performance.
MARS ATTACKS! (Tim Burton, 1997)
- An all-star cast headlines Tim Burton’s homage to trashy 50’s sci-fi films.
MICHAEL CLAYTON (Tony Gilroy, 2007)
- The best performance of George Clooney’s career came in Tony Gilroy’s tight, gripping thriller.
PHANTOM THREAD (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017)
- Paul Thomas Anderson’s look at the relationship between an obsessive dressmaker (a masterful Daniel Day-Lewis) and his young, strong-willed muse (an equally impressive Vicky Krieps).
THE PHOTOGRAPH (Stella Meghie, 2020)
- Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield star in this intergenerational love story.
ROCK OF AGES (Adam Shankman, 2012)
- A guilty pleasure musical featuring an out-of-this-world performance from Tom Cruise.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Frank Darabont, 1994)
- A classic everyone has seen over a hundred times that they can now watch a hundred more times.
TRUE GRIT (The Coen Brothers, 2010)
- One of the Coen Brothers’ best movies is also a great western and a remake that surpasses the original.
WENDY (Benh Zeitlin, 2020)
- Benh Zeitlin’s follow-up to Beasts of the Southern Wild is a visually stunning, beautifully scored re-imagination of Peter Pan.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 (Patty Jenkins, 2020)
- Though it will still release in theaters, Wonder Woman 1984 is arguably the biggest movie to go directly to streaming.
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