As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
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Marriage Story (December 6)
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star in this critically acclaimed film about a couple whose marriage is slowly disintegrating. The film was directed by Noah Baumbach, whose previous films include The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, and Frances Ha, and also stars Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta.
6 Underground (December 13)
In Michael Bay’s 6 Underground, Ryan Reynolds is the leader of a group of billionaires who fake their own deaths in order to fight bad guys. The film is one of the most expensive Netflix productions to date, and given that it’s a Michael Bay film, I’m guessing that most of the budget went to explosions and aerial shots. Which is to say, it looks great, and with Reynolds leading the cast, it could also be a lot of mindless fun.
The Witcher, Season One (December 20)
Henry Cavill plays Geralt of Rivia, a magically created, monster-hunting mutant in this adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s popular novels (which have also been adapted into a series of acclaimed video games). Netflix is clearly going for epic fantasy here, trying to tap into the same vibe that HBO did with Game of Thrones. I’ve got a soft spot for epic fantasy, so I really hope that The Witcher’s storytelling matches its obvious budget.
Lost in Space, Season 2 (December 24)
Lost in Space’s first season was solid enough TV sci-fi, a modern reboot of the classic Irwin Allen series from the ’60s. That being said, I did finish the first season feeling a bit underwhelmed; the pieces were all there for something great, but they didn’t quite gel as much as it seemed like they ought to. So I’m curious to see if and how season two ups the ante, as the Robinsons must track down their now-missing robot ally in a godforsaken corner of the universe.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in December 2019.
Airheads (December 1)
The Lone Rangers are desperate for their music to be heard. So desperate, in fact, they’re willing to hold a radio station hostage, and in the process, become media darlings for their anti-establishment stance. Listen, Airheads is a dumb movie, but it was made in the ’90s and stars the likes of Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley — so it’s an endearing kind of dumb.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (December 1)
Guillermo del Toro’s been making imaginative dark fantasy for a long time. For example, his Hellboy movies, based on Mike Mignola’s cult comic books. In Hellboy II, the titular demon hero squares off against an evil fairy prince who has declared war on humanity with the help of an unstoppable supernatural army.
Kill Bill, Volume 1 and 2 (December 1)
Though ostensibly a film about an assassin (Uma Thurman) who’s betrayed and left for dead by her comrades, only to come roaring back for bloody revenge, the Kill Bill films are really Quentin Tarantino’s excuse to indulge in all manner of Asian action cinema tropes. There are references to everything from Shaw Brothers kung fu classics to Hong Kong action to Japanese samurai films.
Legend of the Drunken Master (December 1)
Drunken Master 2 is easily one of Jackie Chan’s best films and one of his most iconic roles. When the young Wong Fei-hung uncovers a plot to steal precious Chinese artifacts, he must use his kung fu to defend his country’s heritage. Which is just an excuse to watch Chan perform some of his best and most thrilling martial arts sequences (all aided considerably by alcohol, as per the title). Note: This is the dubbed and edited version that Dimension Films released in theaters in 2000.
Bumblebee (December 13)
Let’s be honest: The Transformers live action movies have all been absolute train-wrecks. Some slightly more enjoyable than others, but train-wrecks none the less. But Bumblebee — which was initially billed as a spin-off but is now considered a reboot — proved you could make a decent Transformers movie by making it fun and nostalgic.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in December 2019.
The Expanse, Season 4 (December 13)
As I wrote earlier, The Expanse is the best sci-fi show on TV right now, with its realistic depiction of space travel, gritty politics, and strong characters. Season four finds the various factions of humanity on the brink of a much larger universe, thanks to recently discovered alien technology, but will they be able to transcend the problems and divisions that have continually plagued them? Or will this new discovery fall into war, as well?
The Aeronauts (December 20)
This Amazon original movie stars Eddie Redmayne as a rebellious scientist and Felicity Jones as an adventurous balloonist who team up to do weather experiments up, up in the air back in the 19th century. Which sounds like a silly premise, but this one’s based on a true story (albeit, with Jones’ character genderswapped). That decision aside, the production values look incredible, so The Aeronauts could be a very entertaining period adventure piece.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in December 2019. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.