December 2022’s Best Streaming Titles: Zoolander, Slow Horses, The Royal Tenenbaums, Blade Runner, Knives Out
As Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, et al. add more content, it can be difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. Every month, I compile a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
If you’d like to receive my streaming recommendations even sooner, become an Opus subscriber today.
Amazon Prime Video
Capote (Dec 1)
After hearing about the brutal murder of a Kansas family, acclaimed author Truman Capote becomes fascinated by the story, and insists on traveling to Kansas to document it for his next book (which would eventually become In Cold Blood). The late Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a bravura performance as Capote, as he portrays the author as a charming and talented man who is not above using manipulation to achieve his own selfish goals for fame.
Thief (Dec 1)
Written and directed by Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider, Miami Vice), this cult noir classic from 1981 stars James Caan as a jewel thief who lives a tightly structured life. Ultra-moody and heavily stylized, as is Mann’s wont, Thief also boasts a score by German electronic geniuses Tangerine Dream.
True Grit (Dec 1)
When a young girl’s father is brutally murdered, she seeks justice with the help of Rooster Cogburn, an aging U.S. Marshal. But will the unlikely pair survive their travels as well as the vicious criminals they’re seeking to apprehend? One of John Wayne’s signature movies (he won an Oscar for his performance), True Grit was based on Charles Portis’ novel — which was also adapted by the Coen Brothers in 2010, with Jeff Bridges starring as Cogburn.
Zoolander (Dec 1)
Derek Zoolander used to be the world’s top model, but when he’s replaced by younger, cooler model, he hits rock bottom — and lands in the middle of a conspiracy to assassinate a foreign leader who threatens the fashion industry’s reliance on child labor. Written and directed by Ben Stiller, who also stars as the titular supermodel, this satire of the fashion industry features cameos from numerous fashion legends including Tyson Beckford, Tom Ford, Fabio, Tommy Hilfiger, Heidi Klum, and Karl Lagerfeld.
Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in December 2022.
Slow Horses, Season Two (Dec 2)
Slow Horses’s first season mixed dark humor and espionage as it followed a group of washed up spies trying to stop a far-right group’s racially-motivated violence. In the second season, they must save the nation that’s rejected them from sleeper agents and a Cold War-era mystery. Gary Oldman returns as their disgusting and slovenly leader, the irascible Jackson Lamb. Slow Horses also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonathan Pryce, and Jack Lowden.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (Dec 9)
Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, and the rest of the Teen Titans want desperately to be taken seriously as superheroes, but there’s just one problem: they don’t have a hit movie. Sick and tired of being seen as jokes, the Teen Titans set out to make a splash in Hollywood — with disastrous, and hilarious, results. Featuring an awesome soundtrack (I dare you to get “Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life” out of your head) and a surprisingly twisted sense of humor, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies gleefully deconstructs the superhero movie genre.
The Banshees of Inisherin (Dec 13)
Back in 2008, writer/director Martin McDonagh teamed up with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for In Bruges, a hilarious black comedy about a pair of Irish hitmen trying to hide out in the Belgian town of Bruges. The trio reunite for The Banshees of Inisherin, another black comedy about a pair of lifelong friends whose relationship is suddenly upended. Since its release at the Venice International Film Festival, The Banshees of Inisherin is shaping up to be one of 2022’s most acclaimed movies.
Here’s everything arriving on HBO Max in December 2022.
The Royal Tenenbaums (Dec 1)
Arguably my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums is a dark, drier-than-dry — and at times, quite poignant — comedy about a trio of genius siblings who must confront their deadbeat dad when he announces that he’s dying. The film stars the usual Anderson players, along with Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, and Gene Hackman as the conniving-yet-lovable father, Royal, who seeks to redeem himself after causing his family years of grief.
The Dark Knight (Dec 12)
The best DC film of all time (sorry Wonder Woman). The second film in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy finds the Caped Crusader coming into conflict with his arch-nemesis the Joker, played by Heath Ledger. Sadly, this would be one of Ledger’s final roles — he died in 2008 as a result of an accidental overdose — but his bravura performance was one for the ages, and earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Inception (Dec 12)
Christopher Nolan’s Inception is about as trippy as big budget Hollywood spectacles get, featuring a group of dream hackers who hire a new recruit to infiltrate the subconscious of an executive. Filled with mind-blowing visuals and some incredibly clever action set pieces — and a hotly debated ending — Inception is proof that Hollywood action movies can be plenty cerebral.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Dec 26)
What else can I say about Blade Runner that hasn’t already been said? Without a doubt one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, its sense of atmosphere and gritty vision of the future has influenced countless films since its release in 1982. The “Final Cut” was released in 2007 with additional footage (including a complete version of the unicorn dream scene), and is considered by Ridley Scott to be the definitive version of the film.
Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in December 2022.
Berserk, Season One (Dec 1)
Based on Kentaro Miura’s acclaimed manga, Berserk follows the adventures of the swordsman Guts, who ekes out a living in a brutal fantasy world with the help of his massive sword. When he joins a mercenary band led by a charismatic leader, Guts is put on a collision course with horrific god-like entities seeking to rule the world. Known for its grim setting and bloody violence, Berserk is one of the most acclaimed fantasy anime series of all time.
Warriors of Future (Dec 2)
China’s big budget sci-fi blockbusters have been something of a mixed bag for me, but I can’t help but be drawn in by their sense of scale and drama. Case in point: Warriors of Future, in which a group of elite, mech-wearing commandos must defend Earth against an alien life form while unraveling a larger conspiracy. Everything in that sentence — mech-wearing commandos, aliens, conspiracies — appeals to me. And when you throw in a cast that includes Louis Koo, Ching Wan Lau, and Carina Lau, then yes, I’m going to check it out.
Alice in Borderland, Season Two (Dec 22)
In the first season of this manga-based thriller, an aimless gamer and his friends are transported to an alternate version of Tokyo where they’re forced to participate in deadly games. Part Battle Royale, part Lord of the Flies, the first season of Alice in Borderland delivered plenty of tension and mystery — as well as ethical dilemmas and shocking violence — before ending with a reveal that hinted at a much bigger, stranger world for its characters (read my review).
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Dec 23)
2019’s Knives Out was an absolute delight of a movie, a murder mystery filled with clever dialog, plenty of twists, and an array of solid performances. Writer/director Rian Johnson has partnered with Netflix for the sequel, which finds Daniel Craig returning as famous detective Benoit Blanc. This time around, Blanc is off to Greece, where he must solve a murder on a tech billionaire’s private island. Glass Onion’s cast is just as packed as its predecessor’s, with Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., and Ethan Hawke.
They Cloned Tyrone (Dec 30)
John Boyega, Jaime Foxx, and Teyonah Parris star in this sci-fi comedy/mystery about a drug dealer who wakes up after being shot and killed, and subsequently stumbles across a nefarious government conspiracy involving the Black community, cloning, and Richard Nixon.
Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in December 2022.