The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for December
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Adam McKay watch the world end. Plus: Letterkenny returns.
Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise.
WATCH: Don’t Look Up
Who better to chart the end of the world than Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Big Short, Succession)? The film, about two low-level astronomers who try to warn the world of an approaching planet-destroying comet, features a ridiculous cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, among many others. (12/10, theaters; 12/24, Netflix)
More new films coming to the small screen and big: Benedatta (12/3, theaters/VOD); Encounter (12/3, theaters, 12/10, Prime Video); Silent Night (12/3, AMC+/theaters); Back to the Outback (12/10, Netflix); The Tender Bar (12/17, Prime Video); Being the Ricardos (12/10, theaters, 12/21, Prime Video); Mother/Android (12/17, Hulu); The Novice (12/17, VOD); The Matrix Resurrections (12/22, HBO Max/theaters)
CELEBRATE: Silent Night
What’s it like to throw a Christmas party as the end of the world approaches (also, see a theme here)? This darkly comedic new film has prompted a wide range of reviews, with Variety calling it a holiday satire “that unevenly mixes merriment with Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia.’”
Other oddball Christmas fun: Santa Inc. (12/2, HBO Max); A Clusterfunke Christmas (12/4, Comedy Central)
WELCOME BACK: Letterkenny
Pitter-patter. Leave it to the Canadians to create a smart-dumb comedy about small town hicks, “Skids” and hockey players that feels progressive, clever, violent and yet touching all at once. Bonus: A live version of the show is touring the U.S. early next year (expect much “to be fair” audience participation).
Returning TV series and specials: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (12/1, FXX); Crossing Swords (12/10, Hulu); The Expanse (12/10, Prime Video); The Witcher (12/17, Netflix); Cobra Kai (12/31, Netflix)
DISCOVER: And Just Like That
Sex and the City was and remains a groundbreaking show. While sequels rarely break new ground, a show about characters we like navigating the “complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s” feels absolutely refreshing; it’s a demographic Hollywood pretty much always overlooks. That said, we’ll miss Samantha. (12/9, HBO Max)
More new series and specials: Baking It (12/2, Peacock); Saturday Morning All Star Hits (12/10, Netflix); MacGruber (12/16, Peacock); Station Eleven (12/16, HBO Max); 1883 aka the Yellowstone prequel (12/19, Paramount+); Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material (12/25, Netflix); The Book of Boba Fett (12/29, Disney+)
STUDY: Welcome to Earth
For those unswayed by the holidays — and maybe rethinking travel plans — this National Geographic series has Will Smith exploring the natural wonders of the world. Co-produced by Darron Aronofsky, it’s sure to be visually stunning … and tame enough for all ages. (12/8, Disney+)
New documentaries: Adrienne (12/1, HBO); Listening to Kenny G (12/2, HBO); The Forever Prisoner (12/6, HBO); Street Gang (12/13, HBO); Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss (12/16, HBO)
PLAY: Halo Infinite
While gripes against the new Halo have been frequent during the pre-launch beta, the first-person shooter — celebrating its 20th anniversary — now offers up cross-platform play, 14 campaign missions, increased customization and, overall, a more expansive game environment to explore. It’s still the best FPS ever, and remember, those complaints have arrived regarding the free multiplayer option … and fixes are on the way.
It’s hard to pigeonhole Tom Bissell, a journalist, video game writer and co-author of The Disaster Artist. While his latest book of short stories is varied, the theme here is consistent: Poople in creative fields making some very, very bad decisions. (12/14)
LISTEN: Depeche Mode
The synth band seemed like a cult band on these shores until 101, Depeche Mode’s seminal concert film and documentary that chronicled the last night of their Music for the Masses tour at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in 1988. This new five-disc box set features 4K scans of the original film reels, plus previously unreleased live tracks, plus a photo book, poster and several other extras. (12/3)
More new music: (12/3) LP; Volbeat (12/10) Neil Young; Brian Wilson; Alicia Keys Archive releases: (12/3) The Doors (12/10) The Band
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