There are so many good-looking movies coming out this month that your wallet will thank you for a quiet night in on the couch. The festive season always brings with it the best movies because studios and distributors all live under this strange believe that releasing them all at once will work. Instead we get seven months of the year full of dreck and cinematic abominations — and then they wonder why an acclaimed biopic of Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender and written by Aaron Sorkin only barely makes more than the very unacclaimed biopic of Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher. The answer is because it came out at the same time as about seven other acclaimed movies.
Krampus (December 4)
Horror comedies are rarely any good, but especially those themed about the holiday season. They’re either not scary or not funny, and isn’t it the point that they’re both? Otherwise you’re just a comedy with blood or a scary movie with flat punch lines. And given this new Christmas-themed horror with gags, Krampus, is rated PG-13, you can pretty much guarantee it won’t be doing much worthwhile of either. If you want some Santa mayhem, then why not just watch Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and embrace that ridiculous ‘80s-ness of it all instead? The 1980s were a time where it was okay to be cheap and nasty, remember. You’ll likely have a much better time, and at least at home you can have some drinks and enjoy it in all of its mad lunacy.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is available to stream on Showtime and to rent on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.
In the Heart of the Sea (December 11)
Is there any director more worthy of a shrug than Ron Howard? He is so incredibly beige that even a large-scale prestige adventure tale with Chris Hemsworth, like this one can’t muster much of enthusiasm. There’s a reason most of his movies are based on true stories – he doesn’t have much of an imagination! His latest purports to be a true to life version of Moby Dick, but since no good adaptation of Moby Dick have ever been made you can get your seafaring entertaining from either of the Mutiny on the Bounty adaptations. The 1935 version features Charles Laughton and Clark Gable while the 1962 version has Marlon Brando and Richard Harris. Take your pick, really,since both are big Oscar-nominated renditions of the famous story.
The Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) is available to rent on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.
The Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) is available to rent on iTunes and Vudu.
The Big Short (December 11)
You get Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt in a film together and you would think you’d get magic, right? Well, The Big Short comes from director Adam McKay, who is hardly known for his prestige status, and early reviews have been nonplussed. Plus it’s set in the rather dry world of the housing bubble collapse of the early 2000s and the men who go after the big banks as a result of it. It’s a shame that the super-interesting 99 Homes with Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, and Laura Dern won’t be out to stream until February, because it takes the same period and turns it into a slow-burn moral thriller. Instead, watch the extraordinary Oscar-winning documentary Inside Man and get a view of the corrupt banks that is scarier than any horror movie you’ve ever seen. Plus, you won’t be distracted by all the wigs!
Inside Job is available to be streamed on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (December 18)
Just kidding. You’re going to watch this one no matter how good or bad it is, aren’t you? Although I would just like to point out that opening this same day is Son of Saul, an acclaimed Hungarian drama that has been hailed as one of the greatest films about WWII ever made. The Venn diagram of cinemas showing that and Star Wars will feature no crossover, I’m sure, but you’ve been told.
Daddy’s Home (December 25)
God dammit! There’s at least one every year; a terrible-looking Will Ferrell “comedy” where he and a co-star (in this case Mark Wahlberg, together again after The Other Guys — one of these very films I am describing) are forced together and must do battle for supremacy. Like all of those earlier films, I assume Ferrell and Wahlberg’s characters will eventually get along and learn to understand one another while laughing all the way to the bank for having stolen the money of so many gullible audience members. Daddy’s Home is opening the same day as Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and David O. Russell’s Joy, and there are also thousands of movies available to stream across all sorts of platforms. If you can’t find anything better to watch than this then that’s a shame. Truly, watch anything but this. Like this video of Ferrell presenting at the Golden Globe Awards with Kristen Wiig. It’s funnier than any movie he’s done in a decade.