Some of the greatest filmmakers working today have new movies out this month, along with the latest Spider-Man flick and more
‘The Power of the Dog’ December 1st (Netflix)
Based on the novel by Thomas Savage, this Western drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a wealthy, cruel, and mysterious rancher named Phil Burbank in the 1920s. Together with his brother George (Jesse Plemons), they’ve established a name for themselves out in Montana. But when George brings home a woman named Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) with the intent of starting a family, Phil turns into even more of a monster than before, and lives get turned upside down. The film is written by directed by esteemed filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano, In the Cut), who won the Silver Lion award for the film at the Venice Film Festival. With astounding performances from its stellar cast and expert direction and cinematography, The Power of the Dog is one of the year’s best.
‘Flee’ December 3rd (Theaters and VOD)
An animated documentary that pushes the boundaries of both animation and documentary filmmaking, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee is a vivid and moving depiction of the refugee experience. The film tells the true story of Amin, a successful academic living in Denmark who is about to marry his long-time boyfriend. But a secret he has been hiding for over twenty years threatens to ruin the life he has built for himself – the full tale of how he arrived in Denmark as an unaccompanied minor all the way from Afghanistan.
‘Red Rocket’ December 10th (Theaters)
From the brilliant and bohemian mind of Sean Baker (Tangerine, The Florida Project), this raucous comedy / drama stars Simon Rex as washed-up porn star Mikey Saber who, finding himself down and out in Los Angeles, decides to crawl back to his small hometown in Texas. His estranged wife (Bree Elrod) and mother-in-law (Brenda Deiss) are living there, but just as this dysfunctional family seems to be making things work, Mikey meets a young woman named Strawberry (Suzanna Son) working the cash register at a local doughnut shop and falls right back into his old habits.
‘West Side Story’ December 10th (Theaters)
Steven Spielberg’s first film since Ready Player One has the legendary filmmaker tackling one of the late Stephen Sondhein’s most famous works: The Broadway musical West Side Story. Based loosely on Romeo & Juliet, the story follows two star-crossed lovers named Tony (Ansel Elgort) and María (Rachel Zegler) who are caught in the middle of warring street gangs in 1950s New York City. This is will be the first musical Spielberg has ever done, and early buzz suggests that it’s one of his most engrossing and brilliant films to date, which is no small feat.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ December 17th (Theaters)
The multiverse is blown wide open in the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Peter Parker (Tom Holland)’s secret identity is exposed and uproots his normal life, leading him to ask for help from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). But when a spell cast to make everyone forget goes awry, a litany of supervillains from alternate realities begin breaking through into Peter’s world. No Way Home is certain to change the MCU forever, and acts as a sort of mega celebration for multiple generations of Spidey fans, with the film bringing back villains from previously unconnected Spider-Man movies like Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, Jamie Foxx’s Electro, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman, and Rhys Ifan’s Lizard. Rumors have been rampant about a possible return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as well.
‘Nightmare Alley’ December 17th (Theaters)
Based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley marks a significant change for Guillermo del Toro – unlike nearly all of his previous work, this film will feature no supernatural elements. It’s more of a straight psychological thriller than the usual kind of horror fantasy that del Toro is famous for, and it features his most fascinating and star-studded cast yet. The film follows Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words, hooks up with Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), a psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is. It also stars Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman and David Strathairn. It’s very likely that this could be del Toro’s most nail-bitingly tense film of his career, even without any terrifying monsters or magic.
‘The Matrix Resurrections’ December 22nd (Theaters and HBO Max)
Lana Wachowski, Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith all return to the Matrix with this new fourth addition to the mind-bending science fiction franchise. Twenty years after the events of the original trilogy, Neo (Reeves) lives a seemingly ordinary life as Thomas A. Anderson in San Francisco where his therapist prescribes him blue pills. Neither he nor Trinity (Moss) recognize each other. However, a different and younger Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) offers him the red pill and reopens his mind to the world of the Matrix.
‘The King’s Man’ December 22nd (Theaters)
The third installment of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman series acts as a prequel to the previous two films, following a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds who gather to plot a war to wipe out millions. One man (Ralph Fiennes) and his protégé (Harris Dickinson) must race against time to stop them. Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou and Charles Dance are included in the ensemble cast, and the film is sure to be nonstop action and gratuitous violence for the third time around.
‘Don’t Look Up’ December 24th (Netflix)
Adam McKay made his mark in Hollywood with a slew of hilarious comedies like Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, but has recently shifted to darker, more dramatic, and more directly political films with The Big Short and Vice. His latest film, Don’t Look Up, is a satirical and morbidly humorous take on the climate crisis, following two low-level astronomers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio & Jennifer Lawrence) who embark on a media tour to try and warn their fellow humans that a planet-destroying comet is rapidly approaching Earth. The star-studded cast also includes Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Ariana Grande, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Timothee Chalamet, Kid Cudi, Meryl Streep and more.
‘Licorice Pizza’ December 25th (Theaters)
Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest modern American filmmakers, having left an incomparable mark with films like There Will Be Blood, The Master, Magnolia, and others. His latest film is a bit different; a coming-of-age tale set in the 1970s San Fernando Valley, it stars Cooper Hoffman (son of one of Anderson’s most frequent collaborators, the late and great Philip Seymour Hoffman) as a young teen who enters into a relationship with an older woman (Alana Haim). Early reviews have predictably been showering the film with praise, making it a final strong contender for one of 2021’s best movies.