December is finally upon us, and 2022 is just within spitting distance. It’s been a long and plentiful year of exciting new releases with even more left to come. While we wait patiently for the release of big tent-pole attractions like Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections, there’s a wealth of awesome movies coming to streaming this month on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Shudder.
From the cult classic French action-horror film Brotherhood of the Wolf and the Indonesian martial arts movie The Raid 2 to beloved romantic comedies like Crazy Stupid Love and Something’s Gotta Give, there’s something for everyone this month.
Read on for 11 of the best movies new to streaming services in December.
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Set in 18th-century France, Christophe Gans’ Brotherhood of the Wolf centers on the knight Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his Iroquois companion Mani (Mark Dacascos) who are dispatched to the province of Gévaudan to investigate a mysterious beast that is allegedly terrorizing the locals. What the men uncover is a sinister plot led by the Brotherhood of the Wolf, a clandestine group of conspirators working to undermine the rule of Louis XV and take control over France. An epic period action horror film boasting dazzling fight sequences, breathtaking cinematography, lavish visuals, and a thoroughly engrossing plot, Brotherhood of the Wolf has been conspicuously absent via streaming and VOD in the US, but with a brand new Blu-ray release courtesy of Shout Factory and its streaming premiere on Shudder this month, genre aficionados finally have the opportunity to revisit this cult classic of French action cinema.
Brotherhood of the Wolf is available to stream on Shudder.
Rob Marshall’s 2002 comedy-drama musical Chicago stars Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart, an aspiring vaudeville singer who strikes up a romance with a supposed showbiz manager and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, a charismatic and popular showgirl. The fates of the two women are intertwined when both Velma and Roxie are imprisoned for murdering their respective partners and sentenced to death row. With the help of a brilliant smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), the pair manipulate the press to portray themselves as tragic heroines in order to win their acquittal, but the combined attention drives both to compete for the spotlight and fame. Packed with infectious song and dance numbers, spun with an effervescent sense of cool, Chicago is a sultry and stylish musical that’s not to be missed.
Chicago is available to stream on HBO Max.
Cloud Atlas will arguably offer the best hint at what to tonally expect from a Matrix sequel in the year 2021, aside from The Wachowskis’ Netflix sci-fi drama Sense8. Adapted from David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same name, the epic sci-fi odyssey charts the story of several characters from the 1900s to the middle of the 21st century as they attempt to grapple with the challenges of their respective eras and find meaning in their lives. Starring an ensemble cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Doona Bae, Susan Sarandon, and more, the film is a cofounding, ambitious, and at times deeply moving story with an “anything goes” attitude that equally results in some of the most inspired scenes and questionable directorial decisions the Wachowskis have ever produced in their careers. From the looks of the trailer, if you want to brace yourself for the kind of wild cinematic experimentation you’re likely to find in The Matrix Resurrections, then Cloud Atlas will point the way.
Cloud Atlas is available to stream on HBO Max.
Crazy Stupid Love
Crazy Stupid Love stars Steve Carrell (The Office) as Cal Weaver, a recently divorced dad sullen over his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) having an affair with her coworker (Kevin Bacon). Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a suave womanizer, takes pity on Cal and attempts to show him the ropes of picking up women. When Jacob unexpectedly falls for Hannah (Emma Stone), a law student who also happens to be Cal’s daughter, shenanigans ensue and everyone involved learns a valuable lesson about love and life.
Crazy Stupid Love is available to stream on HBO Max.
Tim Burton’s 1990 fantasy romance Edward Scissorhands is not only an essential touchstone in the director’s filmography of darkly whimsical and human-centric stories, but a searing indictment of the dark hypocrisy at the heart of suburban America. Johnny Depp stars as Edward, an artificial human with long scissors for hands who is left alone to tend to the castle of his now-deceased creator (Vincent Price). When Peg Boggs (Dianne West), an endearing door-to-door saleswoman meets Edward while visiting his home, she adopts him into her home alongside her song Kevin and their teenage daughter Kim (Winoa Ryder). Over time, Edward grows to love Peg’s family and their home, but the neighborhood at large harbors mistrusts and hatred for the mysterious young man for what makes him different. Edward Scissorhands is a touching modern fairytale told with gothic flourish with a simple message told elegantly and with heart.
Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 crime film Jackie Brown is a dark horse in the director’s oeuvre; a movie that ranks among some of his best work, but nonetheless remains conspicuous absent from many conversations about Tarantino’s films. An adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1992 novel Rum Punch and a loving homage to blaxploitation classics like 1973’s Coffy and 1974’s Foxy Brown, Pam Grier stars as the eponymous Jackie Brown, a middle-aged airline stewardess who supplements her income by smuggling arms for a notorious crime kingpin. Pressured by federal agents to become an informant against her employer at the risk of being killed, Jackie must finesse her way out of this conflict in order to secure her life and future.
Grier’s performance is as iconic as any delivered by Tarantino’s former muse Uma Thurman, a smooth-talking operator with a cool head and innate knack for working any angle. If you’ve somehow have never gotten around to watching Jackie Brown, do it: it’s a gem in the director’s body of work that deserves way more recognition than it gets.
Jackie Brown is available to stream on HBO Max.
Rian Johnson’s sci-fi noir action-thriller Looper follows the story of Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hitman working for a crime syndicate in the year 2044 who specializes in killing people his employers send back in time from the future. In exchange for his services, Joe is offered the opportunity to retire provided that he close his own “loop” by executing his future self (Bruce Willis). When his future self overpowers him and sets off on his own mysterious mission, Joe must track himself down and close his loop before his employers opt to kill both of them to cover the whole mess up. From there, it only gets more complicated. Filled with exciting chase sequences, exhilarating gunfights, a memorable score by composer Nathan Johnson, and some frankly bizarre makeup designed to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like a younger Bruce Willis, Looper is a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining action movie with a heart as big as the ideas that power it.
Looper is available to stream on Netflix.
No Country For Old Men
The Coen brothers’ Academy Award-winning film No Country for Old Men is one of the directors’ best; a gritty, suspenseful neo-Western crime thriller that channels the brother’s earliest works à la 1984’s Blood Simple and the raw terse appeal of Cormac McCarthy’s original novel. Josh Brolin stars as Llewelyn Moss, a blue collar worker who stumbles upon a large sum of money in the desert left behind in the wake of a drug deal gone bad. Llewelyn’s plans to safely escape with the money in tow are complicated by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a ruthless and unrelenting hitman sent by the cartel to retrieve the money and dispose of any witnesses at all cost. What ensues is a prolonged cat-and-mouse game between the two men filled wit bracing shootouts and breathless foot chases. No Country for Old Men is a sparse yet exacting film powered by a core quartet of performances that include Kelly Macdonald as Llwelyn’s wife Carla Jean and Tommy Lee Jones as a local sheriff tasked with sifting through the aftermath. If you’re looking for a masterpiece of a modern thriller, this is it.
No Country for Old Men is available to stream on HBO Max.
Something’s Gotta Give
Most romantic comedies are a dime a dozen. But a romantic comedy starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and Keanu Reeves? That’s a keeper. Directed by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want), Something’s Gotta Give follows Harry Sanborn, a 63-year-old music executive and incorrigible swinger who only dates women under 30. When Harry meets Erica (Diane Keaton), the mother of his latest trophy girlfriend Marin, the two can’t stand each other. But when Harry unexpectedly suffers a heart attack over her house, she allows him to stay so that he can recuperate. What begins as a feud eventually blossoms into a budding romance, one that is complicated by Harry’s inherent fear of commitment and another potential suitor for Erica in the form of Harry’s 36 year old doctor Julian (Keanu Reeves). With strong comedic and on-screen romantic chemistry between Nicholson and Keaton and sharp writing courtesy of Meyers herself, Something’s Gotta Give is one of the genre’s best.
Something’s Gotta Give is available to stream on Hulu.
The Raid 2
The 2014 sequel to Gareth Evans’ breakthrough Indonesian action-thriller The Raid ramps up the violent intensity while delving deeper into the seedy politics and insidious underpinnings of the criminal conspiracy at the heart of the original. Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, The Raid 2 finds rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) tasked with going undercover inside a powerful crime syndicate in order to dismantle the organization from the inside and discover the identities of the police officers collaborating with them. What ensues is a barrage of bloody balletic fight sequences entangled in a broader conspiracy by an ambitious mobster lieutenant vying to betray his superiors and seek power for himself. If political intrigue doesn’t do it for you, how about watching a blind woman ruthlessly murder a train car of mobsters with a pair of hammers, or a drunk homeless assassin fend off an entire nightclub of pursuers? There’s something for every action movie fan in The Raid 2.
The Raid 2 is available to stream on Hulu.
The Truman Show
In the age of YouTube careerists and advertising squeezing into every facet of our lives, one could imagine The Truman Show losing a bit of its speculative-fiction luster. Not at all; Jim Carrey’s arc — from incarcerated TV personality to awoken soul — still packs the eeriness of Philip K. Dick and the gravity of Ray Bradbury, a sci-fi parable built from familiar cultural trends. Philip Glass’ score will always bring the tears in the end.
The Truman Show is available to stream on HBO Max.