The last two weeks of the year, otherwise known as “the holidays,” are always a good time to stay inside, lay low and catch up on the entertainment that end of year lists remind everyone they missed. Unfortunately, there are once again extra reasons to stay inside this year, but on the bright side, the slate of new things to watch has never been more bountiful. In the last few weeks alone, some of the best shows, most anticipated films, and engrossing documentaries of the year have dropped across the wide spread of streaming services. Surely, if you don’t have a subscription to all of these, you know someone who does. Here’s a handy guide on where to find the new movies and TV shows your timeline is talking about this holiday season.
The Matrix Resurrections (HBO Max). Sooner or later reboot culture comes for every beloved classic, whether it needs a new entry or not. But the fourth Matrix film is witty and self-aware about this, as Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) somehow find themselves embroiled in a war we saw them sacrifice their lives to end way back in 2003. Does this film need to exist? Not really, but in grappling with that very question on-screen, Resurrections is an unexpectedly good time.
The Power of the Dog (Netflix). Jane Campion’s first movie in over ten years studies the descent of a 1920s Montana ranch community into self-hate, alcoholism, depression, masculinity, and violence. Playing head rancher Phil Burbank, Benedict Cumberbatch switches the wit of Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes for his most vile role ever and a career-high performance the Academy may just seek to reward; Kodi Smit-McPhee is an exciting new talent.
Swan Song (Apple). In a near-future where cloning is possible, Mahershala Ali plays a dying man who must decide whether to replace himself without telling his family. Walking a fine line between melodrama and sci-fi, Swan Song is elevated by Ali’s superb performance.
Don’t Look Up (Netflix, available December 24). With Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Chris Evans, Cate Blanchett, Kid Cudi, and Tyler Perry, writer/director Adam McKay’s climate change satire probably has the starriest Netflix cast ever. Two astronomers try, try, and then try some more to warn a disinterested world about its own impending doom: At two hours and change, Don’t Look Up can be overly preachy, but with a bench as deep as this one, even minor characters pack a huge laugh.
Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime). Aaron Sorkin is all about biopics these days. This time his focus is on the duo that once commanded 72 percent of American television viewership, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, played by Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman. Sorkin dissects the most public marriage in American history, with commie scares, affairs, and business intrigue swirling in the background. It’s a thrilling, if somewhat jumbled, tell-all.