The final month of 2017 is upon us, and in the film word that means a last minute chance for Oscar hopefuls. Considered as one of the most competitive months, the last 30 days of the year are filled with A-list projects and everything in-between including blockbusters, thrillers and dark comedies from Hollywood elitists Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro and Alexander Payne. And who can forget the action-packed film Star Wars: The Last Jedi, slated to hit mid-month.
Over on the TV side, Netflix is ready to unleash its $90 million USD budget film Bright which stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace. A new Dave Chappelle stand-up and The Crown season two are also prepared to air on the streaming site. Some noteworthy series to look forward to are Dark — a German thriller — and Wormwood — a docu mini-series exposing the dark side of the CIA. Check out the list below for some of the must-see releases to the more under the radar films and TV shows to look forward to in December.
The Disaster Artist – December 1
The tag-team of James Franco and Seth Rogen returns this month in the A24-produced film The Disaster Artist. The film centers around the life of filmmaker Tommy Wiseau and his bad cult film The Room. The Franco-directed film is an adaptation of Greg Sestero’s award-winning book of the same name. The film which also stars Franco’s younger brother Dave opens in limited release on December 1 and goes wide on December 8.
The Shape of Water – December 1
Guillermo del Toro is set to bring us another fantasy tale, this time in Cold War era America in the 1960s. Sally Hawkins will star as Elisa, a janitor working at a laboratory where an “amphibious man” has been captured. Elisa falls for the creature, and eventually calls on her neighbor to help her stage a rescue attempt, all while being chased down by a government official played Michael Shannon. The film looks to follow suit with del Toro’s past works such as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, both of which display an unmistakable level of passion and craft.
I, TONYA – December 8
This month sees Margot Robbie starring in the black comedy I, TONYA as disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding who’s career suddenly ended due to scandal. Taking place in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the film is set to explore the circumstances surrounding the skater’s rise to stardom and fall from grace due to her husband’s ill-conceived plot to take down a competitor. Sebastian Stan, known as Captain America’s Winter Soldier and Allison Janney co-star.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – December 15
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits cinemas two years after J.J. Abrams’s reboot of the franchise with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson will now hold the reigns for the middle installment of the continuing trilogy, and most of The Force Awakens cast will be back, including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, along with OG franchise star Mark Hamill. Episode VIII will continue after the events of Episode VII, pitting the Resistance against the First Order led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his apprentice Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The Last Jedi is going to be quite the followup to The Force Awakens.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – December 20
Based off the original 1995 film starring the late, great actor Robin Williams as well as Kirsten Dunst, the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle reboot looks to be a game changer. The films centers around a group of high school kids who end up getting sucked into a virtual world that alters their appearances while they come face-to-face with numerous challenges the game has created for them. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and former model Karen Gillan.
All the Money in the World – December 22
Directed by Ridley Scott the docudrama All the Money in the World is based on John Pearson’s book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J Paul Getty, which chronicles the events surrounding the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer). Set in Rome back in 1973, the film originally starred Kevin Spacey as Getty’s billionaire grandfather — a man who infamously refused to pay the $17 million USD ransom the kidnappers demanded for Getty III’s safe return — who has now been replaced by Christopher Plummer after after sexual assault allegations were made against him. Co-starring Michelle Williams as Getty III’s mother, Gail and Mark Wahlberg as her adviser, All the Money in the World hits theaters December 22.
Downsizing – December 22
Downsizing is the science-fiction comedy starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig as a married couple who decide to have themselves reduced to five inches tall in an effort to minimise the impact of overpopulation and save money. Though Damon’s character goes through with it Wiig’s backs out at the last minute, making for some difficult albeit funny times.
Hostiles – December 22
Envisioned by Black Mass director Scott Cooper, Christian Bale has taken the role of legendary Army captain Joseph J. Blocker in the new thriller Hostiles. In the film, Bale’s character has been tasked to take on a dangerous mission: accompany a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to Montana to their tribal territory. Hostiles also stars Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster and Jesse Plemons.
The Post – December 22
Steven Spielberg’s latest venture The Post has already been garnering a lot of Oscar buzz. Starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, the thrilling drama follows the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep) — the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets. The film features an acclaimed ensemble cast including Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods.
Dark – December 1
Netflix is all about original content and this time the streaming giant is taking us into a world creepier and more supernatural than Stranger Things. The sinister tale Dark tells the story of kids disappearing in a German small-town, perhaps even being swallowed by the Earth itself. The trailer gives us a glimpse of cryptic scenes filled with dead animals, distraught parents and missing children signs. It’s not long until the supernatural connection is made clear: it’s not who kidnapped them, it’s when. Dark was filmed in Germany and marks Netflix’s first German production.
The Crown Season 2 – December 8
Award-winning drama The Crown returns to Netflix for its season two premiere. The new episodes will focus on big events like the Suez Crisis in 1956 through to the retirement of the Queen’s third prime minister, Harold Macmillan in 1963. Clare Foy reprises her role in her final season as Queen Elizabeth, Matt Smith as Prince Phillip and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.
The Grand Tour Season 2 – December 8
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May — formerly of Top Gear fame — return to Amazon Prime for season 2 of The Grand Tour. In the second season, the lads compare the past, present and future of motoring all while filming across five different continents. The Grand Tour season 2 premieres on Amazon Prime December 8.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson – December 15
Action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme has somewhat cooled off in the last couple of years but he is now ready to return in the action-comedy Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Playing a semi-fictionalized version of himself, Van Damme’s character decides to make a comeback — not as an actor, but as the secret agent codenamed “Johnson.” The first season of Jean-Claude Van Johnson airs on Amazon December 15.
Wormwood – December 15
Netflix offers up another six-part docu miniseries which examines the darker side of the CIA — more specifically their reckless trials with LSD known as MK Ultra. The series also weaves original dramatizations with Errol Morris’ signature talking-head interview format. All episodes drop on December 15.
Gunpowder – December 18
BBC’s three-part mini series Gunpowder hits HBO this month starring Kit Harington of Game of Thrones fame and Liv Tyler. The series tells the famous story of the 17th-century conspiracy called the “Gunpower Plot” where King James I was nearly assassinated in an attempt to blow up the British House of Lords.
Bright – December 22
Initially previewed during the 89th Academy Awards, Netflix’s upcoming original blockbuster Bright is directed by Suicide Squad‘s David Ayer and stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace. Taking place in a reality mixed with fantasy world, Bright centers around an Orc cop (Edgerton) who is partnered with a human cop (Smith). When they learn of a powerful weapon, they team up to search for it before anyone else does. Made with a budget of $90 million USD, Bright is a definite must-see when it hits Netflix this December 22.
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity – December 31
Dave Chappelle returns to Netflix this month for his third stand-up comedy titled Dave Chappelle: Equanimity. As a followup to Chappelle’s The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium and Deep in the Heart of Texas: Dave Chappelle Live at Austin City Limit, Equanimity — filmed at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. — will be the first special Chappelle has produced exclusively for Netflix.