If you’re looking for a new movie to watch this month but you’ve had your fill of holiday films, Amazon Prime Video might just be the destination for you. While Netflix is churning out the Christmas content, and Happiest Season just smashed Hulu’s original debut records, Amazon isn’t really touting much in the way of Christmas content in their December streaming lineup. Instead, you’ll find a solid variety of nostalgic favorites, family films, and some striking new Amazon Studios originals.
Here’s a list of all the new movies and shows on Amazon in December 2020, but if you’re looking for something a bit more streamlined, here are our picks for what to watch this month.
1. A League of Their Own
Available: December 1
Director: Penny Marshall
Writers: Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel
Cast: Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, Ann Ramsay, Jon Lovitz, Bill Pullman, Gary Marshall
If you’re in the mood for a feel-good movie, you can’t do much better than A League of Their Own. Penny Marshall‘s 1992 sports comedy assembled a real wild-card cast led by Geena Davis as Dottie Henson, the star player of a 1940s Women’s League baseball team, and Tom Hanks as the curmudgeonly but charismatic manager of her team. Set during World War II, A League of Their Own takes a light-handed approach to the true historical tale of how women stepped up and stepped into positions that were never available to them before during the war, but above all, it’s a heartwarming story about family, born and forged. It’s funny, outrageously charming, inspirational, and sweet as can be; an all-time crowd-pleaser that owns its sentimental streak and triumphs by earnestly embracing the joys of teamwork.
2. Air Force One
Available: December 1
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Writer: Andrew W. Marlowe
Cast: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Paul Guilfoyle, William H. Macy, Liesel Matthews, Dean Stockwell
The 90s were a glorious heyday of cool-guy movie presidents, but none was cooler than Harrison Ford as President James Marshall in Air Force One. Riffing heavily on the Die Hard formula, the film sees a group of hijackers take over the President’s airplane and holding the first family, members of his cabinet, and secret service taken hostage until the president agrees to release a political prisoner. Gary Oldman does the best Hans Gruber since Hans himself as the devout loyalist leader of the hijackers and Ford is just beginning to tip from Hollywood Hunk action star to Grumbly Old Man action star, making for one hell of a powerful movie star middle ground. Admittedly, parts of Air Force One can be harder to take in the post-9/11 world, especially since the film has a pretty ruthless body count, but it’s not crass about it and that commitment to making the stakes count is what ensures it holds up as an A+ 90s thriller.
3. The Hurt Locker
Available: December 1
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce
Ruthless, relentless tension of the highest order; that’s what you’ll get in Kathryn Bigelow‘s Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker. Set during the Iraq war, the character-driven thriller follows the members of an Army bomb squad and the increasing anxieties in their team after a maverick newcomer (Jeremy Renner) joins their ranks. Inspired by screenwriter Mark Boal‘s experiences while embedded as a journalist during the war and handled with precision by Bigelow, The Hurt Locker is one of the most breathlessly tense, ever-escalating films of the 21st Century. Don’t let the sheen of six Oscars fool you — yes, The Hurt Locker is a dark character drama about the cost o living in such relentless tension, but make no mistake, it’s also one hell of a stomach-churning thriller. And not for nothing, casting director Mark Bennett really knocked it out of the park, with three future MCU stars in the mix.
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Available: December 1
Writers/Directors: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, Will Forte
For several years of my early life, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was the only book I cared about. With the inimitable fanaticism of childhood, I adored that goofy little book about feasts falling from the sky, so I was a particularly tough sell when it came to the 2009 animated movie — especially since the new-gen animated art bore so little resemblance to the vaguely creepy illustrations I knew and loved. Fortunately, in the hands of filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, that reinvention is the film’s very strength and an early example of the genre-fusing creativity that has become the hallmark of their film careers.
With a snappy, clever script, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs tells the story of an oddball inventor (Bill Hader) who devises a machine to convert water to food in order to save the town of Swallow Falls, but when his invention unleashes a destructive avalanche of tasty treats, he has to find a way to save the town from (way) too much of a good thing. Riffing on familiar disaster movie classics, with a voice cast that keeps things cracking, lively, and laugh-out-loud funny, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a quirky and creative animated gem that’s genuinely entertaining for all ages.
5. GoldenEye (& other James Bond movies)
Available: December 1
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Alan Cumming, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Minnie Driver
The 007 films are always making the rounds on streaming services, and this month, it’s Amazon Prime Video’s turn again, with a whole host of Jame Bond movies returning to the service in December. If you’re a Bond fan, you probably already have your favorites, but if there’s one post-Connery entry most folks seem to agree generally rules, it’s GoldenEye. Directed by Martin Campbell, who would later return for the equally beloved Casino Royale, the 1995 film kicked off the Pierce Brosnan-era in style with explosive set pieces, super sexy spy stuff, a great villain turn from Sean Bean, and the introduction of Judi Dench as M. Like all Bond movies, yeah, some of it definitely seems dated 25 years later, but GoldenEye holds up better than most as an all-time spy thriller, with one of Bond’s most devilishly dashing incarnations.
Available: December 4
Director: Darius Marder
Writers: Darius Marder and Abraham Marder
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff, Mathieu Amalric
Don’t sleep on Sound of Metal, the touching new drama might just be Amazon’s best original movie of the year. Starring Riz Ahmed as a metal drummer who rapidly loses his hearing and has to re-learn how to live his life, the film originally debuted at Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 and was poised for a splashier summer release before the pandemic turned the film industry upside down. The film’s arrival on Amazon feels a lot quieter than it should, because it’s a beautiful and phenomenally well-acted story about empathy and rebirth, with yet another outstanding performance by the always-reliable Ahmed. He’s well-matched by Olivia Cooke as his girlfriend and bandmate, as well as Paul Raci as a man who runs a community for deaf recovering addicts in one of the most memorable supporting performances of the year. Sound of Metal is a slow, steady, and compelling portrait of addiction, the sneaky and insidious tolls you pay for its false relief, and why it’s worth the much more obvious tolls you have to pay to take back your life.
7. I’m Your Woman
Available: December 11
Director: Julia Hart
Writers: Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz
Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Arinzé Kene, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Bill Heck, Frankie Faison, Marceline Hugot, James McMenamin
If you’ve ever watched The Godfather or Goodfellas or any of the beloved crime classics and found yourself wondering what the heck happens to those tough guys’ wives after their inevitable (usually violent) downfall, I’m Your Woman is a revisionist take on the genre well worth checking out. Directed by Fast Color helmer Julia Hart, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan leads the film as Jean, the wife of a mafioso type who has to go on the run after he betrays his business partners. With her baby on her hip and a gun in the hand of the stranger (Arinzé Kene) who shows up at her doorstep to protect her, Jean heads on a tense escape that forces her to confront the helpless role she let herself slip into and the importance of forging a new future and family based on trust. It takes a while to get going and Jean isn’t the most readily accessible of characters to get on board with, but once things get going — and especially, once Marsha Stephanie Blake‘s Teri enters the picture, I Am Your Woman is a lively, lush crime drama that brings a welcome shift in perspective to a well-worn genre.
Plus, McKinnon breaks character to have a mini-therapy sesh.
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