Crossing the Streams is our series of guides looking at all the offerings hitting the big streaming services each month. This time we’re checking out what’s new to streaming on Amazon Prime in December 2021.
Amazon Prime Pick of the Month for December 2021
Amazon Prime’s new arrivals for the month of December are a piddling affair — there are roughly 50 new additions this month, which is incredibly low for a streaming service that used to drop an enormous amount of titles each month. On the plus side, though, one of them is All is Lost (2013). This under-appreciated gem of a film is a tale of loneliness and survival as one man’s sailboat capsizes in the open ocean.
Robert Redford stars as the only cast member, and his performance is as affecting as he’s ever delivered. Writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, A Most Violent Year) crafts an incredibly suspenseful drama and tells the tale without resorting to flashbacks. We’re with Redford the entire time but still feel his regrets and sadness at the realization that this might just be the end. The conclusion leaves a little wiggle room in its interpretation, and where you land on it might just be pretty telling on your own sense of mortality. It’s a work of beauty.
New Amazon Original Movies
Riz Ahmed struck a chord with 2019’s Sound of Metal, and while his return to the Amazon Original movie fold isn’t nearly as powerful, it still features a terrific performance from the actor. Encounter (premiering December 10th) opens with immaculately crafted VFX footage detailing the arrival of an alien organism that quickly begins a search for hosts, and then we jump into the life of a man named Malik Khan (Ahmed).
He’s aware of these insect-like invaders and decides the lives his two boys — sons with his ex-wife — are his sole priority, so he scoops them up in the middle of the night for a road trip towards safety. Or does he? Various strands come loose as new information arrives, but through it all the movie retains a grasp on feelings of paranoia, confusion, and the instinctual power of love. Dodgy at times, harrowing at others, it’s an engaging watch.
When you think Lucille Ball, you probably also think Aaron Sorkin. No? Just Sorkin thinking that? Huh. Anyway, the intermittently talented writer and director’s latest is a biographical look at Lucy and Desi Arnaz as they deal with various issues in their private and public lives. Being the Ricardos (premiering December 21st) stars Nicole Kidman as Lucy and Javier Bardem as Desi, and no, neither were cast for their resemblance to the actual people.
Does that matter, though, is the question, and I fall on the side of no — actors in biopics do not need to resemble the real people they’re playing. I already know they’re actors. Early responses to this particular film have been mixed as a whole, so we’ll find out together if it works to convey the wackiness, love, and tribulations in an engaging way.
A Reminder of Past Greatness
I know I’m in the minority on this, but David Gordon Green’s Halloween movies are pretty mediocre affairs — solid gore, but the rest is underwhelming. He wasn’t always a hack, though, as evidenced by a filmography that sees some powerful early work in the form of All the Real Girls and Snow Angels. They’re not hitting Prime this month, but his pivot into comedy is, and happily Pineapple Express (2008) remains a wildly entertaining good time.
Prime is adding the uncut version as well as the R-rated one, but you really can’t go wrong either way, as Green and the cast have a blast with big laughs, solid action beats, and a real sense of fun. His comedies that followed are lesser affairs, and even his return to drama came with an abundance of stank, but for a while there he was a promising filmmaker. Give this one a spin to see why.
Wes Anderson’s latest is raking in the acclaim this awards season, but for me, The French Dispatch is another disappointment. To be clear, it’s fine, but Anderson’s focus on precision and on a meticulously told tale once again leaves no room for humanity and heart. I know, some of you will argue otherwise, and I look forward to seeing your rebuttals in the comments below, but it’s true all the same.
Once upon a time, though, Anderson paired that precise eye for visuals and audio cues with real story and character. Think Rushmore, The Life Aquatic, and arguably The Darjeeling Limited. The best of them, of course, is The Royal Tenenbaums (2002), and you can see why as it’s new to Prime. The film explores the complicated relationships and interactions among New York’s Tenenbaum family, and while it’s endlessly quirky and artistic it’s also warm, funny, sad, and humane. You’ll care about these people, and that’s a skill that Anderson’s addiction to detail has left in the dust.
The Complete Amazon Prime List for December 2021
|12/1||Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)|
|Alex Cross (2013)|
|All Is Lost (2013)|
|Believe (2016)||UP Faith & Family|
|Bonanza - Season One||Best Westerns Ever|
|Brad Meltzer’s Decoded - Season One||History Vault|
|Christmas Everlasting (2020)||Hallmark Movies Now|
|A Discovery of Witches - Season One||AMC+|
|Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat (2003)|
|Edward Scissorhands (1990)|
|End Of Days (1999)|
|Guess Who (2005)|
|The Gulf - Season One||Acorn TV|
|Hallmark Drama’s Christmas Cookie Matchup - Season One||Hallmark Movies Now|
|Halloween II (1981)|
|Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)|
|Hostages - Season One||Topic|
|A House Divided - Season One||ALLBLK|
|The Hunt For Red October (1990)|
|The Jeffersons - Seasons 1-11|
|Jennifer's Body (2009)|
|Little Women (1994)|
|Mistletoe Mixup (2021)|
|Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011)|
|My Crazy Ex - Season One||A&E Crime Central|
|The Perfect Wedding Match (2021)||UP Faith & Family|
|Pineapple Express (2008)|
|Pineapple Express (Unrated) (2008)|
|The Proposal (2009)|
|Roadkill - Season One||Motortrend|
|The Royal Tenenbaums (2002)|
|Sanford - Seasons 1-2|
|Sanford And Son - Seasons 1-6|
|Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas (2014)||Hallmark Movies Now|
|Sleepless In Seattle (1993)|
|Soul Surfer (2011)|
|Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (2006)|
|The Thin Red Line (1998)|
|The Tom & Jerry Show - Season 1||Boomerang|
|Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys (2008)|
|Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)|
|The Usual Suspects (1995)|
|The Waterboy (1998)|
|What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)|
|When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas - Season 7||Hallmark Movies Now|
|White As Snow (2021)|
|12/3||Harlem - Season One||Amazon Original Series|
|Joe Bell (2020)|
|We Are X (2016)|
|12/8||FC Bayern: Behind the Legend - Season One||Amazon Original Series|
|12/9||The Ferragnez - Season One||Amazon Original Series|
|12/10||Encounter||Amazon Original Movie|
|The Expanse - Season Six||Amazon Original Series|
|LOL: Last One Laughing Mexico - Season Three||Amazon Original Series|
|12/12||A Christmas Star (2021)|
|12/16||Theory Of Everything (2014)|
|12/17||Boxing Day (2021)|
|Christmas Is Cancelled (2021)|
|With Love - Season One||Amazon Original Series|
|12/19||Joy for Christmas (2021)|
|12/20||Who You Think I Am (2021)|
|12/21||Being the Ricardos||Amazon Original Movie|
|12/23||Yearly Departed||Amazon Original Special|
|12/31||Lady Of The Manor (2021)|
|Time Is Up (2021)|