Steamy Streaming: December

Mrs. Maisel, The Lobster, and 8 More Choices!

BY: Zak Wojnar

The year that was 2018 is finally drawing to a close. There were ups and there were downs. There were Nazis in the streets, but there was a mid-term election to state that the soul of America isn’t totally lost yet, and that justice and righteousness aren’t going down without a fight. We don’t know where 2019 will take us, but whatever happens, Provokr will be there to share all the fun, sexy, provocative, and entertaining programs for you and your loved ones to enjoy. For December, there’s some big-budget blockbusters, intimate indies, quirky characters, and – of course – some dangerously sexy Madonna.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 (Amazon, December 5)

Few could have predicted that this Amazon Original would become such a big hit, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stands as a testament to the ‘wild west’ attitude of the big streaming services. There are no rules, so a show about a Jewish housewife pursuing comedy in 1958 is just as viable as political thrillers like House of Cards, superhero dramas like The Punisher, and boundary-pushing provocateurs like Insatiable. We’re so stoked for season two, we wrote a whole story about it!

Hereditary (Amazon, December 27)

Hereditary blew away audiences when it hit theaters earlier this year. It is the rare film which earned nigh-universal critical acclaim but was lambasted by some audiences, who were upset that the film they got was not what they were expecting. A similar occurance happened with Drive, Nicolas Winding-Refn’s dark and atmospheric crime thriller which was not the popcorn car chase movie for which audiences were hoping. Toni Collette is incredible as a mother going through one hell of a nervous breakdown, but to say any more than that would be spoiling one of the most shocking and unsettling movies of the decade. You’re just gonna have to trust us on this one.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (Netflix, December 7)

It’s been a long time coming, but Andy Serkis’s long-awaited adaptation of Kipling’s The Jungle Book is finally upon us. Serkis is best known as the preeminent ambassador of motion capture technology, which allows actors’ performances to be shown on impossible characters; Serkis is known for his roles as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes films, and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle has been his passion project for a great many years. Netflix is the perfect home for this darker, more uncompromising take on the classic story, where it can avoid comparisons to Disney’s recent live-action version, directed by Jon Favreau.

The Lobster (Netflix, December 2)

In the world of The Lobster, single people are given a month and a half to find true love or else they are transformed into animals. It’s surreal, ridiculous, and requires a tiny bit of imagination and willingness to go along with the premise, but, believe us, it’s absolutely worth it. Even if you’re too dull and boring to take a chance on a crazy setup, perhaps you’ll be willing to invest in the all-star cast, which includes Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, and The Favourites’ Olivia Colman. So, what’s it gonna be? Take a chance, or continue living in your tiny joyless world?

District 9 (Netflix, December 4)

Speaking of imagination, District 9 is a masterpiece of realistic science fiction. Inspired by documentaries and director Neill Blomkamp’s home country of South Africa, District 9 initially takes the form of a found-footage mockumentary about the government’s attempts to control a substantial population of aliens from outer space who are stranded in Johannesburg. Things take a turn (which we won’t spoil) and the film suddenly becomes an action-packed fight for survival, with a distinct visual style, a sympathetically thematic storyline, and some groundbreaking motion-captured special effects. It also marked the feature film debut of Sharlto Copley, one of our favorite actors!

The Big Lebowski (Netflix, December 1)

Whether you agree or disagree with us on any given issue, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. The Coen Brothers just released their triumphantly melancholy The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix, so now’s the perfect time to go back to one of their greatest flicks, The Big Lebowski. Perhaps we’re just a bunch of softies, but we find No Country for Old Men to be a bit too oppressively grim and nihilistic to enjoy, so we appreciate Lebowski for tackling similar themes, but always with a tap-dancing sense of jolly comedy, even when things take extremely dark turns.

Avengers: Infinity War (Netflix, December 25)

Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the de facto champion in the realm of big-budget blockbuster cinema. The adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the rest of Marvel’s roster of comic book heroes have been endlessly entertaining, but the time was overdue to shake-up the status quo. Without spoiling anything, the ending of Avengers: Infinity War is one of the most shocking and provocative endings ever seen in the supposedly “safe” space of superhero cinema. We have no idea what to expect from Avengers 4, but Infinity War has arguably one of the best cliffhanger endings of all time, and it absolutely must be seen to be believed.

Boogie Nights (Amazon, December 1)

Earlier this year, we lost Burt Reynolds, one of the biggest movie stars who ever lived. From Smokey and the Bandit to Deliverance and The Cannonball Run, Burt had a reputation for being a charismatic and charming presence in every role he played. One of his greatest roles came in 1998’s Boogie Nights, starring “Marky” Mark Wahlberg in one of his earliest leading roles. Wahlberg plays a young porn star, while Reynolds plays the seasoned director with ambitions of turning his smut into genuine high art. There are plenty of roles to choose from when dissecting the high points of Burt Reynolds’ career, but this one is absolutely essential viewing.

Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour (Hulu Showtime, December 9)

This concert special is already available to regular Showtime subscribers, but will make its Hulu debut this month. To be honest, we’re much bigger fans of MDNA than Rebel Heart, but nobody puts on a live show like Madonna, and the Rebel Heart Tour was just as sexy, audacious, provocative, and musically adventurous as anything she’s ever done. There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna, bitch.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Hulu, December 24)

This criminally-underrated drama/comedy stars Tina Fey as a real-life journalist Kim Barker, who, against the wishes of, well, everyone, went to Afghanistan as a war correspondent at the height of the US intervention in the region. The film has a wonderful pace and sensibility about its subject, depicting war as extremely dangerous, while also a fact of life for the people involved in covering the conflict. It’s funny, romantic, and full of life-affirming empowerment. Tina Fey is a treasure, and I hope she has more projects like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in development for us to devour very soon!