A Batman Christmas, new Netflix movies, and everything else new to watch

A Batman Christmas, new Netflix movies, and everything else new to watch

Welcome to the busiest moviegoing season of the year, when films in theaters are actually worth trekking out to see and everything hitting VOD and streaming is… the movies that came out a few months ago that are also super worth checking out. Ack!

Work at your own pace. But yeah, this weekend at home has everything from Leave the World Behind, a new Netflix film from the creator of Mr. Robot, to an animated Batman Christmas special and Martin Scorsese’s latest three-hour epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, which is hitting digital rental before eventually landing on Apple at an unspecified date in 2024.

Or you and the family could just watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie again — it’s on Netflix now. But if you need alternatives, there are many, many more. Let’s dig in.

New on Netflix

Leave the World Behind

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Mahershala Ali, Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, and Myha’la Herrold all look concerned about something off screen in Leave the World Behind.

Photo: Jojo Whilden/Netflix

Genre: Psychological thriller
Run time: 2h 21m
Director: Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot)
Cast: Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke

Adapted from Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel, Sam Esmail’s directorial feature debut is an Airbnb story from hell. Mid-vacation in Long Island, a Manhattan couple hears a knock at the door. It’s the owners of their rented home, who are escaping the apocalypse. What follows promises to be a cerebral, prickly thriller that may not entirely work, but gives its all-star cast plenty to chew on. From our review:

Racial, sexual, generational, and class fault-lines are drawn but then rapidly scuffed over, almost in embarrassment, as the characters sink reflexively into a shared worldview that they can’t seem to let go of […but the] movie is brilliantly cast, at least. Hawke embodies the blinkered insouciance of progressive intellectuals, Ali has the polish and confidence that money breeds, and Roberts, as a secretly insecure striver trapped between these two worlds, flashes with a brittle testiness.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Mario eyeballing a faucet in the foreground in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Image: Nintendo, Illumination/Universal Pictures

Genre: Animated adventure
Run time: 1h 32m
Director: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go! To the Movies)
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black

While the combined power of Barbie and Oppenheimer may have eclipsed Nintendo’s foray into animated film, let’s not forget that Mario made a mega impact earlier this year at the worldwide box office, gave its parent company the confidence to announce a live-action Zelda movie, and could very easily get nominated for an Oscar in the year 2024. The Mario movie is, if not good, important — and now it’s streaming on Netflix, ready for kids and their nostalgic parents to watch a zillion times.

New on Hulu

The Mission

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Genre: Documentary
Run time: 1h 44m
Directors: Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss (Boys State)

Heralded as one of the great documentaries of 2023, The Mission chronicles the repeated attempts by John Allen Chau, an American missionary, to bring Christianity to the Indigenous peoples of the remote North Sentinel Island. Law forbade outsiders from setting foot on the island, but that didn’t stop Chau, who was ultimately killed by arrows during his final attempt to sail ashore. From documentarians Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss (who previously directed the searing political doc Boys State), the National Geographic film promises to get the blood pumping and ask a few big questions as it unravels Chau’s life.

New on Prime Video

Merry Little Batman

Where to watch: Available to stream on Prime Video

Gangly versions of Poison Ivy, Penguin, and The Joker celebrate Christmas in Merry Little Batman

Image: Prime Video

Genre: Animated comedy
Run time: 1h 36m
Director: Mike Roth (Regular Show)
Cast: Luke Wilson, Yonas Kibreab, James Cromwell, David Hornsby

You think you know the story: Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin lays an egg, Batmobile lost a wheel, and Joker got away. But Batman’s first animated Christmas movie presents an entirely new perspective. When Bruce Wayne’s son Damian is left home alone on Christmas Eve, Gotham’s supervillains come out to play and a new hero of the holiday season must rise up. David Hornsby from It’s Always Sunny as the Joker? How could this be anything less than good?

Your Christmas or Mine 2

Where to watch: Available to stream on Prime Video

Asa Butterfield, two old men, and Jane Krakowski gather in the door frame of an old wooden ski lodge

Photo: Colin Hutton/Prime Video

Genre: Romantic comedy
Run time: 1h 34m
Director: Jim O’Hanlon (Your Christmas or Mine?)
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Cora Kirk, Alex Jennings, Jane Krakowski

Uh oh, new couple James (Asa Butterfield) and Hayley (Cora Kirk) hoped to meet each other’s families during a Christmas vacation in the Alps, but someone messed up the lodging arrangements! Now James’ rich family is staying in a “rustic” lodge and Hayley’s penny-pinching dad is holed up in a five-star hotel! Whoops!

New on Paramount Plus

Showing Up

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Michelle Williams molding a sculpture in an art studio in Showing Up.

Photo: Allyson Riggs/A24

Genre: Comedy
Run time: 1h 48m
Director: Kelly Reichardt (First Cow)
Cast: Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, John Magaro

Drama or comedy, never-miss filmmaker Kelly Reichardt aims for the intimate. Which means she may never make a film that causes enough splash for the Oscars or big-time top 10 lists. But here’s no surprise to anyone familiar with her work: Showing Up, which reteams her with regular collaborator Michelle Williams, cuts deep to the heart of art and the artist’s life, affirming Reichardt to being in league of her own. From our recent list of the top 50 movies of 2023, where Showing Up ranks 10th:

Reichardt’s genius is getting the audience giggling at the artists but never the art. For example, it’s funny to think that an artist dedicated a year of her life to crocheting a jumpsuit. Except then, in Showing Up, you see the outfit and it’s beautiful — an intentional undermining of the punchline. A teacher smugly opines on ceramics, but each piece he holds up is so lovingly crafted that they confidently speak for themselves.

This decision (rib artists, celebrate art) sets the tone. We humans are artifice, a bunch of contradictory masks that we put on to match the situation and the crowd. But our creations — when we commit to a craft, whatever medium it may be — are an expression of our most vulnerable selves.

New on Shudder

The Sacrifice Game

Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder and AMC Plus

a man in a white undershirt stands in front of a fireplace next to a christmas tree looking pumped in The Sacrifice Game

Image: Shudder

Genre: Horror
Run time: 1h 30m
Director: Jenn Wexler (The Ranger)
Cast: Mena Massoud, Olivia Scott Welch, Gus Kenworthy, Madison Baines

After premiering at the weirdo-approved Fantastic Fest earlier this year, Jenn Wexler’s latest horror joint lands on Shudder in time for the holidays. Our editor Tasha Robinson caught this one at the fest, so I am ceding the floor. Here’s her micro-take (watch out for more on this one soon):

Jenn Wexler’s Christmas-set horror movie The Sacrifice Game takes most of its runtime to reveal what it’s really about, and that reveal is a doozy. But the wait to get there is never dull: Along the way, there’s a “sad Christmas with the left-behinds at a boarding school” story that meshes perfectly with The Holdovers, and a “dangerous cultists on the road” story that meshes equally well with Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s no surprise that these two stories collide, it’s just a surprise exactly how and why they collide.

New to rent

Killers of the Flower Moon

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Leonardo DiCaprio in a cowboy hat and poncho leans over an automobile driven by Robert DeNiro in Killers of the Flower Moon.

Image: Apple

Genre: Drama
Run time: 3h 26m
Director: Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons

Some call it Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus. Others wonder if adapting David Grann’s acclaimed nonfiction book was an impossible task, even for a legend. But everyone seems to agree: You have to find a big chunk of time and watch Killers of the Flower Moon, one of the year’s most ambitious dramatic ventures. And Scorsese threw his entire self into it. From our review:

As Scorsese gets deeper into his old-master phase, it feels as though he’s running out of patience with the Catholic agonies and fire-and-brimstone filmmaking he’s known for. Killers of the Flower Moon is mostly plainspoken, sorrowful, and wise. At the very end, Scorsese makes a personal intervention on behalf of what really matters in this story. It’s a moving gesture from an artist who knows he only has time to say so much more, and who can see clearly what needs to be said.

The Best TV Shows of 2023 Previous post The Best TV Shows of 2023
Vancouver mayor announces plan to remove city’s independent park board Next post Vancouver mayor announces plan to remove city’s independent park board