All The Cool Stuff Coming To Hulu In December

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Interesting programming (read: anything not holiday-related) on Hulu in December is on the light side.  Then again, those with a yen for food art will want to see a reality series about building an all-candy house.  Treats for the rest of us this month include cult character actor Udo Kier running away with his first lead role, a new season of “Pen15,” and a hyperreal St. Vincent screwing around with being a rock documentary subject much to a hyperreal Carrie Brownstein’s annoyance.  

The Nowhere Inn

December 1

All Is Lost–Robert Redford plays an old sailor whose solo voyage at sea turns disastrous.  A heavy shipping container has fallen off a ship and collided with his boat, causing water to rush in and ruin both his radio transmitter and his computer navigation unit.  He desperately attempts to repair his boat and equipment, but is it a losing battle?  J.C. Chandor directs this mostly silent movie, which could function as either a survival tale or a tale of one man coming to terms with his impending death.

All Rise Seasons 1 & 2–This diversely cast court procedural drama takes viewers behind the scenes of Los Angeles’ court system to show the sometimes messy efforts of judges and other court personnel to bring some measure of justice to the people of Los Angeles.  Lola Carmichael has traded her spot at the District Attorney’s office for a seat on the Los Angeles bench.  Her transition promises to be anything but smooth given that the rookie judge prefers leaning in rather than staying aloof from the matters that come before her.     

Candified; Home For The Holidays

Candified: Home For The Holidays–In this unscripted series, Candy Queen Jackie Sorkin leads a team of confectioners in building a 1,000-foot house whose surfaces, accessories, and furniture are all made of candy.  Despite the fun nature of the project, the confectioners still face an insane amount of stress.  At least it’s unlikely the candy house will wind up being occupied by a wicked witch hoping to do a Hansel and Gretel number on unwary children. 

Crazy Heart–Once a star, country music singer Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) has fallen on spectacularly hard times.  He’s had many things go wrong in his life: failed marriages, very heavy drinking, and too many years touring on the road.  His affection for newspaper reporter Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) offers the possibility of turning his life around.  But can the reporter truly afford to love a man a quarter-century older than her?  And is Blake too far gone in his alcoholism to make any sort of meaningful change?

Dead Man Walking–Louisiana nun Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) gets asked by Death Row inmate Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) for assistance with his last-minute appeal to stay his execution.  As she tries to do what she thinks is right, the nun’s meetings with both the victims’ parents and Poncelet himself opens her to the complexities of the man’s crime and its aftermath.  Soon she realizes Poncelet needs help to face the inevitable.  Tim Robbins wrote and directed this powerful adaptation of the real Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir.

Her Smell–Sickened by the queasy sentiment of the holiday season?  Alex Ross Perry’s ambitious and unapologetically abrasive rock epic might be what you need.  Punk rocker Becky Something (Elizabeth Moss) once led her band Something She to 1990s stardom.  Now age and drug addiction have set off the former star’s emotional implosion.  As the film follows Something over a decade, the big question is which of the people she’s cared about or worked with will crash and burn with her.

Jagged Edge–When San Francisco socialite Paige Forrester is brutally murdered in her home, police arrest her husband publisher Jack Forrester (Jeff Bridges) for the crime.  Jack asks defense attorney Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close) to represent him.  After Barnes eventually agrees to do so, she soon finds herself in a very cloudy situation.  Is Jack a clever murderer manipulating Teddy’s emotions or an innocent man in danger of being railroaded?  Does Barnes’ nemesis (and former boss) DA Krasny have a real case or is he willing to use any dirty trick to win?  Director Richard Marquand leaves viewers guessing to the end.

The Raid 2: Berendal

The Raid 2: Berandal (Thug)–In this sequel to the modern action classic “The Raid,” rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) reluctantly goes undercover to help Lieutenant Bunawar expose the corrupt cops working with the Bangun and Goto crime syndicates.  But the easy part turns out to be getting into the Bangun syndicate via gaining the friendship of Bangun’s son Uco.  Crime boss Bejo is trying to foment a gang war between Bangun and Goto to steal territory for himself.  Rama’s caught between completing his undedrcover mission and seeking revenge against Bejo for having his brother murdered.  The presence of Bejo’s trio of incredibly skilled assassins, including the fearsome Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle), won’t make Rama’s job any easier. 

December 2

Godfather Of Harlem–It’s the early 1960s, and crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker) has just finished an 11-year stay in Alcatraz prison.  When he returns to his home turf, he learns to his displeasure that Harlem has gone to seed and is now controlled by the Genovese crime family.  Reclaiming Harlem will not be easy, but Johnson’s allies include a radical preacher named Malcolm X.  Based on a true story.

Trafficked With Mariana van Zeller Season 2–Journalist Mariana van Zeller takes viewers inside the world’s most dangerous black markets to see how the multi-trillion dollar shadow economy works in various industries.  This season, the journalist looks into Miami’s black market plastic surgery centers, Ghanian romance scammers, and violent white supremacists.

Vice Versa: HIV: The Neglected Pandemic–It’s been 40 years since HIV and AIDS first hit the United States.  What does it mean to be HIV-positive in the year 2021?  “Queer Eye”’s Jonathan Van Ness narrates this look at current scientific advances against the disease as well as the personal realities of living with HIV/AIDS and the continuing need to protect the rights of those infected.   

December 3

Pen15 Season 2B–It’s the long-awaited second half of Hulu’s acclaimed junior high school dramedy.  For the uninitiated, Maya and Anna are best friends in junior high school…and they’re played by 30-something actresses giving exaggerated portraits of themselves at junior high age.  What these two well-meaning girls want is to make it through this awkward stage of their lives as best they can.  However, life has a way of screwing up such plans.  In the second half of this season, Anna’s blossoming romance with the slightly older Steve will affect her friendship with Maya.  And now that her parents have split up, Anna has to handle shuttling between their homes.  Meanwhile, Maya wants a personal cell phone.  But both girls will attend a funeral together and even look into running away from home.

December 9

Bloods Season 1–This British medical comedy follows a group of South London paramedics who aren’t always on their best behavior when things are slow but are definitely there when lives need to be saved.  Maleek (Samson Kayo) is a spiky loner who grew up in South London.  Wendy (Jane Horrocks) is an overly sociable middle-aged divorcee who’s just moved to London.  Can they work together as a team despite bad first impressions?

Swan Song

Swan Song–Veteran character actor Udo Kier gives an astounding lead performance as Patrick “Mr. Pat” Pitsenbarger.  Once a leading figure in the Sandusky, Ohio gay scene, the former beautician is now rotting away from boredom at a nursing home.  One day, Mr. Pat receives word that former client Rita Parker-Sloan (Linda Evans) has just passed away.  However, her last wish is for Mr. Pat to do her hair for her open casket funeral.  Mr. Pat’s initial refusal to honor that wish presages a journey that will push him to confront the tragedies and disappointments of his life.  Kier has a ball uttering such lines as “Bury her with bad hair” and “I’d rather drink mucus.”

December 14

Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip: European Vacation–Chef Gordon Ramsay is accompanied by friends and fellow chefs Gino D’Acampo and Fred Siriex on a rowdy road trip to Italy, France, and Scotland aka their three home countries.  On their visits, they intend to try the best foods and fun activities of each country.

December 16

Cryptozoo–Cartoonist Dash Shaw’s newest animated feature is set in 1967.  Veteran cryptozoologist Lauren Gray (Lake Bell) and her mentor Joan (Grace Zabriskie) maintain a refuge where such magical creatures as krakens, winged horses, and gorgons can live free and unmolested.  However, a gang of military men led by Nicholas want to capture cryptids and discover their military uses.   Expect lots of animated nudity as well as a visual style which references such sources as the Golden Dawn tarot card deck and the Rene Laloux film Fantastic Planet.

Dead Asleep–In 2017, Florida man Randy Herman Jr. was convicted of murder.  His defense is that he was sleepwalking at the time.  Is this a case of violent parasomnia (sleepwalking) or an attempt to escape punishment?  The filmmaker talks to attorneys on both sides, reporters familiar with the case, and psychiatric experts.  

December 17

Mother/Android–In the near future, the country is embroiled in an unexpected war with artificial intelligences.  Pregnant Georgia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her boyfriend Sam (Algee Smith, “The Hate U Give”) decide it’s time to get out of Dodge before Georgia gives birth.  Unfortunately, their escape route takes them through No Man’s Land aka a stronghold of the android uprising.  And they can’t take a different route because Georgia’s literally days away from having her baby.  Matt Reeves (“War of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Batman”) serves as producer on this film.

The Nowhere Inn–In this mockumentary, real-life rock star St. Vincent tries to reconcile her public rock persona with her more grounded offstage identity of Annie Clark during a road trip.  BFF Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”) tags along to capture St. Vincent’s emotional journey on film.  Yet Brownstein’s efforts to make a traditional behind the scenes documentary get quickly nuked by Clark’s determination to avoid being boring and normal for the camera.  When Clark brings in St. Vincent and her seductive weirdness on screen, the resulting film turns decidedly indescribable (much to Brownstein’s consternation).

December 23

Dragons: The Nine Realms–This sequel to the “How To Train Your Dragon” trilogy is set 1300 years after the events of the three films.  By this time, humans have forgotten about their relationship with dragons, consigning the latter’s existence to the status of myth.  One day, a huge fissure opens in the earth’s surface and exposes the dragons to the modern world.  A group of misfits try to discover the truth about what happened to the dragons since the days of Toothless and Hiccup.  But even if they succeed, can the dragons’ hiding place still be kept secret?

December 26


Letterkenny Season 10–The Canadian hit comedy returns for a new season.  For the uninitiated, Letterkenny is a rural Canadian community of 5000 souls.  Siblings Wayne and Katy run a farm and produce stand with the help of Wayne’s friends Daryl and Squirrely Dan.  Problems in Letterkenny usually result from feuds over really trivial things among the different people in the town.  These people are: the farmers (“the hicks”), the local ice hockey team (‘the hockey players”), the town’s closeted minister, the drug addicts (“the skids”), the First Nation reserve’s residents (“the natives”), the Mennonites, and the local Quebecois.   The big question for the new season will be whether it can bounce back from the previous season’s meh-ness.  Some of the wild things promised for the new season include: the Hicks attending a sausage party, a video game battle between the Hockey Players and the Skids, and head-to-toe physicals for all the Letterkenny men. 


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Peter Wong

Peter Wong

I've been reviewing films for quite a few years now, principally for the online publication Beyond Chron. My search for unique cinematic experiences and genre dips have taken me everywhere from old S.F. Chinatown movie theaters showing first-run Jackie Chan movies to the chilly slopes of Park City. Movies having cat pron instantly ping my radar.

1 Comment

  1. Mary Nuckols
    December 4, 2021 at 12:41 pm — Reply

    Love your recommendations !
    If Broke-Ass Stuart likes it, it’s gotta be good. Although I usually cannot dig into shows who are on their 10th season, etc. I have enough shows on my Watch List to sink a ship
    (And, of course, I do subscribe to your newsletter.)

    Mary Nuckols/Trudy Sanders

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