What to Watch: December 2021

This month’s TV and film offerings bring a star-studded line-up including Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Jeremy Renner, Vanessa Hudgens and more.

Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell looking at each other, talking, while walking down the street.

The Shrink Next Door

Where: Apple TV+
What: Series, 8 episodes, 40 mins.
When: Now, new episode Fridays through Dec. 17
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Based on the Bloomberg podcast of the same name, this pit-in-your-stomach watch dives headfirst into the true story of a power-hungry New York therapist conning his patient out of millions of dollars and into controlling his entire life.

Read our full review here.

Scene from Wheel of Time of a woman and a man sitting on a bouldered hill.

The Wheel of Time

Where: Amazon Prime
What: Series, 9 episodes, new episode Fridays through Dec. 31, 60 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Fantasy
Why you should watch: Jeff Bezos wanted Amazon to create a less dick-driven GoT and this Dames of Thrones, based on Wheel of Time fantasy fiction series, is a fem-positive swashbuckler with estrogen-fuelled ass kicking and no rapes. There are creatures and quests, lots of heroic women and characters you care about by third episode. Amazons from Amazon looks like winner.

Scene from Parallel Mothers of Penelope Cruz facing her costar with her hands on the woman's shoulders.

Parallel Mothers

Where: Theatres
What: Movie
When: Jan. 14
Genre: Drama
Why you should watch: Pedro Almodovar, one of Spain’s greatest filmmakers, is back with his favourite actor, Penelope Cruz in a sun-drenched film filled with colour that has a wisp of Noir haunting it. Cruz is one of two women who give birth at same time and whose lives dramatically intertwine as ghosts of the Spanish Civil War linger in the shadows. Almodovar and Cruz are at their best, with Oscars again possible.

Colin Kaepernick character from Colin in Black and White miniseries.

Colin in Black & White

Where: Netflix
What: Miniseries, 6 episodes, 30 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Biopic
Why you should watch: If Malcom X made an After School Young Adult series on systemic racism, this would be it. And that’s a good thing. As actors portray his life, heroic, blacklisted NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, despised by all the right people, offers commentary, amplifies points and offers illuminating historic detail. Infuriating, inspiring and essential — just like Kaepernick.

Christine from Selling Sunset holding a baby, wearing a leopard print top.

Selling Sunset

Where: Netflix
What: Season 4, 10 episodes, 30 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Docusoap
Why you should watch: Can Christine top her Burgers and Botox party? How is Chrishell doing after her divorce? Will Davina ever sell the $75 million listing? So many questions from last season’s cliffhangers. This soapy reality show about a girl-boss team of realtors in L.A. strikes the perfect balance between Million Dollar Listing and Real Housewives: think dream homes and juicy drama.

Kurt Vonnegut (left) and Robert Weide (right) standing in front of a brick wall, smiling at the camera.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Where: Theatres; Toronto, (Hot Docs); Vancouver (Rio)
What: Movie, 127 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Documentary
Why you should watch: A loving portrait of the adored writer that doesn’t hide from his imperfect personal life, which saw him step away from his wife and kids as he became a star. It’s also a story of the filmmaker’s lifelong obsession with his hero. Emmy-nominated director of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Robert Weide met and become friends with Vonnegut when he was 22 and pledged to make a doc about the writer.

Jeremy Renner in Mayor of Kingstown, sitting on a rock outside in an area with grass and sand.

Mayor of Kingstown

Where: Paramount+
What: Series, 1 season, 10 episodes, 60 mins.
When: Now, new episode Sundays through Jan. 2
Genre: Crime
Why you should watch: Horrible cops and prison guards do horrible things to horrible people in this dark look at rust belt town where prisons are the main industry — inspired by the Kingston, ON., hometown of show’s creative force, Headstones front man Hugh Dillon. Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) is the creepily compelling cop who does bad in the name of good.

Vanessa Hudgens holding a dog leash, flanked by snow dusted trees, from the movie The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star.

The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star

Where: Netflix
What: Movie, 106 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Unhinged rom-com
Why you should watch: If you’ve ever wanted to watch a spy thriller, a romantic comedy, a Christmas movie and Vanessa Hudgens play three characters all at once, then this is the film for you! It’s unclear what kind of career move Hudgens is making here, but either way, it’s actually pretty entertaining — in the way those cheap holiday movies you inevitably watch are.

A black and white photo of Julia Child standing at her kitchen counter.

Julia

Where: Theatres
What: Documentary, 95 mins.
When: Now in Toronto and Vancouver, Calgary TBA
Genre: Documentary
Why you should watch: All the TikTok cooks owe it to the original foodie icon Julia Child. Between archival footage and interviews with famous chefs like Ina Garten and Jacques Dupré, this mouth-watering doc vibrantly details Child’s legend — from studying at Le Cordon Bleu to pioneering the concept of TV cooking shows, and, ultimately, blazing the trail for women to become the main characters of their own story.

A black and white photo of a young Alanis Morissette.

Jagged

Where: Crave
What: Movie, 99 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Documentary
Why you should watch: We loved Jagged when it premiered at TIFF — Alanis Morissette’s truth was finally being told, from sexual abuse and being powerless as young pop star to the rock press misogyny that met her biggest album. And then, in a twist that can only be called, well, ironic, far from a Girl Power moment, Morissette has blasted the doc as yet another example of her being misled and disempowered.

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