What’s on this week? Whether it’s what’s on cable, streaming on Prime Video or Netflix, or opening at your local movie theater, we’ve got your must-watch list. Start with TV and scroll down for movies. It’s all right here.
On TV this week …
Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie (Peacock)
Tony Shalhoub, 70, earned Emmy nominations eight years in a row (and won thrice) playing the OCD, germophobic, acrophobic San Francisco private investigator Adrian Monk. Now he (plus longtime cast members Ted Levine, 66, and Traylor Howard, 57) stars in a movie by the show’s creator, Andy Breckman, 68. Monk navigated the COVID pandemic with difficulty — and his stepdaughter (Caitlin McGee) wants him to find out what happened to her late fiancé.
Watch it: Mr. Monk’s Last Case, Dec. 8 on Peacock
Your Prime Video watch of the week is here!
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (PG-13)
Harrison Ford, 81, has said that this would be his last turn as Indy. And if it truly is, he’s gone out in style. Is Dial of Destiny as rollickingly great as Raiders of the Lost Ark? No. How could it be? But it is a triumphant bounce back from 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Directed by James Mangold (instead of Steven Spielberg), the action sequences have energy and wit, and it’s interesting to get a peek at how everyone’s favorite archaeologist would deal with the ’60s counterculture (not well).
Don’t miss this: The 10 Best Things Coming to Prime Video in December
Your Netflix watch of the week is here!
Leave the World Behind (R)
Sam Esmail, best known for creating Mr. Robot, directed and co-adapted this movie based on the unsettling best-selling book. A family of four (led by Julia Roberts, 56, and Ethan Hawke, 53) rents a ritzy vacation home on Long Island — only to be interrupted by a man and his daughter (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la Herrold), who turn up claiming the house is really theirs and that a cyberattack has forced them to seek shelter in a familiar place. Prepare to be unnerved in all the right ways.
And don’t miss this: The 12 Best Things Coming to Netflix in December
What’s new at the movies …
⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Poor Things, R
Emma Stone goes far out on a limb — and then leaps without a net — in her second outrageous collaboration with Yorgos Lanthimos, 50 (The Favourite). Stone delivers a sexy, physically demanding and outlandish performance that exists in an artistic universe far, far away from the mainstream gloss of Spiderman’s saucy girlfriend Gwen. She plays Bella Baxter, a young suicide given an electric shock at a second life by the compassionate but cray-cray scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (a sublimely ridiculous Willem Dafoe, 68). His bumpy, scarred visage reflects his predilection for self-experimentation, while Bella is his beauty. Mark Ruffalo, 56, flexes his comic chops as a Bella-obsessed gent who has no idea what she’s capable of — or of his own limitations. Part Frankenstein, part Galatea, Bella has a learning curve that’s swift, unexpected and driven by unrestrained appetites. Although Poor Things occasionally careens into extreme whimsy, it’s a gorgeously shot, designed and costumed portrait of an incomparable woman on the verge of a fantastical breakthrough. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.)
Watch it: Poor Things, Dec. 8 in theaters
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Waitress: The Musical, PG-13
What a backstory: Gifted indie actress Adrienne Shelly wrote and costarred in the quirky, wonderful 2007 movie Waitress, starring Keri Russell as Jenna, a yearning young woman trapped in a bad marriage, a tiny town, an unplanned pregnancy and a diner job she hopes to escape by winning a $20,000 pie-baking contest. Tragically, Shelly was murdered when she caught a burglar in her apartment (in the documentary Adrienne, her widower confronts the killer).
Grammy winner and triple Emmy and Tony Award nominee Sara Bareilles turned the tale into a smash musical starring herself, with some of the most poignant yet upbeat tunes Broadway has ever heard. Can she and her waitress pals actualize themselves? Can Jenna shed her abusive hubby (played by her actual fiancé, Joe Tippett) and make things work with her nerdy, married obstetrician (Drew Gehling)? Watch the film version of the musical, and you’ll find out what baking can do. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it: Waitress: The Musical, in theaters
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Boy and the Heron, PG-13
Long ago, when my two grown kids were little, I adored animation. Then it became something like eating too many hot dogs — I never again craved wieners or hyper cartoons. The major exception is the creations of Japanese genius Hayao Miyazaki, 82. His latest movie is true to form: unhurried, tender and wise. Nearly every frame of this artistic masterpiece inspires awe. His visions of undulating waters, flickering flames and sunlight cracking cloud cover have sublime detail, composition and color. The story itself offers wonder, humor and life lessons that don’t reduce to “Eat your broccoli.” The hero of this feature, which Miyazaki claims to be his last, is a motherless boy. Mahito encounters a heron, a magical creature symbolizing good luck, a fowl capable of moving among three elements: earth, water and air. Together, bird and orphan cross the thin membrane between life and death, encountering strange and marvelous creatures, and inhabiting a visually thrilling story that represents the very best in bold contemporary animation and popular art. —T.M.A.
Also catch up with …
Candy Cane Lane (Prime Video)
Everyone seems to be getting in on the original holiday movie trend, which the Hallmark Channel kicked off a decade ago. Now Prime Video joins the Christmas derby with a big splash and some heavy-duty star power, thanks to Eddie Murphy, 62, who stars in this family comedy as a guy who will stop at nothing (including teaming up with an elf) to win his neighborhood’s cutthroat annual house-decorating contest.
Watch it: Candy Cane Lane on Prime Video