5 Best New Movies To Stream on Netflix in December: Wolf of Wall Street, Almost Famous and Bertolucci at His Absolute Peak

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

December may be the cruelest month for many reasons, but it’s especially hard on VOD options. For one thing, everyone is completely preoccupied with shopping. For another, studios have seen fit to release all their most notable and award-worthy features to a clamoring public, so serious-minded movie lovers willfully return to the multiplex after a summer of underwhelming blockbusters. But for those nights when the weather is too much to bear, we present the best Netflix streaming films of the month.

The Conformist: Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 masterpiece concerns a spineless autocrat who joins up with the Fascists and is ordered to assassinate his former teacher—a teacher who’s in opposition to the cause. One of the truly searing political dramas of the last 50 years, you’ll find it’s lost virtually none of its venom in the intervening decades since its release. It’s Bertolucci at his absolute peak.

Almost Famous: For a film that didn’t make much of a dent in pop culture upon its initial release, Cameron Crowe’s sweetly tinged coming-of-age autobiography has certainly grown a considerable reputation now. The film stars a young Patrick Fugit as a Cameron-like eager young music journalist who finds himself stringing for Rolling Stone. He covers the hedonistic rise of a new band on tour, along with groupies (such as Kate Hudson), lots of drugs, and their massive egos. Amongst many standout performances, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of legendary music critic Lester Bangs is one for the ages.

OculusVery often, promising horror films work to put their protagonists in a dark and menacing place, only to suddenly relax their grip and let them squirm away virtually unscathed by the end. Not so with Mike Flanagan’s antique-mirror-as-portal-into-an-evil-dimension thriller, which finds grown kids Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites returning to destroy a mirror that stole their parents years before. Flanagan creates a squirm-worthy premise and develops it into full-blown, hallucinatory hellaciousness without ever taking his foot off the accelerator.

The Wolf of Wall StreetMartin Scorsese’s Oscar-nom’ed black comedy finds current Scorsese muse Leo DiCaprio in a nearly ideal role: A morally bankrupt penny-stock peddler who figures out how to game the system and make a vast fortune by cooking the books and swindling people out of millions. What’s perhaps more surprising is the amount of humor stuffed in the film’s incredibly excessive opulence. Simply put, it’s funny as hell, and DiCaprio puts on a show that almost makes us forgive him (and Marty) for Shutter Island. On Netflix Instant December 11th. 

The Trip to Italy: The followup film to the surprisingly popular The Trip, this film pairs real-life good friends Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on tour together. This time the two travel along the stunning Amalfi coast of Italy, sampling fabulous looking meals and staying in resplendent coastal hotels along the way. Again, much of the film’s considerable humor comes in the thorn-studded bickering and one-upmanship between them. Both men are resourceful impressionists, but Brydon pulls out everything from Hugh Grant to Al Pacino with precise gusto. Michael Winterbottom’s documentary-like travelogue finds the two men at even greater odds than before, largely because of the professional schism now growing between them. December 23rd.