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The Best TV Shows And Movies Leaving HBO Max In December 2022 – /Film

Well, we’ve got about another month left in 2022, and when many of us will be celebrating ringing in 2023 (not me, because I’m not into fun), some terrific movies and television programs will be shuffling off of HBO Max. Sure, they will probably be finding themselves on another streaming service in the near future, but there are a number of great works that you should not spend any more time putting off. What better time to see them than in the waning days of this year?
From the beautiful nature documentary series “Planet Earth” to the Robert Zemeckis breakthrough hit “Romancing the Stone,” quite a lot will be leaving the service when the ball drops. As time is not infinite, I’ve got five recommendations for you to fire up on HBO Max before the year is out, and all five are a grand time that I feel did not get nearly enough attention upon their initial theatrical releases. Let’s dive in, shall we?

“The Counselor” may not be the first screenplay that celebrated novelist and master of the bleak Cormac McCarthy ever wrote, but it was the first to ever make its way to the big screen. The result from director Ridley Scott is one of the most intoxicating, baffling, and utterly singular films to make its way out from a major Hollywood studio in the last 10 years. Upon its release, “The Counselor” was not widely accepted among the critical community and received a D Cinemascore. I think people were hoping for a taut thriller on par with Joel and Ethan Coen’s adaptation of McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men,” but what they got instead was an incredibly talky, bizarre meditation of the nature of violence and how America exploits its people.
The cast here is pretty unparalleled. Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, and Javier Bardem each attack their respective characters in a completely unexpected way than you think these types of people would behave. Bardem, in particular, is having an absolute blast and continues his streak of characters in Cormac McCarthy movies fashioned with truly atrocious haircuts. But the reason to see this — and why so many rejected it — is just for how bleak it is. The movie is so cynical, brutal, and occasionally violent in completely unglamorized ways that the only way to lift yourself out of it is to laugh. I think this will be a movie that we look back at in another 10 years and wonder what was wrong with everyone that they dismissed it. Let it be known, I never did.
Oh, yeah. And Cameron Diaz humps the windshield of a car nearly a decade before “Titane.”

We have talked quite a lot about the post-“Twilight” career of Mr. Robert Pattinson and all of the fascinating, weird choices he has made as an actor. There’s “Cosmopolis,” “Good Time,” “High Life,” “The Lost City of Z,” and “The Lighthouse,” all of which get their fair share of dialogue devoted to them. One movie of his in this run that almost nobody speaks out about is the Western comedy “Damsel” from writer/directors David and Nathan Zellner, and I think that’s because nobody saw it. The movie made a measly $323 thousand at the worldwide box office back in 2018, which is a depressing number to see. You can count me among the people who contributed to that box office total though, and I found it to be an absolute delight.
Quite a lot of movies nowadays are examining and deconstructing toxic masculinity, but not many of those go in hard on the trope of the nice guy. “Damsel” seems to star Robert Pattinson as this hapless pioneer on a journey to propose to the woman he loves (Mia Wasikowska), but we quickly learn that this love is not exactly mutual, transforming this tried and true story of love into one of obsession. The true lead of the picture is Wasikowska’s Penelope, and with the exception of last year’s “Bergman Island,” I think this is the best work of her highly underrated career. I don’t want to say too much, as there are a lot of twists to be discovered, but “Damsel” is a gem that needs to be unearthed.
Also, Russell Mael from the band Sparks makes a cameo!

I wrote extensively about my affection for Peyton Reed’s “Down with Love” several months back, so I won’t belabor the point too much. This homage to the glamorous screwball comedies of the 1950s and early 1960s is one of those movies the major Hollywood studios wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole nowadays. A movie star-driven, mid-budget, visually stylish period romantic comedy? For me, that is something I want to head out to the cinema to see every single week. “Down with Love” is a silly bit of fluff, and that’s what makes it so lovely. Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor have wonderful chemistry and completely understand what kind of movie they’re making, as do Sarah Paulson and David Hyde Pierce as their respective best friends. The film relishes its cinematic history and does so with wit and the craft to back it up. If you missed my plea to check out the picture back in April, do it now before it leaves HBO Max.

The first movie I saw at Fantastic Fest in 2017 was Cory Finley’s directorial debut “Thoroughbreds.” I knew nothing about the movie, which even included what genre it was. I had seen Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke in movies before, but they weren’t the stars I now know them to be. I just knew that it was to be one of the last films starring Anton Yelchin to be released after his tragic death the previous year. “Thoroughbreds” totally knocked me out.
This dark comedy about two teenage girls conspiring to murder the domineering stepfather of Taylor-Joy’s character was exactly the way I want a genre festival like Fantastic Fest to begin. I was blown away by its droll wit and Finley’s complete assurance behind the camera, which doesn’t always happen for a first-timer. Taylor-Joy and Cooke immediately emerged as two of my favorite young actors working, which remains true to this day. Even the sound design captivated me, and that rarely happens in movies made at this small of a level. As a look at privilege, it’s some of the most biting satire that’s been made on the subject in the last decade. “Thoroughbreds” rules, and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it. And after you watch it, stay on HBO Max and watch Finley’s sophomore feature “Bad Education,” starring Hugh Jackman, which was picked up by HBO and unceremoniously dropped early in the pandemic to absolutely no fanfare. Another great movie.

I find myself waffling back and forth between two movies when I am confronted with the question of what my favorite Edgar Wright film is. My first instinct is to say “Hot Fuzz,” as it was the first one I saw, and I can still feel the electricity I felt watching that film in a mostly empty theater. However, the more I consider the question and think about Wright’s work, there’s a strong chance that my actual answer is “The World’s End,” which somehow turns 10 next year. “The World’s End” features everything you could possibly want from an Edgar Wright movie. It has an expert blending of a high-concept movie with hilarious comedy, bravura filmmaking that makes your jaw drop, and deeply felt emotional stakes that surprise you with their poignancy. It’s all there and executed at such a high level.
But the main reason this film is successful as it is can be attributed to Simon Pegg in the lead role of Gary King, the middle-aged man eternally stuck in the perceived glory days of his youth. As an actor, Pegg doesn’t get the opportunity to play fully-fledged human beings with problems and contradictions all that often, and here, he gives what should be an Oscar nomination-worthy performance, which of course would never happen because the film features robot aliens filled with blue ink (not exactly Academy friendly). As a capper to his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy with Edgar Wright, it’s the kind of complicated character he deserved to play and knocks it out of the park. My hope is that there’s more to mine from this creative partnership, but that doesn’t seem to be in the works in the foreseeable future. So, go back and revisit this gem. Your opinion of it might have risen, as mine did.

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