The Best Movies to Stream in Seattle: December 23-Jan 3, 2021

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lawrence Michael Levine's Black Bear, and More Top Picks
December 23, 2020
It took them over 30 years, but Pixar's latest venture stars Jamie Foxx as the animation company's first Black lead: a jazz player who ends up in the afterlife on the night of a big show. (Pixar)

The old holiday tradition of braving a packed movie theater to see a blockbuster release on Christmas Day will be put on hold this year. Instead, pop your own corn, brew a cauldron of 'nog, and peruse our roundup of movies streaming through local theaters (like Michael Levine's Black Bear and two '80s animated features from Hungarian legend Marcell Jankovics, János Vitéz and Son of the White Mare, all courtesy of Grand Illusion), as well as some notable nationwide options (like the mockumentary Death to 2020, made by the creators of Black Mirror). Plus, if you haven't heard, The Stranger's amateur porn film festival HUMP! is accepting submissions through January 8, as is the stoner short film fest SPLIFF, through March 5! And don't forget to check out the second installment of The Stranger's Film Club, a new biweekly video series entering Black films with Stranger film experts Jasmyne Keimig and Charles Mudede.

Jump to:  Streaming: Local Connection | Film Festivals | Streaming: Nationwide

Streaming: Local Connection

Black Bear
After seeing Matt Spicer's 2017 dramedy Ingrid Goes West, our confidence in Aubrey Plaza's ability to bring both humor and tragedy to a character who is deeply flawed by society is... strong. It looks like she brings a similar duality to Lawrence Michael Levine's Black Bear, in which she plays a creatively stifled filmmaker who heads to a rural cabin and is inspired to take on a twisted project involving the young couple (Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon) who live there.
Grand Illusion
Starting Fri Dec 25

You know the deal. It's some snarky paranormal investigators/ghost removers—played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson—versus all the ghouls of Manhattan in this gooey, goofy send-up of horror and monster movies. Queue it up and watch along with MoPOP. 
Wed Dec 30

János Vitéz
The first-ever animated feature film produced in Hungary (!), a visual adaptation of Sándor Petőfi’s 1845 poem, follows a young soldier on his mythic quest to reunite with his one true love, Iluska.
Grand Illusion
Starting Fri Jan 1

Koko-di Koko-da
In this unnerving psychological horror from Swedish writer-director Johannes Nyholm, a sideshow artist and his creepy entourage emerge from the woods and terrorize a bickering couple trying to reconcile their differences on a weekend camping trip. 
Grand Illusion
Starting Fri Dec 25

Son of the White Mare
Described in press materials as a "swirling, color-mad maelstrom of mythic monsters and Scythian heroes, part-Nibelungenlied, part-Yellow Submarine, lit by jagged bolts of lightning and drenched in rivers of blue, red, gold and green," this early-'80s Hungarian animation centers the battle between a massive cosmic oak tree that guards the underworld with the help of 77 dragons and a white horse whose godly offspring want to rid the world of evil.
Grand Illusion
Starting Fri Jan 1

Film Festivals

Mujeres Ibero y Latinoamericanas en el Cine
The Seattle Latino Film Festival presents a tribute to Latinx women filmmakers around the world, from Venezuela's Alejandra Szeplaki (Candy Bar) to El Salvador's Marcela Zamora (Los Ofendidos).
Seattle Latino Film Festival

Streaming: Nationwide

This Netflix original series would have it that before there was Gossip Girl, there was Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), an anonymous scandalmonger whose salacious newsletters reveal the dirtiest secrets of posh London townspeople. 
Starting Fri Dec 25

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang discover the true meaning of Christmas while hunting for the perfect tree for their holiday play. Come for the unbridled nostalgia, stay for Vince Guaraldi's magical soundtrack that Charles Mudede calls "the whole of jazz's greatest contribution to the holiday season."
Apple TV+

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 4
The previous season of this occult-driven adaptation of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, starring Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka as our heroine tugged between the life of a good-natured witch and a Satanic-worshipping one, ended with a rather convoluted plot in which Sabrina created a time paradox and concluded that the ninth circle of hell exists in its own pocket of time. Buckle in real tight for whatever this latest round of episodes has in store. 
Starting Thurs Dec 31

Death to 2020
If you feel like you've been living in a Black Mirror episode this past year, this mockumentary about 2020 from the creators of that very show, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant, and Lisa Kudrow, will absolutely validate your perspective and even make you laugh in a the-world-is-burning-as-we-speak kind of way. 
Starting Sun Dec 27

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special
Christmas queen of the 21st century, Mariah Carey, brings on the additional star-power of Tiffany Haddish, Ariana Grande, and Jennifer Hudson in her latest musical holiday special that should serve as a fine visual supplement to her beloved holiday album.
Apple TV+

The Midnight Sky
Oh no, George Clooney's gravelly voice is stranded in the Arctic! What's more, he's scrambling to convince Felicity Jones and her fellow astronauts to stay in outer space, which is much safer than the post-apocalyptic catastrophe-stricken Earth. Clooney is also the director of this adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s acclaimed novel Good Morning, Midnight.

Sylvie’s Love
The classic boy-meets-girl-over-the-summer-and-they-reunite-later-on Hollywood formula is freshened up by Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha's dreamy performances in this Harlem-set romance. 
Amazon Prime

It took them over 30 years, but Pixar's latest venture stars Jamie Foxx as the animation company's first Black lead: a jazz player who ends up in the afterlife on the night of a big show.
Starting Frid Dec 25

The Watch
A crime-fighting group by the name of City Watch protects the population of a gritty fantasy world of city-slicking wizards, trolls, and other fantastical creatures. This BBC series is based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.
BBC America
Sun Jan 3

We Can be Heroes
Small children are tasked with saving their parents and the world when the superheroes who usually fight evil are abducted by alien invaders. 
Staring Fri Dec 25

The West Wing
Looking to tuck into a classic show to binge for the long winter? Every season of the political drama The West Wing hits HBO Max on Christmas.
Starting Fri Dec 25

Wonder Woman 1984
The year is 2017. The first Wonder Woman featuring Gal Gadot releases to a vastly different landscape. It feels charming, even though it raises some eyebrows by painting with what is, at best, a rather broad brush. Fast forward to 2020. New entries into the superhero genre have fundamentally challenged it, but Wonder Woman 1984 would rather pretend nothing has changed and plays it safe with a familiar story about good versus evil. After shows like Watchmen and The Boys challenged the superhero story and raised our collective expectations, Wonder Woman 1984's approach comes across as superficial, a universe away from what a superhero story can and should be. It's a film centered around a magic wish-granting rock that tries and fails to grapple with Middle East politics. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Starting Fri Dec 25; also playing at Blue Fox, Skyline, and Rodeo drive-in theaters

Yearly Departed
A chaotic eulogy for all the things we've lost as a society to the greedy hands of 2020 is delivered by your favorite womxn of comedy, from established stars like Tiffany Hadish and Sarah Silverman to up-and-comers like Ziwe Fumudoh and Patti Harrison. 
Amazon Prime
Starting Wed Dec 30