With the holidays this month, it is the perfect time to celebrate our accomplishments from the year and envision what we want for the next year. From baking competition shows to holiday movies, our December “New on Screen” roundup features new shows and movies that celebrate the adversities and joys of life.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” tells the tale of a unique family, the Madrigals. Set in the mountains of Colombia, the Madrigals reside in a vibrant town and possess the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz). But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she must protect her family from harm. “Encanto” is playing at the El Capitan Theatre from Nov. 23 – Dec. 5. Rated PG for some thematic elements, and mild peril.
Madagascar: A Little Wild
Presented by DreamWorks, the fifth season of “Madagascar: A Little Wild” features your favorite characters from the “Madagascar” movie franchise when they were younger. Alex (voiced by Tucker Chandler), Marty (voiced by Amir O’Neil), Melman (voiced by Luke Lowe) and Gloria (voiced by Shaylin Becton) are back in New York City with adventures in and out of the “A Little Wild” rescue habitat. Episodes include Marty locking himself inside the public library, and Melman needing help to make it through his first-ever night away from the habitat. The fifth season of “Madagascar: A Little Wild” is available now to watch on Hulu and Peacock.
8 Bit Christmas (HBO Max)
HBO Max and New Line Cinema present “8 Bit Christmas,” a humorous and heartfelt holiday movie. Set in suburban Chicago in the late 80’s, ten-year old Jake (played by Winslow Fegley) embarks on a quest to get a popular video game system for Christmas. Reminiscing of his childhood, an adult Jake (played by Neil Patrick Harris) reflects upon his Christmas adventure in the 80s. The film is now available exclusively on HBO Max. Rated PG for rude humor, mild language, and suggestive references.
Mixtape (Netflix movie)
From the most popular streaming service, “Mixtape” is a coming-of-age and heartfelt movie to watch with the family. Set on the eve of Y2K (December 31st, 1999), 12-year old Beverly Moody (played by Gemmy Brooke Allen) discovers a broken mixtape created by her teen parents that died when she was a baby. Despite her grandmother’s (played by Julie Bowen) difficulty with discussing her late parents, Beverly sets out on a journey to find all of the songs on the mixtape in an effort to learn more about her parents. “Mixtape” premiers exclusively on Netflix on Dec. 3.
With the holidays around the corner, it is the perfect time to tune into Peacock’s “Baking It”. Hosted by Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg, this competition series involves teams of two talented home bakers to create savory and edible creations for a $100,000 prize. The judges include four real-life grandmas, who happen to be fantastic bakers themselves. All six episodes are available for streaming on Peacock on Dec. 2.
Based on DreamWorks Animation’s hit movie, “Trolls,” join Polly and other musical trolls for the fifth season of “TrollsTopia.” After discovering other trolls in the forest, Polly decides to invite each of the troll tribes throughout the forest to live in harmony. Episodes for this season include welcoming a K-Pop girl group on a mission, and trolls Synth and Minuet go through “The Tunnel of Friendship.” “TrollsTopia” returns with new episodes on Hulu and Peacock on Dec. 9.
West Side Story
Head to the El Capitan Theatre to watch the new adaptation of the beloved musical “West Side Story.” Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony), Ariana DeBose (Anita), featuring Rita Moreno (Valentina). With Academy®, Emmy®, Grammy®, Tony® and Peabody Awards under her belt, Moreno also serves as one of the films executive producers. “West Side Story” will be playing at El Capitan Theatre from Dec. 10 – Jan. 2. Tickets available now. PG-13 for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material and brief smoking.
Hosted by Emmy® Award winning actress Keke Palmer, “Foodtastic” is a competition show featuring talented artists across the world. Inspired by fan-favorite Disney movies and shows, the artists make extravagant sculptures with food. Episodes include “Toy Story: Toy Doctor to the Rescue” and “The Avengers: Sorceress by Day”. Along with Palmer, FLOUR SHOP founder Amirah Kassem and NYC’s City Cakes founder chef Benny Rivera serve as food art experts on the series. All episodes of “Foodtastic” will be available to stream exclusively on Disney+ on Dec. 15.
Paddington Saves Christmas
The beloved bear of children’s books stars in his own Christmas special, “Paddington Saves Christmas,” a unique virtual puppet performance made especially for kids and families. Join Paddington as he helps his grumpy neighbor, Mr. Curry, prepare his house for Christmas. Presented by Rockefeller Productions and written and directed by Jonathan Rockefeller, “Paddington Saves Christmas” is now streaming on Broadway on Demand and Marquee TV through Jan. 4.
For more ideas on what to watch with your family, check out our November New on Screen roundup.