There seems to be, at least in my household, less time for sitting down to TV in the month of December. Nevertheless, there is something on the dial if you need it and HBO does offer some presents for us all in the merry final month of the year. We at HBOWatch hope you unwrap some charming gifts when you tune in to Home Box Office this yuletide. Here are some highlights – What’s On: HBO Schedule for December 2013.
Theatrical Movies: Movie night on HBO is always Saturday night. This coming month offers up a rather odd set of flicks, it being the festive month of December and all. We have giants and zombies about and not one but two thrillers for those interested. It sounds more fitting for October maybe? In any case, we are able to unwrap the cinematic gifts of STOKER, JACK THE GIANT SLAYER, BROKEN CITY and WARM BODIES. Here is a sneak peek at each.
On 12.07 we are given STOKER. In this psychological thriller India Stoker, played by Mia Wasikowska of IN TREATMENT, has her live suddenly upended by not just the mysterious death of her father but by the arrival of Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode of U. K.’s Death Comes to Pemberly) and by the troubles with her unstable mother, played by Nicole Kidman of HBO Films: HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN. Hey, and I thought it cool that the lead of Fox’s Prison Break, wrote this work. The movie begins a 8:00pm.. The following weekend, 12.14, there be giants and Jack. Bryan Singer retells the classic fairy tale story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” He skews it a bit more violent as evident by the title but the basics are there. JACK THE GIANT SLAYER has Nicholas Hoult as young Jack and he is joined by talents like Ewan McGregor,Ian McShane (DEADWOOD) and Bill Nighy (GIRL IN THE CAFÉ). HBOWatch’s Ellie W. will review both of these movies for the site.
The back half of the month has the second thriller followed by zombie love. Hey, just perfect for the Holiday season, right? 12.21 takes us to the heart of a BROKEN CITY. This is a crime thriller starring Mark Wahlberg (ENTOURAGE and a producer for four HBO shows) and Russell Crowe. Also toughing in out in this one are Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kyle Chandler and Jeffrey Wright (BOARDWALK EMPIRE). Wright makes it worth watching alone. The premise gives us a corrupt city run my Crowe as the mayor and Wahberg, a PI, who is hired to clean up a mess involving a scandalous affair. Marc P. will delve into the movie more when it comes around. To wrap up the year we have the totally unexpected presence of zombies with WARM BODIES on 12.28. A familiar face appears here as Jack, I mean Nicholas Hoult, returns as a not quite human dude needing to connect to humanity in a post-apocalyptic age. Sounds like it could be gruesome but it is a comedy and our own Eleonora I. will explain further at year’s end.
That is the theatrical debuts for the month. I told you they were an odd sort. But, sometimes the odd gift proves most interesting. Take in a movie if you can. They all start at 8:00pm ET and can be found on HBOGo. Right now I offer up a sampling of BROKEN CITY.
Originals: Now, I know there has got to be some original HBO programming that you don’t want to miss. We hope this schedule will aid you in discovering just what those shows might be. We trust that the return of TREME is one of them. HBoWatch is aware that the New Orleans based drama has not been for everyone but this is a special season as it is the show’s final one and if you have watched any of it during its run you just might want to see its concluding five, yes only five, episodes! It premieres on 12.01 and plays for the next consecutive Sunday nights at 9:00pm, ET.
New Orleans, 38 months after Hurricane Katrina: Barack Obama has just been elected to the White House, giving this battered city reason for optimism. Yet for every entrenched resident who hopes to improve his or her lot – or just return to a sense of pre-Katrina normalcy – others are intent on capitalizing on the city’s vulnerability and suffocating its culture. The Peabody Award-winning drama series revisits the musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other familiar New Orleanians who continue to rebuild their lives, their homes and their culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane that caused the near-death of an American city. Here now is a look at each episode.
— Episode #32: “Yes We Can Can”: New Orleans celebrates the election of Barack Obama; Desautel opens her own Bywater restaurant; LaDonna rebuilds Gigi’s bar; school band director Batiste gets invested in his students’ lives. It airs on 12.01, 12.03, 12.04 & 12.05.
— Episode #33: “This City”: Lambreaux learns his cancer has spread; Delmond plays with Terence Blanchard in New York; Annie wins a song of the year award for “This City”; violence strikes one of Batiste’s students. It airs 12.08, 12.10, 12.11, & 12.12.
— Episode #34: “Dippermouth Blues”: McAlary and Desautel spend New Year’s Eve together; Batiste picks up a movie job; LaDonna comforts Lambreaux; Colson offers to testify, and the NOPD retaliates. It airs 12.15, 12.17, 12.18 & 12.19.
— Episode #35: “Sunset on Louisianne”: McAlary celebrates his 40th; Bernette gets a break in her case; Annie dumps her band; Lambreaux insists that Delmond carry on as Big Chief after he’s gone; Everett returns to New Orleans. It airs 12.22, 12.24, 12.25 & 12.26
— Episode #36: “…To Miss New Orleans”: Colson is offered a transfer; guardians send Lambreaux home; Batiste takes his sons to a Dr. John gig; Hidalgo returns to Texas; McAlary revisits his pothole, now decorated. It airs 12.29, 12.31 and into January. All episodes will also appear on HBOGo.
Thank you David Simon for giving us the HBO classics called THE WIRE, THE CORNER, GENERATION KILL and now TREME. He is the last Trailer.
After TREME is the continuation of the new comedies that just had their premieres in November. They are GETTING ON at10:00pm, ET and JA’MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL at 10:30pm, ET.
GETTING ON is based on the hit British series of the same name and is by the creators of HBO’s acclaimed BIG LOVE. Here is a quick sentence about the five remaining episodes of Season One of this new comedy which takes us to a Long Beach hospital’s elderly care ward. The show follows the daily lives of put-upon nurses and doctors as they struggle with the darkly comic realities of caring for the elderly in an overwhelmed healthcare system.
— Episode #02: “If You’re Going to San Francisco”: A new supervising nurse, Patsy, arrives at Billy Barnes just in time to have his preconceptions shattered. Air dates are 12.01, 12.02, 12.05, 12.06 & 12.11.
— Episode #03: “Make Someone Happy”: Patsy files a grievance against DiDi; and a gentleman caller sends shock waves through the ward. Aid dates are 12.08, 12.09, 12.11, 12.12 & 12.13.
— Episode #04: “Dumped”: The staff deals with a mysterious homeless woman; Dr. James implements a new exercise program Air dates are 12.15, 12.16, 12.18, 12.19 & 12.20.
–Episode #05: “Nightshift”: A placid night shift is turned upside down by a new patient and some familiar drunken visitors. Air dates are 12.22, 12.23, 12.25, 12.26 & 12.27.
–Episode #06: “The Concert”: Dr. James’ plans change; Patsy goes the distance with Dawn; DiDi recovers a debt. Air dates are 12.29. 12.31 and into January.
JA’MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL: This new comedy series from Australian sensation Chris Lilley (SUMMER HEIGHTS HIGH and ANGRY BOYS) has also put out a premiere episode and has five more to offer in December. This is all about Ja’mie, and the trials and responsibilities she faces as the “most well-known” girl on campus.
—“Episode 2”: Ja’mie competes with rival Erin and treats Mitchell to a private dance performance. Air dates are 12.01, 12.03, 12.05, 12.06 & 12.07.
— “Episode 3”: Kwami moves in with the Kings; Ja’mie takes things to the next level with Mitchell at her prefect party. Air dates are 12.08, 12.10, 12.12, 12.13 & 12.14.
— “Episode 4”: Ja’mie falls into a depression upon learning that Mitchell has been seeing her best friend Madison. Air dates are 12.15, 12.17, 12.19, 12.20 & 12.21.
–“Episode 5”: Ja’mie’s reputation is tarnished by a salacious video. Air dates are 12.22, 12.24,12.26, 12.27 & 12.28.
— “Episode 6”: Ja’mie steals the Presentation Day spotlight as her years at Hillford come to an end. Air dates are 12.29, 12.31 and into January.
The show is created, written and directed by Chris Lilley and will be reviewed on HBOWatch by writer MJ. S.
Documentary: There are no HBO Films or HBO Specials in December so we move right into the documentary category. In this closing month we conclude the HBO Fall Documentary series with two final installments. Jef D. will be reviewing each as they appear Monday nights at 9:00pm.
On 12.02 it is THE BATTLE OF AMFAR. This documentary short focuses on the first foundation to find a cure for AIDS in the U. S., the American Foundation for AIDS Research. It was created by actor/activist Elizabeth Taylor and medical researcher Dr. Mathilde Krim. This 45-minute documentary tells the story of these extraordinary women and their passionate pioneering efforts. Additional air dates are 12.05, 12.08, 12.10, 12.14, & 12.25. It also appears on HBO2 debuting on 12.01 – World Aids Day. The last film in the series is SIX BY SONDHEIM. Anyone in tune with musical theater knows this fellow and will want to check out this intimate look at the life and art of the composer/lyricist. The piece looks at his contributions via the examinations of six of his songs. It premieres on 12.09 and also airs 12.09, 12.12, 12.15, 12.17, 12.200 & 12.28.
Here is a clip further highlighting the remaining three documentaries. This is the first appearance of this video on HBOWatch.
Sports: Sports programming is pretty solid in December and is so without a new boxing matchup in sight. One exciting series debuting is 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road To The NHL Winter Classic. HBO Sports’ groundbreaking 24/7 reality franchise, which has captured 17 Sports Emmy Awards, joins forces with the National Hockey League for this limited series debuting Saturday, 12.14 at 10:00pm ET. This innovative four-episode, all access reality series follows the two clubs and reaches a climax when the teams meet in the sixth edition of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at the University of Michigan football stadium in Ann Arbor, in the ultimate outdoor hockey event. Episode 1 airs at different times every night from 12.14 thru 12.19. Episode 2 airs 12.21 thru 12.28 and Episode 3 airs 12.28 thru 12.31 and into January.
Three different sports series play out in December. The first one is a new series that will examine the different ways the world plays its sports and the issue surrounding our play. It is called STATE OF PLAY (pictured). The first installment features a compelling examination of the growing parental obsession with the scholastic athletic competition of their children. It is entitled STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS.
HBO Sports and executive producers Peter assemble an interesting format as they present a documentary film followed by a roundtable discussion of the issue with the filmmakers, subjects and guest experts. It debuts 12.04 at 10:00pm, ET. It also shows 12.08, 12.10, 12.13, 12.21, 12.26 & 12.30.
Also available will be new installments of THE FIGHT GAME WITH JIM LAMPLEY and REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL. Mr. Lampley will delve into the intriguing storylines, newsmakers and issues surrounding the ‘sweet science” of boxing with Show # 8 which can be seen on 12.07, 12.09, 12.11, 12.15, 12.19, 12.24 & 12.28. Mr. Gumbel and company tackles every and any topic in the world of contemporary sports with an installment debuting Tuesday, 12.17 at 10:00pm, ET. Edition # 201 airs 12.17, 12.20, 12.22, 12.25, 12.26, 12.28 & 12.30. The milestone Edition #200 runs 12.04, 12.06 & 12.09.
Other Movies & Shows: Now for those random picks of other programming appearing on HBO that might catch your interest. You never know what present may be revealed to give you glee so, let me pile the titles on. How about ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED, BATTLESHIP, HBO Films: CLEAR HISTORY, THE DESCENDANTS, THE LOVELY BONES, MEET THE FOCKERS or SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS to choose from?
There are also a few movies that are premiering on the channel, however, not in primetime. I draw your attention to EVELYN, a movie starring Pierce Brosnan about a man’s battle for the rights to care for his children in 1950’s Ireland and NO SUCH THING which is a reimagining of the Beauty and the Beast fable taking place in Iceland. It says CON AIR is a first run movie, but I don’t believe it; it airs Monday, 12.16 at 2:30am. Finally, HBO2 and HBO Latino are running a five-part look back at THE BEST OF BOXING 2013. Oh, and on 12.31 HBO marathons all ten episodes from season Two of GIRLS! I’m just being through.
HBO’s Other Platforms: Here are a few other choices from across the channels. HBO Latino: Here are two movies debuting in December. First is LA VIDA PRECOZ Y BREVE DE SABINA RIVAS (The Life of Sabina Rivas). It is a hard-hitting drama of a Honduran girl’s dream to be in the U. S.; first however she has to get through Mexico. The other film I’ll single out is EL MUERTO Y SER FELIZ (Dead Man and Being Happy). In this one a dying Argentinean man gets in a car to drive until he stops and along the way meets a woman and together they deal with their problems. HBO Family: This channel is promoting a movie premiere in its lineup called BIG FAT LIAR. That is the one where the teen claims his school homework was lost and discovered by a Hollywood bigwig to make it into a movie. No one, of course, believes him so he heads to L. A. to really make it happen. Frankie Muniz and Paul Giamatti star. HBO Signature: Here are a few more movies so bear with me. Variety calls IN THEIR SKIN an unnerving home invasion thriller at a family’s vacation home. DRAGONFLY stars Kevin Costner and is a supernatural mystery piece as his deceased wife seems to be communicating with him. THE GAME is the Michael Douglas mind game that is worth seeing if you haven’t yet. HBO Comedy: We had Sara Silverman on the main channel in November but on this channel you can have comedy all the time. Upcoming is classic stand-up include Damon Wayans, Jason Kuller, Lewis Black, Jeff Garlin, Dennis Miller and more. Check it out. HBOGO: Since we are getting a title overload here let me just remind you that there are plenty of movies and most of the HBO series to watch here. There are Latino series of which most are subtitled, Family Series and Late Night Series as well. It is a great place to catch the classic series OZ or..oops I slipped in a tile, but you get the idea. Cinemax: Movies, movies, movies that is what the channel is all about. If you get it bundled with HBO then you got films like SNITCH, ARGO, THIS IS 40 and NEW YEAR’S EVE.
By the time you get to New Year’s Eve 2013 you will have unwrapped these cinematic treats or maybe some others that I didn’t mention. Enjoy what yo discover on HBO!
Next Month’s Tease:
Final Clip: One more thrilling movie clip to conclude. Here is STOKER.