Black Mirror: “White Christmas” Special (12/25)
Fans of bold and unapologetic science-fiction were devastated when Netflix lost the streaming rights to the British anthology series that takes a side-eyed look at how technology is poised to shape our lives in the future. So it’s something of a Christmas miracle — or at least a small dose of holiday cheer — that the Black Mirror‘s vaunted “White Christmas” special from last year will be online just in time for the big day. Starring Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall as co-workers inside a remote outpost at the end of the world, the 75-minute program tells three stories about augmented reality, each more unnervingly conceivable than the last.
Blow Out (Hulu, 12/1)
The consensus choice for Brian De Palma’s greatest movie, this deeply neurotic 1981 conspiracy thriller churns the director’s most profound obsessions through the analog mechanics of cinema. Set in Philadelphia (but more accurately located somewhere between Blow-Up and The Conversation), the story concerns sound technician Jack Terry (John Travolta), whose equipment inadvertently records proof that a fatal car accident was the result of an assassination attempt. Sending Jack on a dangerous path that puts him in the crosshairs of a merciless killer (John Lithgow, natch), Blow Out builds to a haunting final scene that illustrates just how literally filmmakers transmute their anguish into the films their audiences come to love.