It’s a big month for movie fans. Making their way to your television sets are a couple of the summer’s biggest hits: “The Wolverine” and “Fast & Furious 6.” Not to be outdone is the debut of Frank Darabont’s gangster series “Mob City.” And before you think it’s all guns, cars and claws, December brings a slew of holiday specials, including a rare live network TV event starring Carrie Underwood.
New this week on Movies on Demand
Fast & Furious 6
The latest release of the Fast & Furious franchise one-ups the previous installments in just about every way. The action is bigger. The explosions are bigger. Even the stars are bigger—literally (Dwayne Johnson is the size of a building). At times the film veers too close to silliness for its own good, but in the end, check your brain at the door and just enjoy the action and bulging biceps. “Fast & Furious 6” stars Vin Diesel, Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez and the late Paul Walker. Available Dec. 12 in theatrical and extended versions.
Hugh Jackman is back as our favorite mutant. This time he heads to Japan where his claws are put to frequent use as he battles a deadly nemesis—as well as his own demons. Jackman, as always, shines as the brooding mutant. Available Dec. 2.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
A seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (well-played by Lily Collins), discovers she is a Shadowhunter, a secret group of half-angel warriors who protect earth from monsters. Based on the series of novels by Cassandra Clare, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” tries to fill the Harry Potter/Twilight void. The result is an entertaining and attractive film, even if the plot is somewhat muddled and there are too many characters. Available Nov. 2.
The Smurfs 2
There’s not a lot you can say about “The Smurfs 2.” It will please the small tots in the house for a couple of hours. Available Dec. 2.
If you saw 2011’s “Red,” then you know what you are going to get. Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich and Hellen Mirren trot around the globe causing mayhem. It’s all lightweight and fun. Available now.
CMA Country Christmas
A host of country music stars (Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Nettles, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and many more) share their music and memories in this holiday special. Monday, Dec. 2 on ABC.
Frank Darabont, who adapted “The Walking Dead” for TV, brings to life this limited-run series set in post-WWII Los Angeles. The series recounts the gangsters and police who battled for the city’s soul. Series premieres Dec. 4 on TNT.
The Santa Clause
Tim Allen does a nice job as a cranky ad executive who is forced to fill Santa’s shoes. The film runs periodically on ABC Family over the next few weeks.
The Sound of Music Live!
Country music star Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”) star in a live adaptation of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Don’t expect a remake of the Julie Andrews’ film. This will be an adaptation of the 1959 Broadway show. Thursday, Dec. 5 on NBC.
Christmas in Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck stars in the 1945 film about a famous food writer who claims to be the perfect housewife. In reality, she has trouble burning toast. An enjoyable farce ensues when her editor invites himself to her home for Christmas, forcing Stanwyck to scramble to maintain her false facade. Look for it throughout December on the Hallmark Movie Channel.