When Picasso’s Weeping Woman simply vanished from a wall inside the National Gallery of Victoria in 1986, the art world was rocked, newspapers splashed their front pages with theories and the thieves taunted police with ransom notes.
It sounds like a Hollywood movie script with Michael Caine about to appear from behind a curtain, but it was a true crime, now turned into the documentary series Framed.
Film critic and host of The Feed, Marc Fennell takes on the challenge to “unpack the who, how and why” of this so-called infamous heist of the theft of what was Australia’s most expensive painting at the time, valued at $2 million.
“Art crimes don’t come much stranger than this,” he said.
“There is a community here that has been keeping this a secret for more than 35 years. It’s an essential part of Melbourne’s mythology, but it also had a powerful domino effect on innocent people.
“This crime left a trail of ruined reputations, careers, and lives all the way to the United States and beyond. There’s a very human story here that deserves to be told.”
Fennell transports viewers back to where it all started, with first-hand accounts from the people who were there at the time and experts in the field, including journalist Virginia Trioli and chief conservator of the NGV from 1984 to 2006 Thomas Dixon.
NGV director at the time, Patrick McCaughey, said: “This painting will haunt Melbourne for the next 100 years.”
All four episodes of Framed are released on December 26, SBS on Demand.
Bump, December 26 – STAN
There’s something in the idea of binge watching and Boxing Day.
This much-loved Stan original Bump is back for season two, with the Chalmers-Davis and Hernandez families again working through their own brand of chaos, tears, sharing baby problems and dramas with teenage high school parents, all anchored by the delightful Claudia Karvan (co-creator) and Angus Sampson.
Oh, and let’s not forget Baby J.
The original season of Bump quickly became Stan’s biggest-ever premiere, breaking the all-time viewing record for a new series on the platform, and drawing acclaim from critics and viewers alike for being relatable and full of heart.
Queen of the Universe, December 1 – Paramount+
From the brilliant minds of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and inspired by international singing competitions, Queen of the Universe follows the world’s most talented drag queens as they battle it out for global domination.
Hosted by Graham Norton, countries go headto head spotlighting their top talent to star judges Vanessa Williams, Michelle Visage, Trixie Mattel and Leona Lewis.
Man in the Arena: Tom Brady, every Tuesday 9pm – Kayo Sports
Man in the Arena has already started streaming on Kayo, but given the 10-part docuseries goes throughout December, it gets a special mention as it’s all about Tom Brady, widely regarded as the NFL’s greatest player of all time.
Kayo says it “will deconstruct each of the legendary quarterbacks 10 appearances in the Super Bowl from his own perspective, alongside exclusive interviews with key figures from Brady’s life and career”.
Eric, Ernie and Me, December 7 – Britbox
While there will be some among our viewing audience not familiar with Eric and Ernie, they were, at one time, the UK’s most famous double act. This biographical film launches exclusively on Britbox as an Australian premiere.
Station Eleven, December 17 – STAN
Based on the international bestseller of the same name by Emily St John Mandel, the Station Eleven premiere is all about what happens after a devastating pandemic.
We know one version, but what does the future hold in this one?
It tells the story of the inhabitants of a new world “as they rebuild culture, society and identity … [and] as these characters face threats to their new way of life, they hold onto the best of what’s been lost”.
Being the Ricardos, December 21 – Amazon Prime Video
Nicole Kidman plays Lucille Ball, the much-loved creator of groundbreaking 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, with Javier Bardem playing her Cuban husband Desi Arnaz.
Written and directed by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Social Network), it’s a behind-the-scenes drama that reveals the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship.
According to Amazon, the film “takes audiences into the writers’ room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their ground-breaking sitcom”.
The Line – available now to binge on Apple TV+
The Line is a new four-part, limited documentary series that examines the unprecedented 2018 case in which a US Navy SEAL platoon accused its chief Eddie Gallagher of war crimes.
With exclusive interviews with Gallagher, his wife Andrea, members of SEAL Team 7 who accused their chief, journalist Dave Philipps, former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and more, the docuseries is a “raw look inside Seal Team 7 and the deployment that pushed the bonds of brotherhood to their limits”.
Mayor of Kingstown – Paramount+
Yellowstone co-producer Taylor Sheridan has an eye for talent, as seen in his casting of Kevin Costner, who stars as the patriarch of a powerful, complicated family of ranchers.
So too with another adaptable actor Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) in this gritty, suspenseful and highly addictive show.
All episodes are available to stream now, so go bingewatch Renner and Dianne Wiest playing their version of “warped law in a shady Michigan town”.
Christmas movies galore, December 1 – Paramount+
A Family For The Holidays, A Gift For Christmas, 12 Days Of Giving, The Santa Squad, A Christmas Hero and Looks Like Christmas plus more.
Cinema releases now streaming, December 1 – Netflix
Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, Sandra Bullock in The Unforgivable and Don’t Look Up starring Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill and even Ariana Grande.
And finally, Henry Cavill returns for The Witcher: Season 2 with even more monsters and magic in this epic series.