After scouring the depths of Australia’s streaming services, NW shares our list of the best new streaming content available for your viewing pleasure across Netflix, Stan and SBS on Demand this October.
Scott Pilgrim Vs the World (M)
Director Edgar Wright’s comic-book adaptation Scott Pilgrim Vs the World is a unique, nerdy, heavily stylised film that incorporates influences from comic books, film and videogames into the work.
The film is centred on seven extravagantly choreographed fight set-pieces that pit protagonist Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) against his love interest Ramona Flowers’ (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) exes – all of whom are played by high profile actors including Chris Evans, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman.
A visually thrilling, fast-paced, funny film, its nerdy stylisation could be off-putting for anyone without even a passing interest in video game or comic book sub-culture.
Another one like it – Another comic book adaptation from the same era, Kickass is far more violent, profane and shocking than Scott Pilgrim, but similarly appeals to fans of comic books and video games alike. It’s also available on Netflix.
My Octopus Teacher (G)
Just the latest Netflix documentary to take social media by storm, My Octopus Teacher sees filmmaker Craig Foster befriend a young wild octopus after years of swimming every day in the freezing ocean off South Africa.
My Octopus Teacher explores Fosters’ blossoming friendship with the octopus as he visits her den and tracks her movements for months on end, eventually winning the animal’s trust and developing a beautiful friendship.
Another one like it – Night on Earth is a six-part Netflix nature series that utilises cutting-edge camera technology to reveal fascinating insights into how wild animals across the world survive in the brutal pitch black of nighttime.
First Blood (R)
In late September, the original Rambo trilogy went up on Stan, but First Blood is the original and easily the best.
A film adaptation of David Morrell’s 1972 novel of the same name, First Blood is a thrilling and thought-provoking survival adventure that provides insight into post-traumatic stress and the mistreatment of returning Vietnam War veterans.
Done through the lens of a manhunt through the mountains of the USA’s Pacific Northwest, the best part is that all the action, drama and intrigue is packed into a tight 93 minutes.
The sequels famously lose all sense of depth as the series descends into peak 1980s excess action, violence, ‘roided-up rigs and coked-up plotlines – and are great fun if that’s your bag.
Another one like it – Another movie exploring the brutality of the Vietnam War and its effect on the young men deployed into battle, Platoon is available on Stan.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (M)
Widely considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time, T2 is a near perfect outing and holds up magnificently some 29 years after its release.
One of the best examples of time travel in film outside of Back to the Future and Avengers: Endgame, T2 took everything that was good about the original 1984 Terminator and learned the lessons from its mistakes to produce the gold-stand action-blockbuster that’s since been imitated to death but never duplicated.
Another one like it – Rian Johnson’s 2012 time-travel action-thriller Looper sees Bruce Willis trying to avoid being assassinated by a younger version of himself, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt heavily draped in prosthetics to resemble Willis as closely as possible. Watch it on Stan or Binge.
A high-school comedy that is peak 1990s, Clueless is now a cultural historical document of sorts 25 years after its release.
Heavily dated by its pop-culture references, the fashion, the daggy quotes, and the hair – it remains watchable due to 19-year-old lead Alicia Silverstone putting in a wonderful performance, and its supporting roles being cleverly cast with future stars like Paul Rudd, Donald Faison and the late Brittany Murphy.
Silverstone never quite lived up to her potential after Clueless but will forever have an out-and-out generational classic to hang her hat on.
Another one like it – The Clueless of the 2000s, the Tina Fey written Lindsay Lohan led Mean Girls is another high-school comedy classic is streaming on Australia’s Netflix or Stan in October.
SBS on Demand
Mary and Max (PG)
A beautiful, albeit morbid, Australian stop-motion film, Max and Mary is a unique story of the most unlikely of intercontinental pen pals over some 20 odd years. Narrated by the dulcet tones of Barry Humphries, Mary and Max features an all-star cast including the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette and Eric Bana lending their voices to a film well worthy of their talents and efforts.
Another one like it – Tim Burton stop-motion musical Corpse Bride is Burton at his best – combining whimsy, bittersweet emotion and stunning visuals in a film brimming with imaginative characters and a fun soundtrack. It’s streaming on Australia’s Netflix in October.
Midnight in Paris (PG)
Owen Wilson’s depth as a performer is clearly something director Woody Allen recognised to cast him as his lead in Midnight in Paris, where he plays a wistfully nostalgic writer who has travelled to Paris with his fiancée and her wealthy parents.
While on tour, Wilson’s character gets swept up in his long-held love for the city and its famous Années folles – or roaring ‘20s – when his idols like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway would frequent the city’s bars and cafes.
It can be daggy at times and features a number of one dimensional characters, including a criminally boxed-in Rachel McAdams playing Wilson’s uptight, privileged wife, but Midnight in Paris is ultimately a movie that gracefully explores the pitfalls of nostalgia in one of the most romantic and nostalgic cities on earth.
Another one like it – See one of Allen’s much earlier works, Manhattan, also streaming on Australia’s SBS on Demand and ad-free on Stan in October.
Blending sci-fi with comedy and drama, Colossal is a unique and inventive take on the monster movie subgenre that sees its leads Gloria (Anne Hathaway) and Oscar (Jason Sudekis) discover their direct role in a giant monster terrorising Seoul, South Korea all the way from their sleepy American hometown.
The movie takes a turn when Oscar reveals his true colours and becomes quite confronting with its depiction of a controlling relationship, with Gloria ultimately mustering up the courage, inner-strength, and inner-giant monster to stand up for herself.
Another one like it – 2017’s Ingrid Goes West is a more grounded exploration of unhealthy relationships. It’s available to rent via Apple TV or Google Play.