This month’s pick of new content streaming in Australia this August features Academy Award-winning movies, curious documentaries, low budget indie darlings and Hollywood blockbusters across SBS on Demand, Stan and Netflix.
The Bling Ring (MA15+)
A dramatisation of a real group of deviant LA teens of the mid-2000s who systematically burgled numerous Hollywood celebrities by ascertaining their location via social media, this low-budget 2013 movie directed by Sophia Coppola and starring Emma Watson is regarded as beautifully shot albeit shallow.
Heavily stylised, entertaining, shocking and eye-opening all at one, The Bling Ring was almost universally praised for Watson’s performance but criticised for a lack of morality.
More like this – Like seeing teens breaking the law? Watch Spring Breakers on Stan.
Acute Misfortune (MA15+) – available from 3 August
Erik Jensen was an ambitious 19-year-old journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald when Archibald Prize-winning painter, Adam Cullen, with a career retrospective at the Art Gallery of NSW, invited him to write his biography. This is the story of the four-and-a-half years leading to Cullen’s death at the age of 46 based on Jensen’s award-winning biography of Cullen.
More like this – Documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop captures the world of graffiti art in thrilling detail, following many of the most infamous figures at work in the streets. Streaming throughout August in Australia on Stan. Jerry Seinfeld’s 2002 doco Comedian on Netflix also offers amazing insight.
Donkey Skin (G)
In this wildly eccentric 1970 adaptation of a classic French fairy tale, silver screen royalty Catherine Deneuve plays a princess who must go into hiding as a maid in order to fend off an unwanted marriage proposal – from her own father.
More like this – SBS on Demand has an array of French language films spanning the new wave of the 1950s and ‘60s right through to more contemporary releases. For some of the latter, check out the charming animated family film My Life as a Zucchini.
The Shining (M)
A classic of the psychological thriller/horror genre, author of the source material Stephen King didn’t want Jack Nicholson cast because the idea was to see Jack Torrance progressively go crazy – he thought Nicholson looked too crazy to begin with! A Stanley Kubrick gem shot in his trademark meticulous style, The Shining wasn’t loved upon release in 1980; over time public sentiment has swung around and today it’s a beloved and heavily studied text.
More like this – While not as highly revered as The Shining, another Stephen King property, The Running Man, was famously adapted to film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987. Watch it on SBS on Demand.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (M)
Before Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly teamed up on Step Brothers, they played the Shake N’ Bake redneck NASCAR racing duo Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. The pair go toe-to-toe with outrageous bad guy Sacha Baron Cohen’s Jean Girard – an openly gay French Formula One driver in this racetrack romp.
Directed by long-time Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay, Talladega Nights takes off at full throttle with hilarious character work, satire, simultaneously smart and silly gags and some very well cast bit parts. It doesn’t relent either, cruising past the chequered flag in silly style.
More like this – McKay, Reilly and Ferrell get the band back together in the stupidly funny Step Brothers – available on Netflix.
Certainly one of the most arty Best Animated Picture Academy Award winners to date, Rango sees the director and star from the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, team up to make a comedy/western that manages to be both innovative and original whilst simultaneously tipping its hat to some classic cinema along the way.
More like this – Fellow Academy Award winner for Best Animated Picture, Spirited Away by the highly talented Studio Ghibli is available for streaming in Australia this August on Netflix.
SBS on Demand
The King’s Speech (M)
A decade later, the 2010 Academy Award Winner for best picture isn’t regarded as the finest film of that vintage, especially alongside the likes of The Social Network, Black Swan or True Grit. Regardless, The King’s Speech is still very good on account of Colin Firth’s excellent portrayal of King George VI – otherwise it’s regarded as a predictable but stylishly produced and rousing period drama.
More like this – Stream fellow 2010 Academy Award nominated picture The Social Network – rated as the best movie of the last decade by Quentin Tarantino – on Foxtel Now, Apple TV or Google Play.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (PG)
This star-studded 2004 blockbuster inspired heavily by the art deco aesthetic of comic books from the 1930s and ‘40s, is often regarded as a film light on substance and heavy on spectacle. Created and directed by one-and-done filmmaker Kerry Conran, Sky Captain was shot entirely against green screens and was considered revolutionary at the time. While the special effects were praised upon release, 16 years on they haven’t aged well. Sky Captain is an interesting and original film that, while flawed, is an entertaining watch regardless.
More like this – Similar in themes, setting and released around the same time, the more grounded Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator is available on Foxtel Now.
The September Issue (PG)
Eleven years on and this 2009 documentary has become a historical document to the final years of print’s ascendency over digital, a huge period of shift in the media landscape. The September Issue follows famous Vogue editor Anna Wintour as she prepares their September 2007 famous autumn fashion edition, chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama in gripping style.
More like this – Another documentary with incredible access and insight is the now legendary The Last Dance is streaming in Australia throughout August on Netflix.