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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans to get stuck into the latest season of 'Mindhunter', a new David Bowie doco or re-watch 'The X-Files'.
By Sarah Ward
August 12, 2019
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Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans to get stuck into the latest season of 'Mindhunter', a new David Bowie doco or re-watch 'The X-Files'.
By Sarah Ward
August 12, 2019
  shares

Not all that long ago, the idea of getting cosy on your couch, clicking a few buttons, and having thousands of films and television shows at your fingertips seemed like something out of science fiction. Now, it's just an ordinary night — whether you're gathering the gang for a stay-at-home shindig, cuddling up to your significant other or shutting the world out for some much needed me-time.

Of course, given the wealth of options to choose from, there's nothing ordinary about making a date with your chosen streaming platform. The question isn't "should I stay in?" — it's "what on earth should I watch?". Hundreds of titles are added to Australia's online viewing services each and every month, all vying for a spot on your must-see list. And, so you don't spend 45 minutes scrolling and then being too tired to actually commit to watching anything, we're here to help. From the latest and greatest to old favourites, here are our picks for your streaming queue for August.

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NEW STUFF TO WATCH NOW

THE BOYS

At a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe has clocked up 23 films in just over a decade, DC Comics is trying to build its own movie realm filled with caped crusaders, and plenty of other tales of enhanced humans hit the big and small screen every month, superhero saturation is a genuine phenomenon. And yet, Amazon Prime Video's The Boys boasts its own flavour, even if the idea of superheroes who aren't always super or heroic is hardly new. Here, humanity's spandex-wearing beacons of hope have been highly commercialised, corporatised and monetised, and this deeply cynically (and deeply violent and amusing) series has ample fun with the idea. It all starts when one of the celebrated superheroes from a group dubbed 'The Seven' brings trauma to appliance store worker Hugh Campbell's (Jack Quaid, son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan) life, leaving him desperate for answers — and desperate enough to join a gang of vigilantes led by the uncouth, no-nonsense Billy Butcher (a pitch-perfect Karl Urban).

The first season of The Boys is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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LAMBS OF GOD

On a remote island that's difficult to access, in a dilapidated convent that time seems to have forgotten, three women (Essie Davis, Ann Dowd and Jessica Barden) remain true to their faith by adhering to their routines and rituals. Then, an uncaring priest (Sam Reid) arrives with a message: their home is due to be sold off by the Catholic Church, for profit, and turned into a luxury hotel for the wealthy. More than just a fight against gentrification and corruption, the plight of Lambs of God's three nuns spans mysteries, murder, divine beliefs and otherworldly deeds, all based on the novel of the same name by Australian author Marele Day. Directed by Ali's Wedding's Jeffrey Walker and lensed by acclaimed Australian cinematographer Don McAlpine, the four-part mini-series proves a lush and twisty gothic drama — aka the best kind — that takes aim at both gender and death inequality.

All four episodes of Lambs of God is available to stream on Foxtel Now.

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FLOWERS

More Julian Barratt in more British television programs is never a bad thing. In fact, it's downright delightful. Swapping The Mighty Boosh's silliness for a firm, unshakeable mood of melancholy, Flowers sees Barratt play a depressed children's author — a man with a family (including this year's Oscar winner Olivia Colman as his optimistic wife, and two 25-year-old children who won't leave home), but with a sense of malaise that haunts his every waking moment, driving him to take drastic action. Running across two six-episode seasons, this series is bittersweet to its very core, pushing the idea of domestic dysfunction to visibly striking, emotionally resonant extremes. Delving deep into mental health and trauma, when Flowers gets comedic, it favours the dark, surreal but unflinchingly honest side of the humorous spectrum.

Both seasons of Flowers are available to stream on Netflix.

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SHARE

After sneaking out of the house for a big night out with her classmates, 16-year-old Mandy (Rhianne Barreto) awakens dazed and confused in her front yard. She's also covered in bruises and scratches, and has no memory of most of the evening's goings-on. Then, after a hungover day at school, videos and photos start to spread like wildfire, showing a clearly unconscious Mandy being groped by some of her male peers. Based on writer/director Pippa Bianco's own short of the same name, proving a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and now streaming in Australia just days after it screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Share offers a potent exploration of the perils of today's always-online world. That said, this impassioned drama cares little for decrying the spread of technology, instead focusing on the emotional and mental impact on its understandably shellshocked protagonist — and marking Barreto as a talent to watch.

Share is available to stream on Foxtel Now.

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BACK TO LIFE

Is there a Fleabag-shaped hole in your life? Back to Life is here to help. On British TV, the latter even took over the former's timeslot. Daisy Haggard's Miri Matteson isn't just this British dramedy's stand-in for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, however — she's a 30-something woman returning home after a lengthy prison sentence, and trying to carve out some semblance of normality, even though she's hardly given a warm welcome home. Haggard co-writes the series, as well as stars, driving a show that finds a distinctive, delicate and affecting way to unpack arrested development. And if you really are getting Fleabag vibes, Back to Life was also produced by the same team.

The first season of Back to Life is available to stream on SBS On Demand.

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DAVID BOWIE: THE LAST FIVE YEARS

In his lifetime, no one could ever explain David Bowie. How do you capture someone so enigmatic, elusive, eclectic and constantly evolving? It's simply impossible. Now, even as time keeps passing after his death, the world still keeps trying to grapple with the musician's enormous impact. Documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years is the latest project that endeavours to understand his inimitable brand of magic, focusing (as the title makes plain) on the end of his career. While Bowie was facing cancer, he gave the world two exceptional albums in The Next Day and Blackstar, and saw much of his life's work weaved into stage musical Lazarus — and, with never-before-seen clips and interviews, this impressive doco delves into a creative force like no other as he did what he did best, astonished until his last breath and went out on his own terms.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years is available to stream on ABC iView.

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ONES TO WATCH OUT FOR LATER IN THE MONTH

MINDHUNTER

Sometimes, you need a killer to catch a killer. The FBI's Behavioural Science Unit knows this, interviewing imprisoned serial murderers to help them profile and hunt down criminals at large. That's the premise of Netflix's compelling crime drama Mindhunter, which is based on the non-fiction book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, features episodes directed by David Fincher, and earns the term 'meticulous' several times over — in the detailed ins and outs of agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench's (Holt McCallany) work, in the show's eerily exacting images and in its fine-tuned performances. Returning for its second season on August 16, the series will take on a new case and spend time chatting to a new nefarious figure. While the eloquent Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton) is still the FBI's go-to killer, Charles Manson (Damien Herriman) is also on Ford and Tench's interview list. The duo is endeavouring to investigate the Atlanta Child Murders, giving them quite the case to crack, and gifting devoted viewers a new bleak chapter to dive into.

Mindhunter's second season will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday, August 16.

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CULT CLASSICS TO REVISIT AND REDISCOVER

THE X-FILES

In a perfect world, The X-Files would always be on television. While the beloved show's most recent two-season revival seems to have come to an end, SBS is doing its best to give the series' fans exactly what they want: all X-Files, all the time, obviously. For a couple of months now, the broadcaster has been airing classic episodes every night, then making them available on SBS On Demand. There's never a bad time to drop in on everyone's favourite basement-dwelling FBI agents, who happen to be everyone's favourite paranormal, supernatural, otherworldly investigators, too. Come for the alien conspiracies, and the all-round-odd mysteries and monsters of the week — of which there's plenty — then stay for both Mulder and Scully, and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, at the top of their game.

Various episodes of The X-Files are available to stream on SBS On Demand.

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MAD MAX + MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

When Mad Max: Fury Road released in cinemas back in 2015, it wowed audiences for a wide variety of reasons. One of them couldn't be more simple: the fact that viewers had been forced to wait three whole decades for the fourth instalment in George Miller's dystopian series. The film's difficult history, including not being able to shoot in the outback town of Broken Hill because unseasonable rain left the usually arid Australian area overflowing with greenery, has been well-documented. The end product, of course, was well worth the delay. From Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron's stellar performances, to action scenes unparalleled in modern filmmaking, Fury Road is a modern masterpiece — and, if you're revisiting it on Stan, you can also head back to where the franchise all began with the original, Mel Gibson-starring Mad Max, too.

Mad Max and Mad Max: Fury Road are available to stream on Stan.

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SHIN GODZILLA

We've said it before, and we'll say it again — when it comes to a certain giant, fire-breathing, laser-shooting lizard-like creature, American cinema is yet to do Godzilla justice. Thankfully, while average-at-best US versions of the iconic character just keep coming, Japan hasn't relinquished its love for the now 65-year-old behemoth. Released in cinemas back in 2016, Shin Godzilla blows every other recent Godzilla flick out of the water (or tramples on them with its massive feet, if you prefer). Savvily, it's not just a monster movie about the towering figure's latest wave of destruction, but an exploration of the bureaucratic problems that arise every time Godzilla appears. If that's not enough for you, you can also jump over to Netflix and watch the trilogy of animated films that've been hitting the platform over the last couple of years, starting with 2017's Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, then moving on to 2018's Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle and Godzilla: The Planet Eater.

Shin Godzilla is available to stream on SBS On Demand.

Published on August 12, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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