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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans tonight to get stuck into a flick with Zac Efron as a serial killer, an absurd and hilarious new sketch series or old-school 'Veronica Mars'.
By Sarah Ward
May 05, 2019
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Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans tonight to get stuck into a flick with Zac Efron as a serial killer, an absurd and hilarious new sketch series or old-school 'Veronica Mars'.
By Sarah Ward
May 05, 2019
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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 May.

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NEW STUFF TO WATCH NOW

EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE

Thirteen years ago, when Zac Efron started singing and dancing his way through the High School Musical movies, mentioning his name in the same sentence as Ted Bundy would've seemed preposterous. Now the ex-teen idol plays the infamous serial killer in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, and his performance ranks among his best work. Directed by Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker who's also behind Netflix docu-series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, the true-crime drama explores the murderer's appeal — the charming persona that not only helped him lure in his more than 30 victims and managed to regale audiences during his televised Florida trial, but also made Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) fall in love with him long before she knew about his horrific crimes. Based on Kendall's book and filled with meticulous courtroom recreations, the film doesn't always make good on its desired approach but, thanks to its star, it does feature a creepily effective central portrayal.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is available to stream now on Netflix.

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BARRY

An ex-marine sniper traumatised by his military service, turned assassin to make a living back home and now trying to become an actor in Los Angeles, Barry Berkman is one of television's great characters — and Barry, the award-winning dark comedy series co-created, co-written, co-directed and starring Bill Hader, is one of TV's great shows. It may just be airing its second season at present, but every 30-minute episode is an amusing, poignant and insightful gift. Barry takes acting classes (from Henry Winkler), reluctantly pals around with a Chechen mobster (the brilliantly scene-stealing Anthony Carrigan), and endeavours to go on the straight and narrow. Of course, little goes as planned. Plus, although Game of Thrones might seem to have the whole battle angle thoroughly covered at the moment, the extraordinary fight scenes in one particular recent Barry episode prove an all-round acting, directing, editing and stunt choreography masterclass. (Yes, it's better than the Battle of Winterfell.)

The first five episodes of Barry season two (plus all of season one) are available to stream now on Foxtel Now, with new episodes added weekly. 

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I THINK YOU SHOULD LEAVE WITH TIM ROBINSON

You don't even need two hours to get through all six episodes of this new sketch comedy show but, once you're done, you'll wish that it went for at least twice as long. Social awkwardness is satirised with absurd precision in I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, and the results are as offbeat and hilarious as a house completely filled with Garfield items and furniture (trust us). If he seems familiar, Robinson was the star of Detroiters and also spent a couple of seasons on Saturday Night Live. He has plenty of recognisable co-stars on his new show, which he also wrote and produced — talents such as Will Forte, Steven Yeun, Tim Heidecker and Vanessa Bayer. And, like fellow ace new 2019 comedy PEN15, the show boasts some big names off-screen too, with The Lonely Island (aka Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone) its executive producers.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is available to stream on Netflix

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FYRE FRAUD

For those involved behind the scenes, the folks who forked out fat stacks of cash to go along and, more importantly, the residents of Great Exuma, Fyre Festival was a nightmare. For anyone who likes jaw-on-the-floor documentaries, the tales behind the failed event are the gift that keeps giving. Fyre Fraud is the latest such doco, although it was actually the first, dropping on streaming platform Hulu a few days before Netflix's Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened — and now finally available in Australia via 7plus. Both movies have murky layers, with the filmmakers behind Fyre Fraud paying convicted, currently incarcerated conman Billy McFarland for an interview. He's the star attraction, obviously, in a documentary that isn't as engaging as its counterpart, but remains a must-see for anyone oddly fascinated with the disaster of a fest.

Fyre Fraud is available to stream on 7plus.

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CATASTROPHE

Two single people meet, connect, have a fling and get pregnant. What comes next? That's been the premise for caustic English sitcom Catastrophe since 2015, following Brit Sharon (Sharon Horgan) and American Rob (Rob Delaney) as they find themselves having a baby together after they've just met. Now in its fourth and final season, the show charts the couple's domestic dramas — and, until her death, also featured Carrie Fisher as Rob's outspoken mother. As a bitterly honest, acerbic, amusing, warts-and-all look at all of the minutiae that comes with being an adult (relationships, jobs, friends, failed dreams, painful regrets, health issues, struggles with both the family you're born into and the one you start yourself), it's a standout. Even better, it handles its concluding run of episodes perfectly.

The first four episodes of Catastrophe's fourth season are available to stream on ABC iView, with new episodes added weekly. 

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DEAD TO ME

When the trailer for Dead to Me first released, we noted that this blend of drama and comedy gave off A Simple Favour vibes — and we stand by it. The Netflix series isn't as quirky or laugh-out-loud funny as that great flick; however, it similarly nails the complications of female friendship. The incredibly watchable show also delves into the many shades of grief smartly and satisfyingly as well. Story-wise, Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini play new pals who meet at a bereavement support group, bonding over their shared mourning for their respective spouses. But there's more to their tale, with the show adhering to one of the streaming platform's favourite techniques and throwing up cliffhangers at the end of every episode. Given the way that the first season comes to a close, you'll definitely be left hoping that more follow.

Dead to Me is available to stream on Netflix

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ONES TO WATCH OUT FOR LATER IN THE MONTH

WINE COUNTRY

Throw a heap of funny ladies together — usually Saturday Night Live alumni — and, no matter the situation, amusing things tend to happen. Think SNL, Bridesmaids and Sisters, obviously, with Wine Country aiming to follow in their footsteps. Amy Poehler both directs and stars, doing the latter alongside Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell and Tina Fey, with the comedy focusing on a group of pals who spend a weekend boozing at a vineyard getaway. (Unsurprisingly, Poehler channels her inner Leslie Knope, playing the organiser of the gang.) This is the multi-talented comedian's filmmaking debut, but she has previously helmed a trio of standout Parks and Recreation episodes, so here's hoping that this flick follows in their hilarious footsteps.

Wine Country will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday, May 10.

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FLEABAG

First, the good news: Fleabag is back with six more episodes about its titular character, and so is star, writer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It's been three years since the first season, so if you've been hanging out for more, your dreams have finally come true. Now, the not-so-good news: this is the show's big finale. Savour this last batch of London-set antics as Fleabag once again tries to not only navigate life's ups and downs, but share her musings in fourth-wall breaking chats to the camera. 2019 Oscar winner Olivia Colman co-stars again, continuing her stint as one of Britain's busiest actors. And if you're hoping for more of Waller-Bridge's talents once Fleabag ends, she's still an executive producer on Killing Eve, as well as a co-writer on the new, as-yet-unnamed 25th Bond movie.

Fleabag will be available to stream on Amazon Prime from Friday, May 17.

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CULT CLASSICS TO REVISIT AND REDISCOVER

JOHN WICK AND JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

The timing couldn't be better for a John Wick movie double. Mid-May, if you follow up your couch time with a visit to the cinema to see John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, you'll also be able to make it a triple feature. Who'd miss the chance to watch Keanu Reeves fight his way through everything that's thrown at him for as long as possible? No one, obviously. If you need a refresher, the story is simple. Ex-assassin John Wick is trying to live a normal, albeit grief-stricken, life when his past comes calling — and his adversaries mess with the wrong man (and dog). John Wick: Chapter 2 picked up where its predecessor left off, because mesmerising, balletic action doesn't get old in this franchise. If you'd also like to add a spiritual sibling flick to your mayhem-filled movie marathon, Atomic Blonde is also coming to Netflix on May 15, with the Charlize Theron-starring spy movie directed by original John Wick co-helmer David Leitch.

John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 are both available to stream now on Netflix.

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VERONICA MARS

A long time ago, Veronica Mars spun twisty mysteries across the small screen, and fans were thrilled for three seasons. The show has come back as a movie, via two novels and through a spinoff web series, and it's finally returning to TV (well, streaming via Hulu in the US) this year. Marshmallows, given that news, you just know that the old episodes are calling for a refresher viewing. Head back to Neptune, the seaside town with many a seedy layer, and jump into the life of everyone's favourite high schooler-turned-private eye. You can also play spot the star as you watch, with Kristen Bell joined by a bunch of famous faces across the series' original run, including Amanda Seyfried, Tessa Thompson, Max Greenfield, Leighton Meester, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Adam Scott and even Joss Whedon.

The first three seasons of Veronica Mars are available to stream now on Stan.

Published on May 05, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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