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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans to get stuck into an ominous new sci-fi series, a true-crime drama and a wild documentary about a zookeeper who hires a hitman to kill his rival.
By Sarah Ward
March 16, 2020
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Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans to get stuck into an ominous new sci-fi series, a true-crime drama and a wild documentary about a zookeeper who hires a hitman to kill his rival.
By Sarah Ward
March 16, 2020
  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 March.

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NEW STUFF TO WATCH NOW

DEVS

Radiating unease from its very first moments, yet sporting both a mood and a futuristic look that prove simultaneously unsettlingly and alluring, Devs is unmistakably the work of author-turned-filmmaker Alex Garland. His first jump to the small screen, it instantly slots in nicely beside Ex Machina and Annihilation on his resume — and, so far, it's just as intriguing and involving as each of those excellent movies. The setting: Amaya, a US technology company that's massive in size yet secretive in its focus. When Sergei (Karl Glusman) is promoted to its coveted, extra clandestine Devs division, his girlfriend and fellow Amaya employee Lily (Sonoya Mizuno is thrilled for him. But when Sergei doesn't come home from his first day, Lily starts looking for answers —  including from the company's guru-like leader Forest (a long-haired, very un-Ron Swanson-like Nick Offerman).

The first three episodes of Devs are available to stream on Foxtel Now,  with new episodes added each Sunday.

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STATELESS

A flight attendant (Yvonne Strahovski) unhappy with her life, trying to find solace in a cult-like dance school run by a creepy duo (Cate Blanchett and Dominic West), and eventually making a drastic decision. An Afghan refugee Ameer (Fayssal Bazzi) attempting to escape to Australia with his wife and daughters in search of a better life. A struggling father (Jai Courtney) in a remote town who takes a job at the local detention facility because it pays well. A bureaucrat (Asher Keddie) brought in to manage said location when it attracts negative media attention. They're the four characters at the heart of six-part Australian mini-series Stateless — a show that doesn't just feel as if it is ripped from the headlines but, in one specific instance, is 100-percent drawn from real-life events. This is bold, topical television filled with fantastic performances, although that's to be expected given the cast.

The first three episodes of Stateless are available to stream on ABC iView,  with new episodes added each Sunday.

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AMAZING STORIES

The 80s were a booming time for Steven Spielberg, with the filmmaker adding three Indiana Jones films and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to his resume — and producing Poltergeist and The Goonies, too. On the small screen, he also gave the world Amazing Stories, an anthology TV series that told a different standalone science-fiction tale in each episode. With The Twilight Zone returning to television last year, it was only a matter of time until Amazing Stories did as well, all thanks to Apple TV+. Spielberg is involved again, enlisting a cast that spans The Maze Runner's Dylan O'Brien, Lost's Josh Holloway, Halt and Catch Fire's Kerry Bishé and the late, great El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie star Robert Forster. As for the amazing stories its telling, the first involves an old house, a storm and a trip to the past (with the details obviously best discovered by watching).

The first two episodes of Amazing Stories are available to stream on Apple TV+,  with new episodes added each Friday.

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LOST GIRLS

True-crime dramas about missing women often follow a familiar path. Someone goes missing, obviously, then determined and dedicated police officers endeavour to find them. In Lost Girls, however, the cops barely care — and why that's the case is almost as much a focus for documentarian Liz Garbus in her first fictional feature. Based on a bleak true story and drawn from a true-crime text, the film focuses on Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan), whose 24-year-old daughter Shannan disappears after an appointment in a gated Long Island community. But, even when bodies start piling up, law enforcement are reluctant to investigate thoroughly, all because Shannan was a sex worker. While the movie pulls heavily on the heartstrings at times, it focuses on an essential issue — and The Wire and The Office's Ryan is phenomenal, with great support from Leave No Trace and Jojo Rabbit's Thomasin McKenzie.

Lost Girls is available to stream on Netflix.cp-line

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE

Talk about perfect casting. If you're going to make a movie about a meek, mild-mannered accountant who spends the bulk of his time alone, doesn't fit in with his frat boy co-workers and is struggling to cope with being violently attacked — and you're making a black comedy that firmly and sharply skewers toxic masculinity, too — then you want Jesse Eisenberg as your lead. Drawing upon experience in the likes of The Social Network and the Zombieland films, he's pitch-perfect as the aforementioned Casey, including when he seems to find solace in the teachings and classes of a local karate dojo. Also starring Imogen Poots (Eisenberg's co-star in Vivarium), and written and directed by filmmaker Riley Stearns (Faults), this smart blend of satire, statement and thrills never makes the obvious choice; however it does drum up plenty of laughs.

The Art of Self-Defense is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video.

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HER SMELL

You could say that Elisabeth Moss is having a moment, but she's been having one for quite some time now. The West Wing, Mad Men, Top of the Lake, The Handmaid's Tale, The Square, The Invisible Man — the standout performances just keep coming, and Her Smell is one of them. The film realm hasn't been short on music-focused movies of late, thanks to everything from A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody to Vox Lux and Rocketman; however this is a very worthy addition to the fold, capitalising upon the excellent combination that is Moss and her Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth director Alex Ross Perry. In a whirlwind performance that seems highly influenced by Courtney Love, Moss plays punk rock group vocalist Becky Something, with the feature exploring her ups and downs through five specific scenes.

Her Smell is available to stream now on SBS On Demand.

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HALSTON

Later this year, the life of famed 70s fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick will get the dramatised treatment, with Ewan McGregor playing the American celebrity, and American Horror Story and Pose's Ryan Murphy executive producing. What a story it has to unfurl — which excellent 2019 documentary Halston also explores. Preferring just to be called 'Halston', the designer's life was characterised by fabulous minimalist outfits, an array of famous faces all eager to wear them and the kind of frenzied parties that helped put Studio 54 on the map. As tends to be the case with these kinds of tales, however, there's much, much more to Halston's life. Directed by Dior and I's Frédéric Tcheng,  this doco treats its task like a detective's investigation, unearthing details, featuring a treasure trove of archival materials and even deploying Tavi Gevinson as a fictional archivist trawling through the minutiae.

Halston is available to stream now on DocPlay.

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WESTWORLD

At the moment, some dystopian sci-fi tales feel rather too close to home. If you're looking for escapism, however, Westworld still smacks of a completely different future. Set at a time when theme parks filled with robots are visited by anyone willing to pay — and eager to live out their wild west dreams — this series dives deep into technological horrors. That's been the case for two seasons now and, in the show's third, it's changing the game by following Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) outside of the park. After she teams up with newcomer Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul), things get both grim and hectic, based on the latest batch of episodes' two trailers at least. Westworld has always boasted a fantastic concept — back when it was a Michael Crichton-directed 1973 film, and when it first hit TV four decades later — and that remains the case now.

The first episode of Westworld's third season hits Foxtel Now on Monday, March 16, with new episodes added each Monday.

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ONES TO WATCH OUT FOR LATER IN THE MONTH

TIGER KING: MURDER, MAYHEM AND MADNESS

Even if the true-crime craze has somehow passed you by, you're going to want to watch Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness based on its premise (and trailer) alone. Joe Exotic doesn't just don a half-blonde mullet, or make country albums about his love of tigers, but, from 1999–2016, created and ran his own private zoo filled with more than two hundred big cats. We use the past tense because he's now incarcerated for hiring a hitman to kill one of his rivals — and how his story gets to that point has to be seen to be believed. Exotic also ran for President of the USA in 2016, has been known to marry more than one man at once, and hosted his own online TV show for years. We'd keep sharing details; however part of the enjoyment of every true-crime series, including this one from the folks behind Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, is discovering just how strange things can get.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness hits Netflix on Friday, March 20.

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CULT CLASSICS TO REVISIT AND REDISCOVER

THE PUSHER TRILOGY

Long before Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn tasked Ryan Gosling with speeding his way through Los Angeles' criminal underworld in Drive — and sent him into Bangkok's boxing clubs in Only God Forgives, too — he plunged into Copenhagen's darker side with Mads Mikkelsen in Pusher. Yes, it's a perfect pairing, with the duo both making their big-screen debuts with unsurprisingly gritty but stylish crime drama. And, two more movies followed the 1996 original, with Mikkelsen pushed to the fore in 2004's Pusher II, before 2005's Pusher III switched focus to another character. All of Refn's trademarks are on display in this franchise, which is great news for viewers who've been lapping up his English-language features from Bronson to The Neon Demon (and, last year, his leap to television with Too Old to Die Young).

Pusher, Pusher II and Pusher III are available to stream on Stan.

Published on March 16, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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