What Movies To Watch on Stan

Aussie streaming service, Stan, has a fantastic library of movies to watch. Our On TV Tonight reviewers tell us their favourite movies on Stan right now!


10. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

What we think: From the director of TV mini-series, I Know This Much Is True, Derek Cianfrance, comes this powerful drama starring everyone’s favourite Ryan Gosling. Although his appearance is brief, his performance is riveting as always. A motorcycle racer, Luke, drives out of a traveling carnival globe of death desperately trying to connect with a former lover, Romina, who recently and secretly gave birth to the stunt rider’s son. In an attempt to provide for his new family, Luke commits a series of bank robberies aided by his superior riding ability. The stakes rise as Luke is put on a collision course with an ambitious police officer, looking to quickly move up the ranks. The sweeping drama unfolds over fifteen years as the sins of the past haunt the present days lives of two high school boys wrestling with the legacy they’ve inherited. A superb performance also comes from Dane DeHaan as Luke’s son, Jason.

Director: DEREK CIANFRANCE
Cast: RYAN GOSLING, BRADLEY COOPER, EVA MENDES, DANE DEHAAN, ROSE BYRNE, BEN MENDELSOHN, EMERY COHEN

9. MUD

What we think: This is one of the best coming-of-age films around, written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey in a memorable performance. The story revolves around two 14-year-old friend, Ellis Neckbone. The two boys set out to an island on the Mississippi River, where Neckbone has discovered a boat, suspended high in the trees, from a flood in the past. They discover food in the boat and fresh footprints. And that’s when they meet Mud, a gritty, superstitious character; his clothes are dirty, his tooth is cracked, and he needs help to reunite with his long-time love and escape a bounty hunter and his gang. Ellis and Neck decide to make it their mission to get Mud off the island. Excellent performances from Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland as the two boys, supported by a talented ensemble cast.

Director: JEFF NICHOLS
Cast: MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, TYE SHERIDAN, JACOB LOFLAND, SAM SHEPARD, REESE WITHERSPOON, RAY MCKINNON, SARAH PAULSON, MICHAEL SHANNON, JOE DON BAKER

8. THE MASTER

What we think: With Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, this is excellent viewing, albeit a little confusing. It’s one of those films that will have a different meaning, depending on your view. Following his discharge from the US Navy after WWII, Freddie Quell is having difficulties adjusting to non-military life partly due to his war experiences in the tropics. He is indoctrinated by Dodds, the leader of a cult, named the Cause, which purports to do things as varied as cure serious maladies and create world peace. But as Freddie travels with the Dodd family as they spout the gospel, he and the Dodds become at odds with each other.

Director: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON
Cast: PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, JOAQUIN PHOENIX, AMY ADAMS, JESSE PELMONS, RAMI MALEK, LAURA DERN

7. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

What we think: The Coen boys are so talented. Everything they do is a must watch, although Llewyn could do with a swift kick at times. The story follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, some of them of his own making. New York City in Winter is a special place, albeit a bit chilly.

Director: ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN
Cast: OSCAR ISAAC, CAREY MULLIGAN, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, JOHN GOODMAN, GARRETT HEDLUND, ADAM DRIVER

6. BELLE

What we think: This intriguing period drama is based on the 1779 painting of Dido and her cousin Elizabeth, and the filmmakers say it’s true in all the important aspects. The painting is now housed at Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland. The story is of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of Royal Navy Captain Sir John Lindsay. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the colour of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change, who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

Director: AMMA ASANTE
Cast: GUGU MBATHA-RAW, TOM WILKINSON, SAM REID, JAMES NORTON, EMILY WATSON, MIRANDA RICHARDSON, SARAH GADON, PENELOPE WILTON

5. STRANGER THAN FICTION

What we think: When life throws up weird, and sometimes wonderful situations, one may think, this is the stuff of fiction. In this film that’s exactly what it is. Harold Crick is your average I.R.S. Agent: monotonous, boring, and repetitive. But one day this all changes when Harold begins to hear an author inside of his head narrating his life. The narrator it is extraordinarily accurate, and Harold recognises the voice as an esteemed author he saw on television. But when the narration reveals that he is going to die, Harold must find the author of the story, and ultimately his life, to convince her to change the ending of the story before it is too late. If only we all had the opportunity to change the ending of our story. The ensemble cast is excellent in this one.

Director: MARC FORSTER
Cast: WILL FERRELL, MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, EMMA THOMPSON, DUSTIN HOFFMAN, QUEEN LATIFAH, TONY HALE

4. SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

What we think: It’s into the vault for this classic from 1957 written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, which takes place in the cut and thrust world of Broadway when New York City must have been the most exciting place to be. Burt Lancaster is cold and calculating as J.J. Hunsecker, the most powerful newspaper columnist in New York, who is determined to prevent his sister from marrying Steve Dallas, a jazz musician. He therefore covertly employs Sidney Falco, a sleazy and unscrupulous press agent, to break up the affair by any means possible. Excellent film noir.

Director: ALEXANDER MACKENDRICK
Cast: BURT LANCASTER, TONY CURTIS, SUSAN HARRISON, MARTIN MILNER, BARBARA NICHOLS, EDITH ATWATER

3. KILLER’S KISS

What we think: Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant body of work is well known. Here we step back to 1955 for this dramatic film noir, which was Kubrick’s second feature film, where prize-fighter Davey Gordon intervenes when private dancer Gloria Price is being attacked by her employer and lover Vincent Raphello. This brings the two together and they get involved with each other, which displeases Raphello. He sends men out to kill Davey, but they instead kill his manager. Gloria is soon kidnapped by Raphello and his men, and it is up to Davey to save her.

Director: STANLEY KUBRICK
Cast: JAMIE SMITH, IRENE KANE, FRANK SILVERA, JERRY JARRETT

2. THE KILLING

What we think: In 1956 Kubrick directed this brilliant film noir. The wonderful Sterling Hayden stars as career criminal Johnny Clay, who recruits a sharpshooter, a crooked police officer, a bartender and George, a betting teller, among others, for one last job before he goes straight and marries his fiancee, Fay. But when George tells his restless wife, Sherry about the scheme to steal millions from the racetrack where he works, she hatches a plot of her own. The whole scam goes like clockwork, for a while. Love this one.

Director: STANLEY KUBRICK
Cast: STERLING HAYDEN, COLEEN GRAY, MARIE WINDSOR, VINCE EDWARDS, ELISHA COOK JR. JOE SAWYER, TED DE CORSIA

1. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS

What we think: This is a thought-provoking, remarkable film, albeit an emotional one that will stay with you long after viewing. Through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, a forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

Director: MARK HERMAN
Cast: ASA BUTTERFIELD, JACK SCANLON, DAVID THEWLIS, VERA FARMIGA, RUPERT FRIEND, AMBER BEATTIE, SHEILA HANCOCK, DAVID HAYMAN, RICHARD JOHNSON

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