Popular Australian streaming service Binge is crammed full of great movies to get you through many movie nights in front of the TV. Check out our top 10 picks and click through to watch or sign up for a free trial!
DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA
Why you should watch: Starting this list off with the style and grace that is Downton Abbey. The usual cast are all present with the added bonus of an appearance from Hugh Dancy and Dominic West. Here The Crawley family step away from Downton, going on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the dowager countess’s newly inherited villa. And what a spectacular villa it is! There are obviously secrets from her youth that the Dowager has been keeping to herself. But all is revealed. As usual the sets and wardrobe are superb. To add a bit of trivia, in one scene, Lady Bagshaw and Mr. Carson are mistaken for a married couple. Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter have been married in real life since 1983.
Director: SIMON CURTIS
Cast: HUGH BONNEVILLE, ELIZABETH MCGOVERN, MICHELLE DOCKERY, JIM CARTER, HUGH DANCY, DOMINIC WEST, PENELOPE WILTON
THE GOOD LIAR
Why you should watch: Often a film which possibly is lacking in some areas, is saved by the rapport and acting skills of the two leading actors. This is the case with this story of a career con artist, Roy Courtnay, who can hardly believe his luck when he meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish on-line. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life. The plot, which appears to be following a predictable path, does eventually veer off into an unexpected direction, which is refreshing. Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen are excellent here.
Director: BILL CONDON
Cast: HELEN MIRREN IAN MCKELLEN, RUSSELL TOVEY, JIM CARTER, MARK LEWIS JONES, LUCIAN MSAMATI, SPIKE WHITE, TUNJI KASIM
Why you should watch: Helen Mirren once again delivers a superb performance in this excellent story from the late director Roger Michell. It was his final feature film. This time she is paired with the equally talented Jim Broadbent, who steals the show as 60-year-old Kempton Bunton who, in 1961, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. He sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly. An uplifting true story about a good man who set out to change the world and managed to save his marriage. The courtroom scenes are a joy to behold.
Director: ROGER MICHELL
Cast: JIM BROADBENT, HELEN MIRREN, FIONN WHITEHEAD, MATTHEW GOODE, ANNA MAXWELL MARTIN, JAMES WILBY, JACK BANDEIRA
BERNARD & DORIS
Why you should watch: Actor Bob Balaban directs this semi-fictionalised account of the relationship that developed between socialite heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke and her self-destructive Irish butler Bernard Lafferty later in her life. Lafferty gradually becomes Duke’s gay alter ego as she romps through life sleeping with young men, making shrewd decisions quickly, managing her fortune and orchids as Lafferty manages her New Jersey estate. But he must manager to keep himself together when she needs him the most and with a huge wine cellar, that is going to be a struggle. Lafferty was named as the executor of Duke’s $1.2 billion estate, which he managed until his death. Ralph Fiennes and Susan Sarandon are superb as Bernard and Doris. An interesting addition to the cast is Peter Asher who some may remember as being part of the 1960’s duo Peter and Gordon.
Director: BOB BALABAN
Cast: SUSAN SARANDON, RALPH FIENNES
THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB
Why you should watch: This film is quite enjoyable as it doesn’t follow the path of the usual comedy romance, again with the bonus of the appearance of Hugh Dancy. When Sylvia’s husband dumps her for another woman, her friends Bernadette and Jocelyn organise a book club to distract her. They recruit Sylvia’s daughter Allegra; Prudie, a young teacher whose marriage may be on the rocks; and Grigg, a sci-fi fan who joins out of attraction to Jocelyn. The six read and discuss one Austen novel per month. Jocelyn tries to interest Grigg in Sylvia; Allegra falls in love with a woman she meets skydiving; Prudie contemplates an affair with a student; Sylvia’s ex keeps popping up. All the intrigue and liaisons of Austen’s novels, but in a modern setting.
Director: ROBIN SWICORD
Cast: EMILY BLUNT, MARIA BELLO, HUGH DANCY, AMY BRENNERMAN, KATHY BAKER, MAGGIE GRACE, JIMMY SMITHS, MARK BLUCAS
Why you should watch: The rapport in this poignant comedy drama is between man and dog, in particular Channing Tatum as Army Ranger Briggs and ex-military dog, Lulu. Tatum co-directed and scripted this story based on the rescued mix-breed dog named Lulu he adopted. Briggs is given the task of getting Lulu to her former Army Ranger handler’s funeral. Along the way, they’ll drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to accept and get along with each other. A refreshing aspect of this film was that they refrained from inserting a romantic angle to the story, just for the sake of it. And there’s an excellent soundtrack to accompany the pair on their road trip.
Director: CHANNING TATUM, REID CAROLIN
Cast: CHANNING TATUM, EMMY RAVER-LAMPMAN, ETHAN SUPLEE, KEVIN NASH, CAYDEN BOYD, BILL BURR
Why you should watch: This is an interesting story, which won’t appeal to all as it is filmed in black and white and ambles along at a relaxed pace. Joaquin Phoenix is perfectly cast as Johnny, an emotionally stunted and softspoken radio journalist who travels the country interviewing a variety of kids about their perspective of the world and their future. Then Johnny’s saddled with caring for his young nephew Jesse. Jesse brings a new perspective and, as they travel from state to state, effectively turns the emotional tables on Johnny. The idea for the film came from director Mike Mills’ relationship with his own child.
Director: MIKE MILLS
Cast: JOAQUIN PHOENIX, GABY HOFFMAN, WOODY NORMAN, SCOOT MCNAIRY, MOLLY WEBSTER, JABOUKIER YOUNG-WHITE
Why you should watch: Not quite sure how Will Smith won an Oscar for his portrayal here. Smith stars as Richard Williams who is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s neglected tennis courts, rain or shine, the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Williams certainly gave tennis two of the greatest players in the sport. But their upbringing would not have been easy, which is not really explored here.
Director: ZACH BAYLIN
Cast: WILL SMITH, JON BERNTHAL, SANIYYA SIDNEY, DEMI SINGLETON, AUNJANUE ELLIS, TONY GOLDWYN, CRAIG TATE
SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE
Why you should watch: We’re stepping back in time for the last two films in this selection. We all first noticed James Spader in Pretty in Pink in 1986, but his moody portrayal as sexual voyeur Graham in this Steven Soderbergh classic, really sealed the deal. This was Andie MacDowell’s second film, following up with Green Card in 1990. The ensemble cast also included Peter Gallagher and Laura San Giacomo in her first credited feature role. John and Ann are a young, upwardly mobile couple, who appear to have a perfect life, but John is having an affair with her sister, Ann. Enter old friend, Graham, who has a forthright view on life, and an unusual way of dealing with his emotional problems. He has a profound effect on all three. James Spader is the main reason to watch this one.
Director: STEVEN SODERBERGH
Cast: JAMES SPADER, ANDIE MACDOWELL, PETER GALLAGHER, LAURA SAN GIACOMO, STEVEN BRILL