It’s almost the weekend, and that means you should book in another Gizmodo movie night. This week, polish your pince-nez, un-bend the corners of your copy of That Movie Book, and settle in front of the screen with a glass of wine and a plate of fine cheeses — these are the most underrated movies and TV shows streaming online right now.
We’ve re-jigged our existing Netflix Movie Night series, and brought in Australia’s other popular subscription video on demand services — Stan and Presto — to give you a broader selection of movies and TV shows to enjoy. On all three services, you can watch from your tablet or smartphone, on your PC or laptop, through your Smart TV, or through a media streaming dongle like the Google Chromecast, although specifics can vary.
Not what you’re after? Check out some other Gizmodo Movie Night suggestions:
Dead Snow is way, way better than the phrase “Nazi zombies” might suggest. There’s a little bit of Cabin In The Woods to it — a few friends escape the city for a well-deserved vacation, and terrible things start to happen. This movie is good, gory fun with a healthy dose of black humour to it, but it made barely a dent in the worldwide cinema market outside of Norway — criminally unfair. It also has one of the best tag-lines of all time — Ein! Zwei! Die! Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: WARNING: FEATURES HIGH IMPACT VIOLENCE. A group of medical students head to the Norwegian Alps for a hedonistic holiday, but when they discover a stash of Nazi gold, they unleash an undead army of goose-stepping ghouls.
The Shield was a long-running TV series — seven seasons between 2002 and 2008 — but it didn’t get nearly enough love in Australia. Like a cross between The Wire and The Sopranos, it’s about a bunch of LA police that aren’t above breaking the law to enforce it and further both the greater good and their own careers. It’s also getting a 4K conversion, but you won’t be able to watch that until 2017. Until then, enjoy it here on streaming. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: A rogue cop walking the tightrope between right and wrong, Vic Mackey heads a team battling against gangs on L.A.’s meanest streets. It’s a war with rules that are made to be bent, and where the thirst for power can only be quenched by corruption.
Robocop — the 2014 remake, not the 1987 original — was critically panned, but it’s genuinely a pretty good watch — Gary Oldman steals the show, obviously, but Joel Kinnaman and Samuel L Jackson both hold their own. Importantly, the Robocop remake is fiercely independent and explores its own troubling themes of consumerism and artificial intelligence. It still keeps the instantly recognisable theme music from the 1987 classic, though. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: In 2028, a robotics company sees a chance to bring its technology to American law enforcement by transforming a critically injured police officer into a cyborg.
Hannibal is a great show, but no-one I talk to seems to have watched more than a couple of episodes of it. It is slow to get started, but once you’re through a few episodes it really gets into gear and stands alone and alongside its contemporary counterparts (like Silence Of The Lambs). Mads Mikkelsen’s Dr. Hannibal Lecter is eerie and, in some people’s opinion, an even better Lecter than the iconic Anthony Hopkins. Either way, give Hannibal a go. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.
Iron Sky is, like, Dead Snow, about Nazis. These ones aren’t undead, though — they’re on the moon. They set up a base there, hidden away from earthly view on the dark side, to build their power and return to our planet and rule it with an iron fist. This Finnish-Australian-German science fiction film has a great deal of comedy to it, and while it has its flaws, it’s really worth a watch — even if just for the “Nazis on the moon” concept. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: The Nazis set up a secret base on the dark side of the moon in 1945 where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018.
The Grey gets a lot of sneery hate because it stars Liam Neeson, playing the same character he has played in all the Taken films — but it is raw. It isn’t a monster movie in the traditional use of the word, but the chaos the movie’s titular wolves create in their bloodthirsty chase of a group of plane crash survivors is monster in its scale. If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a dog, beware. Alternate title: Liam Neeson’s Punches With Wolves. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: After narrowly surviving a deadly plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, a band of oil riggers must battle the elements — and a pack of wolves.
Arrested Development‘s particular brand of humour is a bit quirky and offbeat, and its The Office-esque almost-mockumentary style might have contributed to the show only gathering a small (but passionate) following inside the US and out. It was funny enough to rate a fourth season funded by the guys at Netflix, but even the original three are well worth a watch. It’s also some of funny man Jason Bateman’s best comedic work. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: It’s the Emmy-winning story of a wealthy family that lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together.
The Road is a tough watch, and it’s about a very tough topic — the end of the world, and the slow and eventual death of the entire human race in a freezing post-apocalyptic wasteland. No surprise, then, that it doesn’t get the public recognition it deserves — but you should watch it nonetheless. True to Cormac McCarthy’s brutally depressing novel, The Road is bleak and cold and unsettling; settle down with close friends and a warm beverage. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Set in a postapocalyptic future, this end-of-days tale follows two survivors, a father and son, who take to the road in search of a better life.
In Bruges might seem from its description like a generic robbers-hiding-from-the-cops movie, but it’s much, much more than that. It’s an amazing character study, and combines excellent acting from both Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell — yes, that Colin Farrell — as well as the beautiful scenery of the fairytale Belgian city of Bruges. That scenery and that cinematography is at direct odds with the less-than-idyllic plot. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: After a job goes wrong in London, two hit men are ordered to lay low at a bed-and-breakfast in Bruges, Belgium, until their boss contacts them.
No Country For Old Men is certainly not an underrated movie — it won its Coen brother-directors four Oscars. But it’s under-watched, because it’s a little bit weird and uncomfortable and offputting. Like The Road above, it’s based on a Cormac McCarthy novel, and this particular one features one of cinema’s most memorable and most unsettling killers — Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem. Set aside two hours and go in with an open mind. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: While hunting, Llewelyn Moss stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad and takes off with $2 million in cash, but a psychotic hit man is hot on his trail.
Locke is a character piece from Tom Hardy, and unlike The Dark Knight Rises or Lawless or Warrior, in Locke he’s able to present a rounded picture of an individual purely through monologue. In a car, travelling along a motorway, with a phone and a binder full of construction information, Ivan Locke must make a series of decisions that change his entire life, and the lives of his family, for the good of one person he has wronged. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul – all taking place over the course of one absolutely riveting car ride.
The Trip started its life as a TV series, but also has a cinematic release — either one is well worth a watch, although you’ll probably get a few more laughs out of the show. In it, British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel the Lakes District on a gastronomic tour, but it’s their interpersonal conflict and banter, not the cuisine, that catches your attention. Both are geniuses with their humour, and both have the gravitas of Michael Caine. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country’s finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend dumps him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.
The Babadook is an Australian thriller-horror masterpiece, but it’s not quite as simple as the horror tag might suggest to you. It’s a complex social commentary, about topics we rarely broach in public in Australia; that alone should be reason enough for you to watch it. Add on the fact that it’s an awards magnet and a genuinely scary film, and it’s definitely one you absolutely should sit down and commit some time to. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: After the violent death of her husband, Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence in the house, slowly dawning on her that the monster her son has been warning her about may be real.
Heroes does not get enough love — that’s a fact. Crippled in its second season by the US screenwriters’ strike in 2007, the show quickly went off the rails. But it’s the first, excellent season that you should pay attention to; it’s a genuinely exciting sci-fi story with an amazing premise, and amazing potential. Here’s your mission: watch the first season, enjoy it, and then look forward to the remake that’s going to be released later this month. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: Some people are born to be extraordinary… All over the world, seemingly unconnected and ordinary people are realizing that they now possess incredible capabilities. One man can fly. One girl is indestructible. One artist can predict the future.
The Wire is a masterpiece. It’s one of the best television shows ever made. It’s unbeatable. Written by former police reporter David Simon, its depiction of life and lawlessness in modern-day Baltimore, Maryland. (Or is that Bodymore, Murderland?) It’s 60 episodes of brilliance, but not enough people have committed the time to watch it. You absolutely should. It’s one of the shows that put HBO on the map and that made Game of Thrones possible. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: The Wire charts the activities of a joint Homicide/Narcotics detail created to investigate a single drug-dealing operation in several apartment complexes.
Disclosure: Stan is a 50/50 joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the company which publishes Gizmodo Australia, is also owned by Fairfax.