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The best movies on Stan for January 2022
Australia's own streaming service Stan has a massive selection of movies to binge so we've picked out the best of the lot.
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Anybody wanting to catch some of the great films put to celluloid can get a leg-up in no time at all, thanks to Stan's streaming service. Be sure to check back with this article soon as we'll routinely update it as the landscape changes.
1. I Used to Go Here
Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Josh Wiggins, Forrest Goodluck
After being asked to speak at her alma mater, a 30-something author finds herself drawn to a group of college students. That's the simple premise behind this nostalgic film, one that will make you reminisce about your own college days.
With a nuanced performance from Gillian Jacobs in the lead role, I Used to Go Here is the kind of indie movie that warms your heart and makes you chuckle repeatedly. Sharp and clever, it's the perfect binge for a lazy afternoon.
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Odessa Young, Michael Stuhlbarg
In Shirley, Elisabeth Moss plays Shirley Jackson, the famed horror writer. She finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple, Fred and Rose. Shirley becomes close to Rose and begins to ask for help with her upcoming book, which revolves around a disappearance.
Shirley is a powerful drama about complex relationships, with a terrific cast and intoxicating atmosphere. As always, Moss is a force of nature, offering a memorable turn in the lead role.
3. Children of Men
Cast: Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Clare-Hope Ashitey
Based on P. D. James' 1992 novel of the same name, this riveting sci-fi drama directed by Alfonso Cuarón is set in a grim future where women have pretty much lost the ability to procreate. That leaves the world in chaos and humanity slowly heading towards extinction. The plot follows a former activist who agrees to transport a pregnant refugee to safety.
With terrific set-pieces and solid acting, Children of Men is a brilliant movie that can't be confined to a single genre. It's thrilling, emotional, action-packed and thought-provoking. In other words, it has something for everyone.
4. Jurassic World
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D'Onofrio
If you haven't seen the fourth instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise yet, what exactly are you waiting for? It has dinosaurs, which is reason enough to tune in as far as we're concerned. As for the plot, it's set in a new theme park where a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.
While Jurassic World can't match the impact of the original Jurassic Park movie, it stands on its own as a fun and action-packed blockbuster. The visuals are dazzling, so we advise watching on the biggest possible screen you can.
5. A Sunburnt Christmas
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
A Stan original movie, A Sunburnt Christmas is a comedy set on an outback farm that has seen better days. There, the lives of a struggling family take a wild turn when a runaway criminal dressed as Santa Claus invades their property.
Thoroughly entertaining, the movie will win you over from the very first scene. Stream it when you're in the mood for something bright and festive.
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
Based on the 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol chronicles the relationship between 2 fascinating women. Therese works at a department store in Manhattan, where she encounters the beautiful Carol, an older woman she instantly connects with. Things take an unexpected turn when they start to grow closer.
With stellar performances from everyone involved – especially leads Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara – Carol is a wonder. It's romantic, glamorous, timeless and compelling. Watch it immediately.
7. Murder on the Orient Express
Cast: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Martin Balsam, Jacqueline Bisset
Based on the popular Agatha Christie mystery, Murder on the Orient Express features Hercule Poirot, who is hoping to enjoy a relaxing journey on the posh Orient Express. But when an unpopular billionaire on board is murdered, it's up to the famed detective to uncover the culprit.
Featuring a glamorous cast and excellent production values, the movie remains a classic of the genre. Even if you know whodunit, Murder on the Orient Express is a journey worth taking.
8. The Way Way Back
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney
Shy 14 year old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother and her overbearing boyfriend, but has a rough time fitting in. Luckily, he finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of a water park.
A funny and charming coming-of-age story, The Way Way Back makes excellent use of its talented cast. It's endearing and enjoyable, ensuring you'll have a huge smile on your face by the time the end credits roll. Stream it when you need a pick-me-up.
9. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin
A cult hit, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure revolves around 2 seemingly dumb teens who set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine. As they travel through time, they encounter important figures who might be willing to provide assistance.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is silly and fun, which makes it perfect for viewers with an offbeat sense of humour. The 2 friends are precious together, mostly thanks to the chemistry between the leads. If you end up loving it, you'll be happy to know the movie has 2 sequels, just as entertaining as this. The latest movie in the series, Bill & Ted Face the Music, is also on Stan.
10. I Am Woman
Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Evan Peters, Danielle Macdonald
You're probably familiar with the popular song I Am Woman, but how much do you really know about 1970s musician and activist Helen Reddy? This biographical drama aims to satisfy your thirst for knowledge, following the iconic singer as she leaves Australia behind and heads to New York in search of stardom.
I Am Woman is a Stan original production, well-researched and featuring some top-notch performances. Even better, it plays like a love letter to one of the most iconic figures of second wave feminism. Make sure you clear your schedule and tune in.
11. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami
On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the 18th century, a female painter is commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman. She observes the woman by day and secretly paints her by firelight at night – but as the women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow.
A rich period piece, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is vibrant and elegant, stylish and thought-provoking. The scenery is gorgeous, the performances are mesmerising, the writing is tremendous. You'll be in for a memorable ride.
Cast: Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote
When Edna, the elderly and widowed matriarch of the family, goes missing, her daughter Kay and granddaughter Sam travel to their remote family home to find her. However, soon after her return, the women start noticing a sinister presence haunting the house and taking control of the matriarch.
Tense and well-crafted, this Stan original movie is a treat for drama fans that enjoy a touch of horror. With strong performances and beautiful visuals, it will keep you glued to the screen.
13. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon
This charming musical revolves around a young woman, Genevieve, separated from her lover by war. Pregnant, she is pressured by her mother to marry a wealthy man who is ready to raise her child. Will she accept the proposal?
A completely sung movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a memorable experience, featuring strong performances and a touching story. Vibrant and sad, it perfectly stands the test of time. Stream it immediately.
14. The Guard
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong
A bloody and hilarious comedy-thriller, The Guard revolves around a no-nonsense FBI agent who has to deal with an irreverent Irish cop when he travels to a small town to investigate a drug trafficking case. It's fun, foul-mouthed and severely underrated.
Brendan Gleeson is a marvel and the dialogue in The Guard is clever and sharp. Plus, the action is not too shabby either. Trust us, this is not your run-of-the-mill drug cartel action flick. It will definitely surprise you.
15. Revolutionary Road
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates
Adapted from the classic 1961 novel by Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road follows a young couple whose once perfect relationship steadily deteriorates into a cycle of petty jealousy and bickering. Despite vowing to be different, April and Frank turn into a typical suburban couple as time goes by, with unsatisfied passions and abandoned dreams. Until April decides to do something about it.
Revolutionary Road is moving and powerful. We’re also happy to report that the chemistry between Leo and Kate perfectly stands the test of time. If you’re in the mood for a heartbreaking flick that will make you feel all the feels, you can’t go wrong with this one.
16. The Machinist
Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian
A brilliant psychological thriller, The Machinist follows a factory worker struggling with insomnia. Trevor hasn’t shut his eyes in months and the lack of sleep has already started to wear down his brain and his body. Soon, he starts to hear strange sounds and see people that apparently aren’t there. What’s real? What isn’t? When you can't get the sweet release sleep brings, everything will mess with your head.
The Machinist made waves due to Christian Bale’s incredible psychical transformation – he lost more than 28 kilograms for the role. More than that, he delivers a harrowing performance, one that will stay with you long after the end credits role. As for the story itself, it’s a ride worth taking.
17. Holding the Man
Cast: Ryan Corr, Craig Stott, Sarah Snook
Holding the Man is a touching drama adapted from Timothy Conigrave's 1995 memoir of the same name. The plot follows Tim and John, who fell in love and embarked on a forbidden high school romance that was to last a lifetime, conquering countless prejudices as the years went by.
The movie delivers a beautiful love story spanning 15 years and portrays a turbulent time for queer Australia. More than that, it boasts some amazing performances and doesn’t shy away from keeping things honest, which makes it even more powerful.
18. Love & Friendship
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell
A period drama based on Jane Austen's epistolary novel Lady Susan, Love & Friendship centres on young widow Lady Susan Vernon, who visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out the colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society. While she’s there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and a future for her eligible but reluctant daughter, Frederica. Matters get more complicated when she attracts the attention of not 1 suitor, but 3.
Love & Friendship is a wonderful adaptation of Austen’s work. It’s smart, funny and offers a nuanced performance from Beckinsale. If you’re looking for delicious dialogue that will make you chuckle, you’re in the right place.
19. True History of the Kelly Gang
Cast: George MacKay, Essie Davis, Russell Crowe
Based on Peter Carey's novel and directed by Justin Kurzel, True History of the Kelly Gang tells the story of the legendary bushranger, from his young years to his later encounters with the law as he and his gang attempt to evade authorities during the 1870s.
The movie is gritty and immersive, offering a subjective take on the life of the iconic Ned Kelly. How is a legend born? What events go on to have a lasting impact and shape beliefs? Tune in to find out.
20. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked
A charming British rom-com, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen revolves around a fisheries scientist who receives an unusual request: a businesswoman wants his help in fulfilling a wealthy sheik's request to bring sport fishing to Yemen. Reluctant at first, the scientist accepts, to surprising consequences.
Don’t be fooled by the title – this movie is anything but boring. Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is refreshing, quirky, funny and sharply written. Based on the novel of the same name, the movie is a treat for those looking to spend a relaxing evening watching a feel-good comedy.
21. Mission: Impossible
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart
Stan added a bunch of titles from the Mission: Impossible franchise to its library, including the one that started it all. The movie follows spy Ethan Hunt as he fights to uncover the mole who framed him for the murders of his entire Impossible Missions Force (IMF) team.
Brimming with action-packed sequences and special effects, this spy thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat thanks to its many twists and turns. To this day, it remains an ambitious and entertaining flick, with Tom Cruise offering a memorable performance.
22. Mad Max: Fury Road
Cast: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
This iconic post-apocalyptic film, the fourth outing in the Mad Max series, follows the warrior Imperator Furiosa, who forges an alliance with loner Max Rockatansky. Fortified in the massive armoured truck the War Rig, they try to outrun a ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a high-speed chase that will prove deadly.
If you’re into stunning action flicks with substance, you’ve probably already seen this one. Still, 1 viewing isn’t enough to grasp the movie’s ambitious scope, so repeat streams are in order. Mad Max: Fury Road is gorgeous, exhilarating and brilliant. You’ve been warned.
Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn
Directed by Oliver Stone, W. is a George W. Bush biopic. We follow him as he struggles to figure out where he wants to go in life. Having trouble holding down a job, he dabbles with running a company and a baseball team before deciding on politics and setting his eye on the US presidency.
While the movie chronicles Bush's career, it's more interested in his motivations, failings and inner demons. That makes for a fascinating character study, especially given that Brolin offers a tremendous performance in the lead role.
24. The Death of Stalin
Cast: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend
When Stalin dies in 1953, a frantic power struggle ensues. Who will take his place as the next Soviet leader? Among the contenders we have Georgy Malenkov, Nikita Khrushchev and Lavrenti Beria, each ready to back-stab their way to the top. But in the meantime, who exactly is running the government?
A devastatingly funny satire, The Death of Stalin benefits from a tight script and an A+ cast. Also, the movie was banned in Russia, which should make you that much more eager to give it a stream.
25. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a biopic that follows Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, who finds romance and happiness with a younger man. However, her life changes forever when she is diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s.
A romantic drama, the movie offers a brilliant performance from Annette Bening, who shines in the main role. Additionally, it paints a hopeful picture of what it’s like to age, love and overcome any obstacles that come your way as you do it. We advise you keep some tissues close by, they might come in handy.
26. Loving Vincent
Cast: Robert Gulaczyk, Jochum ten Haaf (voice), Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Saoirse Ronan
The world’s first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent is all about the life of Vincent van Gogh, exploring his unusual death and the circumstances that led to it.
The movie is beautiful, with gorgeous animation and dazzling visuals. From a narrative standpoint, Loving Vincent is a pretty by-the-numbers tale, but it’s interesting nonetheless – especially if you view it as an emotional and larger-than-life tribute. To put it simply, the movie is a unique and memorable experience, so you should definitely give it a stream.
27. The Terminator
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield
Alright, look, the special effects aren't going to blow your mind, but The Terminator is still an edge-of-your seat ride, even 30 years later. It's such a solid thriller concept: a nigh unstoppable, human-mimicking cyborg hunting down a defenceless young woman. It feels no pain, it cannot be reasoned or bargained with and it can ruin a fully-armed police precinct quicker than a free doughnuts promotion. The only thing standing between this assassin and the mother of humanity's future saviour? Kyle Reese, a resourceful but completely under-equipped (and pants-less) future soldier who's a fish-out-of-water in 1984.
This was the first offering from writer/director James Cameron and, quite frankly, it's a brilliant start to what has become a brilliant career. Tightly directed, impeccably paced and bearing a thought-provoking tale of AI gone rogue, The Terminator is great cinema. No doubt it will be viewed as a “WTF were they thinking?” comedy by the machines that overthrow us in the next 10 to 20 years...
28. Wake in Fright
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson
Prepare to be disturbed by the ultimate Aussie nightmare, cobber, because Wake in Fright is an unflinching look into the dark heart of the outback. The uncompromising story centres on outsider John Grant, a "civilised to the point of snobbishness" school teacher who becomes a 5-day castaway out Woop Woop, in a mining town called Bundanyabba. In no time at all, Grant falls in step with the dead-eyed locals and tumbles down a rabbit hole of ritualistic boozing, high-stakes gambling, brutality towards nature and toxic masculinity.
Don't let the release date prevent you from viewing. This is a seminal piece of Australian film-making and a disquieting classic that deserved the remastering it received. Watching the devolution of an idealistic soul into the animal side of his own nature is just as powerful now as it was 40 odd years ago. It's a bloody pearler, mate.
29. Good Will Hunting
Cast: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard, John Mighton
Not only was this the vehicle that put a young writer and actor Matt Damon on the map, it was arguably the greatest performance that the late Robin Williams ever put to film. The titular Will Hunting is an undiscovered, world-class maths genius who's anything but good, thanks to a South Boston upbringing and a childhood fraught with foster homes and domestic violence. When his latest outburst gets him arrested, an MIT professor offers to keep him out of the clink in return for regular study sessions and weekly psych evaluations from a third-party shrink. The latter quickly becomes sport for the cocky kid, who proceeds to tear the head doctors to shreds.
Enter Sean Maguire (Williams), a fellow Southie expat who knows about defence mechanisms and even more about book smarts and brashness versus lived experiences and the best and worst moments of love. Expect powerful performances in Good Will Hunting, an emotionally rich drama.
30. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
I'm tellin' ya, pardner, they don't make westerns like this anymore. During the American Civil War, a mysterious gunslinger and a Mexican outlaw form an uneasy partnership. The plan: the gunhand turns in the bandit for the reward money, then uses his expert marksmanship to rescue him from hanging just as the trapdoor opens. When things become complicated and the noose-shoot goes awry, the foundations for a blood feud are laid. The only thing preventing a murder is that both men need to team up against a sadistic rival bounty hunter, who's also on the trail of treasure buried in the desert.
The film's runtime is considerable, but Sergio Leone's scope and vision stand the test of time. The lovely griminess of a true spaghetti western is so much more preferable to the squeaky clean Hollywood westerns of the same era. Pull out your remote trigger on this without delay.
Cast: Federico Ielapi, Roberto Benigni, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini
A visual treat, Pinocchio stars Roberto Benigni as Geppetto, an old wood carver whose puppet magically comes to life and dreams of becoming a real boy. However, Pinocchio is naïve, so he tumbles from one misadventure to another through a magical world.
Immersive and timeless, this version of Pinocchio has some disturbing imagery, so we don't recommend watching with very young kids. For everyone else, the movie is a bizarre fairytale that will ignite your imagination.
32. Hacksaw Ridge
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving
A moving biographical war film, Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Desmond T. Doss, an American Army Medic during World War II.
Despite refusing to bear arms on religious grounds, Doss went from being mocked for his pacifist tendencies to being admired for his bravery. He risked his life to save numerous men in the Battle of Okinawa, becoming the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
Hacksaw Ridge is a gripping war movie that touches upon important themes, like the importance of staying true to your convictions. It's the kind of film that will stay with you for a long time.
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
A space movie for the ages, Gravity centres on a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. When disaster strikes during a routine spacewalk, she finds herself stranded in deep space, with no hope for rescue. Will she manage to survive?
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity is a visual spectacle with a stunning performance from Sandra Bullock. Watch it on the biggest screen you have.
Cast: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho
Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Minari offers a a semi-autobiographical take on Chung's upbringing. The action centres on a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in the rural United States during the 1980s. As you can imagine, chasing after the American Dream doesn't come without challenges.
Minari is widely regarded as one of the best film to come out in 2020, which should be reason enough to make you want to tune in. With arresting performances and stunning visuals, this moving family drama is not to be missed.
35. Needle in a Timestack
Cast: Leslie Odom Jr., Freida Pinto, Cynthia Erivo, Orlando Bloom
A sci-fi romance, Needle in a Timestack has a mind-bending premise. It centres on a couple whose marriage is challenged when a resourceful time traveller tries to tear them apart. Will their love endure in a future where time is fluid?
The movie stumbles at times. However, the A-list cast, exciting concept and thoughtful musings on love are enough to ensure an enjoyable watch. If you like romantic dramas, we suggest you give it a go.
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Judy Davis, Anthony LaPaglia, Phoebe Taylor
Nitram is an intriguing movie, harrowing and often difficult to watch given the subject matter. It tracks the events leading to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre and centres on a disturbed young man based on Martin Bryant.
Caleb Landry Jones is a revelation in the lead role – a performance that won him the Best Actor award at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. A compelling piece of cinema, Nitram will stay with you for long after the end credits roll.
37. Christmas on the Farm
Cast: Poppy Montgomery, Hugh Sheridan, Nicholas Brown, Darren McMullen, Jeanette Cronin
Christmas on the Farm revolves around a New York socialite who fakes her identity in order to publish a book. When the publisher wants to visit her "at home," on her deceased mother's Australian farm, she decides to maintain the ruse, to surprising results.
The movie is a festive and funny affair, perfect to watch around the holidays. As long as you like light-hearted rom-coms, you'll be in for a good time.
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