Empire’s pick of the 10 best movies to download or stream in September
PICK OF THE MONTH
Moneyball (2011), Sky Movies/Go/Anytime (from September 7)
‘Even if you don’t like [insert sport] you’ll still enjoy [insert film]’ is a tired cliché, rolled out every time a sports film transcends its genre. Nevertheless, the cliché applies to the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who turned the fortunes of failing professional baseball team the Oakland A’s by employing the mathematical skills of a bookish young analyst (Jonah Hill). Pitt and Hill both received Oscar nominations for their outstanding work in co-producer Pitt’s long-gestating pet project, based on a script (by A-list screenwriters Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin) which, if you’ll forgive another cliché, knocks it out of the park.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Sky Movies/Go/Anytime (from September 21)
After the billion-copy bestseller and its terrific Swedish adaptation, David Fincher had its work cut out for him making an American version. But instead of responding to the pressure by going The Full Fincher, he delivered a hard-edged mainstream thriller, with Rooney Mara giving Noomi Repace’s seemingly definitive Lisbeth Salander a run for her money. If you haven’t read the book, or seen the Swedish original, you’re in for a treat.
The Hangover (2009), LOVEFiLM
With last year’s lame, largely laugh-free sequel fading from memory like the morning-after recollection of a bad night out, now is the perfect time to revisit the unforgettable Las Vegas stag party which none of the participants (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha) can quite remember. You know the set-pieces, but repeat viewings reveal the small but perfectly-formed gags in between. A modern comedy classic.
Snowtown (2011), LOVEFiLM
The best Australian film since Animal Kingdom is this bleak, bone-cold true story about John Bunting, the country’s most notorious serial killer, who wormed his way into the lives of a suburban family, luring a naïve and impressionable sixteen-year-old into his twisted world. As Bunting seeks bigger thrills, what begins as a purportedly righteous crusade against so-called transgressives descends into sheer bloody murder.
Sleeping Beauty (2011), LOVEFiLM
A far cry from Disney’s anodyne fairy tale, Australian writer-director Julia Leigh’s feature debut quickly evolves from intriguing to engrossing, as cash-strapped student Lucy (Emily Browning) enters a darkly mysterious underworld, earning extra money by submitting to men while drugged and asleep. Like many films concerned with sex, it’s distinctly unerotic – sensuous, rather than sensual – but worthy and memorable, and Browning is terrific.
One False Move (1992), Netflix
Four years before his breakout role in Sling Blade, Billy Bob Thornton co-wrote and starred in this riveting thriller, a remarkably assured debut from actor-turned-director Carl Franklin. Thornton is one of three small-time criminals on the run from a disastrous drug robbery, while a good-old-boy police chief (Bill Paxton) waits down the road, grimly awaiting the dread inevitability of a High Noon-style climax.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010), Netflix
While Joss Whedon’s film grabbed most of the glory, Eli Craig quietly did his own post-modern deconstruction of the hoary old cabin-in-the—woods horror trope, as Tucker (Alan Tyduk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) find their fishing trip interrupted by a group of teenagers, convinced they are evil rednecks out to torture and kill them. The result? The smartest and funniest horror-comedy since Shaun of the Dead.
Transsiberian (2008), Netflix
A married couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) board the famous railway from Beijing to Moscow. But when they become involved with a pair of suspected drug traffickers (Kate Mara and Eduardo Noriega), they fall foul of a dedicated Moscow detective (Ben Kingsley) on the trail of some a missing heroin shipment in this atmospheric and sporadically gripping thriller from the director of The Machinist.
Easy Rider (1969), Netflix
Hailed as either the defining American film of the 1960s, or the first film of the game-changing 1970s, Dennis Hopper’s ramshackle road movie remains as fascinating, frustrating and flawed is it did in 1969. Peter Fonda’s Captain America is the embodiment of hippie cool, and even though his famous declaration “We blew it” proved sadly prescient, at least he, Hopper and a young Jack Nicholson blew it in style.
Project Nim (2011), Netflix
Like a creepy real-life companion piece to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this absorbing documentary delves into a 1970s experiment in which baby chimpanzee ‘Nim Chimpsky’ was taught sign language, enabling her to communicate with her handlers. Equally fascinating is the story of the scientists behind the ill-fated project, making the film as much a study in human nature as primate intelligence.
All films free to subscribers with subscription package. Availability correct at time of going to press. Terms, conditions and bandwidth limitations may apply.