From Toy Story 4 to The Australian Dream: what's streaming in Australia in February

Plus Netflix’s new haunted house saga, a Chilean story of grief and identity, and Al Pacino as a vigilante Nazi hunter


Baby Driver

Film, USA/UK, 2017 – out 1 February

The auteur Edgar Wright’s distinctive style involves editing, timing and innovative uses of visual composition to tell jokes and progress storylines. Wright’s fifth feature, Baby Driver, focuses on exploiting the relationship between image and sound. The film follows a getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who is on the autism spectrum and will put his foot to the floor only if he’s listening to audio accompaniment on his headphones.

Thus the story of a decent kid embroiled in a life of crime, whose genius is usurped by a heist organiser (Kevin Spacey), becomes in effect a quasi-musical: a tune-pumping, vinyl-spinning, bitumen-tearing, possessed jukebox of an action movie. Whereas the Fast & Furious films tell genre stories, Wright uses a genre (the getaway heist movie) to tell a story. There’s a big difference, and this very fun film is a genuine original.

Locke & Key

TV, 2020, USA – out 7 February

The trailer for Netflix’s supernatural horror drama – adapted from the comic book series of the same name – made me want to find a set of keys and the nearest locked door, preferably one that opens a portal into something magical. The show follows three siblings who after the brutal murder of their father relocate to a creepy old mansion in Massachusetts called the Keyhouse.

There are, appropriately enough, many, many keys in the Keyhouse and they grant the youngsters magical powers, which sounds rather wonderful, but they also have to confront the existence of a “crazy evil thing who wants these keys”.

It certainly looks lush and kooky. Will this new addition to the over-crowded haunted house genre see Netflix repeat the success it had with The Haunting of Hill House?

Honourable mentions: My Holo Love (TV, 7 February); Narcos: Mexico, season 2 (TV, 13 February); Blades of Glory, Philomena (films, 1 February); House Girl (film, 7 February); To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (film, 12 February); Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Happy Gilmore, Hot Fuzz (films, 14 February).


The Final Quarter

Film, Australia, 2019 – 1 February

Using an assembly-based documentary style entirely comprising archival footage, the director, Ian Darling, explores the final years in the career of AFL legend Adam Goodes, examining how one of AFL’s greatest players became the centre of an ugly debate about racism.

The peanut gallery of outspoken conservative commentators (such as Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones) who haunt The Final Quarter like ranting apparitions are hardly likely to show remorse for their treatment of Goodes any time soon. However, only the foolish or ignorant could see this film as anything other than a damning portrait of Australian racism. Darling’s assembly-based approach suits the material well because it allows offending parties to be judged entirely by their own words.

Better Call Saul (season 5)

TV, USA, 2020 – 24 February

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul.
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul. Photograph: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Everybody’s favourite crooked lawyer this side of Lionel Hutz is back: the shameless “love to hate him” manipulator and deal-maker/breaker Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk). In the penultimate season of the Breaking Bad spin-off prequel, the protagonist will transform into his alter ego, Saul Goodman, who of course goes on to represent esteemed clientele such as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.

Showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are experts at ramping up intensity so fans can expect moments of heightened drama and knuckle-gobbling tension. New episodes arrive weekly, fast-tracked from the US.

Honourable mentions: Hidden (TV, 6 February); Kidding, season two (TV, 9 February); Wrong Man (TV, 10 February); Wu-Tang: An American Saga (TV, 14 February); Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (TV, 17 February); Good Trouble (TV, 25 February); Goldstone (film, 8 February); Nymphomaniac Vol 1 and 2 (film, 26 February).

SBS On Demand

A Fantastic Woman

Film, Chile, 2017 – 6 February

Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman.
Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman. Photograph: AP

The 28-year-old trans actor Daniela Vega’s riveting performance forms the heart and soul of this exquisite but hard-hitting film. It works on many levels and is many things: a portrait of grief, a police procedural, a character study, an exploration of femininity and trans identity, and a social commentary merging the political and the personal.

These are big and at times confronting topics, but the Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio’s execution is unerringly elegant. Lelio focuses on a small number of highly dramatic days in the life of Marina (Vega), a trans singer whose older cis parter suddenly dies. Instead of being able to deal with her grief, Marina’s very existence is on trial. A Fantastic Woman is one of those films that compels critics to deploy hackneyed turns of phrase such as “once seen, never forgotten”.

Honourable mentions: A Separation, Rust and Bone, BPM, Let the Right One in (films, now available); The Lives of Others (film, 5 February); Brooklyn Nine-Nine (TV, 7 February); Homeland, season 8 (TV, 10 February); Dublin Murders (TV, 19 February).

ABC iView

The Australian Dream

Film, Australia, 2019 – 23 February

The second Adam Goodes film to arrive last year is a more conventional documentary than The Final Quarter, although it is still highly ambitious. Rather than exploring Goodes’ life in detail, the director, Daniel Gordon, and screenwriter, Stan Grant, endeavour to rewrite Australia’s problematic history and confront political issues such as the date of Australia Day head on.

Gordon makes some mistakes – including providing yet another platform for people such as Andrew Bolt, who perpetuate the same kind of prejudiced perspectives the film tries to fix. Still, there are many gripping moments. The Australian Dream drops the kind of truth bombs that smash your heart to pieces.

The Wednesday night comedy line-up

From 5 February

What’s not to like about ABC’s Wednesday night comedy line-up? Tom Gleeson’s beloved game show Hard Quiz leads into Shaun Micallef’s beloved satirical news show Mad as Hell, which leads into the beloved comedy sketch program Black Comedy. Have I said the word “beloved” enough?

Honourable mentions: Spicks and Specks: 1990s Special (TV, 23 February); return of Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A (TV, 3 February).

Disney +

Toy Story 4

Film, USA, 2019 – out 5 February

Pixar’s series about toys that come to life when humans aren’t around received a wonderful finale with Toy Story 3, a film that famously reduced grown men to puddles of tears. Many, including myself, were concerned when Pixar announced that it wasn’t actually the finale and that a fourth adventure for Woody, Buzz and the gang was in the works.

Then we met Forky, the ridiculously lovable albeit intensely suicidal character introduced in Toy Story 4, and suddenly everything was OK. Convinced that he is trash, and that being trash also means being dead, Forky is determined to take himself to the great beyond, and it’s up to Woody to rescue him from his terrible plans. This, surely, is the final Toy Story film. Memo to Pixar: don’t push your luck. Again.

Honourable mentions: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (TV, 7 February); Star Wars: The Clone Wars: the Final Season (TV, 21 February); Mrs Doubtfire (film, 14 February); Splash (film, 14 February); The Peanuts Movie (film, 21 February).

Amazon Prime


TV, 2020, USA – out 21 February

While it’s impossible to predict exactly which shows will punch through the overcrowded slate of titles desperate to occupy our ears and eyeballs, Hunters seems a safe bet to achieve watercooler status.

Horror auteur Jordan Peele – who directed Get Out and Us – executive produces the series, which follows a group of vigilantes who endeavour to track down and kill Nazis living in America in the 1970s, a very Inglourious Basterds-esque premise. Al Pacino plays the organiser of the hunters and in the trailer delivers lines such as: “You know what the best revenge is? Revenge.”

Honourable mentions: Jexi (film, 1 February); Yesterday (film, 16 February); Rocketman (film, 28 February); Spider-Man: Far From Home (film, 28 February).

Apple TV +

Visible: Out on Television

TV, USA, 2020 – out 14 February

This five-part documentary series from Emmy-nominated filmmakers Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave explores the history of LGBT representations on American television, and the significance of TV as a medium that can both reflect and shape public perceptions. The trailer is jam-packed with celebs including Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Oprah Winfrey.

Honourable mentions: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (TV, 2020).


Luke Buckmaster

The GuardianTramp

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