Poker Face, Folau and The Wonder: what’s new to streaming in Australia this November

Plus Tim Burton’s Addams Family spinoff, a children’s series set in the Top End and another steamy take on Dangerous Liaisons


The Wonder

Film, Ireland/UK/US, 2022 – out 16 November

Florence Pugh has starred in two films pivoting around mysteries this year: Don’t Worry Darling, in which she unearths the secrets behind an impossibly idyllic Happy Days-esque community, and now The Wonder – a period piece (adapting Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name) set in Ireland involving a young girl who, according to the locals, doesn’t need food to survive. Nurse Lib Wright (Pugh) is recruited to closely watch 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy), who claims she survives only on “manna from heaven”.

Is the girl a charlatan, a conduit for the divine or some kind of biological anomaly? Director Sebastián Lelio (whose previous film was the terrific A Fantastic Woman) does a fine job stretching out the mystery before delivering a definitive conclusion. Pugh is excellent, the cinematography is classy and I love the weirdly meta way the film opens: on a soundstage, with a narrator enigmatically commenting that “we are nothing without stories”.

Trailer for The Wonder


TV, US, 2022 – out 3 November

Creator Vanessa Ramos’s comedy series has a fun central location: the world’s last remaining Blockbuster Video store, which manager Timmy Yoon (Randall Park) is keen to keep alive despite the industry around him collapsing. This nostalgia-evoking premise will connect with audiences, though the show itself is rather dull, with thin, blandly developed characters and not much chemistry between the performers. Dialogue is core to the experience, but the conversations don’t have the lovably low-key, slacker twang of Kevin Smith’s 1994 classic Clerks – still the best example of a film partly based in a video store.

Trailer for the TV series Blockbuster


TV, US, 2022 – out 23 November

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, and altogether ooky! The delightfully macabre Addams Family scurry back into the zeitgeist with this Tim Burton-directed coming-of-age series about Wednesday Addams – the daughter of the family, played by Lisa Loring in the 60s TV series, Christina Ricci in the 1991 film, and now Jenna Ortega. A far bolder decision would have been to make a series devoted to Thing – who of course is a dismembered hand. Many questions beckon. How does one become a dismembered hand? Was Thing once attached to a body? Did they fall out? If you’re an Addams Family boffin who has some answers, please rise from your vertical coffin and leave a comment.

Trailer for Wednesday

Honourable mentions: Dirty Dancing (film, 1 November), Enola Holmes 2 (film, 4 November), The Crown season 5 (TV, 9 November), Falling for Christmas (film, 10 November), 1899 season one (TV, 17 November).


Dangerous Liaisons

TV, US, 2022 – out 30 November

Steamy romance in period settings will never get old; audiences love to watch bonking in classy settings. The 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses has certainly stood the test of time, reinvented as a play in the 1980s then two films (1988’s Dangerous Liaisons and 1999’s Cruel Intentions) and now a prequel TV series. Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton play younger versions of lovers Merteuil and Valmont, the story detailing how they schemed their way up the social ladder using the old “powers of seduction”.

Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton in period costume share a glance in a scene from Dangerous Liaisons
Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton in TV series Dangerous Liaisons. Photograph: Dusan Martincek/© 2021 Starz Entertainment, LLC

Poker Face

Film, US, 2022 – out 22 November

Russell Crowe looks like the kind of guy who knows what to do around a poker table. In his second feature film as a director (following The Water Diviner) the actor plays billionaire gambler Jack Foley who, according to the official synopsis, offers the chance for players to win big, so long as they cough up his preferred currency: their secrets. Other cast members of Poker Face (which was shot in New South Wales) include Liam Hemsworth and RZA.

Trailer for Poker Face

Koko: A Red Dog Story

Film, Australia, 2019 – out 12 November

With its indistinguishable combination of fact and fiction, the third outing in the Red Dog series is probably best viewed as a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary, charting the life and career of a very inspiring and charismatic pooch who became one of Australia’s most beloved non-human actors – up there with Mr Percival from Storm Boy.

Honourable mentions: Petite Maman (film, 1 November), Call Me By Your Name (film, 3 November), Boyz N the Hood (film, 8 November), Men in Black 1-3 (film, 11 November), Erin Brockovich (film, 13 November), How to Please a Woman (film, 15 November), Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters (film, 16 November), Sort Of season 2 (TV, 16 November), Sleepless in Seattle (film, 17 November), Pawno (film, 18 November), My Life as a Zucchini (film, 19 November), Baby Driver (film, 26 November), Ted (film, 26 November), The Guest (film, 27 November).

ABC iView


TV, Australia, 2022 – out 21 November

Should a celebrity athlete be allowed to say terrible things about minority communities using religious beliefs as a justification? It’s clear rugby player Israel Folau’s incendiary comments about the gay community, as Erik Denison observed, broke the spirits of many children who idolised him. The ensuing debate around issues such as freedom of speech involved legal complexities and double standards pedalled by churches.

It’ll be interesting to see how director Nel Minchin dives into these difficult discussions, and what sort of ideological framing she uses in her two-part documentary series. Minchin’s oeuvre includes the terrific documentary Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra, which she co-directed with Wayne Blair.


Film, Australia, 2016 – out 27 November

Dev Patel and Priyanka Bose tenderly touch foreheads in scene from Lion
Dev Patel and Priyanka Bose in the 2016 film Lion. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

Who could forget director Garth Davis’s wonderfully humane and deeply moving drama about Saroo Brierley (played as a child by Sunny Pawar and as an adult by Dev Patel) who was accidentally separated from his biological family when he was five years old and found them through Google Earth many years later? The film’s prolonged opening vividly details Brierley’s childhood (and separation from family) in Kolkata, before Davis switches to Brierley’s life in Australia, with lovely adopted parents Sue and John (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). When I first watched Lion in the cinema, Brierley’s eventual reunion with his biological mother and sister coincided with a freakish inflammation of my tear gland, the eyes of this hardened, wearied critic weeping salty discharge.

Honourable mentions: Stuff the British Stole (TV, out now), A League of Their Own (film, 4 November), This Time With Alan Partridge series 2 (TV, 15 November), Ride (film, 20 November).

SBS On Demand


TV, UK, 2022 – out 19 November

The wry, bleary-eyed shtick of Dylan Moran never gets old. Moran’s latest comedy series, which he created, wrote and stars in alongside Morgana Robinson, is presented in snackable 15-ish-minute episodes and focuses on a long-term relationship between Dan (Moran) and Carla (Morgana Robinson). The former is dishevelled and adrift (right up Moran’s alley) while the latter aspires to a better life. In her five-star review, the Guardian’s Lucy Mangan described Stuck as “vintage Moran”. Sold!

Dan (Dylan Moran) and Carla (Morgana Robinson) lying together under bed covers in Stuck.
Dan (Dylan Moran) and Carla (Morgana Robinson) in Stuck. Photograph: Chris Barr/BBC/Hat Trick ‘Stuck’ Ltd

Barrumbi Kids

TV, Australia, 2022 – out 18 November

Focusing on two young besties (Nick Bonson and Caitlin Hordern) living in a remote Northern Territory community, this NITV series has been billed by SBS as “the first major NT children’s series to be produced in the Top End”. What struck me about the first episode (all I’ve seen so far) is how high-spirited the show is, and the endearing chemistry between the two leads. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it’s fun and charming and particularly palatable for younger audiences.

Trailer for Barrumbi Kids

Honourable mentions: Ali’s Wedding (film, out now), Harmonica (TV, 2 November), Who Shot Otto Mueller? (TV, 2 November), Hounds of Love (film, 18 November), Mad Max Fans: Beyond the Wasteland (film, 18 November), War of the Worlds season 3 (TV, 23 November), Margot at the Wedding (film, 25 November).



Film, US, 2019 – out 23 November

Many divisive films attract great debate at the time of their release, tossed and turned by critics and commentators before eventually being branded as certified classics. That was the case with Todd Phillips’s Joker: a rare and incendiary work of art that pulled off a kind of bait and switch. Get mainstream audiences in the door with the promise of a supervillain origin story, then hit them with a Scorsesean portrait of an antisocial loner that can hold its own against classics such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.

Honourable mentions: Young Rock season 3 (TV, 6 November), Downton Abbey: A New Era (film, 13 November), Godzilla: The Series (TV, 16 November), The Delinquents (film, 19 November), The Heartbreak Kid (film, 20 November), Love, Lizzo (film, 25 November).

Amazon Prime Video

Call Jane

Film, US, 2022 – out 25 November

I can’t comment on the quality of the film (which I’m yet to see) but everybody can recognise its timeliness. Phyllis Nagy’s period drama, set in Chicago circa 1968, follows Elizabeth Banks’s housewife Joy, who has a pregnancy with life-threatening complications. Denied the right to have an abortion, she consults an underground network called the Jane Collective – a real-life service that ran from 1969 to 1973, administering safe abortions. In light of the shocking overturning of Roe v Wade, which ended the constitutional right to abortion in America, Call Jane is now, tragically, not so much a time capsule as a clarion call to reinstate these taken-away rights.

Trailer for Call Jane

My Policeman

Film, UK/US, 2022 – out 4 November

This month both lead stars of Don’t Worry Darling get a straight-to-streaming release: Florence Pugh in The Wonder (mentioned above) and Harry Styles in this adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s romantic novel of the same name, about a gay policeman (Styles) in the 1950s who falls in love with a museum curator (David Dawson) but marries a woman (Emma Corrin). The film has received a tepid response; Wendy Ide in the Guardian called it a “glumly functional slog”, while Peter Bradshaw saw it as an “earnestly intended drama” that “conjures a very English sort of shame”.

Emma Corrin looks fondly at Harry Styles while people around them applaud in a scene from My Policeman
Harry Styles and Emma Corrin in My Policeman. Photograph: Parisa Taghizadeh/AP

Honourable mentions: The Big Sick (film, 9 November), The English season 1 (TV, 11 November), Downton Abbey: A New Era (film, 13 November), Inglourious Basterds (film, 26 November).

Apple TV+


Film, US, 2022 – out 18 November

Funny as he is, a Will Ferrell comedy can go either way. His new film, a musical co-starring Ryan Reynolds, is based on a little-known, not-at-all influential book – Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol – that of course has never been adapted before, good golly no, certainly not into too many movies, TV shows and stage productions to count. According to the official synopsis, Spirited forges a new direction by being “told from the perspective of the ghosts”. Yawn. I mean: bah humbug!

Honourable mentions: Causeway (film, 4 November), Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me (film, 4 November), Echo 3 (TV, 23 November).


George and Tammy

TV, US, 2022 – out 28 November

Created by Abe Sylvia and directed by Australian-born John Hillcoat, this six-part series stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain as the titular characters: country music stars George Jones and Tammy Wynette. If you haven’t heard of them, don’t feel unenlightened: this Vanity Fair piece suggests Shannon and Chastain weren’t across their work either (for the record: Jones’s famous tracks include He Stopped Loving Her Today and Wynette’s signature song was Stand By Your Man). Both are fine actors, however, and Hillcoat is an interesting director – his work includes The Road and Ghosts … of the Civil Dead.

Honourable mentions: Secrets of the Oligarch Wives (TV, out now), Offspring seasons 1-7 (TV, out now), Tulsa King (TV, 14 November), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (film, 18 November), Wog Boys Forever (film, 21 November), Crossfire (TV, 25 November).


Luke Buckmaster

The GuardianTramp

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