UPDATED: The Netflix Original films Apostle has been added to our list of the best movies on Netflix Australia. Read more about it on page 2!
If you're new to Netflix and want to find the best movies to watch, or you're tired of browsing the app for 30 minutes before finding something to watch, you've come to the right place. With thousands of movies at your disposal, it's easy to get stuck in binge-watching mode, but finding the honest-to-goodness best films can be a bit of a hassle.
In an effort to determine the best of the best, we've put together a list of the greatest possible films you can watch – curated by TechRadar editors and backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes – so that you don't have to sift through the muck. We'll keep this best-of list up to date with the latest movies that are must-watch, so you waste zero screen time searching.
As tech enthusiasts, it's perhaps unsurprising that we're obsessed with science fiction here at TechRadar. From glorious space operas to mind-bending films that make you think, there's something for everyone on our list of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix Australia.
If you've seen writer-director Alex Garland's previous sci-fi masterpiece, Ex Machina, you'll know to expect a wild ride with his follow-up, Annihilation. Based on the highly regarded novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation follows a group of women who set off on an expedition into an environmental disaster zone where the laws of nature don't apply. Natalie Portman leads the pack as a biologist searching for her missing husband, and she's joined by Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez and more. Though the film has only just been released in theatres in the US, Australia is lucky enough to be one of the countries getting the film on Netflix right away. Equally brainy and terrifying, Annihilation has all the makings of a modern science fiction classic.
As the first Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One had some pretty lofty expectations to live up to. Rather than try to replicate the formula that made The Force Awakens such a smashing success, director Gareth Edwards delivered a proper war film, one that had more in common with Saving Private Ryan than The Empire Strikes Back. Remember in A New Hope when the Rebellion got its hands on the Death Star plans that would lead to victory at the end of that film? Rogue One is about the group that stole those plans. Yes, it is a Star Wars prequel film, but don't worry – there's no Jar Jar Binks in sight.
A terrific science fiction war film starring Tom Cruise, Edge of Tomorrow plays like a cross between Halo and Groundhog Day, where the Cruiser is thrown directly into an alien war only to die almost immediately and then forced to repeat the day over and over, becoming a little more battle-hardened each time. Joining him is Emily Blunt, playing a tough-as-nails soldier who helps Cruise figure out a way to close this never-ending time loop and end the war for good. Backed by a terrific script and some fine chemistry between Cruise and Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic special effect extravaganza that should please both sci-fi and action fans.
The film that put both director Neill Blomkamp (Elysium) and star Sharlto Copley (Powers) on the international stage, District 9 is an ingenious science fiction Apartheid allegory that puts marooned aliens in South African concentration camps. An anti-alien pencil pusher (Copley) has his whole world turned upside down when he is sprayed with some kind of liquid that is slowly turning him into an alien, and now he has to team up with one of the "prawns" he so despises if he has any hope of turning back to normal. Hilarious, action-packed and filled with flinch-worthy body horror moments, District 9 is an instant classic that rightfully earned a best picture nomination at the Oscars.
The kind of smart science fiction film that Steven Spielberg used to make in his 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' heyday, Midnight Special continually offers a sense of wonder as its story unfolds. Without spoiling too much, the film centres on Roy (Michael Shannon), a father who must protect his special son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) from both the US government and a cult after it's discovered that the boy has otherworldly powers. Along for the ride are Alton's mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) and Roy's close friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton). With surprises around every corner, you never really know where Midnight Special is going, though what you can expect are some truly terrific performances and a mind-blowing finale. Fans of Stranger Things should check this out.
What if you could prevent murders before they've occurred? More importantly, what would you do if you were due to be sentenced over a murder you haven't committed yet? That is the premise of Steven Spielberg's spectacular sci-fi film, Minority Report. Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story of the same name, the film sees Tom Cruise play the head of a futuristic 'Precrime' Division tasked with stopping murderers from carrying out their violent actions. They can do this thanks to the psychic abilities of three siblings known as 'Precogs'. But what happens when this trio of soothsayers predicts a murder carried about by Cruise himself? Spoiler alert, he runs! A visually stunning film that's filled with ingenious and forward-thinking technological ideas that will likely become a reality in years to come, Minority Report is intense and action-packed.
While other films from the same time period have struggled to stay relevant, The Terminator remains as interesting and unique as it was 33 years ago. An undisputed classic of intense, unrelenting action, The Terminator kickstarted the career of uber-director James Cameron, who would go on to direct such classic blockbusters as Aliens, Titanic, Avatar and, of course, Terminator 2L Judgment Day. If you're looking for a retro masterpiece that holds up to modern-day cinema standards, you can stop searching – The Terminator is a must-see for any fan of science fiction, action and horror.
A triumphant return to the screen for the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens sees the characters we love from the original trilogy, like Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia, set off another adventure with a new generation of wonderful characters. Ironically, for a series set among the stars, Director J.J. Abrams brings the franchise back to Earth by dialling down the CGI that hobbled the prequel trilogy – this is a Star Wars movie that uses real locations and sets, as well as puppets and actors in costume, to recreate the spirit of Episodes IV through VI. Featuring thrilling action, incredible special effects and terrific performances, The Force Awakens is the best Star Wars film in over 30 years.
It took an agonising seven years for director Alfonso Cuarón to follow his masterful last film, Children of Men, but what an incredible follow-up! With Gravity, he sure did stick the landing (ahem) and hit this one right out of orbit (I'll let myself out). This nail-bitingly intense film, in which Sandra Bullock's character must use her wits to survive in space after a catastrophic shuttle accident, is a technical marvel – the kind of film that wows even the likes of James Cameron, who called Gravity "the best space film ever done." A perfect marriage of drama and special effects, Gravity is an absolute classic.
We all love a good scare (so long as we're safe and sound at the end of it), so with that in mind, we've taken the liberty of shining a spotlight on some of the best horror movies currently streaming on Netflix Australia. These freaky flicks are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine!
In the grim tradition of The Wicker Man and The Witch comes Apostle, a gory new folk horror tale from Gareth Evans, director of The Raid films. Set in 1905, Apostle sees Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) infiltrate an island-based cult which is holding his sister Jennifer (Elen Rhys) for ransom. Led by Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen), the cult is entering a particularly dark time — its crops and livestock are rotting from within, as if the people are being punished by their deity. With the community in dire straits, Malcolm and his followers have become murderous monsters, resorting to horrific, medieval practices in a vain attempt to restore life to their home. In other words, a terrible time to be discovered as an intruder! With Apostle, Evans has not lost his knack for bodily destruction, with several scenes of torture and violence that may be too much for some viewers. Those with strong stomachs, however, will be rewarded with a nail-biting horror story with incredibly production design and cinematography that's willing to go to some truly dark places. It's nerve-jangling score is also worth keeping an ear out for.
Get ready, fright fans — the highest-grossing horror movie of all time has made its way onto Netflix and is bound to make you terrified of clowns all over again. Based on Stephen King's classic novel of the same name, It follows a group of tightly-knit adolescent misfits known as The Losers Club as they investigate an evil force that's been stealing and murdering children in their small town for decades. With its late '80s setting and talented cast of young performers, It is bound to appeal to fans of Netflix's brilliant series Stranger Things (and not just because Finn Wolfhard stars in both). As far as Stephen King adaptations go, it's one of the very best, managing to strike the right balance between horror and heart. Simply put, It is the kind of crowd-pleasing scare film we'd like to see more of. We recommend watching It before the upcoming sequel, which takes place 27 years later and sees the kids all grown up and terrorised by Pennywise the Dancing Clown all over again.
The film that defined the term 'blockbuster', Steven Spielberg's classic fright film Jaws has swam its way onto the the service and is hungry for more viewers to chomp on. When an aggressive great white shark starts eating swimmers in the lead up to Fourth of July weekend, the mayor of a popular tourist destination sets a bounty for the shark's head. The town's sheriff (Roy Scheider), an oceanographer (Richard Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter with a grudge (Robert Shaw) set out on the seas to take it down for good. They're gonna need a bigger boat...
Considered a modern horror classic by many, It Follows sees a young girl (Maika Monroe) terrorised by a sexually-transmitted demon. This terrifying apparition looks different every time and will chase you relentlessly until you either pass it on by sleeping with someone else, or until it catches up to you and finishes you off for good. To make matters worse, if the person you pass it on to dies, it will turn its attention back to you again. Did we mention that it can only be seen by the people that have been 'infected', so your friends won't be able to help as much as they'd like to? Yeah, it kinda sucks. Stylish, atmospheric and with a terrific John Carpenter-inspired synth score, It Follows in an effective horror movie which may suffer a little from a few odd decisions by its characters, but is still well worth watching.
One for the horror comedy fans, the Netflix Original film The Babysitter, from director McG (Charlie's Angels), is an energetic and fun flick with some killer one-liners and a star-making performance from Aussie actress Samara Weaving (yes, she's related to Hugo), whom horror fans may remember from her role in the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead. The plot is simple: kid develops a crush on his incredibly cool babysitter, only to find out that she's sadistic, devil-worshipping killer with a group of equally psychotic friends, all of whom are planning to kill him. Though he's a total wimp, he must now fight back in order to survive. Gory and funny in equal measure, The Babysitter is a hell of a time.
One of the few horror remakes that fans of the original have embraced, The Evil Dead (2013) takes the outrageous series in an even gorier direction than ever before. Director Fede Alvarez (Don't Breathe) drops the slapstick comedy that was introduced in Evil Dead II, dialling up the gory grossness that made the original film an instant classic among horror fans. Sure, it lacks the winning charisma of Bruce Campbell, whose presence is definitely missed and cannot be replaced the mostly bland cast found here, but the film is still a slime-covered blast that puts its actors through hell regardless – just the way it should be. Groovy.
Documentaries offer unprecedented insight into the lives of real people and the extraordinary events that surround them. Fiction is great, but fact truly has the power to move and inspire people like nothing else. With that said, here are some of the best documentaries currently available to stream on Netflix Australia.
The Trump presidency has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and has been a source of entertainment for late-night shows and comedians across the US. There are books aplenty already published on the Trump White House, yet the world is yet to meet the President-maker, “the trickster”, behind the scenes. Get Me Roger Stone is about the man who puts a Republican in the White House, using every (underhanded) technique he possibly can to get his man the top job. And he does so unashamedly. The documentary follows this self-acclaimed “agent provocateur” – reminiscent of a dapper character right out of a James Bond novel or movie – as he reveals everything he’s done during his long career, from Nixon to Trump. The documentary not only puts the subject, and his Nixon tattoo, centre-stage, it also reveals how the American democracy works in its current form.
An epic 4-hour documentary on the classic rock band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Peter Bogdanovich's all-encompassing opus follows Tom Petty and his band from childhood to 2007 and is packed with candid interviews with the band's members, as well as the people that helped them become who they are. Having tragically passed away at age 66, Tom Petty will forever be remembered as one of the best songwriters in rock and roll, and a pioneering artist for everyone who has come since. If you've only just become aware of Tom Petty following his untimely death and want to know more about his impact on rock music, Runnin' Down a Dream has you covered.
Following the enormous success of its original docu-series Making a Murderer, Netflix has once again returned to the ever-popular 'true crime' well with Amanda Knox. The Netflix Original documentary tells the harrowing story of an American exchange student who spent four years in an Italian prison after being convicted for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. Forced to endure the prosecution's various character assassination tactics, including public slut-shaming, Knox maintains her innocence at all times, with her appeals eventually reaching Italy's Supreme Court. Amanda Knox is an effective and truly eye-opening documentary that is not to be missed.
Thought the classic '70s film The Warriors was pure make-believe? You'd be surprised how much truth was actually buried under all the crazy costumes. Throughout the decade, the New York City borough known as The Bronx was teeming with gang violence; each gang with its own uniform, its own war-chief and its own piece of turf to fiercely defend against rival gangs – sometimes to the death. Rubble Kings documents this fascinating era, interviewing many of the key players and giving insight into the series of events that would eventually bring peace to The Bronx at the tail end of the tumultuous decade. Fans of The Warriors, The Get Down and Hip-Hop Evolution will adore Rubble Kings. Okay, boppers. It's time to add Rubble Kings to your Netflix queue...
We love a good thriller, which is why we've narrowed down some of the best ones that are now available to watch on Netflix Australia. These films will have you on the edge of your seat in suspense, so sit back, try to relax, and enjoy.
Equal parts Oldboy and La Femme Nikita, The Villainess is a female-driven Korean revenge thriller with the most incredible and original action sequences this side of The Raid — seriously, the first-person knife fights and shootouts in this put Hollywood action movies to shame. Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim) is apprehended after carrying out a killing spree that leaves dozens of gangsters dead. She's given a choice: train to become a ruthless assassin and receive freedom after ten years, or spend the rest of her life in jail. Obviously, she chooses the former, and before long it becomes clear to her that her rampage was spurned on under false pretences. Now, it's time to make everyone pay for what they did to her.
2017 has been a great year for Stephen King adaptations (ahem, The Dark Tower aside), and the new Netflix Original film Gerald's Game joins It and 1922 in the upper echelon. In an attempt to rekindle their marriage, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and Jessie (Carla Gugino) retreat to a remote lake house. When a sex game goes awry, Jessie is left alone and handcuffed to the bed and must overcome her mounting paranoia and deep, personal demons. Though the film mostly takes place within the one room, Gerald's Game remains thrilling from start to finish. It also features one of the best performances of Gugino's career.
Though he's established a rabid fan base due to the success of blockbuster films like Jurassic Park, Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark, director Steven Spielberg is arguably in at his best when tackling more grown up fare – films like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan can attest to that. However, there is one film in particular that is arguably the most complex and adult of his entire career, and that film is Munich. Based on the real-life tragedy that occurred during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, in which the entire Israeli team was taken hostage and then massacred by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, the film sheds light on Israel's secret retaliation missions. Allegedly, these black ops saw undercover Mossad agents (played here by the likes of Eric Bana, Daniel Craig and Ciarán Hinds) track down and assassinate the men believed responsible in a rather public manner. Rather than take sides in the still ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, Spielberg questions the cost of vengeance on the conscience and soul of an entire country, asking whether it ultimately achieves anything other than more bloodshed. A riveting film that does not shy away from the story's more harrowing aspects.
One of the most powerful and harrowing films in Australian cinema history, Wake in Fright forces audiences to take a good hard look at Australia's destructively macho drinking culture. Marooned in a small outback town while he waits for a train to Sydney, schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) stops in at a local pub to pass the time. Sounds innocent enough, right? Unfortunately for John, a chance encounter with a pack of local louts sends him on an incredibly dark odyssey into the Australian heart of darkness. As shocking and menacing as any horror movie, Wake in Fright is an extremely confronting masterpiece that requires a strong stomach.
Drive is the film that made it cool to love Ryan Gosling. Based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, this pulpy thriller is one of the most stylish films of the last decade, having almost single-handedly revived the neon '80s synth-pop scene. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives), Drive sees Gosling play a nameless stunt driver who works as a shady wheelman by night. When a job goes horribly wrong, this 'driver' must dispense violent justice to make things right for those he cares for. The film's immense influence can be felt across all forms of media – the video game Hotline Miami, in particular, owes a large debt of gratitude to Drive. A loving ode to the early tough-guy crime movies of Michael Mann, Drive is essential viewing.
Simultaneously terrifying and mesmerising, The Silence of the Lambs is the film that catapulted the fictional character of Dr. Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter to mythic proportions. This brilliantly psychotic serial killer, played with great menace by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the role won him an Oscar, has since gone on be the subject of several films, books and even a fantastic television series. But while his impact on The Silence of the Lambs is huge, the story belongs to Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI trainee who is given the task of consulting with the infamous man-eater in an effort to track down a deranged killer that's skinning his victims. Foster's role is less showy but more impressive, played with equal parts determination and vulnerability. We fear for her because we see ourselves in her shoes, but also because we get a real sense of what drives her character, both emotionally and mentally. These characters may have appeared in many other films, but The Silence of the Lambs is still the best by a long stretch. A true masterpiece.
We're serious cinephiles here at at TechRadar. It's not all about Star Wars around here – we enjoy a good tear-jerker, too. There are many sensitive drama films streaming on Netflix Australia right, and these are some of the best ones. So grab a hanky and get ready for a heavy night in.
A harrowing tale of grand-scale survival against all odds, Christopher Nolan's film Dunkirk re-enacts one of the most significant events in World War II — namely, the evacuation of over 300,000 Allied soldiers who were trapped in the French port town of Dunkirk with no supplies and barely any ammunition while surrounded by heavily armed German forces. Codenamed Operation Dynamo, Winston Churchill's decision to enlist every available civilian vessel capable of reaching Dunkirk resulted in the vast majority of stranded troops being rescued. Had the scenario gone another way, the Allied forces may have lost the war. Following the events by land, air and sea, Nolan offers a surprisingly intimate look at the evacuation, despite being set against an epic backdrop. One of Nolan's best films to date, Dunkirk is a must-see war film the explores human courage in the face of almost certain death.
A worldwide phenomenon, Your Name is the highest-grossing anime film of all time — that's right, bigger than any Studio Ghibli film or science fiction blockbuster. That a simple story about a young girl from a rural town switching bodies with a young man from bustling Tokyo hit such a cord with audiences is a testament to the heartfelt writing that helps bring these animated characters to life. Makoto Shinkai's film is the kind that will have you laughing one moment, then crying the next. A joyful and beautiful love story told in a unique and cerebral way, Your Name is one of the true anime masterpieces, sitting alongside the likes of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Grave of the Fireflies, Spirited Away and the legendary Akira.
Good Time stars Robert Pattinson in the type of performance that will make you forget all about his involvement in the Twilight saga. We're talking young De Niro good, here. When his mentally-challenged brother is snatched by the police after a bank robbery, Connie (Pattinson) sets out to do anything he can to free his brother before getting sent to the brutal Rikers Island jail complex. This sets off a night that spirals out of control extremely fast. There's pretty much no way of predicting what will happen next. Gritty and grimy, Good Time is an intense film with an incredible soundtrack and fantastic cinematography. One of the best films of 2017.
The film that finally bagged Leonardo DiCaprio a much-deserved Academy Award, The Revenant is at once a stunning technical achievement and a gut-wrenching tale of survival in the harshest wilderness imaginable. Based on the true story of Hugh Glass (though fudged a little for the sake of added drama), a man who was left for dead by his fur-trapping party after a savage bear attack (amazingly realised here in one of the film's many single-take camera shots). Now, Glass must carry himself across 200 miles of snowy hell to track down down the man who killed his son (that part is made up) and left him to die alone, played here by a mumbly Tom Hardy. A powerful film with incredibly cinematography and exceptional performances, The Revenant is a must-see piece of cinema.
An astonishing work of immense power, Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece Full Metal Jacket examines man's innate desire to kill, memorably told against the backdrop of the controversial Vietnam War. The film is split in two halves – the first, which is set at boot camp, follows a young recruit who is pushed right over the edge by an abusive drill sergeant. The latter half focuses on a military journalist who watches in horror as Vietnamese people are killed indiscriminately by the soldiers he's following for reasons they don't even understand. Will they make a killing machine out of him, too? Essential viewing for war film aficionados.
One of the greatest historical epics of all time, Lawrence of Arabia has arrived on Netflix in its recently restored form. Trust us when we say that the film, which won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, looks even more sublime now than ever before. Desert landscapes are vast and immaculate, skies (and Peter O'Toole's eyes) are the incredibly blue, and close-up detail is off the charts. Still, underneath all the eye candy on display, lies one of the most inspiring war stories of all time, all of which is based on true events in the life of British officer T.E Lawrence, who led the Arab tribes against the Turks in WWI. If you haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia before, we suggest you set aside a weekend (this movie is very, very long) and remedy that as soon as possible.
As Netflix's first original movie, Beasts of No Nation had a lot to prove. The VOD scene had traditionally been associated with low budget indies and D-grade horror films, but with Beasts of No Nation, Netflix managed to convince people that high quality (dare I say, Oscar-calibre) films could be streamed at home and shown in theatres at the same time. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective season 1), Beasts follows the loss of a child soldier's innocence as he's forced to do unspeakable things. The film hits like a sledgehammer, never shying away from the brutality and horror experienced by this young boy (played masterfully by newcomer Abraham Attah). Equally powerful is Idris Elba's portrayal as the boy's remorseless and despicable commander. Though not what you'd call a crowd-pleaser, we hope that Netflix continues to bring us brilliant films like this.
As soulful as it is erotically-charged, it's not hard to see why Blue is the Warmest Color won the highest prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival – its portrayal of two women who fall in love and allow each other to discover their true selves is truly special. Though Emma (Léa Seydoux) is a blue-haired free spirit, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) doesn't feel comfortable in her own skin. While Adèle's friends initially shun Emma due to her sexuality, she soon realises that Emma is the only person with whom she can express herself openly and bare her soul to. Together, the pair experience the ups and downs of a mature relationship, while also exploring social acceptance and their sexuality. A beautiful masterpiece that will take you on an emotional roller-coaster throughout its lengthy 3-hour running time, Blue is the Warmest Color is a film you won't soon forget.
Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Snowpiercer) is an eclectic filmmaker, and his latest work, Okja, is in a genre all of its own. Is it an adventure film? Is it science fiction? Is it a drama? Is it a fairy tale? Is it satire? The answer is... all of the above. With a style that's somewhere between Spielberg and Miyazaki, the film follows a young Korean girl's quest to rescue her best friend Okja, a super-pig that was created by the multi-national conglomerate Mirando Corporation for the purposes of consumption. Flipping between heartbreaking and joyful at the drop of a hat, Okja is an emotional roller coaster of a film that may well have you reconsidering your dietary choices.
This is one of the most affecting movies that you will ever see. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a factory owner who begins to help his Jewish workers during World War II after he sees them persecuted by the Nazi Germans, the movie is a study in brevity. Steven Spielberg manages to find the human stories in the atrocity of WWII without shying away from the true horror of what happened during the conflict. Winner of several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, Schindler's List is a film you won't soon forget.
A heartfelt and considered look at Martin Luther King Jr's struggle to gain equal voting rights, campaigning in racially-charged Alabama, Selma was one of the finest films of 2014 and was rightly nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as a result. It may have missed out on the top gong, or a Best Director nod for director Ava DuVernay, but David Oyelowo's performance as the civil rights leader is a powerful one, with a supporting cast recreating the inspiring story with great respect. With recent real-life events showing that racial tension is still as prevalent in 2017 as it was in the 1960s, Selma is more relevant than ever. Powerful and moving, Selma is a must see film about courage, determination and the fight for equality among all people, regardless of their colour.
Need a good laugh? Netflix Australia is home to some terrific comedies, with a number of hilarious movies ready to stream in an instant. Some are light-hearted, while others are pitch black. With that in mind, there's a comedy for everyone below.
Unlucky in love, nice guy Andy (Steve Carrell) has yet to go all the way with a woman despite being 40 years old. While he has quietly resounded himself to the possibility that he may never lose his virginity, his rambunctious co-workers (Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Romany Malco) have made it their mission to get Andy laid, no matter what. And, just when you think you have the movie figured out, it reveals itself to be a surprisingly sweet story about friendship and moving into the next stage of life. Featuring more gut-busting one-liners and sexual misadventures than you can poke a... err... you get where we're going with this, Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin is one of the most hilarious comedies of the 21st century.
The indie film that made stars out Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, Swingers is a hilariously hip film (well, in the '90s it was) about friendship and moving on from a devastating breakup. Stylish and energetic, the film also made Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood. Worth watching for the hilariously-needy answering machine scene alone. Based on a winning script by Favreau (who would go on to huge success as a director with films like Iron Man and The Jungle Book), the movie is so, so money.
Perhaps the most charming and endlessly entertaining comedy of Eddie Murphy's career, Coming to America takes the standard 'fish out of water' concept and weaves pure magic with it. Unhappy with the arranged marriage set up by royal parents, Prince Akeem of the wealthy (and fictitious) African nation of Zamunda sets off for America in search of love with help from his squire, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). Before long, Akeem falls for the smart and independent Lisa (Shari Headley), heir to the McDowell's fast food restaurant empire. Insistent that he win her affections with his personality and not his wealth, Akeem and Semmi pretend to be poor and acquire jobs at McDowell's. Now, the pair must contend with Lisa's over-protective father (John Amos) and her jerk boyfriend (Eriq La Salle). Full of heart and bloody hilarious, Coming to America is a comedy classic.
You know what they say: black comedy is still comedy! While the first rule of Fight Club may be that you shouldn't talk about Fight Club, it's extremely hard to keep quiet about a film as provocative as this. Though its messages are based in extremely dark satire, David Fincher's film is as nihilistic and anarchistic as any major film studio has ever produced. Violent, gross and incendiary, Fight Club sees emasculated males bash each other's faces in to make themselves feel manly once more. While the film's themes are intended in jest (the film is basically Gen X's ultra-dark version of a Marx Brothers comedy), they certainly resonated strongly with certain fans, many of which would go on to start their own fight clubs. Despite being misunderstood by its biggest admirers, Fight Club is one of the must-see films of the late '90s.
Following the success of their classic rom-zom-com, Shaun of the Dead, director Edgar Wright, star and writer Simon Pegg and co-star Nick Frost teamed up once again to bring their hilarious sensibilities to the buddy-cop movie genre with Hot Fuzz. London super-cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is involuntarily transferred to a village in the English countryside for making his superiors look bad by comparison. There, he teams up with dim-witted (but well-meaning) cop Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) and together, the pair uncover a murder conspiracy. If films like Point Break and Bad Boys II are in constant rotation at your place, you absolutely owe it to yourself to grab a Cornetto and watch Hot Fuzz.
It may look like a thriller, but Just like its main character, American Psycho is something entirely different under the surface. Quite frankly, most people don't expect this film to be as funny and endlessly quotable as it is. Director Mary Harron and co-screenwriter Guinevere Turner did the unthinkable when they took on the job of adapting Bret Easton-Ellis' hugely controversial and largely unfilmable book, American Psycho – they looked beyond the source material's horrendously graphic and seemingly never-ending violence to focus on the scathing satire of the greed-obsessed '80s buried underneath. Christian Bale solidified himself as one of the world's most exciting actors in the role of Patrick Bateman, the Wall Street yuppie with an insatiable lust for blood and dinner reservations. Both shocking and hilarious, American Psycho is a remarkably clever cult classic.
Though they live on the other side of the law, we as people tend to be fascinated by criminals. Whether it's the outlaw lifestyles they lead, or the fact that they live those lives on the edge and do things most of us wouldn't dream of, something about their stories makes them cinematic gold. Here are some of the best crime movies now streaming on Netflix Australia.
The characters in the fact-based film The Wolf of Wall Street may very be completely reprehensible with little-to-no redeeming qualities, but damn if they aren't freakin' hilarious. An adults-only tour through the real-life antics of white collar criminal Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio at his most unhinged), the film revels in the excess and debauchery of Wall Street in the 1980s, where thieving yuppies spent millions of dollars on drugs, hookers and extravagant lifestyles they did not earn. While the film's three hour runtime might scare off potential viewers, Martin Scorsese's energetic direction keeps the action moving at a lightning-fast pace. The film was also stars Margot Robbie's in her breakout role, playing Belfort's ever-suffering wife, Naomi. Jonah Hill is also incredibly funny as Belfort's partner in crime, Donnie. If you love Scorsese's classic film Goodfellas, chances are you'll enjoy this just as much.
A rollicking crime caper movie from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels writer and director Guy Ritchie, Snatch takes everything great about that movie and dials it up to 11. Featuring a large cast of colourful cockney crooks, including Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Dennis Farina, Benicio Del Toro, Vinnie Jones and Brad Pitt (particularly memorable as an unintelligible Gypsy boxer), Snatch flies thick and fast with hilarious quotable lines and energetic performances. Whether they're chasing after a diamond the size of a fist, or betting on illegal bare-knuckle brawls, you can expect these characters to end up getting into all kinds of mischief.
If you've blasted your way through both seasons of Narcos and want another South American crime epic to get stuck into, consider City of God as your next destination. Based on true events that took place over three decades in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, the film accurately recreates the lively and energetic vibe of Brazil, but also counters it some truly harrowing scenes of devastating violence. In the 'City of God', children brandish firearms and kill each other indiscriminately over petty drug deals. While that might sound like too much to bear, the terrific filmmaking on display from Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund will keep you on the edge of your seat, as will the film's authentic performers and compelling story. One of the greatest films of all time, City of God is like Goodfellas scored to a samba beat.
Perhaps the most influential movie of the 90s, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the big prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the hearts and minds of an entire pop culture-obsessed generation. Presented as an ingenious crime anthology with three interlocking parts, Pulp Fiction follows two hitmen as they go on a job and experience what may or may not be an act of God, a dinner date with the crime boss' wife which (almost) spirals out of control, and a boxer who accepts money from the aforementioned boss to take a dive, but opts to skip town instead. Violent, audacious and with little concern to the rules of cinema, Pulp Fiction is the kind of whip-smart classic that can be watched at the drop of a hat. The film may have seen its fair share of imitators over the years, but none of that has diluted Pulp Fiction's immense power.
Buckle up for some heart-pounding entertainment with some of the most kick-ass action movies now streaming on Netflix Australia. Adrenaline junkies will get a kick out of every one of the brawny movies listed below.
In the first John Wick, they killed his dog, sending this boogeyman-like professional killer (played by a never-better Keanu Reeves) on a roaring rampage of revenge where no noggin remained bullet-free. In John Wick: Chapter Two, our favourite head-shooting hitman is on the defensive, as he is betrayed by an old associate and left to fight off every trigger happy assassin in New York and abroad. With even more insane stunt work and mythology building than the original film, John Wick 2 is an action-packed middle chapter which promises to end in an almighty bloodbath for the upcoming trilogy-closer, John Wick 3: Parabellum.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol on Netflix before the latest film in the saga, Mission: Impossible — Fallout, hits theatres. Why should you do that? Because the fourth entry in the M:I series, which is directed by animation legend Brad Bird (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant) is not only the best Mission to date — it's one of the best spy movies of all time, period. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team (which includes Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton) must stop a crazed madman (the late Michael Nyqvist) who believes the only way to save the world is to destroy it. Featuring brilliant spy antics, clever gadgets and the best stunts of Cruise's death-defying career (seriously, one particular sequence which takes place on the world's tallest building is positively vertigo-inducing), Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol is as close to perfection as these kinds of films get.
Set in a heightened version of New York in the dirty 1970s, where the streets are ruled by violent gangs in crazy costumes, The Warriors follows one particular gang (we'll give you one guess as to what they're called) that's framed for the murder of a visionary gang leader during a city-wide midnight summit. Originally meant as a peaceful event, The Warriors must now make it back to their home turf at the other side of the city with every other gang in town out for their blood. Will they survive long enough to prove their innocence? And will the real culprits get what's coming to them? A fantastic piece of '70s pulp, The Warriors is a guaranteed great time. And while its vision of colourful gangs lording over the slums of NYC seems outlandish, it's a lot closer to the reality of the time than most people realise. To learn more about this bygone era, check out the documentary Rubble Kings, which is also streaming on Netflix (read more about it on Page 3).
The DC Cinematic Universe has had a bit of a rough start in its attempts to catch up to competitor Marvel, with films like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad unable to adequately please both fans and critics. That all changed with Wonder Woman, the first DCU movie to receive universal praise across the board. Perfectly cast as Wonder Woman a.k.a. Diana Prince, Gal Gadot breathes warmth and love into the world's most famous female superhero. Diana is swept into the wars of man when charming pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands near the hidden island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons. Sensing that WWI is the doing of Ares, the God of War, Diana sets off with Steve into the world of man to end the war (and Ares) once and for all. One of the greatest superhero movies of all time, Wonder Woman is a triumph. Now let's hope we get more DC movies like this...
The sequel to Marvel's 2014 phenomenon, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 finds the intergalactic heroes thrust into another adventure, one that could reveal the identity of Peter Quill's father. Even more spectacular than the first film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continually aims to surprise the audience, with simultaneously keeping its action and comedy levels high.
The world has gone to hell following a cataclysmic event, plunging headfirst into madness and chaos. All that remains is a wasteland governed by tyrannical men, populated by downtrodden hordes, and hopefully, rescued by mythical heroes. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules with an iron fist, doling out meagre amounts of water to the masses, while keeping a stable of wives for himself to breed future warlords. His most trusted Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has betrayed him and freed these women from their lives of sexual slavery. Now, the chase is on, as Immortan Joe and his party of warboys set out to retrieve their "property". If Furiosa and co. are to succeed, they’ll need the help of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a wandering road warrior in search of a cause. Director George Miller has crafted the most dynamic, vibrant and sensational action blockbuster of the decade with Fury Road. it’s an inventive, high-octane kick in the guts to a film industry that has played it safe for far too long. The chases and stunts in this film are unparalleled. Best of all, the film's cut-to-the-chase plot manages to sneak in a powerful and extremely timely rebuttal to patriarchy.
Fight fans raised on the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Donnie Yen are no doubt familiar with Scott Adkins, the British martial arts sensation that has made a name for himself as a heavy in big Hollywood blockbusters (Doctor Strange, The Expendables 2, The Bourne Ultimatum) and as a leading man with a number of franchises under his (black) belt (Ninja 1 & 2, Undisputed 2 & 3). Now, Adkins has returned to what is arguably his best character with Boyka: Undisputed, which has been made available to stream on Netflix for the first time. For those who haven't seen the previous two Adkins entries in the Undisputed series, Boyka is a Russian prison fighter who entered the series as a villain in the second instalment, only to become the hero in the third film. In Boyka: Undisputed, we follow the beastly fighter as he tries to find redemption by helping the wife of a man he accidentally killed in the ring. Come for the phenomenally-staged, CGI-free fight sequences, but stay for the sincere story.
IMDB Rating: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Marvel's first cosmic adventure film, Doctor Strange sees the talented surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) turn to the mystical arts in search of a cure for his mangled hands. More arrogant than the usual Marvel superhero (yes, even more so than Tony Stark), Doctor Strange must learn to get over his own ego before he can rise up and be the hero he was born to be. With trippy visuals and mind-bending twists that make the film Inception look tame by comparison, Doctor Strange is both familiar and incredibly unique among the superhero blockbusters that have been released so far.
Living off the grid in Southeast Asia, John Rambo is dragged back on to the battlefield once more when a group of missionaries is taken hostage by despicable war criminals in war-torn Burma. To get them back, he's going to have to blast through an entire army. Kicking the level of gruesome violence up to the extreme, Rambo is not a film for the squeamish. However, if you love the character and enjoy seeing irredeemable baddies get torn apart by 50-caliber machine gun fire and makeshift machetes, this is the movie for you – just don't expect high art (check out the disparity between the IMDB user score and Rotten Tomatoes critic score below).
One of the most entertaining action movies of the '90s, the Nicolas Cage vehicle (in more ways than one) Con Air has been added to Netflix Australia. After spending seven years in jail for accidentally killing a man while protecting his wife, newly paroled ex-con (and former US Ranger) Cameron Poe (Cage) is on a prisoner transport plane heading home to meet his daughter for the first time. Unfortunately for him, this is going to be one bumpy ride, as a group of death row inmates who are also onboard decide to hijack the plane in a last ditch attempt at freedom. Packed with colourful characters and terrific one-liners, Con Air is the kind of brawny action movie they just don't make anymore.
Though Marvel Studios films are known for being visually spectacular, action-packed and epic in scope, the real reason audiences around the world have embraced the Marvel Cinematic Universe is because of its characters. While we may have our favourites, we've spent enough time with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America to know what these beloved heroes stand for – they don't always agree with each other, but this dynamic of differing opinions is the key to The Avengers successful. That's all well and good when there's a clear enemy to face, but what happens when these super-powered individuals fall on opposing sides of an issue that strikes at very heart of the team? Answer: friends and teammates will go to war with each other. Easily the Marvel film with the highest emotional stakes to date, Captain America: Civil War is a phenomenal entry in the ongoing Marvel saga, one that provides no easy answers. Neither side is wrong about its stance, yet we know that there will ultimately be only one victor.
Quentin Tarantino is loved and revered for his work in American cinema, and lately his takes on classic '70s movies. Like his take on Inglourious Basterds before it, Django Unchained deals with role reversal in a historically controversial time. The story of revenge and justice, Django (played by Jamie Foxx) and Dr. King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz) set off to hunt down a gang of felons before the ultimate promise of setting Django free. Like other Tarantino films, it doesn't shy away from the grotesque and gory or mind going against the grain, making it easy to recommend and easier to watch time and time again. And, Netflix also provides QT fans with the ability to stream his classic films Inglourious Basterds and Reservoir Dogs.
Need some kid-friendly entertainment that will make the whole family happy? We've selected some of the best family movies that Netflix Australia has to offer. Each one of these films is guaranteed to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
An utterly enchanting and completely magnificent live-action adaptation of one of Disney's most celebrated animated classics, Beauty and the Beast absolutely nails the source material — maybe even betters it in some regards. Much of the praise can be bestowed upon Emma Watson, who plays Belle with grace and warmth. The same can be said about Dan Stevens, who spends the film injecting life into the computer-generated Beast. Luke Evans comes close to stealing the show, though as the vicious and vain Gaston. We're also pleased to report that all of the original film's songs are present and accounted for, so gather the whole family and settle in for a wonderful night singing, laughing and crying.
If you loved Will Arnett's hilarious take on the Caped Crusader in The Lego Movie, you're going to be over the moon to see him take centre stage in his very own block-filled blockbuster! In The Lego Batman Movie, all of the Dark Knight's villains are teaming up to take over Gotham City, and it's up to Batman and his newly adopted sidekick Robin (Michael Cera) to stop them! With an incredible cast of comedic superstars in tow, including Zach Galifianakis as the Joker, Conan O'Brien as The Riddler and Riki Lindhome as Poison Ivy, The Lego Batman Movie keeps the laughs coming for its entire runtime. Quite frankly, it's the best Batman film since The Dark Knight.
Having achieved monumental success with its film Frozen, Disney had a lot to live up to with its next major 'Disney Princess' movie, and it still managed to blow away expectations with Moana – a visually stunning tale of an independent free-spirit (played by newcomer Auli'i Cravalho) who sets off on a journey to save her island from a devastating curse indadvertedly set by the selfish demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson). Though it follows all the familiar Disney beats that we've come to expect over the years, Moana is well written, wonderfully animated and terrifically acted. You may also find its many catchy songs stuck in your head for days after watching it.
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom) is a writer/director know for his whimsical and inimitable style, with characters who are fleshed out (regardless of whether they're actually people) and have warmth and heart to spare. With his first foray into family-fare, Fantastic Mr. Fox, the visionary filmmaker succeeded in creating his most accessible film to date. Based on the classic story by Roald Dahl, the film follows a wily fox (played with incredible charm and terrific comedic timing by George Clooney) who bandies together with his family (voiced by Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman) and friends (including voice work from regular Wes Anderson collaborator, Bill Murray) to fight off the mean farmers that plan to destroy their homes. Featuring wonderful stop-motion animation, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a heartfelt and hilarious film that's destined to become a family favourite.
Criminally overlooked by audiences upon initial release, The Iron Giant is an animated film that has steadily grown in appreciation over the years, to the point where many traditional animation purists now consider it an undisputed classic. The feature-length debut of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), and Set during the 1950s at the height of the 'Red Scare' period of America's history, The Iron Giant tells the story of a lonely boy named Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) who makes a new best friend in an enormous amnesiac robot (Vin Diesel). The robot eventually realises that he was actually built as a weapon, and before long, the authorities find out about him and set out on a quest to destroy the gentle giant. Now the boy and his metallic friend have to protect each other at all costs. A touching film in the tradition of E.T. the Extra-terrestrial, The Iron Giant deserves to be considered as not just a terrific animated film, but as one the greatest films of the '90s, period.
A time-travelling classic from director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) and producer Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Back to the Future sees 1980s teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) race back to the 1950s to ensure that his parents meet during high school and fall in love – he better succeed, because if he fails, he'll be wiped from existence in his current timeline! To do this, he'll need help from Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) – an eccentric scientist who's built a working time machine in the form of a DeLorean sports car. A fantastic fish-out-of-water tale that leans heavily on 1950s nostalgia, great performances and terrific visual effects, Back to the Future can be considered a high-watermark from everyone involved.
More than just a cute movie about talking animals, Disney's Zootopia cleverly sneaks messages about prejudice, tolerance, and even the war on drugs, into its animated take on cop movie procedurals. Though its characters may be bunnies, foxes and other wild animals, the idea of not judging someone by their race (or in this case, species) is more important than ever right now. Gorgeously animated with loveable characters and a hilarious script full of jokes that only adults will get (there's even a Breaking Bad reference at one point), Zootopia continues Disney's streak of incredible animated films. Now bring on Zootopia 2!
Looking for the cheapest price on a new Roku deal? You're in the right place then! In a video streaming world dominated by Netflix, Amazon, Google and Apple among others, Roku is the plucky underdog that continues to hold its own. And after a recent UK and US-wide update brought voice-controlled search features to the most-modern of the Roku devices, now is a great time to be looking for a good deal.
The Roku is a media streaming box that plus into your TV via an HDMI port. It turns any old TV into a smart one, adding Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Now TV streaming, screen mirroring, game playing – and, on the latest versions, 4K and HDR playback.
The Roku family is your one-stop shop for all your streaming needs, without tying you in to any particular service or app store.
The Roku Premiere+ and Roku Express in particular are two of our absolute favourite living room devices. If you're thinking of picking one of these up, we couldn't recommend them more highly. By comparison, you could check out our Chromecast deals or Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV stick prices.
Here are the best Roku deals currently available...
A tiny yet superb 4K streaming device
Roku continues to give rival streaming devices something to worry about as the new Roku Streaming Stick Plus is super modern, super small and, most importantly, super cheap. Not to mention, unlike many of the older models on this page it's been released in the UK too. Now Brits can finally join the 4K Roku party like the US has been enjoying for years! You're even getting HDR content from supported apps too.
The best value 4K HDR streaming device
The Roku Premiere+ is the best intersection of value and performance for a 4K streaming player available right now. It's a capable piece of hardware and the Plus version includes HDR (High Dynamic Range) playback over the older Premiere model. An optional ethernet connection enables smooth 4K HDR streaming if your Wi-Fi isn't quite up to the task. We're loving the option for private listening via the headphones plugged into the remote too. Note: This Roku was not released in the UK. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.
An excellent 4K streaming device
This standard Roku Premiere lacks a few key features compared to the Roku Premiere+ above. Say goodbye to HDR and ports for an ethernet connection and MicroSD card. You can't plug headphones into the remote either. As a 4K streamer, this is a bargain, but we'd advise opting for the Plus model as the aforementioned features are a steal for a few dollars more. You might find 4K streaming a smoother experience when cabled in instead of Wi-Fi too. This Roku was not released in the UK either. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.
The one with all the features
The Roku Ultra is the most feature-packed of all the Roku media streamers. It has all the quality 4K and HDR streaming and ports of the Roku Premiere+. So what do you get for the extra cash? The remote control gets the most attention on the Ultra as it can be used for voice search, it has extra buttons to make it a handy game controller and there's even a little speaker to help you find it via a button on the console. There's also a USB storage slot and an optical out audio port. So, handy extras, but the Premiere+ is arguably better value for money. This Roku was not released in the UK either. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.
Once the Roku champion, now usurped by the Roku Ultra
The 4K-capable Roku 4 is slowly being phased out by the newer Roku Ultra. The two streaming devices are largely similar in terms of features, but the Roku Ultra is arguably the one to go for as it features enhanced sound and allows for HDR (High Dynamic Range) streaming too. With the Ultra generally costing the same, or maybe $15 more at most, we'd go for that one first for a bit of future-proofing. Note: This Roku was not released in the UK. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.
The Roku 3 is the best Roku model available in the UK
Where the Roku 3 really scores is in its wonderful usability, be it the blazing processor speed or the improved functionality the hardware tweaks have bestowed upon it. It's responsive, simple and not beholden to a proprietary content library. Whether you're looking for a streaming box to help you cut the cord, or augment your cable subscription, the Roku 3 has the features, build quality and simplicity you're looking for. US buyers may want to pay a little bit more for the Roku Premiere instead and get 4K streaming.
The best entry-level streamer
This is the cheapest Roku family member. The Roku Express is newer and cheaper than the Roku Streaming Stick and does all the same jobs. If you want tot turn any HDMI TV into a Smart TV for as little as possible - this is for you. Although, the Quad-Core enabled Roku Streaming Stick does fun a bit faster.
It's a Roku streamer in HDMI-stick form like a Chromecast
It's not quite as affordable as the Chromecast, but it has more of the apps that people want right now, including Amazon Instant Video. That's significant because Amazon often has cheaper HD movie rentals than other services. There are a number of new streaming devices out right now, but the the Roku Streaming Stick stands as the most efficient way to make a normal HDTV into a smart TV without springing for a pricier set-top box. Newer models have surpassed this one though and it's increasingly hard to get hold of in the UK. In all honesty, we'd opt for the Roku Streaming Stick Plus (near the top of this list) as it's not that much more expensive at all and can show 4K HDR content.
Our thoughts are inevitably turning to the PS5 now that the PS4 is officially reaching the end of its life cycle (that's direct from Sony) – so what exactly is in store for the Sony PlayStation 5 and when can be expect it to release?
For now Sony is keeping rather quiet when it comes to specific plans for the PS5: but we know that a PlayStation 5 release date will one day actually exist, thanks to Sony Interactive Entertainment's President and CEO Shawn Layden confirming as much in an interview with Golem.de. In addition, Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed the company is working on a next-generation console in an interview with the Financial Times.
Back in May, Sony Interactive CEO John Kodera revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the PS5 would not be releasing until at least 2021. However, an investigation by T3 claimed the PS5 could release as soon as Christmas 2019 - earlier than the Xbox Two.
We all know that the rumors, wish lists and alarmingly convincing 'leaked' renders in the run up to a console reveal are a big part of the fun.
In that spirit, we've gathered together everything we most want to see from the PlayStation 5 and what its stand-out features might be when it arrives.
[Update: Sony has confirmed it's working on a next-generation PlayStation console.]
With no official word yet from Sony on a PS5 release date, it's difficult to pin down exactly when we might get to see a PS5 console.
Some analysts are predicting the PlayStation 5 release date could be around 2020 or 2021, for example, while others say 2019 – so just the three-year window, then.
Speaking to GamingBolt, Michael Pachter said that though he thinks the PS5 will be a half-step and will be backwards-compatible with the PS4 Pro, he doesn't think we'll see it until "2019 or 2020 but probably 2019".
This would make sense as it would fall in line with predictions for when the 4K TV market in the US will reach 50%. "I think Sony has probably got the next console cycle lined up already," he says, "I think they already know what they've got to do."
More recently Pachter clarified this claim, saying that Sony would most likely release the new console in 2020. He added that at this time he thinks the PS4 Pro will become the base model PlayStation and will see a reduction in price.
Meanwhile a recent report from Kotaku's Jason Schreier backs up this thinking. He spoke to a number of developers about likely release dates with most of the conversations pointing to a 2020 release. He writes: "There is information about the PlayStation 5 floating around at both first- and third-party companies, but it’s far more limited than it would be if the console’s release was imminent."
A recent Wall Street Journal report points to a release around three years away, with Sony's John Kodera stating “We will use the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher in the future."
Not long after this, Sony's new CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, released a three-year business plan for the company which predicted the company's profits would dip in the run up to 2021. This is the kind of dip that may come as the PlayStation 4 reaches market saturation, before the launch of the PS5.
So mark your calendars for 2019, 2020 and 2021 then.
Although we're hideously impatient for news of a PlayStation 5 release date, we can't fault Sony for taking another few years to really milk the last of the PS4, given it's huge and loyal player base. After all, the PS4 Pro is still relatively new to the market and its direct competitor, the Microsoft's Xbox One X, is an even more recent release.
However, industry insider Jez Corden and a recent Microsoft job listing have hinted that Microsoft is already thinking about the next Xbox – the Xbox Two (codenamed "Xbox Scarlett"). That means it's highly unlikely that Sony isn't currently doing the same and is, perhaps, even further along in the process.
According to gaming industry analyst Hideki Yasuda (via T3), and his firm Ace Economic Research Institute, "the introduction of the PS5 will be at the end of 2019". A 2019 release would be much earlier than expected and would mean Sony has been pulling the wool over our eyes – it would also mean the PS5 would release before the Xbox Two.
If we're honest, we can't really see any urgent need to start a new generation right now. And given Microsoft's growing commitment to backwards compatibility, we think it's key for Sony to really think carefully about its next steps.
Despite Yasuda's report, a two to three-year wait make a lot more sense to us. However, it could be Sony is trying to throw Microsoft a sucker-punch from left-field by releasing earlier than expected.
Solid news on the PlayStation 5 is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but as always, we do have rumors about what could be coming down the line – and we've collected and assessed them right here.
Kenichiro Yoshida confirms next-gen
In an interview with the Financial Times, Sony president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said: “At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have a next-generation hardware."
Ace Economic Research Institute report
Gaming industry analyst Hideki Yasuda, from Osaka-based firm Ace Economic Research, has claimed in a recent report that the PS5 could arrive in time for Christmas 2019 (via T3).
The report estimates that "the introduction of the PS5 will be at the end of 2019". If this is true, then it'll be a massive blow to Microsoft who has confirmed the Xbox Two (codenamed "Xbox Scarlett") will not launch until 2020.
John Kodera talks life cycles
PlayStation's John Kodera has been discussing the future of the PS4 at a Sony Corporate Strategy Meeting and, by extension, inadvertently creating space for prospective PS5 release year rumors.
During the meeting, Kodera made it clear that Sony is still very much behind the console but warned that sales are expected to slow this year, in line with expectations as market saturation approaches. As a console gets to this point in its lifecycle, it's natural to start looking forward to the next iteration.
Kodera stated that the time passing from now until 2021 would be a period where Sony would hunker down – which suggests that a new big idea could be around the corner. Perhaps 2021 will be the time to expect the PS5?
No E3 2018 appearance
Now that E3 2018 has come and gone, we know there was no mention of the PS5 during the event. Instead, Sony offered up deep dives into four of its biggest upcoming games: Death Stranding, Spider-Man, The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima. Watch this space for E3 2019.
Eurogamer tech analysis
A recent report from Eurogamer has attempted to narrow down a possible release date based on when technologies advanced enough to justify a generational leap will be available to Sony. The most important things that will need to advance will be the console's processor and its memory and in both cases, Eurogamer has determined that we're unlikely to see a new console released before the very end of 2019.
Even if Sony did manage to push its console out at this date, the cost of production would make the PS5 far too expensive, making it more likely that we won't see the console released until the end of 2020, if Sony has any intention of making it an appealing proposition.
Andrew House talks the next generation
Former Sony chief, Andrew House, has been speaking about what the next generation of consoles could look like at the GamesBeat conference recently. Though House refused to comment specifically on the PlayStation 5 itself, he did say that he believes physical discs will stick around for a while yet, as a result of the need to continue tapping into developing markets where downloadable titles may not be quite as compatible with limited internet infrastructure.
In other markets, however, he thinks that streaming games will be a big part of the next generation of consoles.
House also stated that he thinks the PS4 and the PS4 Pro still have a long life in them yet. This doesn't necessarily cancel out the rumors that the PS5 will be with us in the next one to two years; if the reports that the console will be backwards-compatible are true then the PS4 generation will remain relevant long into the lifecycle of the PS5. Regardless, given that House was unwilling to comment on the PS5 despite being pushed, these details can only be considered speculation at the moment.
The SemiAcccurate report
SemiAccurate (via ResetEra) is claiming that it's received some leaked information on the yet-to-be-announced console and says that the number of dev kits which have been distributed suggests the console could be released sooner than expected.
In addition to this, SemiAccurate also reports that Sony will use this console to push its VR efforts even further, with VR-tech baked in at the Silicon level, and will sport a GPU based on AMD's Navi architecture with a CPU that's potentially a custom item from AMD's Zen line.
Though SemiAcccurate has a decent track record with its reports, having accurately reported Nintendo's Nvidia partnership for the Switch and the PS4 specs back in 2012, we still say take this with a pinch of salt.
Though the specs sound plausible, a 2019 release date seems a little far-fetched. Regardless of how many developer kits that Sony has distributed, it feels too soon after the release of the PS4 Pro for the next PlayStation console just now... and we're getting towards the end of 2018.
The Marcus Sellars claims
Renowned leaker Marcus Sellars has been making some bold claims on Twitter recently (via GameRant), alleging that PS5 development kits are already in the hands of third-party developers. He also claimed that Nintendo is planning a Direct stream for March 8 (something which has since proven to be accurate). In fact, Sellars has been accurate with his claims a few times: recently he revealed Metroid Prime 4 was being developed by Bandai Namco.
However, Sellars didn't provide any evidence to back up his claims so they really can't be taken as anything more than rumor at the moment.
Something which may be interesting in relation to this, though, is that recently CD Projekt Red revealed that their upcoming title Cyberpunk 2077 was being developed for current and next generation consoles which came as a great surprise to many. Whether this means they're one of the third-party developers at work with these rumored kits is yet to be confirmed.
Even if development kits are in the hands of developers, this doesn't mean the PS5 is coming any time soon. It could still be another couple of years before any kind of reveal in terms of hardware.
Something that does help Sellars case is a recently updated patent for backwards compatibility that's been filed by Sony. Originally filed in 2015, the patent was updated in February to say “Backward compatibility testing of software in a mode that disrupts timing.” This is no guarantee that Sony is actually working on the technology for the PS5 (it could be creating an entirely separate peripheral that makes backwards compatibility possible) but it's not impossible that this could be for a new generation console.
The PlayStation Plus news
Though there's been no official word from Sony on the development of a PlayStation 5 just yet, a recent announcement in relation to the PlayStation Plus service has ignited some speculation. It's been announced that from March 2019, PS Plus will no longer offer free PS3 or PSVita games and will instead focus on PS4 titles. This has led to some wondering over whether or not Sony is attempting to phase out these older generation titles in preparation for a new generation. This is, of course, pure speculation but it's interesting that Sony would be willing to reduce its game offering to only two games (as it informed Polygon) without any other excuse than wishing to focus on titles for an already highly successful console. Whether Sony is truly making way for the PS5 or whether it's going to offer a higher quality of PS4 game is unclear and it seems we'll have to wait a while to find out what the final plan for PS Plus is.
The PS4 Pro offers a tantalising hint of what 4K gaming could be like. But the stark fact remains: it still doesn’t have the grunt to do native 4K consistently.
Its “checkerboard” technique of taking single pixels and using each to render four pixels in 4K resolution is clever, and it can do native 4K output, but it often has to sacrifice resolution to keep performance consistent.
Chris Kingsley, CTO and co-founder of developer Rebellion, dangles an even more ambitious technological carrot in front of a putative PS5: “Obviously new hardware should be able to support 4K TVs and possibly even 8K TVs at a push!”
Native 4K support, surely, will be a basic requirement of the PlayStation 5. And if Sony cracks that particular problem with alacrity, it could even mean that a PlayStation 5 will arrive sooner than anticipated.
Aside from 4K visuals, if recent showings at GDC 2018 are anything to go by we certainly can expect the next generation to offer incredible visual advancements in terms of character models.
During GDC, we got a glimpse of what the next generation of games might look like and it's left us extremely excited for the PS5.
Real-time ray tracing was revealed to be the next big thing in rendering while Epic Games gave us a taste of how it might be used to create the most lifelike characters ever. Using its capture technology, the Unreal Engine creator displayed a future with character models so realistic they bring us close to crossing the uncanny valley. Watch a performance from Andy Serkis below to see just how capable these new development technologies are:
“Honestly, between five and ten years from now, I don't think you're going to be able to tell the difference between the real and the virtual world,” Epic CTO Kim Libreri told GamesIndustry.biz, “You'll see hardware that can support these kinds of capabilities pretty shortly, and then, finally, the greatest blockbuster with the most complicated effects, within ten years, you'll be able to do that in real-time.”
When Libreri tells us we'll see hardware that can support this technology "pretty shortly" we can't be sure, but we like to think she's talking about the yet-to-be-announced PS5.
Sony became the first console manufacturer to embrace virtual reality, thanks to the PlayStation VR, but if you examine PlayStation VR closely – and observe how it operates on the PS4 Pro – it invites speculation about how a PlayStation 5 console might take VR to a new level.
Currently, PlayStation VR operates at lower resolution than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – but, as it stands, even its current incarnation almost pushes the base PlayStation 4 beyond its limits. Running a PlayStation VR on a PS4 Pro brings improved frame-rates, which are very handy indeed in terms of the overall VR experience, but even the PS4 Pro can’t overcome the resolution constraints set by the PlayStation VR headset.
So it’s a good bet that, presuming PlayStation VR is successful (and it already appears to be catching on) Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration: which would provide an obvious selling point for the PlayStation 5.
And if a PlayStation VR 2 headset could be sold without an external black box, it should be markedly cheaper, further accelerating VR’s march into the mainstream. A recent report from SemiAcccurate, which claims that the PS5 will have virtual reality capabilities built-in at silicon level, suggests this will indeed be the case.
Rebellion’s Kingsley makes another good point about second-generation VR. “Anything that reduces the leads has to be a good thing,” he says.
The umbilical cord which currently attaches VR headset-wearers to their consoles or PCs obviously goes against VR’s entire immersive nature, and we’re already beginning to see, for example, a third-party implementation for the HTC Vive that renders it wireless. It’s a safe bet that the capacity for running a wireless PlayStation VR 2 will be built into the PS5.
But Kingsley’s PlayStation VR 2 wish-list goes further: “Wide vertical and horizontal field-of-view would be top of my list, and of course, that would require 4K resolution per eye, and high dynamic range would be great too.”
HDR and wider fields of view should be achievable but sadly, we don’t reckon full 4K VR is likely to be a possibility even for the PS5. As Kingsley points out, that would require 4K rendering per eye, which equates to 8K rendering overall, which we expect to be beyond the PS5’s capabilities.
That said, perhaps Sony will find some clever technological bodge to get around that before it releases its fifth PlayStation console.
It has been suggested that future consoles like the PlayStation 5 could take radically different forms to current ones, thanks to advances in cloud computing and game streaming, doing away with the components that make today's devices so bulky. However, we reckon it's unlikely that Sony will take a more Nintendo-like approach and put the PS5 in a tiny box.
One reason for that is that with the PS4, Sony has only just committed to using what are basically the innards of a PC – the first three PlayStation variants used proprietary components (and which in the PS3 impacted sales). Developers, certainly, were massively relieved that the PS4 took the PC route.
“Developers want the ability to make the best games using the minimum amount of effort. We want to focus on being creative and getting things to just work,” Kingsley says. “So the hardware should be based around current console hardware, which is in turn based on PC hardware. We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data.”
All the above are achievable, but will the PS5 still have a hard disk?
Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House spoke at the PS4’s launch about how deciding to put hard disks and 8GB of RAM in the PS4 were both “billion-dollar decisions”. The fact that Sony has now made external hard drive support possible for the PS4 and Pro is a step in the right direction and this is something that could be carried over to the PS5, which will undoubtedly have to deal with even larger 4K assets.
It seems certain that Sony is very keen to hear what its community thinks – recently a group called PlayStation Voice sent out surveys to members of its closed community asking them what their expectations of the PS5 are. One community member posted the email they received and found themselves removed from the group for breaking its non-disclosure agreements.
According to PSU, PlayStation Voice is a community run by third-party consumer insight agency, Join the Dots. Once information has been gathered, it's fed back to clients (the client in this case presumably being Sony PlayStation).
Admittedly, this doesn't tell us much about PS5 itself, other than that things are likely to be still in the very early stages. While it's unlikely that Sony would use the information gathered from its communities to decide exactly which features will be included in the console, the ideas of fans can certainly spark a good deal of inspiration.
Of course, if games were just streamed to the PS5 that problem would disappear entirely, and Sony already has a game-streaming service in the form of PlayStation Now.
So why isn’t this more of a definite feature rather than something on our wishlist? Well, Sony is remaining tight-lipped about PlayStation Now uptake figures, but we suspect they are pretty unimpressive. It has certainly had issues with setting the right subscription charges, given that PlayStation Now effectively gives backwards compatibility – a “luxury” that was previously free for owners of PlayStation 2s and 3s.
But the biggest issue is broadband speeds. Even 4K TV requires a minimum of 25Mbps broadband in order to provide satisfactory streaming, and it’s doubtful whether 4K game streaming – with extra information on top of the visual side – would even work reliably at such speeds. There would be nothing to stop Sony launching a small form-factor cloud-based version of the PS5 console for those with mega-fast broadband, perhaps with a mobile phone-style subscription model that has an upfront hardware costs (something Microsoft is thinking about).
But for the PS5 to sell anything like its predecessors, there would have to be a conventional version with similar innards to the PS4.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has previously announced an infrastructure investment aimed at bringing fast broadband and 5G mobile data to the UK – but the earliest that would have an impact would be 2021, and the PS5 will almost certainly arrive before then. Perhaps its first mid-cycle update, though, will be a streaming version which takes advantage of burgeoning 5G networks?
The rise of downloadable games, which continue to eat into the physical disc market, means that pundits have been predicting that consoles will go discless for about a decade now. However, our guess is that the PS5 won’t be the first system to risk venturing down that road, at least not until it catches wind of Microsoft doing the same thing.
Sony has taken a lot of (justifiable) flak for not putting a 4K Blu-ray drive in the PS4 Pro – making it a less attractive purchase for film and TV buffs than the Xbox One S or the Xbox One X.
Surveys continue to show that gamers are still attached to the possibility of buying games on physical discs – not least because they can then sell them (a practice that the games industry hates), and keep hard disk space usage at a manageable level.
If Sony were to axe the Blu-ray drive from the PS5, gamers would expect several terabytes of storage in compensation.
Kingsley gives a developer’s view on the topic: “I think the days of delivering films and games via disc are on the decline, as most people are going digital; however, some people like physical discs, so who knows whether that decline will level out and remain present but at a lower level than now?”
Download figures have been on the rise over the last year but EA CFO Blake Jorgensen has said that he thinks consoles and disc drives will continue to stick around.
“Consoles and disc drives probably stay around for a long period of time [...] I think it's the consumer deciding what's the easiest way for them to buy a game.
“And it may mean they no longer have a store down the street from them so they decide to buy it [digitally] maybe it's easier for them to do.”
Given that the PlayStation 4 was launched in 2013 and Sony’s previous consoles arrived in six-year intervals, it would be easy to project that it will launch the PlayStation 5 in 2019 at the earliest. The sort of technology available then should easily allow full native 4K games without saddling the PS5 with a massive price-tag and, by 2019, 4K TVs will be the norm, rather than the exception, in the average household.
So it would be a surprise if Sony doesn’t want to capitalize on that at the earliest possible juncture. However, Kingsley points at the PS4 Pro, and reckons that could have an effect on the length of the current console cycle: “It’s a difficult one to judge, but overall I think it’s fair to say that the overall cycle will lengthen slightly.”
Especially if the PS4 Pro wildly outsells the base PS4, which admittedly isn’t something we anticipate happening once it has reached a critical mass of households with 4K TVs.
So perhaps 2020 might be the year in which Sony unleashes the PS5 on the world, as the first native 4K console with wireless VR... as long as Microsoft doesn’t get there first.
If the backwards compatibility patent mentioned above is actually applied, we can expect to see the whole PS4 library available to play on the PS5. Or, perhaps we'll see another round of remasters as we did when moving from the PS3 to the PS4. However, we imagine there will be some games being developed specifically for this new PlayStation 5 console generation and the extra power it's likely to offer.
Already we've seen CD Projekt Red mention that it's developing for this generation as well as the next, and alongside the rumors that there are already developers kits out in the open, we think there's a good chance that Cyberpunk 2077 will be one of the early PS5 titles.
Check out our PS4 vs PS4:PSVR compared and explained video below.
With competition from rival devices heating up, it's a good time to be on the lookout for some of the cheapest Chromecast prices. Google Chromecast is not only one of the most useful and innovative gadgets of the last few years, it's also excellent value for money. And if you're looking to pick one up for the cheapest possible price, you've come to the right place!
Chromecast is a Wi-Fi HDMI dongle that you plug directly into your TV. From there you can use your smartphone or tablet to 'throw' video at your TV over Wi-Fi, whether it be Netflix movies, live football matches from the major broadcasters or simply just a funny YouTube video. On this page we'll find you the best prices for the Chromecast Ultra, Chromecast 2 (or just Chromecast now) and Chromecast Audio and explain how they differ.
With prices already incredibly cheap, there's no need to hang on for specific Chromecast sales. If you're in the UK or US and would prefer to stream content from a standalone box, you should take a look at the latest Roku deals.
This one's easy. The standard price for a Chromecast 2 is $35 in the USA, £30 in the UK and $58 in Australia. You should never, ever pay more than that because you can always find one for that price.
The Chromecast 2, or 'new Chromecast' as it's also known, is very similar to the now discontinued 2013 Chromecast. Sure, it looks a little different. And it's got slightly faster network performance and a few other tweaks such as coming with a dangly cable instead of as a rigid stick. But essentially the same product in a different shape - that's why the prices were basically the same. If you can find one for the same price, get this new one.
While it doesn't offer true multi-room streaming at the moment (fingers crossed that comes soon), this easy-to-use and affordable device modernizes any trusty set of wired speakers you already own with wireless capabilities. In doing so, it also opens them up to features that will grow and get even better over time. Got an old set of speakers or an ancient iPod dock? Turn it into a wireless speaker with Chromecast Audio!
The 4K Chromecast Ultra is the newest member of the Chromecast family. If you have a 4K TV or are planning on getting one, it's certainly worth picking one of these up. The Chromecast Ultra is a cheaper alternative to Amazon's Fire TV or the US-only Roku 4 for getting 4K content on your TV. Chromecast Ultra deals are usually around £69/US$69/AU$95, so anything cheaper is an added bonus.