What to watch on streaming right now
THE ONE DELIVERING MORE THAN THE BEAR NECESSITIES
PADDINGTON 2 (G)
The 2014 adaptation of Michael Bond's wonderful Paddington books performed a minor miracle. Not only did the filmmakers capture the refined and infinitely loveable spirit of everyone's favourite marmalade-addicted Peruvian bear. They also crafted one of the finest family movies of any era.
The good news on the sequel is that one good minor miracle deserves another: Paddington 2 is the equal of its predecessor, not allowing standards to slip anywhere. A fantastic effort when you consider little Paddington (voiced to perfection by Ben Whishaw) spends a fair whack of the flick doing jail time with some highly unsavoury types.
Padds has been framed for robbery by a nefarious actor-turned-crook (Hugh Grant), so it is up to his good friends the Brown family (Sally Hawkins is a standout as the mum) to clear his name. Meanwhile, Paddington becomes best buds with the meanest bloke in the slammer, Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson). A complete all-ages delight.
Watch: FOXTEL, NETFLIX
THE ONE THAT ISN'T GOING TO PLAY NICE
CHILD'S PLAY (MA15+)
Firstly, some (haunted) housekeeping: this is not a remake, reboot nor reimagining of the classic 1989 horror thriller. No, this is a reincarnation: the summoning of an evil little figure many of us were secretly hoping to never see again.
So say hello once more to the one and only Chucky, the toy doll with a temperament that makes Pennywise the clown of It infamy look like a reasonable, well-balanced kinda dude. In a production most horror fans will find eminently disposable, yet undeniably enjoyable, the Chuckster is still as old-fashioned a demented doll as ever, but for a thoroughly modern reason.
He's now a 'smart toy', an internet-connected plaything designed to befriend and babysit kids at the same time. What could possibly go wrong with that kind of arrangement? Well, once a disgruntled programmer removes a few lines of Chucky's code, just about everything. Be aware the body count is moderate, but the methods used to rack up those numbers are enough to make a butcher turn vegan.
Watch: FOXTEL, AMAZON
THE ONE UPLOADING THE UPLIFT
JOJO RABBIT (M)
Described by writer-director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as "an anti-hate satire," Jojo Rabbit is a genial coming-of-age comedy that is definitely not for everyone. However, it will appeal to more than many will assume on first impressions. And a first impression drawn from its synopsis might be the last straw for some viewers.
So what is the sticking point here? Well, the movie is set in Nazi Germany of the 1940s. The innocent young hero (played wonderfully by youngster Roman Griffin Davis) who discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home continually turns to an imaginary friend for advice.
The name of that imaginary friend? Adolf Hitler. Remarkably, Waititi snatches triumph from the jaws of folly with an inspired and touching work that won't be forgotten in a hurry. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell.
Watch: rent via GOOGLE, iTunes, YOUTUBE MOVIES
THE ONE SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER
THE POST (M)
Gripping true story of a heroic chapter in the annals of investigative journalism is set in 1971, as the inexperienced publisher (Meryl Streep) and determined editor (Tom Hanks) of the Washington Post defy the US government to print a devastating expose about America's military interventions around the world. Both stars rise to the occasion as expected here, as does master director Steven Spielberg.
THE ONE GOING ABOUT IT THE SONG WAY
LOST GIRLS (MA15+)
Based on a true story, this slow-burning investigative thriller has been one of the most popular original movies on Netflix for the year so far. When the daughter of Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan) vanishes from the Long Island region, local police drag their feet in terms of ramping up the search.
Taking matters into her own hands, the heartbroken, yet indefatigable Mari uncovers the work of a previously unidentified serial killer responsible for 16 other murders in the area. Though the screenplay leaves out a crucial need-to-know detail or two, a flawless display from Ryan keeps you right at Mari's side during a tragic, yet important quest.
THE ONE WHERE TRUE LOVE MUST REPEAT ITSELF
This gripping drama is not so much a whodunit as a whosaidit. Brendan Gleeson plays Father James, a village priest on the Irish west coast who hears the chilling confession of a local parishioner. The unseen speaker declares he will kill the man of the cloth in exactly seven days' time. If that's not enough of a knockout premise: Father James appears to know the identity of his future assassin. There is only a handful of adult men who live in the village. We will be meeting them all in the coming week. While Calvary could be regarded as a comedy at times, the sense that time is running out - and that Father James will not be running away - keeps the tension levels rising unbearably high.
THE ONE LIVING UP TO ITS NAME
ANNABELLE COMES HOME (M)
Another week, another creepy-doll thriller. Hard on the hellish little heels of Chucky and Child's Play comes a third movie for the dreaded Annabelle, the deathly vintage plaything from The Conjuring. In this lightweight, but likeable enough outing, Conjuring founding figures Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) have temporarily reined in the rogue doll's reckless ways.
They've locked her away in a room with other paranormal death-magnets, and then nicked off for the weekend. As long as no-one opens the door in their absence, there should be no cause to worry. Though the Warren's teenage daughter Judy (McKenna Grace) and her babysitter know better than to go in there, another kid who's staying for a sleepover doesn't get the murderous memo.
Uh-oh. Annabelle and the rest of the room's occupants get out and get busy getting on everyone's nerves by getting up to no good. A frivolous, but fun bundle of frights, helped along no end by a funky 70s production design and soundtrack.
Originally published as What to watch on streaming right now