It's the season to settle in with some familiar faces and festival favourites. Now streaming at SBS On Demand.
By
Staff writers

7 Dec 2018 - 11:24 AM  UPDATED 7 Dec 2018 - 11:24 AM

 

The Two Faces of January

M
United Kingdom, 2014
Genre: Thriller
Language: Turkish, Greek, English
Director: Hossein Amini
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, Yiğit Özşener
What's it about?
A high stakes con turns dark in this sumptuous vintage-themed thriller. Con artist Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and his glamorous wife (Kirsten Dunst) try to flee their holiday destination in Greece with a random stranger. One of them has been linked to the murder of a police officer and trying to frame the other for the crime.  

The Two Faces of January Review
The Two Faces of January: Viggo Mortensen and Hossein Amini interview

This Must Be the Place

M
Ireland, Italy, France, 2000
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: [language]
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand
What's it about?
What was that about familiar faces? Sean Penn is barely recogniseable a former rock star living off his royalties in Ireland. The death of his estranged father brings him back to New York. He discovers his father had an obsession: to seek revenge for a humiliation he had suffered. Cheyenne decides to pick up where his father left off, and starts a journey, at his own pace, across America.

Volver

M, 2006
Genre: Drama
Language: Spanish
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Blanca Portillo, Antonio de la Torre
What's it about?
A surreal celebration of the resilience of three generations of Spanish women, from director Pedro Almodovar. Following her death, a grandmother returns to address issues left unresolved at the time of her passing. A powerful and toucking film about resilience, starring the great Penélope Cruz. 

It's Only the End of the World

France, Canada, 2016
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel
What's it about?
A who's-who of contemporary French cinema assembles for Xavier Dolan's adaptation of an award-winning novel. A writer returns to his hometown, planning to announce his upcoming death to his family. As resentments surface, fits and feuds unfold until all attempts at empathy are sabotaged by people's incapacity to listen and love.

The Captive

2014
Genre: Thriller
Language: English
Director: Atom Egoyan
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos
What's it about?
A family saga merges with a missing persons mystery as Ryan Reynolds tries to track down his daughter's abducter eight years after her disappearance.

Before Night Falls

MA15+, 2000
Genre: Drama, Biography
Language: Spanish
Director: Julian Schnabel
Starring: Javier Bardem, Diego Luna, Olatz Lopez Garmendia, Cy Schnabel, Johnny Depp
What's it about?
Reinaldo Arenas (Javier Bardem) is a boy from the Cuban countryside with a gift for writing and a passion for life. He leaves his mother and ventures into Havana just after the revolution has swept Castro to power. He throws himself into his writing and strikes some early success; but his homosexuality soon brings him to the attention of the authorities. Although his friend Lazaro (Olivier Martinez) is more discreet, Reinaldo decides to defy the regime after his second novel is banned and has to be smuggled out of the country. But the powers of the totalitarian state are soon brought to bear on the dissident writer.

Before Night Falls review: Episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas

Lost River

2014
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller
Language: English
Director: Ryan Gosling
Starring: Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith
What's it about?
Ryan Gosling's directorial debut is set in a decaying city, as a single mother of two is swept into a dark and macabre underworld. Her teenage son Bones discovers a secret road that leads him to a underwater town. Billy and her son will have to make it to the end for their family.  

Holy Motors

2012
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Leos Carax
Starring: Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue
What's it about?
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part – but there are no cameras present. Monsieur Oscar is accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He's like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives.

Holy Motors: Denis Lavant interview
Holy Motors: Cheat sheet
Holy Motors Review

Young And Beautiful

2013
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: François Ozon
Starring: Martine Vacth
What's it about?
Isabelle (Marine Vacth), a 17-year-old student, loses her virginity during a quick holiday romance. When she returns home, she begins a secret life as a prostitute for a year.

Sirens

Australia, 1994
Genre: Drama, Biography, Adult
Language: English
Director: John Duigan
Starring: Hugh Grant, Sam Neill, Portia de Rossi
What's it about?
A fictionalised account of the scandal surrounding Australian artist Norman Lindsay's 'The Crucified Venus'.  In the 1930s, Lindsay's painting was damned by the Church as blasphemous for its depiction of Christ as a naked woman. An Anglican minister, Anthony Campion (Hugh Grant), is sent to pay a call on Lindsay (played by Sam Neill) and, encourage him to withdraw the painting from a public exhibition. Campion and his wife (Tara Fitzgerald) spend a few days at Lindsay's remote Blue Mountains compound, where they confront disapproving locals, sensuous nude models and their own inhibitions. 

Sirens review: Naughty and entertaining