Top 10 – Movies available on Presto
#1 District 9
This clever science fiction film, produced by Peter Jackson, was shot entirely in South Africa, where a giant alien spaceship has arrived to hover menacingly over Johannesburg. Inside are millions of alien workers – refugees from another planet. They are given their own area in the city, but not all of the existing human residents are happy about it. Made as a pseudo-documentary, this is an intelligent, extremely clever story with a not-too-subtle message wrapped around it.
#2 A Nightmare on Elm Street
The original 1984 horror classic that spawned eight (!) sequels and made a man in a stripey jumper with razors for fingers a household name, Wes Craven’s surprise hit pushes all the right slasher-horror buttons as it tells the story of a group of teenagers that are chased and (usually) gruesomely killed in their dreams by the demonic Freddy Krueger. The film is also notable for featuring a fresh-faced Johnny Depp is his very first film role.
#3 Garden State
Incredibly, this one’s over ten years old now, but it’s still as rewarding as the day it was released. Zach Braff wrote, directed and starred in this warm-hearted story about an aspiring actor who heads back home to New Jersey after the death of his mother and learns a lot about life and himself as he reconnects with his roots. Natalie Portman is wonderful, too, as pathological liar Sam.
#4 The Shining
There are very few worthwhile films of Stephen King novels, but this masterpiece from Stanley Kubrick is one of the good ones. It picks up on the core theme of King’s book about a man (Jack Nicholson) and his family spending the winter in a remote mountain hotel, where the isolation and the place itself slowly, inexorably drive him insane. A truly terrifying horror movie, helped along by Kubrick’s precise, unhurried style – and Jack being, well, Jack!
#5 War Games
This one’s a trip back in time – to 1983, when this huge sci-fi hit film seemed like it was on the absolute cutting edge of technology, computers, hacking, the works. Remind yourself of that as you enjoy what is still an extremely fun story whilst giggling at the primitive electronic devices scattered around the movie. Matthew Broderick became an instant star with this story of a high school hacker who accidentally starts World War 3 in motion.
The title may be more familiar to those who’ve been enjoying the TV series of the same name (which can be seen on Stan) but this 1996 feature film from the Coen Brothers is where it all began – and it’s brilliant. Starting off with a kidnap plot gone wrong and going off on unexpected tangents, it’s very funny and wildly creative. A film so good the US Library of Congress deemed it worthy of a place in the National Film Registry, to be preserved for future generations.
#7 The Social Network
When Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea of Facebook back when he was a uni student, what it was designed to be couldn’t be any more removed from what it is today. This retelling of the story by director David Fincher (Fight Club) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) might not have gone down especially well with the people it portrays (Zuckerberg in particular) but with talent like that on board, you know it’s going to be a great watch.
#8 The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne turns in a stunning performance here in a role that’s more challenging than most – acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking. It tracks his life from the early 1960s, when he meets his wife Jane at university and is already coming up with groundbreaking theories about the universe when he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, which slowly takes away his ability to move – but doesn’t dull his mind at all. This is a story of love against the odds, with science as the backdrop.
#9 Ex Machina
Writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later) makes his directing debut with this incredible science fiction thriller, which sees young programmer Caleb winning a trip to stay at the remote high-tech home of his company’s CEO, Nathan Bateman. Bateman reveals that he has been developing full size humanoid robots with artificial intelligence, self-awareness and the ability to learn, and introduces Caleb to Ava (Alicia Vikander), who he soon falls for. This, of course, cannot end well.
#10 The Babadook
Acclaimed in the US but almost unnoticed in its native Australia, this extremely clever psychological suspense/horror film from director Jennifer Kent (her debut) is incredibly effective at being creepy without resorting to loud noises and cheap scares. Amelia (Essie Davis, best known for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) is a single mum raising her six year-old boy Sam, who like many children his age is being kept awake by nightmares. Sam’s nightmare creature is a monster from a storybook which haunts its victims once they become aware of it. And then Amelia reads the book…
Unlike its streaming TV rivals, Presto started its life as a movies-only service, bringing films old and new from the Foxtel library to an on-demand audience. Even now, movies still make up the majority of content added to Presto each month, and as a result, they’ve got a substantial library on tap for when you’re in the mood for… well, just about any kind of entertainment. The catalogue has a strong emphasis on older titles, with a selection of recent stuff to liven things up. Let’s dig in and take a look at ten of the best on offer!
As you can see from the diverse batch of films above, Presto’s movie library has something for just about everyone, and their inclusion of a great many older titles alongside the new stuff gives viewers a huge range of movie choice for a night in. Have you found any of your favourites on Presto? Let us know!