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  • Author Kobina Monney
  • Published June 30, 2014

6 hidden gems you can stream today

Streaming services usually steer you towards content they want to shout about. But what about the rest of the good stuff sitting in their vaults? What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision’s Kobina Monney shows you where to start…

Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang

Streaming services usually steer you towards content they want to shout about. But what about the rest of the good stuff sitting in their vaults? What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision’s Kobina Monney shows you where to start…

 

Log in to your preferred on-demand service (or services) on your smart TV and dig around a little. You’ll find a massive amount of stuff. Some of it is of questionable quality, of course – but occasionally you stumble across things like…

 

Drag Me to Hell (Netflix)
You might not have heard of Sam Raimi’s horror comedy Drag Me to Hell, but it’s great fodder for a night in.

 

The plot is appropriately simple. Loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) gets more than she bargained for when she evicts an old woman from her home: this frail lady turns out to be a witch who exacts revenge by putting a curse on her.

 

She has three days to undo it or she’ll be dragged to hell, the perfect platform for Raimi’s zany humour and cartwheeling camera antics.

 

What makes Drag Me to Hell such good fun is its schlocky tone and commitment to wedging in as many gruesome gags as possible – a throwback to when horror films were as funny as they were scary.

 

Jesus Camp (Netflix)
There are odd films, there are very odd films and then there’s Jesus Camp.

 

This hard-hitting documentary shines a light on the bizarre and troubling behaviour that took place at a Christian summer camp – behaviour that involved children speaking in tongues and being driven to tears.

 

It posed the question of whether these children fully understood what they were being taught, or were they being brainwashed instead?

 

A fascinating documentary that’s a guaranteed conversation starter.

 

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (NOW TV)
Before Robert Downey Jr. was taking on aliens as Iron Man, he was plotting his film comeback in small budget flicks.

 

Kiss Kiss… is a great showcase for his leading man chops, with writer/director Shane Black (who would later direct Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3) dropping him into a film noir-esque mystery.

 

After accidentally stumbling into a movie audition and winning the leading role, petty thief Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr.) is packed off to Hollywood where he teams up with private detective Gay Perry (a scene-stealing Val Kilmer).

 

Fiction then becomes reality when they find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation that involves Harry’s high school dream girl Harmony (Michelle Monaghan).

 

With no small amount of charm and wit, Kiss Kiss… is worth watching for Kilmer’s performance alone.

 

Outnumbered (Amazon Instant Video)
We feel Outnumbered is a little underappreciated. Low-key and concerned with the drabness of family life, this semi-improvised BBC comedy is filled with lots of little moments that come together effortlessly.

 

The acting by Romona Marquez and Daniel Roche especially are some of the most natural we’ve seen from kids in quite a while, and the comedy is terrifically British: embarrassing, uncomfortable and with misunderstandings piled on top of misunderstandings. Brilliant.

 

The Shield (Amazon Instant Video)
The Wire might be top dog when it comes to US crime shows, but The Shield deserves to be thought of in the same regard. Starring Michael Chiklis as LAPD Detective Vic Mackey, over seven seasons The Shield followed Mackey’s murky descent into morally hazardous waters.

 

By the end of the first episode you’ll no longer think it’s just another cop show. It’s a fantastic start to a series that takes the idea of the good guys winning and turns it on its head.

 

Half Nelson (NOW TV/Amazon Instant Video)
Despite the title you can rest assured that Half Nelson is not about wrestling. It’s actually about a junior high school teacher (Ryan Gosling) who’s discovered indulging his drug habit by one of his own pupils. It leads to an unlikely friendship as both teacher and student have issues in their lives they have to confront.

 

It’s a small, low-key effort with both Gosling and Shareeka Epps (as the young student) delivering exceptional performances. A lovely and uplifting story.

 

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