Disney Plus’s newest add-on, Star, launches today, bringing some of the old 20th Century Fox catalogue of movies to the platform. It’s far from an exhaustive line-up but there’s still; plenty of good stuff to tuck into, including thousands of hours of films and TV series from ABC, FX, Freeform and Fox Searchlight.
You can access it all via the new Star tile on your Disney Plus’s homepage, with a parental control password to prevent the wee’uns in the house from getting stuck into an illicit screening of Commando.
So what to see? If you’re over 18, a bit done with watching Frozen on repeat and have completed Netflix, there’s plenty of classics to revisit. You’ll find The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Sound of Music (moving across from the main Disney+), Romeo + Juliet, The Favourite, Enemy of the State, Planet of the Apes, Quiz Show, Grosse Pointe Blank, Rushmore, Miller’s Crossing and Crimson Tide – and a few others that belong on any self-respecting Letterboxd list.
But dig a little deeper and there’s a few gems to discover that you may not have seen before. Here’s seven to track down:
Enough Said (2013)
This grown-up romantic-comedy is an utter delight: a farewell love letter from the late, great James Gandolfini in his final screen role. He plays opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Albert and Eva, middle-aged divorcees who’ve all but given up on finding love until… well, it’s never that simple in a film unafraid to show life and love as they are. Oh, and Catherine Keener and Toni Collette are in it too.
Office Space (1999)
Ever struggled with your work-life balance? Felt the urge to execute the photocopier? Boss a bit of a creep? Mike Judge’s endlessly rewatchable workplace comedy is for you. Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston are pitch-perfect as a couple of twentysomethings looking for purpose in a world of buzz words, Hawaiian shirt days, and endless TPS reports.
In America (2002)
Jim Sheridan’s early-noughts immigrant tale picked up three Oscar nominations. If they handed out gongs for ageing gracefully, it’d have one of those too. It’s based loosely on the writer-director’s own experiences and has Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton as young Irish parents trying to make a fresh start in New York. It’s an evergreen immigrant tale that still resonates – a film full of heartache and joy.
Looking for Richard (1996)
Al Pacino’s first directorial effort sends the acting great on an odyssey through the art of acting out the work of William Shakespeare – and specifically, Richard III. Great thesps like Vanessa Redgrave, Kenneth Branagh and James Earl Jones pop up to share their wisdom too. Ho ha!
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Long before the Avengers and WandaVision came calling, Elizabeth Olsen is breaking out in this airtight indie – a cult film in both senses. She’s great as Martha, a 22-year-old who falls under the spell of a charismatic Manson-like figure (John Hawkes) in a remote homestead in the Catskills.
Waking Life (2001)
Adding a whole different kind of animation to the Disney+ offering, Richard Linklater’s cult favourite is a trippily experimental rumination on philosophy and dreams made using Apple Macs, rotoscoping and about $27 in loose change. The result went straight onto Roger Ebert’s list of Great Movies.
This New York-set drama never quite materialised in the form its creator, Manchester By Sea’s Richard Lonergan, intended. The studio cut it down to 150 minutes from its intended three hours. It’s that version, rather than the slightly long Martin Scorsese/Thelma Schoonmaker cut, that you can watch on Star. But it’s still well worth your time, with Anna Paquin terrific as a teen Manhattanite who comes unstuck in edgy psychodrama fashion.
Star: everything you need to know about Disney’s bumper new streaming site.