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The Breaker Upperers Sydney Film Festival
Photograph: Supplied

Stream free movies on Kanopy with a library membership

The service has a huge catalogue, taking in everything from Hollywood hits to art house flicks

Written by
Stephen A Russell

If you hadn’t signed up for Netflix before the Great Indoors took hold, chances are you’re a paid-up subscriber of the world's most popular streaming service now.

But did you know you can also access thousands of fantastic movies for free with nothing more than a virtual library card on Kanopy? Just sign up to your local library online or use your university ID, then jump on over to the Kanopy website (or app). Register for free using your ID and voila, thousands of films stashed in their vast repository of awesome are now ready to stream direct to your TV/laptop.

New additions include the absolutely barmy, darkly comic Guns Akimbo. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, he plays a computer game nerd sucked into a life or death battle with pew pews strapped to his arms. Totally nuts, it also features Aussie Samara Weaving. It’s safe to say that, not unlike farting corpse movie Swiss Army Man, Radcliffe is choosing projects that are as far away from the family-friendly magic of Harry Potter as possible these days.

For a slightly less hectic chuckle, you can plump for cute Kiwi movie The Breaker Upperers, about two besties who fake all sorts of crazy scenarios to help folks with cold feet finally ditch their dud partners. Or there’s the adorable Irish comedy Extra Ordinary, a paranormal adventure that’s more Ghostbusters than The Conjuring.

We love Keira Knightley paying the real-life bisexual game-changer in Colette, a country girl who moved to Paris, wrote a best-selling series of saucy novels and set the arts scene on fire. Sci-fi and genre geeks can catch up on the David Lynch take on Dune before the Denis Villeneuve re-do hits big screens, British dystopia High Rise, and Nic Cage in typically restrained mode (that is, totally unchained) in neon-infused, 80s-style horror Mandy.

Top-notch Aussie hits include The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet with a mighty fine accent and hottest Hemsworth Liam, and psychological drama Lantana starring Anthony LaPaglia. Have a giggle with romcom misadventure Ali’s Wedding and indie cutie That’s Not Me, or go for the classics with Bruce Beresford’s war drama Breaker Morant, Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout and Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright.

Whether you’re in the mood for Jim Cummings' awks-comic drama Thunder Road, apocalyptic blues à la Lars Von Trier’s Kirsten Dunst-led Melancholia, or a much-needed chuckle care of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Spain, there’s literally something for everyone. Documentary lovers are sorted too. And while we have all the time in the world for self-improvement, why not check out the Great Courses collection, where you can bone up on history or learn a new skill, with features on everything from cognitive behavioural therapy to learning French. Parents rejoice, the huge Kanopy Kids selection is also at your service.

The only caveat is that there's a ten film limit per month, but that's still ten more free films than you had before.

Sign up for Kanopy here or download the app here.

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