Every month, streaming services in Australia add a new batch of movies and TV shows to their libraries. Here are our picks for March.
Mystery writer Robert B. Parker introduced his Boston private detective “Spenser” in a 1973 novel, and then went on to feature the sleuth in 39 more books, along with a 1980s TV series and a handful of 1990s cable movies — all without ever giving the hero a first name. After Parker died, the author Ace Atkins took over the Spenser franchise. One of Atkins’ novels, “Wonderland,” has loosely inspired “Spenser Confidential,” the first in what might become a new Spenser movie series. Mark Wahlberg steps into the title role, while Winston Duke plays his best friend and occasional hired gun, Hawk.
The accomplished documentarian Liz Garbus (best-known for the Oscar-nominated films “The Farm: Angola, USA” and “What Happened, Miss Simone?”) makes a rare foray into scripted drama with “Lost Girls,” a loose adaptation of Robert Kolker’s nonfiction book about the hunt for a Long Island serial killer. In the movie version, Amy Ryan plays victims’ rights advocate Mari Gilbert, who pushed the criminal justice system to investigate the death of her daughter. Gilbert’s obstinacy helped reveal the existence of a murderer preying on South Shore prostitutes.
In the Spanish science-fiction satire “The Platform,” the concept of “haves” and “have-nots” gets visualized in ways both stunning and stomach-turning. Iván Massagué plays a regular guy who volunteers to spend six months in an experimental government facility which is part prison and part housing project, where a large platter of food descends from the top of a tall tower to the bottom each day — leaving every resident just a few minutes to grab what they can. While the movie’s hero advocates for a more equitable system, the director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and his cast and crew examine the circumstances in which needy people can be coerced to devour one another.
Octavia Spencer plays the pioneering black entrepreneur Sarah Breedlove in the four-part mini-series “Self Made,” which presents a colorful take on a woman who had a deep and lasting effect on African-American culture. Under the name of “Madam C.J. Walker,” Breedlove made a fortune in the early 20th century selling hair-care products, while working to improve the healthiness of her clients’ follicles and also their self-image. Spencer leads an excellent cast — including Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo and Blair Underwood — in this lively rags-to-riches story.
In the early 1970s, a generation of future civil rights activists gathered each summer at Camp Jened, an upstate New York recreational program for teenagers with disabilities. For the entertaining and touching documentary “Crip Camp,” directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht combine rare footage from that era with new interviews and archival news clips, to tell a story about how many of these kids became successful advocates for accessibility laws. In this inspiring look back at very different era, the filmmakers illustrate the idea that fostering a sense of community can be the first step toward meaningful change.
The Emmy-winning Netflix series “Ozark” returns for a third season, picking up just a few months after the point where season two left off — with the white-collar criminal Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) getting deeper into trouble with their Missouri-based money-laundering business. In season three, the Byrdes will be funneling some of the mob’s money through a casino, with the help of the young femme fatale Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner). The show will continue to alternate between everyday domestic melodrama and a twisted, pulpy take on modern organized crime in Middle America.
Also Arriving: “Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis” (Mar. 3), “Castlevania” Season 3 (Mar. 5), “Guilty” (Mar. 6), “I am Jonas” (Mar. 6), “Paradise PD” Part 2 (Mar. 6), “The Protector” Season 3 (Mar. 8), “Ugly Delicious” Season 2 (Mar. 6), “Marc Maron: End Times Fun” (Mar. 10), “Dirty Money” Season 2 (Mar. 11), “On My Block” Season 3 (Mar. 11), “Hospital Playlist” (Mar. 12), “100 Humans” (Mar. 13), “Elite” Season 3 (Mar. 13), “Kingdom” Season 2 (Mar. 13), “The Valhalla Murders” (Mar. 13), “Altered Carbon: Resleeved” (Mar. 19), “Feel Good” (Mar. 19), “Dare Me” (Mar. 20), “The Letter for the King” (Mar. 20), “Maska” (Mar. 20), “Ultras” (Mar. 20), “Curtiz” (Mar. 25), “Signs” (Mar. 25), “Black Lightning” Season 3 (Mar. 26), “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” Season 2 (Mar. 27), “The Decline” (Mar. 27), “Uncorked” (Mar. 27).
The Italian author Roberto Saviano’s book “Gomorrah” — about how the mafia has evolved into something more insidious in the 21st century — has already been turned into an acclaimed 2008 film and an ongoing television series. Now a handful of international TV production companies and networks have backed an adaptation of Saviano’s “ZeroZeroZero,” another ambitious and eye-opening report on how international drug-trafficking has become tightly interwoven into the global economy. The TV version has Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan and Gabriel Byrne playing the members of a prominent family whose shipping company survives thanks to a cocaine smuggling operation.
This eight-part docu-series follows the recent highs and lows of the Australian national cricket team, from the 2018 “Sandpapergate” scandal — which saw multiple players implicated in a rule-bending scheme to scuff up the ball — to the subsequent attempt to adjust to new leadership. “The Test” offers a rare inside look at an athletic institution in crisis, and tells a different kind of underdog sports story: about a once-dominant squad trying to regain its edge.
Fans of darkly comic crime pictures like “Fargo” and “A Simple Favor” should enjoy “Blow the Man Down,” a twisty thriller featuring a fine cast and a memorable coastal Maine location. Co-written and co-directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, the movie is about two sisters (played by Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor) who attempt to cover up a murder and then find themselves in an uneasy alliance with a local brothel’s manipulative madam (Margo Martindale). This female-led take on film noir — which sports a whimsical sea shanty score — is both wickedly entertaining and refreshingly offbeat.
The fashion-themed reality competition series “Project Runway” owes a lot of its success to the warm, bright personalities of its former host Heidi Klum and the contestants’ original mentor Tim Gunn. Those two now unveil their similar series “Making the Cut,” which features designers and brand-builders from around the world. In addition to its more international scope, “Making the Cut” will reportedly differ from “Project Runway” in its emphasis on the business side of fashion, with marketability being just as important as originality.
Also arriving: “Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse” (Mar. 13), “Jessy & Nessy” Season 1A (Mar. 13).
The Philippines’ former first lady Imelda Marcos tells her own story in “The Kingmaker,” a documentary about her and her husband Ferdinand’s rise and fall — and about her recent attempts to rehabilitate her image. The film was directed by Lauren Greenfield, whose previous documentaries “The Queen of Versailles” and “Generation Wealth” are wry examinations of a fading aristocracy’s lingering delusions of grandeur. “The Kingmaker” may be Greenfield’s boldest character study yet, as it balances its subject’s self-mythologizing with frequent reminders of the damage the Marcos’ lavish lifestyle did to their country.
In the first season of Matthew Heineman’s hard-hitting true-crime series “The Trade,” the documentarian investigated the opioid crisis in the United States, with his crew embedding with addicts, dealers and cops. Season two moves most of its action to the Mexican border, where the flow of drugs is tied to human trafficking, human rights abuses and President Trump’s immigration policies. As is his style, Heineman continues to offer multiple perspectives on the larger issues, while focusing on the people who keep getting caught in an endless cycle of violence and need.
The first season of the freewheeling comedy “Black Monday” covered the misadventures of a ragtag band of Wall Street traders in the mid-1980s, as they took on the establishment, skirted the rules of their industry, and played an inadvertent part in the 1987 stock market crash. Season two brings back much of the same cast, led by Don Cheadle as a charismatic rebel. The story will now deal with the aftermath of the big collapse, mixing bits of real history with comic tall tales.
In the true-crime docu-series “Leavenworth,” a murder case is complicated by the intricacies of military justice — and by the ongoing debate in the United States over what it means to “support our troops.” Produced by Steven Soderbergh and directed by Paul Pawlowski, this documentary tells the story of a soldier who allegedly ordered his men to fire on noncombatants in Afghanistan. Pawlowski presents multiple perspectives on what may have happened; and he considers how and why the man’s guilt or innocence became politically charged.
Also arriving: “A United Kingdom” (Mar. 1), “Tiny Furniture” (Mar. 4), “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America” (Mar. 5), “First Wives Club” Season 1 (Mar. 20), “Silence” (Mar. 21), “Hidden” Season 2 (Mar. 27), “Berry Bees” Season 1 - Part 1 (Mar. 27), “Swallow” (Mar. 27), “Press” Season 1 (Mar. 31).