Settle into September with some seriously good series and movies on Showmax
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Set over the course of a week, HBO comedy-drama The White Lotus follows hotel guests at an exclusive Hawaiian resort as they relax and rejuvenate in paradise. With each passing day, a darker complexity emerges in these picture-perfect travellers, the hotel’s cheerful employees, and the idyllic locale itself.
The White Lotus has an 87% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian calling it “2021’s best, and most uncomfortable, show”.
Nominated for a British Academy of Film and Visual Arts (Bafta) Best Drama Award earlier this year, Gangs of London tells the story of a city torn apart after the assassination of the head of its most powerful crime family. It has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says: “A modern crime family masterpiece.”
Oscar nominee Queen Latifah (Chicago) was nominated for a 2021 Black Reel Award for Best Actress: Drama in The Equalizer, a reimagining of the classic 1980s action series and the 2014 blockbuster movie with Denzel Washington. She plays Robyn McCall, a single mother and former CIA operative, who helps those with nowhere else to turn.
One of the biggest films of 2020, Tenet won the 2021 Oscar and Bafta for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy), the sci-fi action thriller follows the protagonist, a CIA agent armed with only one word: “tenet”, as he journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) stars alongside Robert Pattinson.
From September 27
Winner of over 100 awards, Minari is a moving semi-autobiographical drama which tells the story of a family of South Korean immigrants who try to start a farm in rural Arkansas in the 1980s. Yuh-jung Youn made history this year when she became the first Korean to win an acting Oscar, taking home Best Supporting Actress. Minari picked up a further five Oscar nominations, including Best Film. Minari has a 98% critics rating.
Renée Zellweger won a 2020 Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Bafta for her stellar performance as Judy Garland in this biographical drama. The story traces the final year of the actress’s life as she arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.
Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures) stars in the horror drama Antebellum as modern-day sociologist and author Dr Veronica Henley, who becomes trapped in a waking nightmare on a slave plantation. New York Post calls Antebellum “a breathless watch”, and Variety a “terrifying - and incredibly timely - horror movie.”
From September 16
The opening film of the 2019 Berlin Panorama, Flatland is the third feature from multi-award-winning SA director Jenna Cato Bass (High Fantasy). After the murder of her husband, a young woman and her best friend flee across the Karoo, pursued by a police officer with demons of her own.
Stream it now, first on Showmax >>>
SA Film and Television Awards winner Fulu Mugovhani (Ayanda) stars in uMakoti Wethu as Khatu, who finds herself in crisis when her husband’s new job ignites old flames. Melusi Mbele (Isibaya) co-stars as her husband Sizwe, with Kwanele Mthethwa (Isithembiso) as the woman caught in the middle.
Stream it from September 23, first on Showmax
In March 2020, with just a handful of known infections, SA embarked on one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. This is a deep dive into our country’s official lockdown strategy and the effect it has had on society, the economy and our most vulnerable citizens. It features some of the main players, as well as memories from ordinary South Africans about an extraordinary time.
Thomas Buttenschøn was born HIV+ in Zambia. By the time he was nine, he had lost both his parents to the disease. Now in his mid 30s, he’s a household name in Denmark, as an award-winning musician and former judge of Denmark’s Got Talent. This doccie follows him as he returns to Zambia to raise awareness through music of the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs. The Boston Globe hailed it as “engrossing”.
This three-part HBO docuseries chronicles the personal and political journey of former President Barack Obama as the US grapples with its racial history. With a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it highlights the vision he had for the nation and reflects on his administration with new understanding about the personal obstacles he faced and the challenging pursuit of equality in the US.
This HBO feature documentary illustrates the devastating toll from widespread misinformation in the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Directed by Chinese-born award winner Nanfu Wang, the film explores the early confusion as authorities tried to contain the virus as well as shape the public narrative through misinformation. It has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Temptation Island SA hit our shores on August 26, and it’s already hotting up. To get more of this addictive reality show, binge the third season of the US version of the show. Four couples at a crossroads in their relationship leave their normal lives behind to spend a month living in separate villas surrounded by sexy singles.
Scooby-Doo and the gang are back in this animated adventure comedy, where they must face their most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this dogpocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined. The voice cast includes Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried and Gina Rodriguez.
Stream from September 20
This enchanting fantasy adventure follows Mary Lennox, an orphaned girl who is sent to live at her strict uncle’s estate, only to discover it conceals a magical garden. The adaptation features Dame Julie Walters and Colin Firth.
This article was paid for by Showmax.