7 movies you’ll either love or hate on internet TV

2018-08-24 09:55

Cape Town - We love big-budget blockbusters as much as the next action-movie junkie, but sometimes you just want something a little more thought-provoking and challenging.

Here is our pick of the most unforgettable movies you’ve never heard of on internet TV this weekend.

1. 1 Over 1 (Showmax)

Daring, unsettling, fragmented - this is a coming-of-age drama like no other, about 20-year-old Lissa who’s trapped in rural Pennsylvania. This is the story of her journey to adulthood through sex, love, loss and drugs. When she finds out she may be pregnant, she sets out to repair her relationship with her mother, who she’s been at odds with since her father’s suicide. The plot unfolds in a completely non-linear way, and we’re only given tiny pieces of information at a time. But it’s worth it - Film Threat calls it “an arresting, must-watch masterpiece”. It comes first and only to Showmax.

2. Mrs Mandela (Showmax)

This is neither the most recent portrayal of the life of “the mother of the nation”, nor is it the most widely publicised, but if you’re only going to watch one movie about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, make it this one. The Guardian called Sophie Okonedo’s performance in Michael Samuels’s biopic “extraordinary”, not least because she has to age 40 years in the course of the film, which is set in the years between her marriage to Mandela in the 50s and her life after he was released from prison in the 90s. It’s no mean feat, playing a real person whose admirable qualities may have been overshadowed by the controversial choices she made in later life.

3. The Tale (DStv Now)

The great Laura Dern is at her most compelling in this raw, troubling movie about one woman’s quest to uncover and heal the trauma she experienced as a child. When Jennifer was 13, she wrote a story - The Tale - about her relationship with two adults, her running coach and her horse-riding teacher. Now a successful journalist, Jennifer has only dim memories of her time with Bill and Mrs G, so she returns to the Carolina horse farm of her childhood. Will she finally be able to remember what happened to her? And even if she does, how does she know if her memories are to be trusted? As Sheila O’Malley writes on rogerebert.com: “The final moment of The Tale is devastating and also ambivalent. It shows what has been lost, but it also shows what has been gained.”

4. Mother! (DStv Now)

With an all-star cast - Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris and Javier Bardem - this Darren Aronofsky film is about a couple whose relationship and worldview are thrown into upheaval when a pair of uninvited guests, known as Man and Woman arrive at their home. It’s as disturbing as it is fascinating, and will leave you reeling with something like shock when it’s over. Forbes says “the viewer is infused with the protagonist's paranoia, and the house’s growing inhabitants are unknowable, and conspiratorial” - it’s definitely not for everyone, and probably not worth watching if you’re feeling particularly delicate.

5. Cargo (Netflix)

Part Outback-survival drama, part zombie-apocalypse horror movie, this Australian film starring Martin Freeman (seriously, is there anything this guy can’t do?) as an infected father who has only 48 hours to get his infant daughter to safety is utterly heartbreaking. Den of Geek says it’s “a step in the right direction for the zombie movie genre and Netflix movies”, so even if you thought you’d seen it all when it came to the undead, never fear - there’s space in the canon/bunker for one more.

6. Outside In (Netflix)

This beautiful indie movie co-written by and starring Jay Duplass as an ex-con who returns to his hometown after being in prison for 20 years is one of those movies that sticks with you - the way Chris’s high school English teacher Carol Beasley (played by Edie Falco, whose performance Variety calls “luminous”) stuck with him all the years he was behind bars. Now that he’s released, the only person Chris wants to see, the only person he really loves, is Mrs Beasley - even though she’s much older than him, married, and a mother. Aside from the incredible acting and script, the film’s soundscape is a highlight - as Variety says, “Having pop iconoclast Andrew Bird as composer was an inspired choice, as his largely acoustic score adds some playful edges to the overall texture.”

7. The Fountain (Amazon Prime)

Another Darren Aronofsky mindbender, this one from 2006. Hugh Jackman plays a man who goes on an odyssey in three different time periods over a thousand years looking for a way to cheat death. In the 15th Century, he’s searching for the Fountain of Youth to cure Queen Isabel (Rachel Weisz). In the present day, he’s a scientist looking for a cure for his wife Izzi. And in the year 2500, he journeys to the heart of a star to find the Tree of Life. Sound crazy? It is. The Fountain was booed at the Venice Film Festival by critics and it tanked at the box office. But it’s also attracted a fan base that has grown with time, turning it into something of a cult classic. Empire says, “this simple fable about love and death makes a virtue of its flaws and emerges as one of the most moving and thought-provoking films of the year” while The Guardian called it “time-travelling kabbalistic balderdash”. So - which is it? Decide for yourself by streaming it this weekend.

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