This is our pick of some of the best movies to stream online. Check back in here every day for the next 21 days as South Africa goes into lockdown for more ideas on what to watch to help you pass the time. We’re adding new movies day by day!
Day 13: Wednesday, 8 April 2020
Pet Sematary, 1989 (Showmax): the original horror that holds up well
Stephen King is the master of horror. One of his many film adaptations is Pet Sematary, an intriguing 80s horror that spawned a 30-year anniversary remake. Hairstyles aside, the quirky 1989 original still holds up, telling the cautionary tale of the Creed family settling into a home with a dark history.
Unable to throw CGI at everything, there’s a real charm and gravity at play, from the rickety cemetery to the scraggly cat Church. Blending mystery and psychological horror, director Mary Lambert crafts a worthy and spiralling adaptation, penned by King and elevated by powerful themes and solid casting. The 2019 remake is also available to stream on Showmax.
IMDB rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 50%
Day 12: Tuesday, 7 April 2020
Everybody Wants Some!!, 2016 (Showmax): for those who love Dazed & Confused
Everybody Wants Some!! is an entertaining and nostalgic comedy about college exploits that are propelled by camaraderie and hormones. In a similar groove to Dazed & Confused, this free-ranging comedy drama is about a group of college baseball players enjoying the last few days before class starts in the 1980s.
A gently meandering storyline, up-and-coming stars (Blake Jenner!) and a lively script guide this tale about jocks daydreaming about getting to fourth base. If you can handle the locker-room dialogue and fraternity shenanigans, this movie is a blast. Great chemistry, organic dialogue, charming performances and a classic rock soundtrack transport you back in time.
IMDB rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 87%
Day 11: Monday, 6 April 2020
Straight Outta Compton, 2015 (Showmax): one of the most compelling movies you’ll ever see about rap
Straight Outta Compton is what you get if you multiply Boyz n the Hood by The Wolf of Wall Street. This engrossing music biopic covers the rise of the influential rap group NWA as told bt Dr Dre, Easy-E and Ice Cube. Inspired casting is reinforced by sharp performances as band contracts cause rifts, and racial tensions around police brutality intensify.
F Gary Gray’s drama immerses us in a tour of the age, revelling in the excesses that often accompany money and fame. At two-and-a-half hours, the movie’s taut atmosphere, compelling storytelling, authentic feel and sensitive direction give it an epic swagger.
IMDB rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88%
Day 10: Sunday, 5 April 2020
Death At A Funeral, 2007 (Showmax): the British comedy with an all-star cast
When it comes to dark comedy, it doesn’t get much crazier or funnier than Death at a Funeral. Set at a typically British funeral, chaos erupts when a man tries to expose a secret regarding the recently deceased. It’s a blast of biting and hysterical fun, thanks to standout performances from Alan Tudyk, Kris Marshall and Game of Thrones luminaries, Peter Dinklage and Peter Vaughan.
This madcap and character-filled ensemble comedy turns a funeral into a full-blown circus. Keeping up appearances, trying to keep calm and carry on – it’s difficult not to cringe as normal gets thrown out the window … naked!
IMDB rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 62%
Day 9: Saturday, 4 April 2020
I Am Heath Ledger, 2017 (Showmax): the soulful documentary, celebrating the life of a young Hollywood legend
Opening his home to almost everyone, jet-setting, staying up all night and driven by relentless creative energy, Heath Ledger was a veritable rock star in Hollywood. I Am Heath Ledger celebrates the actor’s life through photographs, home videos, movie clips, music videos and sincere interviews with family and famous friends.
Covering his best performances leading up to his Oscar-winning take on the Joker, we get an intimate chronicle of his creative output and generous spirit. Up close and personal thanks to never-before-seen home video footage, this biographical documentary has a soulful feel bypassing the temptation to turn into a detective story.
IMDB rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 86%
Day 8: Friday, 3 April 2020
Green Book, 2018 (DStv Now): the Oscar winner starring Mahershala Ali as a real-life legendary pianist
It’s unusual for the Oscars to award Best Picture to a feel-good comedy, but Green Book has it all! This immersive road movie features the talents of an almost unrecognisable Viggo Mortensen as a working class Italian-American bouncer and Mahershala Ali as an African-American classical pianist. Touring during the 60s, the odd couple discover friendship through their misadventures in the American South.
A dark horse, this finely-crafted, engaging, touching and understated bromance is easily Peter Farrelly’s most mature movie to date. Vividly executed and rich in entertainment value, Green Book serves as an artful, incisive, life-affirming and deeply human film experience.
IMDB rating: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 78%
Day 7: Thursday, 2 April 2020
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, 2018 (Showmax): a gorgeous period drama starring Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, and Lily James
It may be a contender for clunkiest movie title ever, but stars the angelic Lily James – so all’s forgiven. Set in the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the members of an unconventional book club on Guernsey Island. Capturing their war experiences, the make-do community spirit is strong in this heartwarming story about a woman torn between London and Guernsey.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a quaint, jovial and entertaining coming-of-age comedy romance drama and crowd-pleaser. It moves with grace and purpose, harnessing finesse, a windswept feel and historical charm.
IMDB rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 81%
Day 6: Wednesday, 1 April 2020
A United Kingdom, 2016 (Showmax): the incredible true story of Botswana’s heir and his forbidden love
Set in the 1940s, A United Kingdom’s important love story between Prince Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams echoes today. Jetting between old London and rural Botswana, we’re immersed in this story of national independence and grace under fire. Having directed Belle, Amma Asante commands this equally taut and handsome cross-racial period piece/romantic drama.
The film stars David Oyelowo, who brought Martin Luther King Jr to life in Selma, and Rosamund Pike, best known for Gone Girl. Both accomplished actors’ earnest performances capture the emotional turmoil of fighting to stay together against family disapproval, separatist racism and international politics.
IMDB rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 84%
Day 5: Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Fargo, 1996 (Showmax): the dark comedy that launched the careers of Frances McDormand, William H Macy and Steve Buscemi
Fargo was one of renowned film critic Roger Ebert’s favourite films. Set near the small, snowy North Dakota town, a scheming car salesman hires two oddball criminals to kidnap his wife in order to extort his wealthy father-in-law. After bodies and lies start to pile up, a dedicated and very pregnant police chief is brought in to investigate.
This Coen Brothers dark comedy thriller launched Frances McDormand, William H Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare’s film careers as well as an award-winning TV series. Funny, bleak, ruthless and strangely charming with a matter-of-fact outlook, Fargo is a well-acted and quirky slow-burning thriller. (The anthology series based on the film is also on Showmax.)
IMDB rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%
Day 4: Monday, 30 March 2020
American Animals, 2018 (Showmax): a crime thriller based on a true story
Documentary and heist movie fuse in American Animals, an urgent, daring and suspenseful crime thriller based on a true story. Getting the rap from the actual criminals themselves, this unconventional and compelling docudrama delves into the nitty-gritty of their art heist from lofty inception to fateful execution.
Featuring a sharp young cast led by Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan, American Animals explores the recklessness of youth as these daredevils spur each other to greater depths and treachery. Grappling with powerful themes, unreliable storytellers and the balance of real versus illusion, the original, beautifully realised and thought-provoking thriller has clout, irony and style.
IMDB rating: 7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89%
Day 3: Sunday, 29 March 2020
School of Rock, 2003 (Showmax): a family-friendly, fun musical
Jack Black and his kerrazy eyebrows were perfectly cast in this spirited and heartfelt music comedy. After getting kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn lands up as a substitute teacher at a stuffy private school. Celebrating the kids’ unique talents and appreciating the Rock Gods that came before them, he makes it his mission to turn his class into a rock band.
Driven by the Tenacious D frontman’s star power, School of Rock is an absolute blast and a triumph for all ages. Complete with classic riffs, funny classroom quips, rocking out and stick-it-to-the-man attitude… Jack Black is in his element!
IMDB rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%
Day 2: Saturday, 28 March 2020
Three Identical Strangers, 2018 (Showmax): a mind-boggling documentary
This documentary is living proof that things went viral before the Internet. It chronicles the unbelievable tale of triplets who were separated at birth only to reunite in their late teens. Appearing on talk shows, headlining news and even making a cameo in a movie, the identical triplets fell in love at first sight and became best friends overnight.
Starting like a feel-good college spirit docudrama, the absorbing and entertaining documentary shifts gear into the realm of mystery as we learn of a chilling and sinister underlying conspiracy behind their separation.
Laden with mind-boggling twists-and-turns, Three Identical Strangers captures the joy and frustration of this amazing true story.
IMDB rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%
Day 1: Friday, 27 March 2020
The Intouchables, 2012 (Showmax): a heartwarming drama
Focussing on an unlikely friendship between a paraplegic aristocrat and an inexperienced carer, The Intouchables is one of those feel-good movies you can watch a thousand times! Omar Sy’s infectious energy and boundless charm won him Personality of the Year in France.
Dancing to Earth, Wind and Fire’s Boogie Wonderland and working his magic in every scene, he’s an unstoppable fireworks display in this uplifting comedy drama based on a powerful true story.
Starring opposite him is Dustin Hoffmanesque actor, François Cluzet, who adds depth and completes the buddy movie dream team as the pair learn from each other, challenge each other and establish a lifelong friendship…
The Intouchables is one crowd-pleaser that can inspire all of us to greater heights.
IMDB rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 74%