Five things to watch this weekend
Fantasy worlds meet harsh realities in this line-up of streaming options
Carnival Row — Amazon Prime Video
Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne star in this lushly realised but darkly underpinned Victorian tale of a murder in a fantasy world where humans and fairies live side by side. Adapted from the 2005 book by Travis Beacham, it’s a for-adults twist on a Harry Potter-inspired world where the stakes are high and both sides must work together to save their fragile world.
Dave Chappelle: Sticks and Stones — Netflix
Following his return in 2018 to standup and the release of two specials on Netflix, Dave Chappelle returns, guns blazing and throwing controversy to the wind as he takes on the allegations against Michael Jackson, the response of the trans community to his off-colour jokes, gun control and the racial divisions deep at the heart of America. It’s not for the easily offended but it demonstrates Chappelle’s unique talents as a straight-talking thought provoker who doesn’t shy away from difficult issues and offers something to intellectually chew on for long after its hour duration.
Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story — Showmax
Daryne Joshua’s film based on the true story of Ellen Pakkies who was acquitted of the murder of her troubled drug-addicted son is not easy to watch but packs a powerful punch. It’s a well-executed and difficult piece of social realism that raises important questions about the psychological affects of the drug epidemic that has been destroying the fabric of marginalised and neglected South African communities for far too long.
American Factory — Netflix
Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s old-school observational documentary gives a voice to the people behind the tweets and headlines on the battle lines of the realities of American life in a shrinking and threatened industrial workforce in the globalised world. Centring on the story of a group of Ohio factory workers who seem to be given a hopeful second chance when their plant is bought by a Chinese billionaire, it’s a telling and provocative examination of the difficulties of maintaining traditional blue-collar middle America working lives in an age when larger forces have a severe affect on the daily lives of ordinary citizens.
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance — Netflix
Jim Henson’s dark 80s fantasy cult favourite gets a beautifully crafted and magically realised prequel series thanks to the hard work of the late Muppet creator’s family. It may be strictly for fans of the original but there’s plenty of imaginative creation and tribute to Henson’s unique talent to offer something for everyone.