Yizo Yizo — Netflix
SA director Teboho Mahlatsi, who died last week, left his indelible mark on the local television landscape with the seminal show about township and school life that he co-created in the late 1990s. As the third and final season now arrives on Nefllix, Yizo Yizo still stands as a superior piece of social issues entertainment that reminds us of when local television took creative risks around pressing social issues, before everything fell apart and went down the melodramatic, soap-opera drenched drain.
Safari — Mubi.com
The grotesque absurdity and pomposity of European trophy-hunting tourists is darkly dissected in Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s 2016 documentary. The film follows the goings-on at a Namibian hunting lodge, where Austrian big-game tourists, dressed in their carefully picked safari suits, make the pilgrimage to Africa, following in the footsteps of hunter heroes such as Hemingway and Teddy Roosevelt, to spend their time and money bagging beasts to mount on their walls. In an age where the actions of trophy hunters have increasingly come under scrutiny and been the subject of much righteous anger, Seidl’s quietly devastating and uncomfortable documentary paints a nasty picture of a deeply out-of-date practice and the social and racial injustices it continues to perpetuate in the name of the Great White Hunter.
Armageddon Time — Rent or buy from Apple TV+
Director James Gray’s heavily autobiographical drama steers clear of nostalgia in the coming-of-age story of its young protagonist, Paul Graff (Banks Repeta), a young Jewish kid dealing with the demands and pressures of life in his eccentric New Jersey family in Reagan-era America. With a stellar cast that includes Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins, it’s more bitter than sweet but compelling and meditative in its not always successful but always dedicated attempt to look back at the past with an awareness of privilege and its role in carving out the seemingly natural path of a particular social class in America.
One-Eyed Jacks — Prime Video
The only film directed by Marlon Brando, this 1961 Western, much ridiculed at the time, now stands as a fascinating experiment in the actor’s career that through hindsight offers a prescient portrait of what became of him in the wake of his early 1950s stardom. Stanley Kubrick was originally slated to direct but after much hand-wringing over the script he threw in the towel and went off to direct his toga and sandals epic Spartacus instead. Adapted from a 1956 novel by Charles Neider, The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones, it’s a loose retelling of the life of Billy the Kid, here reimagined as Brando’s Rio, a world-weary outlaw robbing banks in the Pacific coast and plotting his revenge against his one-time partner Dad Longworth (Karl Madden).
The Ashley Madison Affair — Disney Plus
A luridly and overcooked docuseries about the scandalous life and very public death of the online infidelity site Ashley Madison and its creator, Noel Biderman, who exploited a trend he saw in the early 2000s online dating world to profitable advantage, before hackers leaked the personal information of millions of the site’s users in 2015 and brought his enterprise and the lives of his customers crashing spectacularly down to earth. Produced by ABD news studios, the series makes titillating use of soft-core erotica style re-enactments and interviews with insiders and those affected by the scandal to provide car-wreck style, compelling if somewhat scandal-mining, shock value entertainment.
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