The Post

The world of newspaper journalism might seem deeply uncool and outdated when compared with its pacy, racy cousins over on the Net and social media. But for a reminder of why print investigative teams, editors and subeditors are (still) so important, watch Oscar-nominated The Post.

This is Steven Spielberg’s retelling of the drama that surrounded the Washington Post’s attempt to publish stories on damning Pentagon documents about the Vietnam War. Meryl Streep plays The Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham, and Tom Hanks is the paper’s iconic editor, Ben Bradlee.

But there’s more to this drama than 1970s newsroom strip-lighting, sexism, lacquered hair and payphones. It is, of course, a filmic metaphor for what’s happening in the world, and in SA specifically, right now. Next time you read an article on the Gupta e-mails or Eskom, think about the brave (or is that crazy?) journalists and editors who’ve taken the risks, trawled through the documents, triple-checked facts, had stand-up fights and then broken the stories. It’s really not far from what you’ll see in this movie. The film is also a reminder of why freedom of the press and freedom of speech are so important.

The Post is now on at cinemas nationwide.

I, Tonya

It’s like passing a car crash — you just can’t help looking — except in this instance, the wrecked car wears sparkly leotards and glittering eye shadow, skates like a demon and gets caught up in the small matter of her main competitor having her knee bashed in.

Yup, we’re talking about US Olympic skater Tonya Harding. You’ll remember the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, and Harding’s scandalous involvement in it, dominating TV news in the 1990s (when OJ Simpson wasn’t, that is).

For an utterly fascinating, brilliantly assembled documentary-style retelling of the skater’s story — and how it all went staggeringly wrong — watch I, Tonya.

Aussie actress Margot Robbie has received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the trashy, talented and broken Harding, as has Allison Janney for her depiction of the ice queen’s viciously bizarre mother. The soundtrack scores a nine and the drama’s commentary on the US’s class issues and the insanity of professional sport is pointed. In all, it’s a film as good as Harding’s record-breaking triple axel.

The film is showing at cinemas nationwide from February 16.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

They had us with Frances McDormand. And at Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. It would be virtually impossible to produce a bad movie featuring these master thespians. Thankfully, this pitch-black comedy-drama doesn’t disappoint.

The Academy Awards judges agree. They’ve given Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri seven Oscar nominations, including for best picture, best actress and two for best supporting actor.

McDormand plays a single mother whose daughter was murdered. There’s no progress in solving the case so she takes matters into her own hands. Overtly, the film is about tragedy in a small town, and families struggling with grief and loss. In the midst of it all there’s a jarring subplot that tackles undercurrents of racism, violence and domestic abuse.

This might sound deeply depressing, but shining through the murkiness is a light of forgiveness and hope, and the writing is smart, sharp and outrageously funny.

In an age in which TV series seem to have eclipsed film in the popularity stakes, this is a movie that will remind you that sometimes there’s nothing better than two hours in a darkened movie theatre, watching master craftsmen and -women tell a story.

The film is showing at cinemas nationwide from February 23.