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8 Best New International Movies On Showmax

THE 8 BEST NEW INTERNATIONAL MOVIES ON SHOWMAX –
FROM CRAZY RICH ASIANS TO READY PLAYER ONE TO WONDER WOMAN

READY PLAYER ONE

It’s 2045 and the world is a dystopian mess, except in the idyllic virtual reality of the OASIS. James Halliday, the late creator of the OASIS, has left a virtual-treasure-hunt contest as his legacy. The winner will inherit total control of the OASIS and the half-a-trillion-dollar fortune that comes with it. But the perils of this high-stakes game go beyond the virtual world: it’s nothing less than a war for control of the future.

Directed by three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg and based on Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel, this visually rich sci-fi adventure is packed with pop culture references and Easter eggs. Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), Olivia Cooke (Life Itself), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) co-star.

Read the SAMDB review of Ready Player One.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS

Native New Yorker Rachel Chu, an economics professor, travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend Nick’s family, but soon discovers they’re preposterously wealthy, with strong opinions about the ’class’ of person they’d like to see Nick dating.

Based on the bestselling 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, this fairy tale romcom stars Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) in a Golden Globe-nominated role alongside Henry Golding (A Simple Favour) and Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8), who were both nominated for Teen Choice Awards for this film. BAFTA nominee Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Jemma Chan (Captain Marvel) co-star.

OCEAN’S 8

Written and directed by four-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), this stylish action comedy stars Oscar winner Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of legendary conman Danny (played by George Clooney in the original movies). Fresh out of jail and with her eye on a sparkling $150m prize, Debbie assembles a highly skilled, all-female crew of crooks to pull off a daring heist at the annual Met Gala. Oscar winners Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett co-star alongside the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Awkwafina and Mindy Kaling.

CREED II

In this sequel to the Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning sports drama Creed, newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Johnson faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago, the boxer who killed Adonis’ father, Apollo Creed, and gave his trainer, Rocky Balboa, brain damage.

Emmy nominee Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) and three-time Oscar nominee Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) co-star as Adonis and Rocky, alongside BAFTA nominee Tessa Thompson (Avengers: Endgame, Westworld), Emmy nominees Phylicia Rashad (Empire) and Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), Wood Harris (Empire), and Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables).

EARLY MAN

Set at the dawn of time, Early Man tells the story of Dug and his furry sidekick, Hognob, who must unite their simple hunter-gatherer tribe against ruthless enemy Lord Nooth and his ‘civilised’ Bronze Age City – and save their valley home in a mighty contest known as… soccer.

This heart-warming British stop-motion is the latest offering from four-time Oscar winner Nick Park and Aardman Animation (Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep). The sports comedy’s all-star voice cast includes Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Golden Globe winner Tom Hiddleston (Avengers), Emmy nominee Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Crystal Maze host and BAFTA winner Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), and Harry Potter stars Miriam Margolyes, Timothy Spall and Mark Williams.

TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES

To be a real superhero, you need your own movie. Robin and his gang of superhero sidekicks are determined to get their moment in the spotlight, but landing a Hollywood movie of your own is pretty tough when you haven’t actually done anything heroic. To win over a superstar Hollywood director, they’ll need to defeat a real villain and, you know, maybe throw in a few musical numbers along the way.

This irreverent animated spoof has all-ages appeal, with multi-layered jokes that frequently poke fun at superhero tropes. The clever comedy stars all the familiar favourite voices from the popular Teen Titans Go! franchise (which you needn’t have seen to enjoy the movie), along with celeb voice appearances from Kristen Bell, Jimmy Kimmel, and Will Arnett (Arrested Development), as well as Nicolas Cage and his son, Kal-El Cage.

TULLY

A struggling mother of three forms an unexpected bond with the night nanny hired to help with her newborn.

Tully stars South African Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Mad Max) as the exhausted mom and Tribeca Best Actress winner Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate) as her life-saving nanny. The drama was written by Oscar winner Diabo Cody and directed by four-time Oscar nominee Jason Reitman, the duo behind Juno.

WONDER WOMAN

Amazonian princess Diana is a warrior in training on the sheltered island paradise of Themyscira when a downed Air Force pilot brings news of World War I. Believing the god Ares is behind the conflict, Diana travels to Europe to fulfil her destiny to protect mankind, but she is unprepared for the human cost of warfare.

DC’s biggest female superhero comic book adaptation was a box office smash hit that grossed over $800m worldwide. Gal Gadot (Justice League) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) won Teen Choice Action Movie acting awards in the lead roles. Golden Globe winner Robin Wright (House of Cards) and nominee David Thewlis (Harry Potter) co-star.

Read the SAMDB review of Wonder Woman.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…

Other new titles include the #1 USA box office hits IT: Chapter One and Justice League, as well as Melissa McCarthy’s 2018 Teen Choice and People’s Choice nominee, Life of the Party, and Lean on Pete, one of the National Board of Review’s Top 10 independent films of 2018. So you may need a lot of popcorn this month…

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This Heritage Day: Stream These Proudly SA Contenders From The Emmys, Jackson Wild And The AMAAs

South Africa’s film industry has a lot to celebrate on Heritage Day tomorrow. This week, at Jackson Wild, arguably the Oscars of the wildlife film world, Stroop is up for the Impact Award and South African Bonné de Bod is competing – against the likes of Dame Judi Dench – for the Best Presenter title. Last week, The River was nominated as Best Telenovela at the International Emmy Awards and Ellen: Die Ellen Pakkies Storie received five Africa Movie Academy Awards nominations, including Best Film, Director and Actress.

THE RIVER

1Magic’s thrill-a-minute The River was nominated for an International Emmy for Best Telenovela last week, building on its success as the most awarded production overall at this year’s SAFTAs, where it won 11 awards, including Best Telenovela.

Produced by Tshedza Pictures, the show sees two different but interdependent worlds collide in spectacular fashion. One side of the river is home to exquisite mansions populated by society’s upper crust, who will go to any lengths to maintain their wealth; the other by those who have little to show for their hard work.

At the SAFTAs, Moshidi Motshegwa won Best Actress as Malefu; Presley Chweneyagae won Best Actor as Cobra; and Lawrence Maleka won Best Supporting Actor as Zolani. Other stars include Sindi Dlathu, Hlomla Dandala, Don Mlangeni and newcomer Larona Moagi. Just be warned: the body count is high in this one, so don’t get too attached to anyone…

STROOP: JOURNEY INTO THE RHINO WAR
Two first-time filmmakers, award-winning editor Susan Scott (The Last Lions) and 50/50 presenter Bonné de Bod, explore the war for rhino horn. Initially setting out on a six-month project, the duo leave their jobs, sell their homes, and even move in with their mothers as they quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined. They only emerge from their odyssey across Africa and Asia four years later, with a gripping wildlife crime thriller documentary that’s won 24 international awards, including Best of Festival at The International Wildlife Film Festival. This week, Stroop is competing for the presenter and impact awards at Jackson Wild, arguably the Oscars of the wildlife film world.

ELLEN: DIE STORIE VAN ELLEN PAKKIES

Last week, Ellen was nominated for five Africa Movie Academy Awards: Best Film, Director (Daryn Joshua), Actress (Jill Levenberg), Supporting Actor (Jarrid Geduld), and Production Design. It’s the latest in a string of accolades for the film, which was the most awarded feature at this year’s SAFTAs, was South Africa’s official entry for the foreign film category at the 2019 Golden Globes, was the third most popular local film at the South African box office in 2018, and won Best Actor (Jarrid Geduld), Best Actresss (Jill Levenberg) and Best Script (Amy Jeptha) at Silwerskermfees.

In 2007, the death of 20-year-old Abie Pakkies made headlines across South Africa and the world. The most disturbing part of the case was that the murderer was his mother, Ellen.

Based on this heart-rending true story, Ellen explores how this loving mother became desperate enough to take her own son’s life, and why a judge let her off with a three-year suspended sentence and 280 hours of community service.

Ellen Pakkies consulted on the film, which was partly shot in her own home in Lavender Hill.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Other South African gems to enjoy on Showmax include:
• Lwazi Mvusi’s roadtrip movie Farewell Ella Bella, up for Best Soundtrack at the 2019 Africa Movie Academy Awards
• Rea Moeti’s Marikana-themed Mma Moeketsi, up for Best Short Film at the 2019 Africa Movie Academy Awards
• Christiaan Olwagen’s Kanarie, named one of the 14 Best LGBTQ International Films of 2018 by Indiewire
• Shameela Seedat’s Thuli Madonsela documentary, Whispering Truth To Power, which won the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs, North America’s most important documentary festival

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FOX Activations At Comic Con Africa 2019

FOX fans can look forward to the following activations at Comic Con Africa 2019:

The Walking Dead

Fans of The Walking Dead are invited to look through a peep hole to watch exclusive content from the post-apocalyptic The Walking Dead series, if you dare. Limited edition airbrush tattoos will be given away to participants.

This activation is brought to you by FOX and Showmax.

The Walking Dead S10 premieres on FOX, DSTV 125, Mondays at 03:00 (simulcast with the USA) and at 20:45 CAT, from 7 October 2019. Seasons 1 – 9 can now be binged on Showmax while you prepare for the Whisperers to return.

American Dad and Family Guy

Ever dreamed of being the voice of Roger, Stan or Steve in American Dad, or Stewie, Peter or Meg in Family Guy? Look out for the American Dad and Family Guy sound booths where fans can listen to scripts for scenes in this show. Dub a character with your voice and get a link to share the clip with your recording on social media.

AMERICAN DAD: Join the Smith family for the "In Country…Club" season premiere episode of AMERICAN DAD airing Sunday, Sept 27 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. AMERICAN DAD ™ and © 2009 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

American Dad broadcasts Monday – Friday 16:10 CAT on FOX.
Family Guy broadcasts broadcasts Monday – Friday 17:00 CAT on FOX.

FAMILY GUY: The Griffin Family: (L-R) Brian, Lois, Stewie, Peter, Meg and Chris in FAMILY GUY part of Sunday’s ANIMATION DOMINATION on FOX. FAMILY GUY ™ and © 2010 TTCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

War of the Worlds

In the passage between the gaming hall and the main hall, fans of the Orson Wells classic will experience the look and feel of the new series indicating what to expect from this much anticipated, upcoming production.

War of the Worlds premieres soon on FOX, starring Elizabeth McGovern, Gabriel Byrne and Lea Drucker.

Comic Con Africa takes place from 21 – 24 September 2019 at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Gauteng.

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16 Of The Best Series Coming To Showmax: October 2019 – January 2020

Debut seasons of His Dark Materials, Godfather of Harlem, Watchmen, What We Do In The Shadows & more…

MAYANS M.C. S2

First on Showmax. Binge the first four episodes on 1 October, with new episodes every Wednesday

In this Sons of Anarchy spinoff, Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo from Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II) is a prospect in the Mayans M.C. charter on the Cali/Mexi border. Once the golden boy with the American Dream in his grasp, EZ is trying to reconcile with his brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas from American Crime) while searching for the truth behind their mother’s death. Meanwhile, their father, Felipe (Oscar nominee Edward James Olmos), is struggling to lead his sons down the righteous path.

HARLOTS S3

First on Showmax. Binge from 1 October

The first two seasons of Harlots revolved around rival brothel owners, Margaret Wells (Oscar nominee Samantha Morton) and Lydia Quigley (Oscar nominee Lesley Manville), and was set in 18th century London – an era when one in five women earned a living as a prostitute in the city. At the start of Season 3, it seems that the Wells girls can finally free themselves of their mother’s feud, helped by allies such as Lady Fitz (Liv Tyler). But Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay from Downton Abbey) soon learns that running a lucrative brothel brings enemies as well as friends, including new pimp in town Isaac Pincher (2019 Emmy nominee Alfie Allen from Game of Thrones).

SUCCESSION S2

First on Showmax. Binge from 14 October

In Season 2, the dysfunctional Roy family are struggling to retain control of their global media empire. But while the future looks increasingly uncertain, it is the past that threatens to ultimately destroy them. Kieran Culkin was nominated for the Golden Globe as Roman, Matthew Macfadyen was up for a Critics Choice Award as Tom, and the impressive cast includes Golden Globe nominee Brian Cox (Adaptation, X-Men 2, Deadwood), Screen Actors Guild nominee Jeremy Strong (The Big Short) and multi-award winners like Hiam Abbas (Ramy, Blade Runner 2049) and Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker).

GODFATHER OF HARLEM S1

Same time as M-Net. New episodes every Tuesday from 15 October 2019

In the early 1960s, infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker) returns from 10 years in prison to find the neighbourhood he once ruled in a shambles. With the streets controlled by Vincent ‘Chin’ Gigante (Emmy nominee Vincent D’Onofrio from Daredevil and Jurassic World) and the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with radical preacher Malcolm X (Nigel Thatch from Selma). Godfather of Harlem shows how the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement collided during one of the most tumultuous times in American history.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS S1

First on Showmax. Binge from 1 November

From Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), the hit mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows is a look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires who’ve lived together for over 100 years on Staten Island, New York.

PERPETUAL GRACE, LTD S1

First on Showmax. Binge from 1 November 2019

This 10-episode modern noir drama follows a young grifter, James (Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson from Westworld, Black Mirror and House of Cards), as he attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown (Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley). But the pastor and his wife Lillian (Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver from Silver Linings Playbook) – known to their parishioners as Pa and Ma – turn out to be far more dangerous than he suspects…

THE DEUCE S3 – THE FINAL SEASON

First on Showmax. Binge from 1 November

Following the interconnected lives of Times Square’s barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police, mobsters, porn actors and producers, the eight-episode third season of The Deuce brings the series to a dramatic conclusion. It’s 1985 and VHS has just overtaken film as the primary medium for porn production and distribution, while the lure of the California sunshine, the city’s aggressive takeover of commercial sex properties in Times Square, and the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic mark the end of an era… Maggie Gyllenhaal (Golden Globe nominee for Season 1 and Critic’s Choice nominee for Season 2 of the series) returns as Candy, a porn director struggling to maintain her artistic integrity in an industry that is quickly devolving.

THE GOOD FIGHT – SEASON 3

Binge from 1 November

Missing The Good Wife? Thankfully Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski in an Emmy-nominated role) and Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo in a Critics Choice nominated role) are back in the sequel, The Good Fight, which picks up a year later as a financial scam wipes out Diane’s life savings, and good reputation, forcing her to start from scratch at a historically black law firm, Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad. Look out for a host of familiar faces from The Good Wife, including Kurt McVeigh (Emmy nominee Gary Steele), Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele) and Julius Cain (Michael Boatman), alongside the likes of Emmy winner Audra McDonald (Private Practice), Screen Actors Guild nominees Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty), and Golden Globe nominees Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) and Matthew Perry (aka Chandler from Friends).

CATCH-22 S1

Binge from 1 November

Based on the classic Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22 follows the adventures and misadventures of a US air squadron in Italy in World War II. Christopher Abbott (The Sinner, Girls) is Yossarian, a bombardier, whose frantic obsession every time he goes up on a mission is “to come down alive”. His odds of success at such a simple aim keep getting worse, because Colonel Cathcart (Emmy winner Kyle Chandler from Friday Night Lights and Bloodline) keeps raising the number of missions the men have to fly. More than the retreating Germans, the real enemy for Yossarian and his rag-tag bunch of friends is the bureaucracy of the military, inverting logic at every turn. The pinnacle of this is Catch-22, a military by-law which states that if you willingly fly your missions, you’re crazy, and don’t have to fly them; all you have to do is ask. But if you ask, that proves you’re sane, and so you have to fly them. Oscar winner George Clooney stars as the barking mad, parade-obsessed Scheisskopf and Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie (House M.D.) is the mellow, slightly checked-out Major de Coverley.

WATCHMEN S1

Same time as M-Net. New episodes Mondays at 21:00 from 4 November

Inspired by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic DC graphic novel, Watchmen is set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws. Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winner Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, Seven Seconds) leads a strong cast as Angela Abar, alongside the likes of Oscar winners Jeremy Irons and Louis Gossett Junior, Golden Globe winner Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson (Oh Brother Where Art Thou), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) and Adelaide Clemens (The Great Gatsby). The series is created by Emmy winner Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers), with Andrij Parekh (Succession), Nicole Kassell (The Following), Emmy nominee Stephen Williams (Westworld) and Oscar nominee Steph Green (The Americans) among the directors.

HIS DARK MATERIALS S1

First On Showmax. New episodes weekly, express from the US, from 6 November

Lyra’s search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, setting off a quest through parallel worlds to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. The fantasy’s cast includes child stars Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will, supported by Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Luther), Golden Globe nominee James McAvoy (X-Men), and BAFTA winner Helen McCrory (Harry Potter, The Queen). Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) is one of the directors.

GOOD TROUBLE S2

First on Showmax. Binge from 2 December

A spinoff from the multi-award-winning The Fosters, Good Trouble explores the trials and tribulations of the tenants of Downtown LA’s hippest residence, The Coterie. This season, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), Callie (Maia Mitchell) and the rest of The Coterie crew will continue to navigate their early twenties as they deal with breakups, demand equality, find happiness and discover what it means to fight for what you believe in.

THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES S1

First on Showmax. Binge from 2 December

The Righteous Gemstones tells the story of a world-famous televangelist family with a long tradition of deviance, greed and charitable work. Creator Danny McBride (Vice Principals, Eastbound & Down) stars as Jesse Gemstone, the eldest of three grown Gemstone offspring, who looks to lead in his father’s footsteps, but finds his past sins jeopardising the family ministry. Golden Globe winner John Goodman stars alongside Teen Choice and MTV Movie Awards winner Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, Modern Family) and Emmy nominee Walton Goggins (Justified).

SILICON VALLEY S6 – THE FINAL SEASON

First on Showmax. Binge from 9 December

A collaboration between Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead) and Alec Berg (Barry), Silicon Valley takes a comedic look at the modern-day epicentre of the high-tech gold rush, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success. Thomas Middleditch stars in an Emmy-nominated role as Richard Hendricks, a Silicon Valley engineer trying to build his own company called Pied Piper.

MRS. FLETCHER S1

First on Showmax. Binge from 13 December

Starring Emmy nominee Kathryn Hahn (Transparent) in the title role, Mrs. Fletcher is a seven-part series based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta (The Leftovers, Little Children). The series is a dual coming-of-age story chronicling the personal and sexual journeys of an empty-nest mother and her college freshman son, who both embrace their newfound freedom with mixed results. South African Liesl Tommy (Insecure, The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones) is part of the all-female directing team, which also includes Oscar nominee Nicole Holofcener (Orange Is The New Black), nine-time Emmy nominee Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Transparent) and Gillian Robespierre (Silicon Valley).

VIDA S1-2

First on Showmax. Binge from 2 January 2019

This half-hour drama focuses on two Mexican-American sisters from the East Side of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Circumstances force them to return to their old neighbourhood, where they are confronted by the past and the discovery that their deceased mother was in a lesbian marriage.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…

Sweetbitter S2 – Restaurant drama | First On Showmax; due 1 October 2019

Sons of Anarchy S1-7 | Motorbike drama | Due 1 October 2019

The Twilight Zone S1 – Sci-fi | Kumail Nanjiani is up for Outstanding Guest Actor at the 2019 Emmys – Same time as M-Net; new episodes every Friday from 11 October 2019

South Park S23 – Animated comedy | New episodes every Monday from 21 October 2019

The Passage S1 – Apocalyptic horror | Based on Justin Cronin’s bestselling novel – First On Showmax; due 1 November 2019

New Girl S1-7 – Comedy | Five-time Golden Globe nominee – Due 1 November 2019

Lost S1-6 – Fantasy | Winner of 109 awards – Due 2 December 2019

Glee 1-6 – Musical | Winner of four Golden Globes – Due 2 December 2019

Scrubs 1-9 – Medical comedy | Three-time Golden Globe nominee | Due 2 December 2019

Bless This Mess S1 | Comedy | Starring Dax Shepard & Lake Bell | First On Showmax, due 6 December 2019

To see everything on Showmax in September, click here.

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Surprise Box Office Hit “Ellen: Die Storie Van Ellen Pakkies” Is Now On Showmax

Ellen: Die Storie van Ellen Pakkies, South Africa’s entry for the foreign film category of the 2019 Golden Globes, is now streaming on Showmax. Here are five reasons to add this local classic to your watchlist:

1 – Ellen is based on a heart-breaking true story

In 2007, the death of 20-year-old tik addict Abie Pakkies created a stir in South Africa and the world. The most disturbing part of the case was that the murderer was his mother, Ellen.

Based on this heart-rending true story, Ellen explores how this loving mother became desperate enough to take her own son’s life, and why a judge let her off with a three-year suspended sentence and 280 hours of community service.

Ellen Pakkies consulted on the film, which was partly shot in her own home in Lavender Hill.

2 – Ellen became a surprise box office phenomenon

South Africa has a notoriously escapist movie-going culture: of the most successful South African films of the last five years, two were Leon Schuster comedies (Frank & Fearless and Schuks! Pay Back The Money) and three were rom-coms (Vir Altyd, Pad Na Jou Hart and Keeping Up With The Kandasamys).

So no one was expecting Ellen, which is harrowing rather than hilarious, to make over R6m at the South African box office as the third-highest-grossing local film of 2018 (at a much higher per-screen rate than either Frank & Fearless or Stroomop).

A true word-of-mouth phenomenon, Ellen clearly struck a nerve with everyone who saw it.

3 – Jill Levenberg and Jarrid Geduld give award-winning performances

As Ellen and Abie, Jill Levenberg (aka Mymoena Samsodien in Suidooster) and Jarrid Geduld (aka Twist In Boy Called Twist and Randall in Dwaalster) won both The South African Film and Television Awards and Silwerskermfees prizes for Best Actress and Best Actor respectively.

As Margaret Gardiner wrote on Goldenglobes.com, “Much of the power of the film is provided by the subtle interpretation of the titular character by Jill Levenberg. The emotions of love, desperation, hurt and unceasing hope… are palpable.”

While Levenberg and Geduld give career-defining performances, they’re well-supported by the likes of Clint Brink (Binnelanders) as Ellen’s lawyer Adrian Samuels and Elton Landrew (Suidooster) as her husband Odneal.

4 – Ellen is directed by rising star Daryn Joshua

Ellen is the second film from Daryn Joshua, who directed South Africa’s 2018 Oscar entry, Noem My Skollie; produced and wrote the original story for Nosipho Dumisa’s gripping Cape Flats thriller Nommer 37; and is a writer on Netflix’s upcoming African Original Blood & Water.

Joshua won Best Director at this year’s South African Film and Television Awards, where Ellen also took home Best Score for Quinn Lubbe.

Raised on the Cape Flats himself, Joshua is clearly a talent to watch, as is screenwriter Amy Jephta, who took home her second Best Script award in two years at Silwerskermfees 2018 for Ellen, having won in 2017 for her short film Soldaat.

5 – Ellen is more topical than ever

In July 2019, The South African National Defence Force were deployed to the Cape Flats – an area that Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz labelled a war zone just weeks earlier.

“War is commonly defined by the UN and other such institutions as an act of conflict that has claimed more than 1,000 lives. In the Western Cape, 1,875 people were murdered in the past six months alone,” he said in a statement in June. “This means that many of our most vulnerable residents in the province are living in a war zone.”

Ellen makes it clear the system failed Ellen Pakkies in 2007; statistics like this make it clear the system is still failing mothers on the Cape Flats, 12 years later.

Stream Ellen: Die storie van Ellen Pakkies, in Afrikaans with English subtitles, on Showmax: www.showmax.com/eng/movie/nk9gbjrc-ellen-the-ellen-pakkies-story

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Five Reasons “Kanarie” Is A Gem, Even If You’re Not Afrikaans

Kanarie, Schalk Bezuidenhout’s breakout movie, is now streaming first on Showmax in South Africa.

Schalk stars as Johan Niemand, a fashion-loving gay teen in small-town South Africa in 1985, a time of apartheid, religious conservatism and war, an era when not even his idol Boy George had dared to come out publicly as gay yet.

When Johan is called up to serve his compulsory two-year military training, he escapes the border war by joining The South African Defence Force Church Choir and Concert Group, known as Die Kanaries (The Canaries), where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love and the liberating freedom of music.

If you missed Kanarie at the cinema – and it was only the 10th most popular South African movie at the box office last year, so clearly most of us did – here are five reasons not to sleep on one of the most fun but moving South African films yet:

Schalk Bezuidenhout is one of our favourite comedians, but might be an even better actor

Schalk is one of South Africa’s top comedians: the winner of two Comics’ Choice Awards, described by Skhumba recently as “the one white comedian loved by black people.”

But in Trippin With Skhumba earlier this year, Schalk confessed that he wanted to be an actor before he thought of being a comedian.

On the basis of his performance in Kanarie, acting might still be his true calling, as much as we hope we still get to laugh with him often on stage. The Los Angeles Times compared him to the legendary Buster Keaton while praising his “clear talent for drama” and the way he “superbly juggles Johan’s many moods and modes,” while FilmThreat raved about his “confident, raw performance.”

Schalk earned a 2019 South African Film and Television Award nomination for this role and won Best Supporting Actor last year as Danny in Hotel, but we’re pretty sure he’s just getting started.

Just be warned: he’s missing his trademark knitted jerseys, moustache and wild hair in Kanarie, so you might not recognise him immediately in the movie, but just look out for the guy in the wedding dress in the opening scene…

Germandt Geldenhuys is hilarious, and can seriously sing

Schalk is ably supported by the rest of the cast, particularly Hannes Otto as his love interest, Wolfgang, and Germandt Geldenhuys as the irrepressible Ludolf, in a hilarious performance that won Best Supporting Actor at Silwerskerm and earned a SAFTA nomination.

As FilmThreat put it, “Ludolf’s happy to see anyone and loves to chat with them about whatever. While it sounds like it may be annoying, Geldenhuys finds the right balance of pluck and genuine sympathy to make the character work.”

Germandt won the 2017 Huisgenoot Tempo For Actor of the Year: Soap Operas for his role as Louis Koster in Binnelanders; earned a Fleur Du Cap nomination for Sweeney Todd; and won the Grand Champion Award for singing at The World Performing Championships, which will surprise no one who hears him sing in Kanarie.

Christiaan Olwagen is a director to watch

After being named Standard Bank Young Artist Of The Year for Theatre in 2015, Christiaan Olwagen switched his focus to cinema, writing and directing three acclaimed Afrikaans films in three years: 2016’s Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie, 2018’s Chekhov adaptation Die Seemeeu, and Kanarie, with a fourth, Poppie Nongena, premiering at kykNET’s Silwerskermfees this month.

Kanarie is an impressive mix of genres – a coming-of-age, coming out, musical love story war film – that is sometimes funny, sometimes heart-warming, and occasionally tragic, and that moves from raw reality to music-video-style flights of fancy and back again seamlessly. It’s an incredible balancing act but one that Christiaan makes look easy. While he may not be famous outside the Afrikaans community yet, he’s still in his early 30s and we’d put money on that changing soon… As BusinessDay put it, he’s “streets ahead of other directors.”

Kanarie is inspired by a true story

In Kanarie, Schalk and the rest of the cast are helped by what The Los Angeles Times described as “a first-rate script,” which director Christiaan Olwagen co-wrote with musical director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, based on Charl’s own experiences in the army choir.

As Charl told BizCommunity, “I believe one of the strengths of the film is the fact that it is a very personal story and that it is true. People are very surprised when they find out that approximately 95% of it is factual. It’s not often you get to watch a film of this nature where the narrative is so close to what really happened. We didn’t have to invent a whole lot – it was all just ready to be told.”

Kanarie is a funny, moving tale about standing out, even when you just want to fit in

Sometimes we sell things short when we pitch them as good South African films. Kanarie is a good film. Period.

It has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes; a 7.9 rating on IMDB; and has won 15 awards around the world. As The Los Angeles Times put it, “Kanarie ably hits the high notes… rich, poignant and finely observed… “ Or as The Hollywood Reporter said, while predicting an international theatrical run, Kanarie is “a winning combination of thoughtfulness and exuberance.” Similarly, Indiewire picked it as one of seven films to watch at Outfest, North America’s premier LGBTI festival, calling it a “surprisingly fun” musical about “the effects of nationalism on a tender soul, and the bond of brotherhood among misfits.”

So whether or not you’re gay, or Afrikaans, or want to support proudly South African products, Kanarie is the film for you, next time you’re in the mood for an uplifting musical love story about finding individuality in a world of oppression and uniformity. Watch it first on Showmax here.

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online

The 8 Best International Series On Showmax This August 2019

PROJECT BLUE BOOK S1

First On Showmax, Binge now

Between 1952 and 1969, the U.S. Air Force investigated over 12 000 reported sightings of UFOs. This top-secret programme was code-named Project Blue Book.

Aidan Gillen (aka Littlefinger in Game of Thrones) and Michael Malarkey (aka Enzo in The Vampire Diaries) co-star in Project Blue Book, a 10-part mystery based on declassified government files, executive produced by Robert Zemeckis (director of Back To The Future and Contact) for HISTORY (Vikings), who have already renewed it for a second season.

SIREN S2, PART 2

First On Showmax, 2 August 2019

With more mermaids landing at Bristol Cove’s shores, the threat of discovery increases for Ryn (Eline Powell from Game of Thrones), who is still adapting to life on land, with help from marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola).

Freeform recently renewed Siren for a third season.

Breakout Show nominee, Teen Choice Awards, 2018

WARRIOR S1

Binge episodes 1-4 now. New episodes Thursday, same time as M-Net, at 22:00

Warrior is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a martial arts prodigy who emigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful organised crime families. Filmed in Cape Town, the show is based on writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee and is created by Jonathan Tropper (Banshee), with Fast and Furious director Justin Lin as an executive producer.

Cinemax has renewed Warrior for a second season, also shot in Cape Town.

EUPHORIA S1

First on Showmax. Binge the full season from 5 August 2019

An HBO adaptation of an Israeli TV series of the same name, this adults-only teen show has been described as “Kids meets Trainspotting.” Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman, K.C. Undercover) stars as a 17-year-old named Rue, who returns home from rehab with no plans to stay clean, and strikes up a friendship with the new girl in town, Jules (trans superstar Hunter Schafer). Euphoria follows their group of high school students as they navigate love and friendships in a world of drugs, sex, trauma and social media.

Writers Guild of America nominee Sam Levinson (Wizard of Lies) wrote the screenplay based on his own experiences and battles with addiction as a teenager. He also directs five episodes.

HBO recently renewed Euphoria for a second season.

KIDDING S1

Same time as M-Net. New episodes every Friday at 22:30, from 9 August 2019

Jeff, a famous children’s television icon, struggles to retain his sanity as his family falls apart. Mostly directed by Oscar winner Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind), Kidding stars two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey; Oscar nominees Frank Langella and Catherine Keener; and Judy Greer (Ant-Man).

Showtime has renewed Kidding for a second season.

2019 Golden Globe nominee: Best TV Comedy & Best Actor (Jim Carrey)

YOUNGER S6

First on Showmax. Binge episodes 1-5 now and 6-10 on 22 August 2019.

Younger follows Liza Miller (Sutton Foster in a Critics Choice-nominated performance), a talented editor navigating the highly competitive world of publishing — while juggling the complications of mixing business with pleasure and facing the lie she created about her age to land her dream job. In season six, Kelsey (Hilary Duff in a People’s Choice-nominated role) is leaning into her new role as publisher at the freshly minted Millennial Print, while Liza and Charles (Peter Hermann from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) get used to their new normal now that he’s no longer running the business.

TV Land recently renewed Younger for a seventh season.

Choice Summer TV Show & TV Star: Female (Hilary Duff) nominee, Teen Choice Awards, 2019

BALLERS S5

Same time as 1Magic. New episodes every Monday at 21:30, from 26 August 2019

Exploring the glamorous and often cutthroat world of pro football through a group of past and present players striving to stay in the game, Ballers stars Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji) as ex-superstar Spencer Strasmore, who has reinvented himself as a financial manager for today’s players. Emmy winner Rob Corddry, BAFTA nominee Russell Brand and 2019 Image Award nominee John David Washington (yes, he’s Denzel Washington’s son) co-star.

Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography, Emmy Awards, 2019

Nominated for four Black Reel Awards in three years, including Best Comedy and Best Actor In A Comedy (Dwayne Johnson)

THE HANDMAID’S TALE S3

Place-shifted from M-Net on Mondays. Binge the full season from 26 August 2019

June (two-time Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss) finds herself once again in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Gilead has returned to ‘traditional values,’ with women treated as property of the state. Despite the overwhelming odds, June is struggling to strike back against the regime… Season 1 was based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel of the same name, which won the first Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Hulu recently renewed The Handmaid’s Tale for a fourth season.

Nominated for 11 2019 Emmys for just three episodes of Season 2; Season 3 will be eligible in 2020

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online

The 7 Best African Films On Showmax This August 2019

KANARIE

First on Showmax, now streaming

Two-time Comics’ Choice winner Schalk Bezuidenhout, who also won a SAFTA for his supporting role in the kykNET comedy Hotel, stars in Kanarie as a small town boy during Apartheid who is chosen to serve his compulsory two-year military training in the South African Defence Force choir, where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love, and the liberating freedom of music.

Directed by Christiaan Olwagen (Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie), Kanarie won the 2019 SAFTA for Best Script and five 2018 Silwerskermfees Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.

ZOG

First on Showmax, 8 August 2019

Zog tells the tale of a keen but accident-prone dragon who gets himself into mischief while learning how to fly, roar and breathe fire in his first three years at Dragon School. Each year he meets a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest challenge yet: it’s Year Four, and he has to capture a princess!

Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish (the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes) and co-directed by South African Daniel Snaddon (the multi-award-winning Stick Man), Zog is based on the bestselling Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler picture book. Since premiering on BBC at Christmas, Zog has won Best Animation at Shanghai International TV Festival and the Audience Award: Ages 3-6 at New York International Children’s Film Festival.

WHISPERING TRUTH TO POWER

First On Showmax, 8 August 2019

With exclusive, behind-the-scenes access, Whispering Truth To Power charts the final year in office of South African anti-corruption champion Thuli Madonsela as she attempts to seek justice for ordinary people. After successfully challenging President Jacob Zuma for illegal use of state funds, she faces the biggest challenge of her career: exposing the systematic takeover of government by a private family in cahoots with the President.

Directed by Shameela Seedat, Whispering Truth To Power won the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs, North America’s most important documentary festival, among other awards. The jury praised “its timely portrait of a bad-ass public servant (Thuli Madonsela) who uses her office for good at a pivotal moment in South African politics.”

STROOMOP

Due 12 August 2019

In a desperate effort to find healing, five women in a self-help group find themselves on the Orange River on adventure therapy. What’s the worst that can happen?

Ivan Botha’s directorial debut, starring his wife DonnaLee Roberts (Pad Na Jou Hart, Vir Altyd), Stroomop was the second most popular local film at the South African box office in 2018.

The adventure story also won Best Feature Film at WorldFest Houston 2019 and SAFTA awards for Best Supporting Actress (Ilse Klink from Isidingo) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Minuche Bridgette Snyman).

LIYANA

First on Showmax, 15 August 2019

Liyana is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who, with some guidance from South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, turn past trauma into an original fable about a girl named Liyana, who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The film weaves her animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance and hope.

Winner of 35 awards, Liyana is the directorial debut of Swaziland-born and raised Aaron Kopp, who shot the Oscar-winning documentary Saving Face and the Oscar-nominated The Hunting Ground. It’s executive produced by Emmy winner Thandie Newton (Westworld), produced by Oscar winner Daniel Junge (Saving Face), and edited by Davis Coombe (Chasing Coral, Chasing Ice). Nigerian Shofela Coker created the stunning animated artwork, while South African Philip Miller composed the score.

STORIES OF OUR LIVES

From 15 August 2019

Created by The Nest Collective, Stories Of Our Lives is a multi-award-winning anthology of five short films about the queer experience in Kenya, co-produced by South Africa’s Big World Cinema.

“Brave and beautiful filmmaking, based on true stories that cannot fail to touch each one of us.” Teddy Award jury, Berlin International Film Festival

ELLEN: DIE STORIE VAN ELLEN PAKKIES

From 24 August 2019

In 2007, the death of 20-year-old Abie Pakkies created a stir in South Africa and the world. The most disturbing part of the case was that the murderer was his mother, Ellen.

Based on that disturbing true story, Ellen was the third most popular local film at the South African box office in 2018, despite its harrowing storyline about a mother’s unflinching love for her drug-addicted son.

As Abie and Ellen, Jarrid Geduld and Jill Levenberg won both the SAFTA and Silwerskermfees awards for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. Ellen also won Best Director (Daryn Joshua from Noem My Skollie) and Best Score (Quinn Lubbe) at the SAFTAs, as well as Best Script (Amy Jephta) at Silwerskermfees.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…

Being Bonang S3 | Reality series | The final season, according to Bonang on Twitter – New episodes every Friday at 19:00, same time as 1Magic

Grassroots | Rugby drama | Two sworn enemies from the Eastern Cape get scholarships to the same private school in Johannesburg – New episodes every Friday at 19:30, same time as 1Magic

Madiba: ‘n Uitsonderlike Roeping | Six-part documentary | Zelda la Grange, Madiba’s long-term personal assistant, shares incredible stories about the legend – New episodes every Sunday at 20:00, same time as kykNET

Mayfair | Crime film | Official selection, BFI London Film Festival – First on Showmax, now streaming

The Queen S4 | Soap opera | DSTV Viewers Choice Award winner for Favourite Actor (Themba Ndaba) and Favourite Actress (Thembsie Matu) – New episodes every Monday-Thursday, same time as Mzansi Magic

The River S2 | Soap opera | Winner of 11 SAFTAs in 2019 – New episodes Monday-Friday at 20:00, same time as 1Magic

The Wayde Van Niekerk Story | Documentary | An inside look at the 400m world record holder’s rise to fame – First on Showmax, now streaming

Getroud Met Rugby: Die Sepie S4 |Rugby soap opera | 2019 SAFTA nominee for Most Popular Soap – Same time as kykNET, from 5 August 2019

While the African film industry is clearly booming, don’t quit your day job and chase your dream of stardom before watching Chin Up, a hilarious reminder that life as a South African actor is far from glamorous, most of the time. Written and directed by star Lara Lipschitz (aka Gabi in Tali’s Wedding Diary), Season 3 is now available to binge first on Showmax here.

The Girl From St Agnes scene-stealer Makgotso M also features.

To see everything coming to Showmax in August, click here.

Read the SAMDB review of The Girl from St Agnes

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online

Best International TV Series Of 2019 So Far

Critic aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes recently released their list of the best reviewed TV series of the year so far, and Showmax has more shows in the Top 20 than any other streaming service in Africa.

To celebrate, Showmax has put together a handy guide to the best TV series of 2019 so far. Yes, it’s obviously biased, but it’s also undeniably accurate…

Best Drama: Chernobyl

What’s it about? Chernobyl dramatises the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and of the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Who’s in it? Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), the five-part miniseries stars Emmy nominee Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), People’s Choice nominee Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia, Good Will Hunting) and Oscar nominee Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves), among others.

Claim to fame: The top rated series of all time on IMDB.

Binge on Showmax

Best Comedy: Barry S2

What’s it about? A depressed war-vet-turned-hitman finds passion and romance in a local acting class while on a job in LA. As Season 2 opens, Barry tries to extricate himself from a violent criminal triangle involving the Chechen, Bolivian and Burmese underworld – not to mention some deeply suspicious LA detectives and Monroe Fuches, Barry’s former boss, who has found it exceedingly difficult to hire a replacement as capable as his onetime ace assassin.

Who’s in it? Bill Hader as Barry and Henry Winkler as his acting coach – both Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated roles.

Claim to fame: #2 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the best TV of 2019, with a 100% critics rating.

Binge on Showmax

Best Romance: A Discovery of Witches S1

What’s it about? Adapted from Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches is a modern-day love story set in a world where witches, vampires and daemons secretly live and work alongside humans, hidden in plain sight.

Who’s in it? Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four, Warm Bodies) stars as Oxford historian Diana Bishop, a witch who falls in love with the vampire Matthew Clairmont (Emmy nominee Matthew Goode from Downton Abbey and The Crown) – to the consternation of both witches and vampires…

Claim to fame: #5 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the best TV of 2019, with a 100% critics rating

Binge on Showmax

Best Horror: Los Espookys S1

What’s it about: Set in a fictional dreamy Latin American country, Los Espookys follows a group of friends who turn their love for horror into a peculiar business: providing on-demand horror to those who need it. Okay, so it’s more of a comedy for horror lovers than a straight-up scare fest, but it’s the best thing horror fans have been offered so far this year.

Who’s in it? Rising comics Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, alongside Fred Armisen and Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame.

Claim to fame: #10 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the best TV of 2019, with a 100% critics rating

First on Showmax on 2 September 2019

Best Documentary Series: Leaving Neverland

What’s it about: The separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age 10, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 40, and Robson, now 36, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had young sons of their own.

Who’s in it? Michael Jackson. Aka The King Of Pop. Aka Wacko Jacko.

Claim to fame: #11 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the best TV of 2019, with a 98% critics rating

Binge on Showmax

Categories
Television

DStv Content Discovery: 2 – 8 August 2019

M-Net is dishing up a legal drama feast on Thursday nights, with the final season of the popular series Suits and its brand-new spin-off series, Pearson, kicking off from 8 August.

Suits S9 starts on Thursday 8 August on M-Net (101) at 20:10

In the ninth season premiere of the high-stakes legal drama, Harvey and Samantha fight to salvage the firm’s tarnished reputation in the wake of Robert Zane’s self-sacrifice to save Harvey. With Jessica back in Chicago, Harvey rallies the troops, including Donna Paulsen, Louis Litt and Alex Williams, in a bid to restore the firm’s former glory. There’s been much speculation about Meghan Markle’s appearance in the season 9 trailer, but whether we’ll actually get to see a Rachel cameo remains to be seen.

Pearson S1 starts on Thursday 8 August on M-Net (101) at 21:10

Following straight after Suits is the series premiere of spin-off series, Pearson, that sees the poised and once-infallible Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) start her new job in the Mayor’s office in Chicago as a fixer. Having left New York with her tail between her legs after being disbarred, Jessica hopes to reunite with her family in the windy city of Chicago.

Lovers of thrillers will find themselves engrossed in M-Net Sunday movie. A Simple Favor sees a conservative single mother being inadvertently caught up in a dangerous situation when she befriends the glamorous, wealthy mother of one of her son’s schoolfriends. The all-star cast includes Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick.

See Gordon Ramsay in a brand-new light in the adventurous new series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted on National Geographic. As he travels around the globe, he will be pursuing culinary inspiration in a totally different way, roaring through valleys, diving into oceans, hiking through forests and scaling mountains.

Wildlife series Serengeti starts on BBC Earth this week. It follows the interconnected stories of a cast of savannah animals over one year, presented in a bold new format. From warthogs to lions, mongoose to cheetahs, a cast of our favourite African animal characters will be filmed closer and more intimately than ever before, using ground breaking filming techniques and pioneering technology.

LOCAL

Two Families and a Wedding Dress on Wednesdays on BET (129) at 21:30

Every bride dreams of the perfect wedding dress for their big day. For most, that super-expensive designer gown is destined to remain a dream, but in this show, a dress fit for a princess, worth an astounding R30 000, could become a reality. The final choice will be made by the bride-to-be’s family and soon-to-be in-laws. The show is hosted by award-winning presenter Thembisa Mdoda, with narration by the spirited Moshe Ndiki.

Idols S15 on Sunday 4 August on Mzansi Magic (161) at 17:30

The blind auditions are now done and it’s off to theatre week for the contestants. New rules mean more pressure, with the coaches and the judges raising the bar. The singers are now grouped into teams and the first round of eliminations have the contestants in a panic.

Grass Roots S1 on Fridays on 1Magic (103) at 19:30

Monwabisi and Asanda are at the mercy of the senior boys as hazing season gets underway at St. Sebastian’s. After arriving in Johannesburg to compete for a rugby scholarship, the two boys were initially rivals, both aiming for the same scholarship, but being the underdogs has brought them together.

Lui Maar Op, Belinda S3 starts on Monday 5 August on kykNET (144) at 20:00

This sitcom revolves around the staff at a general store in George, in the Southern Cape. Belinda (Brümilda van Rensburg), a former actress who daydreams about her once-glamorous life, finds naughty letters between Maggie’s things and reads them shamelessly, even while Frans cautions her to let sleeping dogs lie. Annetjie (Annelisa Weiland) tries to find a partner for Dirkie, but it’s not as easy as she thought.

Ster-status S1 starts on Monday 5 August on VIA (147) at 18:00

Women’s empowerment project, Apprentesses SA, helps women between the ages of 20 and 35 realise their dreams of being in the spotlight. Whether the candidate hopes to become a model, singer, actress, businesswoman or journalist, the project’s brand-new reality competition show will help them get a foot in the door with mentoring and confidence-building as well as establishing contacts and gaining experience in the entertainment industry.

The Queen S4 on Friday 2 August on Mzansi Magic (161) at 21:00

Brutus, Shaka and Zodwa plan their ambush on Harriet after being left behind in jail while Harriet and her kids made bail. The Maake family suffer another loss and Mmabatho takes drastic steps to protect Baby Mzi.

No Excuse Pay Your Papgeld S2 on Saturday 3 August on MOJA LOVE (157) at 18:30

Award-winning Kwaito musician Dr Malinga hosts this series in which parents struggling with collecting payments for the maintenance of their children are given a platform to get assistance.

Liyana on Showmax

Combining documentary scenes and animation, Liyana is described as a hybrid documentary. It follows the story of a young Swazi girl who attempts to rescue her twin brothers after they’re kidnapped and is inspired by real-life stories.

SPORT

Football: Super Diski: ABSA Premiership on 3 and 4 August on SuperSport 4 (204) and SuperSport 7 (207) from 14:50

The ups and downs that are part of league football are likely to kick in on the first weekend of this season’s premier division action. Mamelodi Sundowns start the defence of their title with a match against SuperSport United on Saturday. Pirates, who finished second last season, play Bloemfontein Celtic and Amazulu face Wits, who was third on the 2018/’19 log, at 20:10. On Sunday, Kaizer Chiefs play Highlands Park and Golden Arrows face Maritzburg United.

Rugby: Currie Cup Premier Division 2 and 3 August on SuperSport 1 (201) at 14:45 and 17:00 and 19:00

Reputations don’t count for much in South Africa’s top regional rugby competition these days. Teams that used to crowd the top of the log now face serious challenges, right from the start of the season. Last season’s champions, the Sharks, face a stiff test when they play the Pumas in an away match on Saturday before the Blue Bulls face Griquas in Pretoria. Free State Cheetahs, always hard to beat at home, meet the Golden Lions on Friday.

Cricket: The Ashes: England v Australia first Test 1 to 5 August on SuperSport 2 (202) at 11:45

England are chasing a notable milestone when they meet Australia in the first of five Test matches at Edgbaston this week. The new (ODI) World Cup champions will even the Ashes score if they win the 71st series. Australia, the present champions, have won the little trophy 33 times; one more than England’s tally. Five series were drawn. The hosts are fielding one of their most formidable and exciting teams in years, but the Aussies showed signs of returning to domination during the World Cup tournament.

Motorsport: Formula 1: Hungarian Grand Prix 4 August on SuperSport 6 (206) at 13:35

Lewis Hamilton would have banished all thoughts of his German Grand Prix nightmare when he seeks to retain his Hungarian title in Mogyoród this weekend. The Briton still leads Valtteri Bottas by a healthy margin in the championship standings. Max Verstappen, who held off Sebastian Vettel in Germany, could also enhance his position on the 4km Hungaroring track. The practice rounds will be broadcast live at 20:45 and 14:45 on Friday and 11:45 on Saturday, followed by the qualifying battle at 14:55.

KIDS

A-X-L on Saturday 3 August on M-Net (101) at 15:30

Pre-teens and teens will be caught up by this fast-paced, futuristic action-adventure movie. A teenager named Miles finds what looks like a piece of very expensive wrecked tech on a scrapheap, never suspecting the top-secret robotic dog will become his best friend. But A-X-L was designed as a weapon, and the scientists who built him want their pet project back. Now both boy and dog are in danger. Starring Alex Neustaeder, Thomas Jane and Becky G.

Disney Cook-About S3 on Saturday 3 August on Disney Channel (303) at 10:15

Disney’s fabulous, fun cooking game show, hosted by the hilarious Kirsten Mohamed and Mthunzi Ntoyi, is in Gauteng this season, putting young cooktestants through their paces as they vie for the Golden Trophy, and a R50 000 prize for their school. Along the way, kids will learn about healthy nutrition and pick up tips for preparing delicious dishes.

Teddles S1 on Saturday 3 August on CBeebies (306) at 10:55

These cute mini-stories with 2-minute songs will make the little ones laugh and help them learn about crucial life-skills like washing hands and tidying up, as the curious, confident Teddles is helped out by his kind friends when he makes mistakes. Today, Teddles doesn’t want to brush his teeth, but when he cheekily runs away, he bumps into Mr Walrus, who knows how important it is to look after your teeth.

Zog on Showmax

Zog is a young dragon determined to do well at Dragon School, where he learns about flying, roaring and breathing fire. But poor Zog experiences a few challenges along the way, many caused by his clumsiness. This is based on a brilliant Julia Donaldson best-seller (over 1,5 million copies sold) classic and was produced in South Africa by Triggerfish Studios as an award-winning 27 minute animated short with an all-star cast including Kit Harrington, Lenny Henry, Hugh Skinner and Tracey Ullman.

MOVIES

A Simple Favor premieres Sunday 4 August on M-Net (101) at 20:00

Described by Variety as a “clever, naughty suburban noir”, this slick thriller stars Anna Kendrick as suburban widow/vlogger Stephanie Smothers, and her bizarre relationship with fellow mom Emily, a power-dressing, enigmatic and cruel upper-class Blake Lively. As their friendship evolves over Martinis and oversharing, Emily asks Stephanie a simple favour – to collect her son from school one day, only to mysteriously vanish on the same day.

American Animals premieres Saturday 3 August on M-Net (101) at 21:30

This crime drama is based on a real-life event in which a group of college students hatched a plan to rob their Kentucky university library’s rare book section, which included some of the most valuable books in existence, like a copy of Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Evan Peters (American Horror Story) and Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale) star in this movie, which Empire magazine calls a “knowing, blistering mix of heist flick and true-crime documentary”.

ATL on Friday 2 August on 1Magic (103) at 22:00

Nominated for a BET Hip Hop award for Best Movie, this coming-of-age-in-the-hood movie follows four friends as they try to make the most of their last few weeks of high school in their inner-city Atlanta neighbourhood before facing the challenges of looming adulthood. Featuring rapper T.I. and Evan Ross (son of Diana).

Lean on Pete on Showmax

If you remember shedding happy (or sad) tears during famous horse-and-child movies like Black Stallion and Flicka, prepare your tissue stash for Lean on Pete. Fifteen-year-old Charley befriends a retired racing quarter horse bound for the slaughterhouse and, in an attempt to escape his own unhappy homelife and save his new friend’s life, the two set off from Oregon to Canada in search of a new life together.

INTERNATIONAL SERIES

The Goldbergs S6 starts on Saturday 3 August on M-Net (101) at 17:30

Oddball 80s family, The Goldbergs, is back! The sitcom revolves around overbearing mom Beverly, deadbeat dad Murray, over-confident daughter Erica, quirky son Barry, and youngest son, geeky Adam, from whose viewpoint the series is told. The show is based on the real-life memories of show creator Adam F. Goldberg. The first episode of Season 6 sees Adam turn 16. He’s expecting his mom to make a huge deal about it but instead, he gets … nothing.

Departure S1 starts on Monday 5 August on Universal TV (117) at 20:00

When a passenger plane mysteriously disappears over the Atlantic Ocean, aviation investigator Kendra Malley (Archie Panjabi from The Good Wife) is called in to find out what happened. The trail soon leads her to investigate her former boss and mentor Howard Lawson (Academy-award winner Christopher Plummer). Claire Forlani (Hawaii Five-0) also stars in this conspiracy thriller that’s been described as a “thrilling, high-octane drama”.

Snowfall S3 starts on Tuesday 6 August on 1Magic (103) at 21:30

AV Club calls this crime drama series “one of the most stylish, well-written shows on TV right now.” Revolving around the drug industry in Los Angeles in the 80s, this crime drama follows three characters on a violent collision course: drug dealer Franklin Saint, Mexican wrestler Gustavo ‘El Oso’ Zapata, and CIA agent Teddy McDonald.

Sweet Bitter S1 on Showmax

Tess moves to New York, eager to experience new things. She lands a job at a top restaurant and has to navigate life in the Big Apple along with the crazy world of the restaurant business. Based on the novel.

FACTUAL

Serengeti S1 starts on Sunday 4 August on BBC Earth (184) at 16:00

John Boyega (Finn from Star Wars) narrates this dramatised six-part natural history series that traces the interconnected stories of the Serengeti’s most iconic species. Using the latest ground-breaking technology and filming techniques, including drones and multiple static cameras, the series gets up-close and personal with the unique wildlife in this unspoilt pocket of the African savannah. In this episode, Kali, a brave lioness, has broken the golden rules of family life by having cubs with an outsider.

Murder Loves Company S1 starts on Tuesday 6 August on Investigation Discovery (171) at 21:00

This chilling new real-life murder mystery series looks at crimes that have happened within close-knit groups of people, from co-workers and friends to neighbours in a tight-knit community. Each case unfolds to reveal that someone in the group will be murdered … and someone in the group is the killer. The series opens with a girls’ movie night that ends tragically for a group of college roommates, leading police to search halfway across the state for the killer.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy on Showmax

American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted and eventually acquitted for the 2007 death of another student in Italy.

Out There with Jack Randall S1 starts on Wednesday 7 August on Nat Geo Wild (182) at 18:00

Zoologist Jack Randall takes a walk on the extremely wild side, searching for rare, endangered, iconic and exotic species in some of the most unforgiving environments on Earth. In the season premiere, Jack ventures into the remote Northern Territory of Australia to search for six dangerous pythons.

REALITY

Gordon Ramsay Uncharted starts on Wednesday 7 August on National Geographic (181) at 21:00

Get out of the kitchen and onto the unbeaten path to follow the Michelin-starred chef and Ironman athlete Gordon Ramsay as he meets indigenous locals around the globe to learn about the cultures, dishes and flavours unique to each far-flung location. From South America to New Zealand, Alaska to Morocco, each episode concludes with Ramsay putting his newfound skills (and ingredients) to the test as he cooks up an exotic feast with a local legend.

Race Across the World on Friday 2 August on BBC Earth (184) at 19:00

Upping the ante on the reality travel shows we’ve seen before, contestants have to make their way from London to Singapore … without setting foot on a plane … or with the help of a smartphone, or card payments, and on the meagre budget of what a one-way flight would have cost them.

The Hills: New Beginnings on Thursday 8 August on MTV (130) at 15:00

There’s drama at the crystal party as Audrina confronts Justin about that little “goodbye” kiss, while Brody has some honest conversations about his failed relationship with father Caitlyn, as well as with his one-time best friend, Spencer.

Seann Walsh – Seann to be Wild on Tuesday 6 August on BBC Brit (120) at 20:00

With his trademark deeply personal observational humour, Walsh dishes on the life of an incapable 21st century male, from dealing with the crippling self-consciousness he suffers from in public spaces, to his love-hate relationship with alcohol.

BOXOFFICE

The Grinch (2018) premieres on Monday 5 August on BoxOffice

Cindy-Lou Who and the people of Who-ville love everything about Christmas, but The Grinch cannot stand it. When he realises they want to make Christmas three times bigger than ever before, he devises a plan to steal it from them. The only person standing in his way is that outrageously happy girl, Cindy-Lou. Pharrell Williams narrates and Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this latest animated comedy adaptation of the Dr. Seuss children’s classic.

Sew the Winter to My Skin premieres on Monday 5 August on BoxOffice

Ezra Mabengeza, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Antoinette Louw, Brenda Ngxoli and Kandyse McClure star in this emotionally charged and beautifully filmed action-drama by acclaimed controversial South African filmmaker Jahmil X.T. Qubeka (Of Good Report). Set in the 1950s, it reimagines the historical 12-year manhunt for “the Samson of Boschberg”, John Kepe, a mid-century Robin Hood and stock thief, dubbed an outlaw by the ruling apartheid government, but a hero to the poor.

What Men Want premieres on Thursday 8 August on BoxOffice

Inspired by What Women Want, the 2000 romantic comedy that starred Mel Gibson, What Men Want sees the roles reversed as a dynamic sports agent (Taraji P Henson), undermined in her male-dominated profession, gains an unexpected advantage after she develops the ability to hear men’s thoughts.

What They Had premieres on Monday 5 August on BoxOffice

When Bridget’s mother falls victim to Alzheimer’s, her brother pleads with her to come home to help with the caregiving. Upon her return, she finds that not much has changed and her father’s refusal to accept the situation doesn’t make matters easy. Oscar winner Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner and Robert Forster star in this insightful drama with moments of authentic humour that will make you recognise your own loved ones in its poignant study of a family in crisis.