Showmax has really gone all out for Christmas this year. After such a challenging year for literally everyone, we reckon feel-good family Christmas vibes are not as much the overload of corniness they used to be in ancient times (the historical period that ended on December 31st, 2019).
This year, the streaming platform has assembled its biggest ever collection of Christmas films for local audiences, with a total of eight films! There are Christmas specials from HBO and Adult Swim; and over 30 international films, including Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) in the 2019 blockbuster Last Christmas.
Here’s what you can stream;
A ZULU CHRISTMAS | Movie | 25 December
In A Zulu Christmas, a young boy – who is used to the city life, being spoiled by his mother and getting his way – has to spend Christmas with his grandmother on her farm in KZN. Will he rediscover his heritage and find a deeper meaning in Christmas?
Directed by Thabo Ntsako Mashaila (Uhambo), A Zulu Christmas stars Deli Malinga (Imbewu), Thembinkosi Mthembu (The River), Sphumuzo Sidzumo (Matwetwe), Ayanda Banda (Omen) and SAFTA winner Nomsa Buthelezi (Lockdown, Our Perfect Wedding).
ROBOT CHICKEN: SANTA’S DEAD (SPOILER ALERT) HOLIDAY MURDER THING SPECIAL | Stop-motion
Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken was one of three nominees for Best Short Animated Program at the 2020 Emmys, for its Christmas special, Santa’s Dead (Spoiler Alert) Holiday Murder Thing Special (also known as S10, ep 11). Think Murder of the North Pole Express, with Inspector Jesus on the case and a train full of fairytale suspects.
Listen out for the voices of Robot Chicken co-creator and three-time Emmy winner Seth Green as Santa, four-time Golden Globe nominee Jason Alexander (George in Seinfeld) as Krampus; and Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) as Ginger.
Warning: This isn’t really in the Christmas spirit…
SOMERKERSFEES | Movie | First on Showmax, 1 December
In Somerkersfees, a dysfunctional family’s Christmas beach holiday forces them to come to terms with their flaws, differences, hate and love for each other.
Directed by multi-award-winning theatre director and SAFTA nominee Jaco Bouwer (Rage, Dwaalster, Die Spreeus), Somerkersfees stars Milan Murray (Liewe Kersfeesvader, Die Waterfront), Edwin van der Walt (Wonderlus), Marguerite van Eeden (Sara Se Geheim), Joanie Combrink (Fynskrif, Dwaalster), Marvin-Lee Beukes (Wonderlus, Die Byl) and SAFTA winner Lionel Newton (Triomf).
POSBUS 1 | Movie | First on Showmax, 1 December
In Posbus 1, when Ben (Carel Trichardt from Rhodes) and his wife’s address is given out as Santa’s, they get thousands of letters from hopeful children. When Ben’s wife dies, he burns every letter except one, which sends him on a journey of healing. Cindy Swanepoel (Binnelanders), Charlie Bouguenon (Vuil Wasgoed), Melissa Willering (Getroud Met Rugby), and Thapelo Aphiri (Parable) co-star. Posbus 1 is directed by Nico Scheepers, who won Best Director at Silwerskerm 2017 for Die Maan Val Bewusteloos.
HERB & MOON | Movie | First on Showmax, 5 December
In Herb & Moon, Herbert Brenner (SAFTA winner Robert Whitehead from Legacy) may be losing his marbles but he’s not prepared to lose his granddaughter. Can an outspoken man with rusty joints break out of his old age home, make his way across town, overcome his daughter and son-in-law’s attempts to keep him from his granddaughter, and give Gemma her Christmas gift?
Herb & Moon is directed by SAFTA winner Tim Greene (Skeem, Hard Copy, Taryn & Sharon), with Keenan Arrison (Shirley Adams, When We Were Black) co-starring.
A BOERE-KRISMIS | Movie | 5 December
In A Boere-Krismis, Lara Toselli (Tali’s Wedding Diary, Swaaibraai) stars as Claire, a failed comic-actor-director-screenwriter-producer-playwright-presenter who uses her Afrikaans fiancé’s family to further her career by documenting their disastrous Christmas Day.
Johann Vermaak (It’s Complicated, Swaaibraai) co-stars as her fiancé, alongside the likes of SAFTA winner Louw Venter (Swartwater, Die Laaste Tango), Albert Maritz (Alles Malan, Dwaalster), SAFTA nominee Cintaine Schutte (Fynskrif, Ekstra Medium), Silwerskerm winner Carel Nel (Rage, Slaaf, Hum), Lida Botha (Rage) and Sean Cameron Michael (Black Sails).
A Boere-Krismis is directed by Silwerskerm winner Willem Grobler (Hum) and produced by Marche Media (Kanarie).
EUPHORIA SPECIAL | Christmas Special | 7 December 2020
Zendaya became the youngest ever best actress Emmy winner this year for her performance in Euphoria as Rue, a 17-year-old who returns home from rehab with no plans to stay clean, and falls for the new girl in town, Jules (played by trans superstar Hunter Schafer). Euphoria also won 2020 Emmys for Original Music and Lyrics for All For Us by Labrinth, as well as Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic).
Now the hit HBO drama is back with Trouble Don’t Last Always, which follows Rue as she celebrates Christmas, in the aftermath of being left by Jules at the train station and falling back into old habits.
JOE PERA HELPS YOU FIND THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE | Christmas special | 7 December 2020
Comedian Joe Pera’s breakout Adult Swim special was called Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep: he just has that kind of voice – in a good way.
This Christmas, let his deadpan comedy get you into the Christmas spirit as he helps you find the perfect Christmas tree. As Decider says, “This Adult Swim classic is about so much more than finding the perfect Christmas tree. Pera’s folksy charm and aw-shucks sincerity combine to make his outstanding holiday special a treat that can be enjoyed by the entire family… Insanely funny.”
HOME AFFAIRS: A CHRISTMAS TALE | Movie | 19 December
In Home Affairs: A Christmas Tale, a feuding family is forced to spend Christmas under the same roof. Will they end up killing each other before the turkey is served? Or will they overcome their past issues and realise the reason for the season?
Directed by Lizé Vosloo (screenwriter on Raaiselkind, Alles Malan and Nul Is Nie Niks Nie), Home Affairs: A Christmas Tale stars rising stars like Hilton Pelser (The Kissing Booth 1 and 2, Moffie), David Viviers (Rage, Tali’s Baby Diary), Bronté Snell (Sara Se Geheim) and Shamilla Miller (The Girl From St Agnes, Blood & Water, Tali’s Baby Diary) alongside familiar faces like SAFTA winner Deon Lotz (Trackers, Skoonheid), SAFTA nominee Christia Visser (Tess), and Fleur du Cap winner Rehane Abrahams (Arendsvlei, Vimeo Staff Pick short film Buitenkant).
LAST CHRISTMAS | Movie | 21 December
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Emma Thompson (Years and Years) star for director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) in the romantic comedy Last Christmas.
Kate (Clarke) harrumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers. As London transforms for the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may; you gotta listen to your heart.
Last Christmas features new music from Grammy winner George Michael, as well as his bittersweet holiday classic of the film’s title. The film was the 62nd biggest box office hit of 2019.
A CHRISTMAS CHORUS | Movie | 25 December
When the Covid-19 pandemic shuts down all theatres, a group of actor friends decide to come together and create a unique Christmas Eve performance. The directorial debut of SAFTA-winning Kanarie screenwriter and composer Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, A Christmas Chorus is a musical about awakening hope and passion during dark times.
A Christmas Chorus stars Fleur du Cap winners Dean Balie (Kat and the Kings) and Edith Plaatjies (King Kong) alongside SAFTA winner Jill Levenberg (Ellen: Die Storie Van Ellen Pakkies), KKNK Kunste Onbeperk Young Voice 2019 winner Lynelle Kenned (West Side Story, Wonderlus) and 2020 Fleur du Cap nominees Bianca Flanders (Krotoa: Eva Van De Kaap) and Namisa Mdlalose (Kinky Boots), who also won the 2020 Standard Bank Ovation Award for girl.
Produced by Marche Media (Kanarie) as a celebration of the arts, A Christmas Chorus was filmed at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town while it was closed for lockdown.
A TWISTED CHRISTMAS | Movie | 26 December
In A Twisted Christmas, a wealthy family loses everything just before Christmas and the only person willing to take them in is their long-time Muslim gardener and his family. Together, they celebrate a ‘Mubarak’ Christmas and learn the meaning of real family.
Directed by Muneera Sallies, co-writer of Encounters Audience Award winner Action Kommandant, A Twisted Christmas stars Kate Liquorish (Still Breathing, Queen Sono), Euodia Samson (Arendsvlei) and Abduragman Adams (Suidooster).
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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.
When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.
A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.
The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.
This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.
Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.
Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.
After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.
Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.
In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.
After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.
Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.
Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.
Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.
In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?
Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.
We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.
What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.
We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.
Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.
First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe, the world ready to let old baggage go.
The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.
While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.
When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.
With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.
It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.
We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.