The holidays have arrived – which means you can finally catch up on all the films your friends have been talking about all year. We’ve compiled a list of films we think you should watch.
This is a coming-of-age comedy-drama that follows three African-American geeks who unexpectedly become drug dealers.
Why you should watch it: From the cross-coloured oversized jackets to Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” song, Dope will have you riding through the 90s, feeling all nostalgic. Just like the Dear White People film, it’s bringing the idea of “blackness” into light, especially to our generation. This is also A$AP Rocky’s and Chanel Iman’s debut film, and we must say, they don’t do too badly.
The story centres around two rich black kids from the northern suburbs of Jo’burg, trying to navigate the social structures of South Africa.
Why you should watch it: 23-year-old director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer exposes the sex and drug scene among the upper class youth of the country. It also confronts the disillusions the youth might have of the current socio-economic state of the country, in a bold but honest way. The film was screened at international festivals such as Tribeca (US) and Berlinale (Germany) and won the awards for Best SA Film and Director at the Durban International Film Festival.
During a manned mission on Mars, an astronaut is left behind. With only a few supplies left, he must depend on his skills to survive and find a way to contact Earth.
Why you should watch it: Only a few directors can perfectly create a visually epic picture, and Ridley Scott is one of them. He takes science and makes it fun for all audiences to watch. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn how to survive on an almost oxygenless planet with a sack of potatoes, all by themselves?
Straight Outta Compton
This biographical drama takes us back to the origins of American hip hop group N.W.A (members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and DJ Yella).
Why you should watch it: Have you ever wondered where the meme “Straight Outta [fill in your city]” came from? It all went viral when this film came out. Before the booty-loving and money-talking lyrics of today, there was a time when rap was about the harsh realities of black peopl0’s livese in the US ghettos. For those who live and breathe hip hop, this one is a must-see.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
A socially invisible high school student is forced to hang out with his fellow classmate, who is diagnosed with leukemia, by his mother. His life changes when he spends more time with her and begins making a film for her.
Why you should watch it: It’s an indie comedy-drama that pulls on all your heartstrings. The wittiness and relatability strays the film away from your typical romantic movie which is quite refreshing. It won two awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Warning: Ladies (and gentlemen), this film is not kleenex friendly.
Thula is left to raise his younger sister after their grandmother passes away, in the townships of Alexandra. When his sister falls in love with an older man, Thula is determined to end their relationship.
Why you should watch it: This hard-hitting drama tackles the hefty issues many township youths face, such as child abuse and old men dating teenage girls. It has already nabbed three film festival awards and has been nominated for the Oscars 2016. If Tsotsi is one of your favourites, this one’s for you.
A young programmer is selected to participate in an evolutionary experiment, conducted by his eccentric boss, where he evaluates the consciousness of a beautiful robot called Ava.
Why you should watch it: Critics are calling this the best film of 2015. This sci-fi thriller focuses on the idea of artificial intelligence as a use for emotional interaction. It’s beautifully imaginative, providing enough suspense to keep you on the edge and leave you with an eerie feeling about the possibilities of our future world.
Beast of No Nation
When a civil war breaks out in West Africa, a young boy manages to escape the killings of the men in his family by the army. He is soon found by a rebel warlord who trains him to be a child soldier.
Why you should watch it: It’s a harrowing film to watch, but an important one not to miss. This war drama will make you “woke” about the tragedies of war in Africa. Idris Elba pulls off a powerful performance as the dangerous assailant, while young Abraham Attah (who plays the the young boy) impresses with his acting debut in the film.
He Named Me Malala
This is a documentary about a Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by terrorist group the Taliban. This was after she spoke out about girl’s rights, especially their right to education.
Why you should watch it: Gender inequality still exists in the modern age. The film not only intimately looks into the life of the young activist and how she survived the attack, but also holds a spotlight on the issue at hand. This Oscar-nominated feature is worth watching, especially for all the feminists.
A troubled son of a late famous boxer seeks out the help of the legendary Rocky Balboa to battle a seasoned champion in the ring.
Why you should watch it: Michael B. Jordan thrills as the lead, as he reminds us of how inspiring Sylvester Stallone was in the first Rocky film. It brings back the old-fashioned determination and hard work, many boxing films lack today. If nominated, some critics have predicted that Creed might knock out all contenders of Best Film at the Oscars 2016.