ON YOUR SCREENS IN SEPTEMBER
Keep an eye out for expansive fantasy worlds and biographical period dramas
Maverick Life’s pick of films and series to look out for in September 2022 on Showmax, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and in cinemas.
We Own This City: 1 September
Equal part cop and gangster drama this six-part series, co-created by David Simon of The Wire, is based on the true events of the cultural descent of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force into corruption as a consequence of policies of drug prohibition and mass arrest. Simon immediately throws you into the deep end of this moral cesspool but the capable cast, including Jon Bernthal, Josh Charles and Wunmi Mosaku quickly have you lost in the shady streets of Baltimore.
The Offer: 1 September
Miles Teller (Top Gun: Maverick) plays Oscar-winning producer Albert S Ruddy in a 10-episode biographical series about the making of The Godfather, produced by Paramount, the very studio that nearly turned the film down. The Offer has little resemblance to the film it pays tribute to but fans of the cult classic might be shocked by the inside-Hollywood drama involved in the beloved gangster movie’s journey to the screen.
We Met in Virtual Reality: 1 September
With the Metaverse rearing its head, the first-ever feature-length documentary filmed entirely in VRChat (an online platform where users have full-body control of animated digital avatars) focuses on the potential benefits that a cultural integration of virtual reality could have based on how it’s being used today to find love, connection, and community. The film steers anxiously away from the obvious darker sides of the technology, such as the trend of users to prefer sexualized female anime characters or the social implications of digitising relationships, but with those issues so well documented on such platforms, one often forgets to pay attention to why they are so popular in the first place.
Steinheist: 22 September, new episodes every Thursday
A three-part docuseries about the biggest corporate scam in South African history. From the creators of Devilsdorp, Steinheist profiles Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste, whose resignation on 6 December 2017 plunged the company’s share price by over 90% in a week, wiping over R200-billion off the JSE.
Blood Psalms: 28 September, new episodes every Wednesday
Set in Ancient Africa, one thousand days after the fall of Atlantis, the five surviving houses of Kemet fear the coming of a prophesised apocalypse. Bokang Phelane (Keeping Score, Isidingo) plays a headstrong princess in this expansive fantasy series rich with magic and lore, primordial curses and ancestral feuds. “Blood Psalms draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies and looks at various different tribes in Season 1 — the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini, and Great Nziwemabwe – as they migrated south from Kemet, which is now Egypt, and formed their cultures”, says show co-creator Layla Swart. Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka have forged an ambitious path bringing the epic scale of popular fantasy franchises to an African setting, performed without a word of English. It could just as easily seem farcical or find sensational popularity.
Devil in Ohio: 2 September
Hospital psychiatrist Suzanne (Emily Deschanel) takes in a mysterious, traumatised, young woman (Madeleine Arthur) who has escaped from a satanic cult. As the girl exhibits more and more strange behaviour, the nature of her “escape” becomes more suspicious, and Suzanne’s family suffers the consequences of her kindness. The eight-episode series is created by Daria Polatin, who atypically, is also the author of the novel on which it’s based.
Chef’s Table – Pizza: 7 September
If you watch food TV, you know all about Chef’s Table. If you don’t, it’s not a bad place to start. What makes this docuseries so watchable as a show is that it doesn’t rely on the appeal of delicious-looking food alone — it willingly diverges to incorporate any aspect of the far-reaching creativity subsumed in the larger umbrella of food culture. After two years, the long-running culinary show returns with a season focused specifically on pizza, a cuisine that has reached practically every corner of the globe and been appropriated in every manner of weird and wonderful ways. Each episode profiles a pizza chef from a different part of the world who walks the viewer through their take on it, whether traditional or wildly experimental.
End of the Road: 9 September
Queen Latifah and Chris Bridges (aka Ludacris) star in an adventure thriller set in the New Mexico desert. While on a cross-country road trip, Brenda and her brother and kids witness a murder, and when one of them swipes a bag of money from the scene, the family becomes wrapped up in a violent game of cat and mouse with a mysterious killer.
The Real Bling Ring – Hollywood Heist: 21 September
The Bling Ring were a group of seven teenagers who in the late 2000s broke into the homes of high-profile celebrities, stealing over $3-million worth of cash and belongings. Though their crimes have been depicted in news stories, an A24 movie starring Emma Watson and even reality TV, more than a decade after the heist, this docuseries claims to reveal the true story for the first time. After serving their jail time, the culprits tell the story themselves about how celebrity worship culture and the rise of social media catalysed their escalating thievery.
Athena: 23 September
For his third feature, French filmmaker Romain Gavras teams up with Ladj Ly (Les Miserables 2019). A young man is granted military leave after his brother is killed in an alleged riot clash with police. Hours after returning home, he finds that his family is torn between mourning and revenge. Their tight-knit community in Athena quickly becomes a guerilla stronghold against police forces for a brutal extended clash with law enforcement that can only end in tragedy.
Blonde: 28 September
Ana de Armas takes on the mythologised, iconic role of Marilyn Monroe in a biographical film that has been director Andrew Dominik’s passion project for over two decades. Based on the bestselling semi-factual novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the film loosely follows Monroe’s life from her turbulent childhood as Norma Jeane to her global fame and icon status. Sending a clear message about the dangers of the erosion of privacy, especially for women, Dominik credits the #MeToo movement for bolstering interest in a movie so “critical of American sacred cows”.
The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power: 2 September
Amazon’s long-anticipated spinoff series of Tolkien’s beloved epic is one of the biggest releases of the year. The show takes place during the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history — thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, in the era in which the great powers fans are familiar with, were first forged — and introduces a rather overwhelming amount of new characters and lore in the first two episodes. Amazon has reportedly spent a billion dollars in an attempt to fill the enormous shoes of Peter Jackson’s trilogy, and whatever fans feel about the series’ place in Tolkien’s universe, the results are visually spectacular.
Flight/Risk: 9 September
A documentary from the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated team behind The Square, which spotlighted the Egyptian civilians who spurred the overthrowing of military leader Hosni Mubarak. Flight/Risk is about the families affected by the crashing of two Boeing 737 Max planes a mere five months apart in 2018 and 2019. The film features interviews with the families, their legal teams, whistleblowers, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Seattle Times journalist Dominic Gates.
DOG: 16 September
A by-the-book, feel-good story of unlikely friendship about an injured Army Ranger (Channing Tatum) determined to be reinstated despite his doctor’s advice who, in order to do so must deliver a traumatised, extremely aggressive army dog to the funeral of its former owner. Despite the film playing it safe generally, Tatum takes on a role with more vulnerability than we are used to from the golden boy model actor.
Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin: 7 September
A 10-part series that explores the motivation and experiences of world-class adventure athletes at the climax of their ability. It’s a journey of vicarious thrills, stunning footage of perplexingly talented athletes, a study in overcoming perceived boundaries and injuries, and a montage of philosophical rhetoric about the meaning forged in testing the limits of the human body.
Andor: September 21
The anticipated Star Wars prequel kicks off with a triple-episode premiere. It’s set five years before the events of Rogue One and tells the story of how Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) became a rebel against the Empire and the hero we saw in Rogue One. The series has already been given the green light for two 12-episode seasons, and fans are expecting a visually dazzling cosmic adventure packed with lore, akin to The Mandalorian.
Don’t Worry Darling: 23 September
The initial hype around Olivia Wilde’s second feature has been overshadowed by a flurry of tabloid-fodder scandals. Wilde insists that she replaced Shia LaBeouf with Harry Styles to “protect her cast”, particularly Florence Pugh, who is furious at Wilde for going on to openly date Styles on set, and because a video of Wilde asking LaBeouf not to leave, undermining Pugh and doubting the quality of the entire production was leaked to the press. The film is a psychological thriller in which a 1950s housewife (Pugh) realises that her utopian existence is masking a darker reality. Wilde has compared it to beloved mind-bender films “Inception”, “The Matrix” and “The Truman Show”, which seems overly ambitious, but surely it deserves a chance.
The Woman King: 30 September
Viola Davis stars as General Nanisca in a blockbuster historical action inspired by the all-female army of the Agojie who defended the kingdom of Dahomey in present-day Benin during the 17th – 19th century. The portrayal of the renowned woman warriors seems to have been romanticised to some extent — the Dahomey are infamous for their ruthless enslavement of enemy states. Artistic license aside, it’s a black female-led cast about African warriors with Davis on the frontlines and producer Cathy Schulman at the helm and looks decidedly epic. DM/ ML
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