Maverick Life

ON YOUR SCREENS IN FEBRUARY

Keep an eye out – movie awards, Valentine’s romcoms, dark comedies and more coming this month

Keep an eye out – movie awards, Valentine’s romcoms, dark comedies and more coming this month
What to watch in February. Images: Supplied

Maverick Life’s pick of films and series to look out for in February 2023 on Netflix, Showmax, Prime Video, Apple TV+ and in cinemas.

Big-hitter award nominees showing in cinemas

Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s new Irish dark comedy is a stiff brew of vulgarity and vulnerability you’ll want to swig the way Paddies do best. Colin Farrell’s performance scored him an Oscar nomination for best actor (one of nine for the film) alongside Brendan Gleeson. The pair play close friends on a remote island off the coast of Ireland whose relationship suddenly turns sour.
Showing in cinemas from 3 February

The Whale

A tender feel-fest of self-deprecation about the attempts of an obese hermit (Brendan Fraser) to reconnect with his teenage daughter. The film has been criticised for portraying fatness as something abhorrent despite Darren Aronofsky’s assertion that it is an “an exercise in empathy”, but Fraser’s earnest performance in the A24 drama, a far cry from the action-man roles he used to play before heath issues halted his career, is still moving. His unexpected nomination for an Oscar has shaken up the race for Best Lead Actor. Full review here.

Showing in cinemas from 10 February

***

BAFTAS

New feminist series and doccies

Richard E Grant will host the 76th British Academy Film Awards, honouring the best national and foreign films of 2022, live from Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London. The front-runner nominations are remarkably similar to that of the Oscars: All Quiet on the Western Front leading with 14, putting it on par with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) for the most nominated non-English language film in BAFTA history. The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once are tied for second place with 10 nominations each. However, many of the other big titles at the Oscars made a remarkably small splash.

Streaming Live on Britbox on 19 February

The Exchange

An Arabic-language series, based on the true story of two women who disrupted the male-dominated stock exchange in Kuwait. Frustrated by the cards she’s been dealt by a patriarchal society, Farida, a divorced housewife, wants to end her 13-year unemployment streak and prove that she can support her daughter independently. It’s the 1980s and the stock market is thriving, so with the help of her cousin Munira, who works as a clerk at the exchange, Farida becomes the first woman on the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange. 

Streaming on Netflix from 8 February

Subjects of Desire

A provocative documentary about the shift in American beauty standards towards embracing black female aesthetics and features, told by black women who challenge the beauty ideal. The film recaps the history of black bodies in the US and navigates sticky spaces like the intersection of appreciation and demeaning eroticisation. Beauty trends that pressure women to want bodacious booties, fuller lips and “ethnic” hairstyles suggest that Blackness has become incorporated into normative beauty standards, but others argue that these features are valued most in white women and the majority of the climb towards egalitarian desirability is still to come. 

Streaming on Showmax from 15 February

Julia

A series inspired by the extraordinary life of Julia Child who became an unlikely television star in her fifties as the host of her long-running pioneering cooking show, The French Chef. Sarah Lancashire embodies the charismatic feminist chef whose success despite the best efforts of the misogynistic men who made the rules plays out excitingly against the backdrop of the women’s movement and a pivotal period in American history. Coming to Showmax on the same day is a documentary about her (also called Julia) that uses unseen footage, first-person narratives and crisp food cinematography to tell Child’s story of success. 

Streaming on Showmax from 24 February

***

Something to keep your heart pumping

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature directorial debut is a cerebral psychological drama honestly tackling the weight of parenthood, led by three talented women whose acting chops are as good as they get. If you missed it in cinemas you can now watch it on Showmax.

Streaming on Showmax from 2 February

Unlocked

A South Korean thriller based on the 2017 novel Sumaho o Otoshita dake by Akira Shiga. An ordinary woman loses her smartphone on a bus ride home from work. A stranger finds it and returns it to her, but not before installing spyware that he uses to track every aspect of her daily life to be used as fuel in a sadistic manipulation. Dark and paranoid, it’s a film that gives you chills at the prospect of how easily such a thing could happen to you. 

Streaming on Netflix from 17 February

Cocaine Bear

It’s not yet clear how much creative licence director Elizabeth Banks has taken with the film, but the true story on which it’s based is so absolutely bizarre that it’s likely that she barely changed a thing. In December 1985 a notorious drug smuggler tried to lighten his overloaded plane by dropping a duffel bag full of $ 15-million worth of cocaine. The drugs were found by an American black bear and… eaten. Having consumed enough cocaine to fuel a busy night in Cape Town, the bear then went on a frantic killing spree. The film looks decidedly hilarious but given that the story is a true and rather tragic one, it’s likely to get a little harrowing as well.

Showing in cinemas from 24 February

***

Romcom picks for Valentine’s Day

Mark, Mary and Some Other People

A sexy, playful romcom about ethical non-monogamy starring Ben Rosenfield (Boardwalk Empire) and Hayley Law (Riverdale, Altered Carbon). Director Hannah Marks has an eye for the complicated details that often get lost in relationship dramas. The mistakes and misunderstandings by her young polyamorous newlyweds seem like byproducts of immaturity, but the underlying power dynamics that cause them – pressure and expectations of one’s partner – are more universal and relatable.

Showing on Showmax from 9 February

Somebody I Used to Know

Alison Brie stars in a romcom she co-wrote with her husband, David Franco, who also directed it. Brie plays a workaholic who returns home after a career disaster and finds herself turning to her ex of 10 years for support. Brie’s mix of cringe comedy and wit gel well in a romcom – this should make for a good Valentine’s Day movie.

Showing on Prime Video from 10 February. DM/ML

You can contact Keep An Eye Out via [email protected]

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

Make your taxes work for you

Donate to Daily Maverick’s non-profit arm, the Scorpio Investigative Unit, by 29 February 2024 and you’ll qualify for a tax break.

We issue Section 18A tax certificates for all donations made to Daily Maverick. These can be presented to SARS for tax relief.

Make your donation today

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Otsile Nkadimeng - photo by Thom Pierce

A new community Actionist every week.

Meet the South Africans making a difference. Get Maverick Citizen in your inbox.