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3 Movies You Should Rent Tonight

District 9 Still

Most blogs, including mine, like to focus on the latest releases on DVD and on the big screen. Can you blame us? We need to keep our content current to please the readers. However, I realised that a lot of people cannot afford the cinema or the latest DVDs every week and their movie fulfilment comes from occasionally renting at Blockbusters for a night in (some people just don’t like to sit in a cramped cinema for three hours – my Dad, for one). So today I thought I would give three suggestions and a mini review on films that should be in your local Blockbuster or HMV. Maybe we could get more suggestions from the comments below?


People never really knew what to think about Ben Affleck: his acting career is very hit and miss. However, when he took up directing and started with this film, no one could deny he knew the industry and how to get the most out of it. This film’s success comes from a fantastic script, getting the best out of the actors, especially Amy Ryan. tackles some serious issues and plays with our prejudices. It will take you on a journey, at the very least.

Don’t shoot me! The wall is home!

Sure, you could argue it’s slightly too long for its own good, but it makes the most of the time it’s given. It throws twists and shocks at us, and we are never sure at where the ride will end. Sometimes its drama may hit a little close to home (it is hard not to compare some of the storylines to the Madeline McCann headline), but if you think you can handle it, watch this film. Also, the ending is great; the hero is forced to make an impossible choice. You will walk away, asking yourself tough questions and wondering what you would do in the protagonist’s shoes.


Neill Blomkamp went against all of the odds and threw together this compelling sci-fi with no big names and a tiny budget. I watched it with medium expectations, already predicting my reaction to be along the lines of agreeing that the guy did the best with what he had. My real reaction: I was blown away.

It opens with half an hour of pretending to be a documentary, so we get an outsider’s perspective of the Sci-Fi world we find ourselves in. Then the action leaves the found footage feel behind, yet the camera angles still feel gritty and realistic. And the tone matches the story perfectly: there is a strong comparison between the aliens and coloured people in South Africa a few decades ago. Therefore, when the characters mistreat an alien, the back of our minds are aware that this happened to black people not too long ago. It’s that kind of impact that keeps our attention from wandering and being focused on the context: exactly where Neill Blomkamp wants it to be.

Not that it cannot simply be enjoyed as a laid-back Sci-Fi. Sure, it is no Looper or Alien movie, but it still has pulse-pounding action, delivering the goods with every shot. We are glued to our seat the whole time, unsure of how the film is planning on ending. It is the kind of film everyone needs to see at least once and could very well be my favourite film from 2009.

1 – 50/50

Cancer films aren’t really my thing. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ was too dark and depressing for my liking. It’s not really the kind of theme you want a movie you rent for a chilled night in to have. Which is why 50/50 blows you away.

It is about cancer, yes, but makes you laugh at the same time. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young man who finds out he has a 50/50 chance of beating the cancer he has. This is a film about him trying to come to terms with that fact. In a way, this film is kind of bright and optimistic: Joseph Gordon-Levitt refuses to let the news beat him. Cue an hour of him sharing his medical marijuana with best mate, Seth Rogen, and trying to pick up women with the whole ‘I am going to die in a month’ line. It’s full of laughs you cannot believe you are having, which makes the film all the more wholesome.

I think it’s about cancer. Could also be about Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his grunge band.

I just love what this movie proves: comedy can take any form as long as it is kept tasteful and witty. It does bring the emotional side with it: by the end, the film has to deal with the nastier side of cancer and encourages the tears. It isn’t even the bedridden Joseph Gordon-Levitt that does it; the tears come with the smaller details that are masterfully placed: Seth Rogen’s lazy mate has a well-thumbed ‘Dealing with your friend’s cancer’ book and the Alzheimer’s father manages to express his sadness at his son’s health.

So basically the second you have a night in and fancy watching a great film, rent this one. It will not disappoint.