The Gray Man (2022) – A Cinematic Gray Area

Released: 22nd July
Seen: 24th July

The Gray Man Info

Netflix has had a pretty bad year, hell a bad few years if you really want to think about it. For starters they’re just having to deal with every studio they used to work with pulling their product and opening up their own streaming service, which they responded to by raising their prices. This is partially why the number of subscribers has fallen, though you could also blame that on things like regularly platforming transphobic comedians or their seeming lack of quality control. So maybe now is not the best time for Netflix to be ramping up their budgets and trying to pull off the 200-million dollar blockbuster epics… though if they have to do it, at least The Gray Man is enjoyable enough but they certainly can’t afford to do many more of these.

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Falling for Figaro (2022) – Hey Figaro!

Released: 14th July
Seen: 20th July

Every now and then a film comes out that I lovingly refer to as the “Nana Movie”, a film that’s clearly aimed for an audience of senior citizens that has middling stakes, a couple of charming performances and often is set in a little village in the middle of England or Scotland. They’re never really that great or memorable but they’re sit in that space where you’re comfortable taking your nan to see them because you’ll all be a little charmed and have a nice evening out before going for a bit of tea at whatever place near the cinema serves tea. The Nana Movie, it’s a thing… and Falling for Figaro is almost a perfect example of the Nana movie, albeit an example that’s very flawed.

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The Black Phone (2022) – Call Me Anytime

Released: 30th June
Seen: 17th July

The Black Phone Info

In 2005 Joe Hill, son of Stephen King released a series of short stories in a book titled 20th Century Ghosts. One of the stories contained in that book was a little something called The Black Phone, a ghost story involving a basement, a boy and a phone (the plot will be detailed a later paragraph, we’ve got a formula around here and we’re sticking to it) and it had quite the impact, being the first collection of stories Joe Hill released which proved that he inherited his father’s ability to terrify.

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Blacklight (2022) – Uggh

Released: 10th February
Seen: 14th July

Blacklight Info

Liam Neeson needs to be stopped, with his latet release Blacklight he has officially worn out his charm as an action star and needs to either take a break or just stop entirely if possible. At one point he was charming as the older lead of an action film, Taken and its immediate sequels were exciting and clever enough that they worked no matter who was in them but the fact it was someone as talented and charismatic as Liam Neeson elevated it. Then he started slipping and just repeating the formula with films like Honest Thief or The Commuter, films that leaned so heavily on Liam’s charm that it was almost inevitable that we’d hit this point. The point where it’s just impossible to give a damn… even if the plot isn’t just another spin on the Taken formula, there’s no more fucks to give.

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Fire Island (2022) – Party Time

Released: 14th June
Seen: 12th July

Fire Island Info

Fire Island is a little island just off the coast of Long Island in the state of New York and for decades now it’s been known as a gay hotspot. This little stretch of land is legendary in the gay community for its tea dances (afternoon teas designed for single gay men to meet up in the days when homosexuality was illegal) and its wild nightlife. If there is a long-running show that features gay characters, the odds are good that they will at some point mention Fire Island. Honestly the fact that it’s taken until now for a significant gay comedy that takes place on Fire Island is kind of astounding in itself but now we have one and it’s delightful.

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Elvis (2022) – Set My Soul On Fire

Released: 23rd June
Seen: 12th July

Elvis Info

For years now there has been a conspiracy theory that Elvis Presley isn’t dead. The story goes that Elvis grew tired of fame and of his exhausting schedule and so he faked his own death and went off to live as a normal person. People claim to see him in coffee shops, he works in a little cafe in the middle of the desert, people just see Elvis all the time. I have never subscribed to this theory, I firmly believed for years that Elvis Aaron Presley died on August 16,1977 in his home in Memphis… now I might have to question that because Austin Butler might just be the pseudonym that Elvis chose to perform under one last time.

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The Lost City (2022) – A Cracking Adventure

Released: 31st March
Seen: 11th July

The Lost City

One of the classic kinds of films we don’t get enough of is the romantic action adventure. You know the kind, films where a guy and girl randomly go to some far off land to try and hunt for some treasure, they exchange witty banter and eventually fall in love all while dealing with some overly hammy villain that’s there purely to raise the stakes. Classics like Romancing the Stone or The Mummy (the 1999 one) are great examples of this style of film. They were fun, over the top, clever and just seem to have fallen by the wayside lately. Well, thank goodness that The Lost City brought them back because they have been sorely missed.

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Pushing the Boundaries: The Mavis Bramston Show (2022) – Togetherness

Pushing the Boundaries: The Mavis Bramston Show was seen as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Pushing the Boundaries: The Mavis Bramston Show Info

On the 19th of June this year the world lost an icon of Australian television. Carol Raye was a pioneer in the artform, having emigrated to Australia in 1964 and within a year she was the star and creator of one of the biggest shows on TV, The Mavis Bramston Show. The show was a satirical sketch show, inspired by a show in the UK called That Was The Week That Was, and it was groundbreaking. No one had ever tried a satirical program before on Australian television and for 4 years, The Mavis Bramston Show was must-watch watercooler TV and the entire country stopped to watch it. It’s an important piece of history that’s explored in the documentary Pushing the Boundaries: The Mavis Bramston Show.

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Ida Lupino: Gentlemen & Miss Lupino (2021) – Watch This For Mother

Ida Lupino: Gentlemen & Miss Lupino was seen as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Ida Lupino: Gentlemen & Miss Lupino Info

In the history of film, there have only been 3 women who have won the Oscar for best director. Only 3, and all of those have been within the last 12 years. This isn’t shocking when you realise that, due to rampant sexism, women haven’t really been able to get a chance to be directors since pretty much the invention of the studio system. Indeed there was a period in the 40s and 50s where there was precisely 1 female director who was a part of the directors’ guild, that singular sensation being the legendary Ida Lupino, the woman who is the central focus of the documentary Ida Lupino: Gentlemen & Miss Lupino (the film taking it’s subtitle from the greeting given at the start of directors’ guild meetings because the room would be full of hundreds of male directors and Ida Lupino)

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