Still: A Michael J Fox Movie (2023) – Short and Sweet

Released: 12th May
Seen: 21st May

When it comes to stars of the 80s and 90s, it’s almost undeniable that one of the biggest names in the industry was Michael J Fox. He caught the world’s attention playing Alex P Keaton in the sitcom Family Ties (which would get him 3 consecutive Emmy awards, a rare feat in itself) and then cemented his place in film history with the iconic Back to the Future trilogy. Throughout the 80s and 90s you could not escape Michael J Fox, he was one of the biggest names around and was often the thing that was used to sell a movie to an audience. You weren’t going to go see Doc Hollywood because you were interested in films about surgeons, you were going because it was a Michael J Fox film and he was a big damn deal to pretty much everyone. Even his return to television in the late 90s was a big deal, with Spin City being a huge hit and netting him his fourth Emmy. The key point is that Michael was the original short king, someone who was considered unstoppable… and then his hand started to shake.

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Living With Chucky (2023) – It’s A Living

Released: 24th April
Seen: 6th May

The Child’s Play series is one of the most fascinating horror franchises out there. Over 35 years there have been seven films, a TV series and a reboot to tell the story of a red-headed doll possessed by a serial killer (or in the reboot’s case, AI gone wrong) and for that entire time Chucky has somehow maintained a strange but cohesive story that runs throughout the franchise. It’s that rarest of series that carries the central cast and a large part of the crew for sequel after sequel. 

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Fire of Love (2022) – Red Hot

Released: 11th November 2022
Seen: 5th February 2023

Katia and Maurice Krafft loved two things in life, each other and volcanos. For years the two of them would travel around the world and visit various volcanos, capturing some of the most visually stunning footage of these natural phenomena possible. They were two of the leading volcanologists on the planet until June 3rd, 1991 when they were caught in a pyroclastic flow on Mount Unzen. For years their footage of lava flows has been used to explain the dangers of volcanos and even appeared in documentaries made by other people but now the very footage that these two volcanologists captured will be used to tell their adorable and strange life story in Fire of Love.

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Navalny (2022) – Justice For Alexei Navalny

Released: 11th June 2022
Seen: 27th January 2023

On August 20th 2020, Alexei Navalny was flying from Tomsk to Moscow when suddenly he let out a blood-curdling scream. The scream was to get the attention of the flight crew and anyone who might be able to record as Alexei realised something while in midair… Alexei Navalny, a man known as an anti-corruption giant who was running against Vladimir Putin for the job of president of Russia, had been poisoned. The poison would turn out to be a nerve agent known to be used largely by Putin against his enemies and were it not for the flight making an emergency landing in Omsk, Alexei Navalny would have died on that flight. The documentary Navalny looks into not only why this happened, but the shocking aftermath of Navalny’s unexpected survival.

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Is That Black Enough for You?!? – Powerful

Released: 11th November
Seen: 28th November

Ever since cinema began, people have been striving for better representation to appear on that great wall of light and shadow that we pay an exorbitant amount to enjoy every now and then. The history of representation in cinema, no matter what group it’s for, is always genuinely fascinating to witness in any format. Be it queer history on television from docuseries like Visible or be it the history of trans representation in film like with Disclosure, if your film is about the history of a minority group throughout the history of entertainment then the subject matter alone is going to make it fascinating if you present it well. Is That Black Enough for You?!? not only presents its material well, but it’s also one of the most fascinating documentaries about cinematic representation to come out in quite a long time.

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In Search Of Darkness III (2022) – Going Out On Top

Released: 26th November
Seen: 26th November

In 2019 the first instalment of In Search Of Darkness came out and was a joyous celebration of 80s horror, albeit just a little bit on the repetitive side. In 2020 we got the second instalment of In Search Of Darkness which went even deeper into the glory of the 80s horror and started diving into the weirder titles that littered the shelves of the local video store, with a lot fewer repetitions to pad out the runtime. For a while, it seemed like that would be the end of it but fortunately not because In Search of Darkness 3 just released and it’s a fitting finale to one of the most fun 80s retrospectives ever.

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The Anthrax Attacks (2022) – Important & Informative

Released: 8th September
Seen: 22nd September

Twenty-one years ago, the world was rocked to its core by the September 11th attacks. The horrific image of those towers coming down is burned into the memory of everyone who was alive at that time, it felt like a moment that would change the world and it’s fair to say that it did. What’s seemingly less well remembered, or at least less talked about, is that a week after September 11th a bunch of letters containing anthrax were mailed to multiple news outlets with a handwritten note. This was followed by several more letters to newspapers, networks and sitting senators that contained the deadly anthrax spores. In total 5 people died and 17 more were infected by the disease and the story of the investigation which took the better part of a decade makes for a pretty good documentary.

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The Pez Outlaw (2022) – Impezive

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

It is a truth universally known that Pez is a disgusting candy that no one actually likes. It tastes like chalk that somehow lost all its flavour and it’s shaped like a depressed brick that hates itself. The only reason that they’ve sold so well (and this is merely an opinion) is due to the undeniably clever and adorable design of the Pez dispensers. These dispensers are obscenely popular, chances are good that you have one somewhere in your house even if you’ve never actually bought one… and, naturally, they have an entire underground system of collectors who go to insane lengths to get all the rarest Pez dispensers. You would think that a group of Pez dispenser collectors would be boring and not have any remotely exciting stories… The Pez Outlaw is here to prove you dead wrong.

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Exposing Muybridge (2022) – Photogenic

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Exposing Muybridge Info

Every film student at some point has had to look at a set of images that would show the power of motion pictures in a way no one had ever seen before it was made. Those images were of a horse galloping, roughly 16-20 photos showing the horse in different poses that when shown in rapid succession created the appearance of a galloping horse. These images were taken by Eadweard Muybridge  (yes, that is how he chose to spell it) in 18-whatever and basically showed the power of sequential photos and how they could create movement. It’s basically one of the foundational images that created cinema and in Exposing Muybridge, we learn about the man that made it happen and his strange and at times controversial life.

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The Princess (2022) – Crowning Glory

Released: 13th August
Seen: 30th August

The Princess info

For some strange reason, this year has been a year full of assorted stories involving the late Princess Diana. There was the stage musical that was an absolute critical and financial flop, though is now considered something of a cult classic, followed by the film Spencer that gave us some insight into Princess Diana’s life as part of the royal family. Soon we’ll also have another season of the show The Crown which is due to take part during the latter part of Diana’s life and there was even a special out early in the year that just focused on Diana’s fashion. This year is just another year where we are going to spend a substantial part of it talking about Princess Diana and that strange constant craving for Diana imagery by the media is the main subject of the documentary The Princess.

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