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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Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee (2022) – Does Not Compute

Released: 24th August
Seen: 26th August

John McAfee was one of the most wildly fascinating people to ever walk the earth. His initial fame came from his work in computers, he’s the man who created the McAfee virus protection software that’s possibly running on the very device you’re reading this review on. so he has made a considerable impact on many lives… he was also accused of the murder of his neighbour in Belize, went on the run to Guatemala to avoid the charges, was extradited to the US, ran for president twice, was charged with tax evasion, fled the US and went to Spain in order to avoid those specific charges and was later found dead in his cell from an apparent suicide that may have been a murder or he faked his own death, who the hell knows. It’s a wild story that could make for a truly insane documentary… and Running With The Devil is certainly insane, just not sure how good it is. 

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Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets (2022) – Gamestonk

Released: 18th May
Seen: 25th August

For those who don’t know, Gamestop is a US-based company that specialises in brick-and-mortar stores that sell video games and gaming-related paraphernalia. There are subsidiary companies in other countries (EB Games, Thinkgeek, Etc) but the core business is these stores that used to do truly incredible business… until about 2016. That was roughly the time that gaming finally did what film and music had been doing for a while and moved mostly to online retail. That move triggered a domino effect that suggested that Gamestop was going to go the way of Blockbuster, just a matter of time before it would be a set of empty stores that no one visited anymore. This status as a dying store caused the Gamestop stock to hover under 5 bucks a share, and that is how the insane story of the Gamestop short squeeze began.

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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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