Walkatjurra (2023) – Takes Action

Walkatjurra is available as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Since 1954 Australia has been mining uranium to supply it to other countries (mainly the US and UK, though there have been others in recent years) where it can be turned into nuclear weapons or used in power plants. Those weapons were tested in several parts of Australia up until 1963 so several areas are still pretty radioactive… and hey, there is still uranium to be mined and profit to be made so we keep digging it up. It’s been 70 years since we started digging and more and more protests are happening to try and be a force for change, hopefully ending this system once and for all. One group’s protest that’s filmed as the central focus of Walkatjurra involves a 200km walk through the desert where a lot of this mining has taken place, a mobile protest that shows that this land is precious and used by a lot of people. 

Continue reading “Walkatjurra (2023) – Takes Action”

Dig Deeper (2023) – Digs Deep

Dig Deeper is available as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Getting into the art world is an obscenely difficult thing to do at the best of times, especially when it comes to getting your work displayed at any major gallery. This is especially hard for indigenous art which is often not given the amount of respect, attention and potential space that it deserves. It also tends to often be pigeonholed as art rooted in history that predates most people viewing it which leaves out a substantial element of indigenous art. Dig Deeper takes a look at four specific indigenous artists who stand out for pointedly defying that image and making it big in the art world and their work is absolutely stunning.

Continue reading “Dig Deeper (2023) – Digs Deep”

Teacher (2023) – Lesson Learned

Teacher is available as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

There is no job that’s more thankless than that of a school teacher, this is a universal truth that has only become more accurate as time goes on. Not only is it a job that requires incredible time, knowledge and passion but in dealing with kids there’s the requirement of almost saintly patience and ability to deal with just about anything that comes up, all while being obscenely underpaid and working with limited resources because for some reason society has decided to make this job as hard as possible. This was all true BEFORE a global pandemic but when that happened and teaching had to be done online it got exponentially harder. In Teacher, we get a glimpse into just how much harder.

Continue reading “Teacher (2023) – Lesson Learned”

This Man’s Worth (2023) – Worthy

This Man’s Worth is available as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Very occasionally there’s a need to give a trigger warning about what topic might come up during a review of a movie, basically a way to tell the reader ahead of time if a subject is involved that might create a mental health crisis. It’s often quick and simple and a way for you to click away but this time I have to say that while this review and this documentary deals with Suicide and if that’s triggering to you that you should absolutely avoid it, this is also a documentary about suicide that specifically requires people who might have such problems to hear its message. Basically, if you think you might be OK, it’s worth giving This Man’s Worth a try but if not… well, there’s the trigger warning.

Continue reading “This Man’s Worth (2023) – Worthy”

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) – Net Positive

Released: 1st June
Seen: 1st June

It’s kind of wild to think about how different things were in December of 2018, both in terms of general worldwide issues and in the pop-culture landscape. Obviously, we didn’t know at the time that we were about a year away from experiencing one of the biggest worldwide events in human history, weren’t to know that the simmering of fascism that popped up in small places was going to become an overwhelming constant nightmare that would seemingly never end and in the world of pop culture we’d all just experienced the absolute shock that was Infinity War

Continue reading “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) – Net Positive”

Chopin: I Am Not Afraid Of Darkness (2023) – Powerful

Chopin: I Am Not Afraid Of Darkness is available as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer in the 1800s who, by the time of his death at 39, had cemented his place as one of the true icons of classical music. His many assorted compositions have become staples that any person with even a mild interest in playing classical music is expected to learn, pieces of his like Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2 (they did not have great names for songs in those days) are not only standards for people to learn but turn up in pop culture with some regularity because they are just the perfect pieces to set the mood. Chopin’s place in history and in music is so determined that his compositions have been played just about everywhere and the documentary Chopin: I Am Not Afraid of Darkness adds three interesting new locations to that list.

Continue reading “Chopin: I Am Not Afraid Of Darkness (2023) – Powerful”

Influencer (2023) – Under The Influence

Released: 26th May
Seen: 29th May

The age of digital media has created a plethora of new terminology that we have been quick to accept, from “Doomscrolling” to “Going Viral” we’ve just taken on these terms as a part of our regular lexicon. One of the most fascinating terms that’s been really jump started by the digital media age is “Influencer” where someone basically spruiks goods and services using an online persona for their audience. 

Continue reading “Influencer (2023) – Under The Influence”

Missing (2023) – Found It

Released: 23rd February
Seen: 28th May

In 2018 a little film called Searching was released to an unsuspecting public. Now at the time we had a few films that used the “it’s happening on a computer screen” gimmick (also known as Screenlife) but none had used it quite as effectively as Searching did in order to tell a truly intense story of a kidnapping from the POV of a worried father trying to use technology in order to find his daughter. It was an undeniable hit, raking in about 75 million on a budget that was basically just a few go-pros and a pair of fairly well-known actors but with its creative presentation and twist-filled story, it managed to get enough attention that a franchise sprung forth. This is how we get the film Missing, a follow-up that proves that there is a lot more life left in this concept that can hopefully be explored.

Continue reading “Missing (2023) – Found It”

Knock At The Cabin (2023) – Choices

Released: 17th May
Seen: 23rd May

There is a trope in fiction known as “Bury Your Gays” which has become somewhat of a problem in certain pieces of media. The idea is depressingly simple, the idea being that there is a disproportionate number of gay characters dying, normally as a way to expand a straight character’s storyline. Now this doesn’t mean that you can never kill off a gay character, far from it. However, if you do, it should be at the same proportion as straight characters and, preferably, not be completely pointless. Knock at the Cabin is a case study in how to do this correctly while also indulging in more than a few of M Night Shyamalan’s worst tendencies as a writer/director.

Continue reading “Knock At The Cabin (2023) – Choices”

The Little Mermaid (2023) – Part Of Our World

Released: 25th May
Seen: 25th May

When people talk about the Disney Renaissance, they are talking about a very specific period of time from 1989 to 1999 when Disney released hit after hit with stunning regularity. Ten films over a ten-year period that would revive the Disney brand in a way that basically set the stage for its eventual dominance over the industry today. It could be argued that without the Disney Renaissance, we wouldn’t have the MCU that dominates the landscape today.

Even the worst film in the Disney Renaissance is better than most other films from the same time period, it’s truly a remarkable time in cinema history and it all started with a simple film about a mermaid who wanted to be where the people were… and because Disney has decided exploiting it’s back catalog is a substitute for good film making, we now have a remake of The Little Mermaid, the film that started this Renaissance. In somewhat of a miracle, it’s not actually that bad.

Continue reading “The Little Mermaid (2023) – Part Of Our World”