Slim & I – Movie Review

TL;DR – A beautiful documentary looking back on the lives of  Slim Dusty and Joy McKean  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Slim & I. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review –

Growing up in Australia, even if you might not know who Slim Dusty is or even if just the name rings a bell, you will still know a bunch of his songs, even if it is only through osmosis. Songs like A Pub With No Beer and Duncan sit in the pantheon of Australian music, and you probably started humming at least one of those tunes to yourself just with the mere mention of the name. However, I must confess that I didn’t really know much about his life beyond those touchstone moments and even less about Joy McKean, the I in Slim and I and the main focus of the documentary.  

The documentary follows a (mostly) chronological look at the lives of Joy McKean and Slim Dusty’s from their start in music through to today. We get to see them go on these gigantic Australia wide tours, raise a family on the road, and also write at least two albums a year which might be the most bonkers part of the entire process. Indeed, over their 50-year love story, they wrote at least 107 albums which is frankly ridiculous. They show this story with a mix of interviews with both Slim and Joy’s family but also with key members of Australia’s Country Music scene like Keith Urban, Missy Higgins and Kasey Chambers. As well as this, we get archive footage going back to the 60s, both professionally shot and also just from home cameras. There is such a varied amount of footage that someone had to be well ahead of the curve in adopting that technology and preserving it all these years.

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Movie Review – The Speed Cubers

TL;DR – A look into the world of Rubik’s Cubes and those who can solve them in under 7 seconds.    

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Speed Cubers. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of the great things about documentaries is when they take you into a world that you have no idea about. Today we get a film that does just that, with the world of Rubik’s Cubes. I don’t get Rubik’s Cubes. My brain cannot compute them. The skill involved boggles my mind, so watching it all unfold is a real joy.

Where this documentary works is by offering us an insight into a world that everyone has a handle on but then also something you can’t quite comprehend. I think everyone has played with a Rubik’s Cube at some point in their lives. It is a novelty thing, that let’s be honestly more than a few of us have only finished one because we pealed the colour panels off and switched them around. It is a tactile situation that we can all relate to, so when you see people move their fingers in a blur and shift chaos into order in mere seconds.

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TV Review – Street Food: Latin America

TL;DR – A fascinating look into Latin American food and culture.  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Street Food: Latin America. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

A couple of years ago, we got the next evolution in David Gleb’s food documentaries with Street Food Asia. It explored a side of the different countries that you don’t usually see. It delved into everything from food, culture, history, governmental practices and more through the lenses of these street vendors. Today we dive back into this series with a look at its next destination Latin America.   

So to set the scene, we jump across Latin America from Las Chicas de la Tres in Buenos Aires, Argintina, Ré Restaurante, in Salvador, Brazil, Memelas Doña Vale in Oaxaca, Mexico, Al Toke Pez in Lima, Peru, Tolú in Bogotá, Columbia & Rellenos de Doña Emi in La Paz, Bolivia. Every episode takes a glimpse into the cities and the food that drives them.

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Movie Review – Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics

TL;DR – An interesting exploration of Psychedelics through personal stories but it didn’t quite sit well with me at times.      

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit and end credit scene

Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


If there is one policy area that has received more attention than any other in recent years/decades/centuries it is that of drugs. Governments across the world have tried everything from the death penalty to throwing up their hands to turning a blind eye and all in between I mean, America is still fighting a War on Drugs for little to no effect. Well, how do you approach an issue like this, well one way is to actually talk to the people involved. This is the documentary that we explore today, though I should preface this goes into depth with the experience of drug and it is a hard R rating for a reason and you should know that going in.

So to set the scene, Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics is a documentary that talks to people in the arts sphere about their experiences with drugs of the psychedelic variety. This documentary is broken up in several different ways, there are long-form interviews with people like Sting, where the documentary animates their stories, there are a wide range of talking heads from musicians, comedians, actors, and more, while also having old school educational videos (both real and created), while Nick Offerman pops in occasional as a teacher type figure.

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Movie Review – What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

TL;DR – A documentary about one of my favourite shows of all time, please and thank-you    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and end-credit scene that you need to stay for

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Image Credit: 455 Films.

Review

 I have made many allusions in the past to just how much I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and to this day it is still my favourite installation in the Star Trek franchise. So when I heard that there was going to be a documentary made about it, I was excited, when it was coming out in Australian cinemas I was going to be there, and then that one weekend my life fell apart. Well, things are mostly better now, as long as I don’t read the news and stay home, which was the perfect time to catch up with something I missed and always wanted to watch.

So to set the scene, back in the 1990s the producers behind the very popular Star Trek series decided to do something a little different, instead of being in a ship that warps away at the end of each episode, the set the show on a space station. A station that is permanently positioned in the newly independent Bajor system, abandoned by the Cardassians after decades of ruin. It was an ambitious show, it was a controversial show, and it was and is still my favourite.

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Movie Review – A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story (Fangio: El hombre que domaba las máquinas)

TL;DR – An exploration of a pioneer of racing    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story (Fangio: El hombre que domaba las máquinas). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There are whole worlds out there that I had no idea existed or no idea of the complexities involved. One of those worlds is racing and specifically the F1. I know it exists, the basic rules, even many of the races and racers. However, I know very little about its history or the people that shaped. Well, today I take steps to fix that with a look at the life of Juan Manuel Fangio.

So to set the scene, we open in on Balcarce, Argentina as a voice-over lets us know how specialised being a top F1 racer is. It is here where we get a sense of just who this Juan Manuel Fangio is and the power his legacy has over the sport and racing in general. We start back in 1941 at the height of the WW2 where tiers were hard to come by, but he scraped it together and in 1947 was sent to Europe in Galliate, Italy which became his European base as he raced around the world.    

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Movie Review – League of Legends Origins

TL;DR – An interesting look at the rise of one of the world’s most played video games, even if there are a few rough edges to the presentation.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.

Review

When you think about sporting spectacles, you think about Wimbledon, or Superbowl, or The Olympics. However, as time is going on, Esports is a growing phenomenon drawing in more people and more money than ever before. In this world of Esports, one of the biggest and fastest-growing games is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that goes by the name League of Legends. This documentary explores the history of Riot Games’ League of Legends, its growth and its potential future.

The fact that a game created in 2006 is still around today, is one of those quirks that rarely happens in the video games industry, the fact that it continues to be one of the most popular games in the world makes it more so. For that very reason alone, it makes this documentary interesting because it is really engaging watching a game go from being working out of a basement to having a grand final in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. This is coming from someone who does not actually play the game. I have tried to get into MOBAs like LOL and DOTA before and while I like watching them be played but I have no skill in playing them.

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Movie Review – Ghosts of Sugar Land

TL;DR – An interesting exploration of one of the big topics of our days that just doesn’t quite come together.      

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Ghosts of Sugar Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is this moment when people find out someone has done truly awful, where those who know them have to reconcile the person you knew with the person they now are. This is a common reaction across the world but today for some people it has even more complication due to outside pressures. When people head off to ISIS, there is this clamour as to why nothing was done, why didn’t people know?

This short film explores the life of “Mark” and the reception to his apparent departure to Syria to fight for ISIS by his friends back in Sugar Land, Houston, Texas. Right from the start, this documentary captures your interest by yes the content but also from the presentation. Everyone in the document bar “Mark” has their face covered by vintage pop-culture masks like Thor and Spider-Man. This is such an odd choice but then it is a good juxtaposition to what they are talking about and everyone is wearing it for a good reason.

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Movie Review – Quantification Trilogy

TL;DR – A fascinating experimental film that I think would work much better as three shirt films that one complete future    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Warning – There is extensive use of Strobe Lighting in the second part of the trilogy.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Quantification Trilogy. Image Credit: Jeremy Shaw.

Review


Today we look at a film that is truly experimental in scope and form. It is a film that has taken footage from the past (I believe) and then repurposed it into something new. This transformation in tone and purpose through editing is not something I have seen before.

So to set the scene, in the distant future the human race has become extinct, replaced instead by quantum humans and their universal connection to the hive. However, there are some quantum humans that due to a genetic quirk have reverted a little back to their long-dead human ancestors. These Quickeners have gathered together in Area 23 in the long-abandoned American continent to practice old rituals and to find some meaning away from the hive.

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Movie Review – Birders

TL;DR – A fascinating look at the birds that live along the USA/Mexico border   
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Birders. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I love a good wildlife documentary, where you dive into a place in the world and explore the glory that you find. Even more so when it is an area of the world I don’t have a lot of experience with. Today we get just that with an exploration of the birds along the Texan/Mexican border.   

On the border of the United States of America and Mexico is the Rio Grande/Río Bravo River. These days it is more the focus on human migration however while this is an important area of discussion it is also the site of another migration, birds. This is a look at the people whose lives revolve around the birds, protecting them from the many dangers focusing on this precious land.    

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