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Staff Picks: February 2021

Staff Picks

Each Library staff member has chosen four recommendations, with a note explaining each pick.

The picks can be accessed both online from your living room or via the Library (for AFTRS staff and students only).

We have also mixed it up and have picks from all over the internet, including podcasts, games, websites, as well as traditional films and television series.

Raquel Caballero - User Experience Librarian

Search Party - Season 4 (2021)

I love this psycho show! Season 4 just “dropped” (as the kids say) and I didn’t think it could get any crazier, but between the solitary confinement felt room (it’s hard to explain) and brainwashing dolls (stay with me!) I feel like I just od’ed on adderall!

Let me back up and explain the basic plot: A group of self-centred, airheaded millennials, led by Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) investigate the disappearance of a former acquaintance. And things go horrrrrrrrribly awry.

Yes you will feel anxious, exasperated and dumbfounded, but you’ll also be laughing really really hard!

How to with John Wilson (2019)

This show was made for me. I watched the first ep and was IN LOVE. It’s like a cross between the autobiographical documentaries of Ross McElwee (swoon), Nathan Fielder’s business comedy docu-reality series (yes it is that hard to explain) Nathan For You and Timothy “Speed” Levitch’s philosophical sightseeing tours of New York in The Cruise .

Of course Google puts it more succinctly: “Documentary filmmaker John Wilson embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery and cultural observation by covertly filming the lives of fellow New Yorkers while trying to share advice.”

This is perfect Sunday morning viewing.

Coming to Australia soon (we hope)

The C-Word podcast

Get your mind out of the gutter – the C-Word here is “Crazy”! Hosts Lena Dunham and Alissa Bennett (my new obsession) spend each ep reviewing the life and media coverage of interesting, difficult women who were misunderstood and dismissed by society as “crazy”.

Dunham and Bennett’s discussions about each subject are peppered with funny anecdotes from their personal experiences so it really feels like you’re hanging out and gossiping with your besties over a few wines.

I binged the whole show in record time.

Young Frankenstein (1974) Dir. Mel Brooks

I re-watched this in Cloris Leachman’s honour (R.I.P) and it’s still as funny as the first time I saw it.

I’ve never been able to hear the sound of horses neighing without thinking about it.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Borrow the dvd and find out! Don’t forget to order pizza and roll a joint, this is the perfect friday-night-on-the-couch movie.

Frazer Bull-Clark - Collection Development Librarian

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) dir: Joseph Sargent

A great 70s thriller starring Walter Matthau as a beleaguered Transit Police Lieutenant dealing with a hostage situation on the New York City subway. Really tense and funny.

Matthau is one of my favourite actors of all time and he is the perfect match for this material.

Wasp (2003) dir: Andrea Arnold

A brilliant short film. Drops you into such a fully formed world that is so deeply felt.

A must watch for all film school students.


Bastardy (2008) dir: Amiel Courtin-Wilson

I watched this documentary for the first time last year and it blew me away.

A beautiful, intimate portrait of the Indigenous Australian actor Jack Charles, it follows Jack over seven years as he juggles life as a working actor with periods of drug addiction, homelessness and cat-burglary.

Jack’s irrepressible spirit, humour and passion for life is truly remarkable, and makes this such a unique, moving film.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (2020)

This documentary series is based on Michelle McNamara’s true crime book of the same name.

It follows the history of the Golden State Killer in California, as well as McNamara’s obsession with the then-unsolved case. McNamara passed away in 2016 and her book was published posthumously in 2018, several months before the case was finally solved.

What sets this series apart is that it’s simultaneously a gripping true crime story, a portrait of a writer and a study of obsession, and it all makes for fascinating viewing.

Candis Diaz - Curriculum Liaison Librarian (Wed - Fri)

Cast Away (2000) dir: Zemeckis, Robert

This movie is a classic! Chuck Noland battles the weather, loneliness, and a weird obsession with a volleyball after been stranded on an island. Cast Away definitely makes you wonder how long you would survive? Also, what is the FedEx packaging made of? 

Legends of the Fall (1994) dir: Zwick, Edward.

Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt, star in this historical western drama, that will take you on a mild western rollercoaster of family drama. It follows three sons who all pine for the same girl.

I am Legend (2007) dir: Francis Lawrence

Robert Neville, a lone survivor after a disease swept the world, is trying to find a cure to save humanity. The zombies in this look like they are on steroids, and its terrifying.

Rogue (2007) dir: Greg McLean

Tourists, the middle of nowhere and a giant crocodile, This movie is an easy watch if your out for a cheap jump scare.

Jessica Anscombe - Curriculum Liaison Library (Mon & Thur)

The Dry (2021) Director: Robert Connolly

I saw this at the cinema. From the opening frame of sweeping country I was hooked. The Australian backdrop, the story and the acting is all excellent.

Go see it!

At a cinema near you.

It's a Sin (2021) Creator: Russell Davis, 2021

An intimate look into personal stories of a young group of friends during the rise of AIDS.

Stories of unimaginable sadness combined with inspiring love, friendship, family and hope that examine an era of ignorance and intolerance.

Young Adult (2011) Director: Jason Reitman, Writer: Diablo Cody

A newly divorced writer, Mavis Gray, returns to her home town to relive her teenage years.

I love this movie. And I love Mavis in all her messy, panda eyed, hungover glory.

Palm Beach (2019) Director: Rachel Ward

A feel good film about a group of friends with long-held secrets who reunite for a birthday weekend.

Set on Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches.

Hayley Brown - Library Supervisor

Bridgerton (2020) Creator: Chris Van Dusen

Based on the beloved historical romance novels by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton is a must for any romantic. Set during the height of regency England, we follow the adventures of the Bridgerton family as eldest daughter, Daphne, is presented for her first season on the marriage mart, where she meets Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings and they set about to fool the Ton that they are in love.

The show delightfully blends elements from both regency and modern times, spectacular costume and set design and gratuitous sex scenes that rivals Game of Thrones, that even the most cynical will enjoy this romantic romp.

Laura Daaboul - Resource Access Librarian

We Are Who We Are (2020) Dir: Luca Guadagnino

We Are Who We Are lets us into the lives of a group of teenage friends living on a US military base in Italy. This coming-of-age drama series particularly concentrates on two teenagers as they go on a journey of self-discovery and experiment with their gender expression and their sexuality. The show focuses little on the dialogue, and instead relies heavily on the detailed aesthetics to express who these characters are and what they are going through.

Freaks & Geeks (1999) Creator: Paul Feig

This classic coming-of-age series is packed to the brim with young celebrities. It’s biggest downfall is it only ever got 1 season.