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Staff Picks: May 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

Wild Wheels Dir. Harrod Blank (1992)

A doco about people who turn their boring run-of-the-mill vehicles into fabulous art cars, circa late 80s and directed by Harrod (son of Les) Blank!

It will inspire you, make you laugh, fill your heart with joy and —above all — it will renew your faith in humankind, knowing that these fun, visionary people and their creations exist somewhere out there.

I CANNOT recommend this wonderful film enough!

Talk Easy podcast

I love Sam Fragoso. He’s one of the best interviewers I’ve ever heard, really does his homework, asks intelligent questions, he’s never awkward and that voice! *swoon* It’s like waking up on a rainy day, having a hot shower and then getting back into bed. Aaah! A good place to start is the ep with my number 1: Fran Lebowitz.

Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire

I binged this last weekend when I was brutally hungover and it could’ve been my fragile state, but I cried pretty much the entire way through this — watching the testimonies of the victim’s families was beyond heartbreaking.

The ABC journalists did an incredible job in picking up where the mad artist (and national treasure) Martin Sharpe left off.

Through their meticulous research, and with the aid of Sharpe’s vast archive, they were able to finally confirm the origins of the Luna Park fire and all the corrupt, shady dealings that lead to so much senseless death, destruction and lifelong suffering.

You Don’t Nomi Dir: Jeffrey McHale (2019)

I was worried that this was gonna to be another one of those insufferable fan boy films but Hail Satan!

Quentin Tarantino was nowhere to be seen!

Instead I found this doco about the movie Showgirls to be a smart analysis / tribute / celebration of the greatest so-bad-it’s-good cult film every made!

Frazer Bull-Clark - Collection Development Librarian

Contempt dir: Jean-Luc Godard (1963)

A masterpiece. For my money, one of the best films ever made about filmmaking.

Assault on Precinct 13 dir: John Carpenter (1976)

A minimalist, punk take on Howard Hawk’s Rio Bravo.

Dark and thrilling. Might be my favourite Carpenter movie.


Losing Ground dir: Kathleen Collins (1982)

Personal, independent filmmaking at its best.

Sadly this is the only feature film Kathleen Collins directed, before she passed away in 1988 at the age of 46.

Panic Room dir: David Fincher (2002)

Did Mank get you down?

Panic Room might prove to be a good palate cleanser.

This is a welcome reminder of David Fincher’s ability to give B-movie material the A-movie treatment, in a way that’s immersive and fun!

Candis Diaz - Curriculum Liaison Librarian (Wed - Fri)

Altered Carbon: Season 2 creator: John G. Lenic (2018 - 2020)

Takeshi Kovacs just does not give up.

Fast forward years into the future and as the last leader of the resistance, the Envoys, he still stands to fight.

This series is quite dark, it makes you question what would keep you entertained if you had the ability to live forever.

The death of Stalin Dir: Armando Iannucci (2017)

After the death of the revolutionary dictator, Joseph Stalin in 1953 there is a struggle to power as to who will next become leader of the great Soviet Empire.

This hilarious film will have you in stitches.

Until Dawn Developer: Supermassive Games (2015)

This game is an incredibly immersive experience.

Stranded in a cabin in the woods with eight friends, things become sinister and complex, the aim is to survive.

You will play as each of the characters, the decisions you make will affect the course of the gameplay.

Honestly, this game feels like you are watching a film, just amazing. You will be there for hours.  

Jessica Anscombe - Curriculum Liaison Library (Mon & Thur)

Godfather of Harlem Creator: Chris Brancato, Paul Eckstein (2019)

Godfather of Harlem, set in the 1960s, is the (loose) true story of crime boss Bumpy Johnson, who is released from prison and takes on the Italian mob to take over the Harlem drug trade.

Love it for a look at 1960s underworld from a different perspective and the costumes and setting.  

Mayans M.C. Creator: Elgin James, Kurt Sutter (2018)

Mayans M.C is a spin off from Sons of Anarchy but stands alone. It’s fun, good plot. Surprisingly addictive.

The Butterfly Effect Dir: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber (2004)

Evan finds a way to move through time and alter the outcomes of events that occur in his life, thus continuously changing the course of the world.

So good.

Cloudstreet Dir: Matthew Saville (2011)

Love that we have this book in the library, it’s my favourite of all time. Hilarious, devastating and uplifting all in one  – captures the essence of a particular time and place in Australia perfectly.

Read it if you haven’t already.

Hayley Brown - Library Supervisor

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters dir: Tommy Wirkola (2013)

What can I say about this truly forgettable movie?

Such an interesting premise, but it just didn't translate to a good film.

Still fun to watch and criticise though!

Eragon dir: Stefen Fangmeier (2006)

I love medieval films, especially those with a dragon, too bad this one sux.

At least the modernised costumes and interesting accents make the film interesting.

Gods of Egypt dir: Alex Proyas (2016)

While this movie is truely terrible, it is a fun watch!

The cringe-worthy dialogue and over the top acting will ensure you have a good time.

Jupiter Ascending dir: The Wachowskis ( Lana Wachowski & Lilly Wachowski) (2015)

Such promise this film had, but alas it was dashed against the shores of a terrible script and over-the-top acting.

It's still worth checking though, who doesn't love a space/fantasy film?

Laura Daaboul - Resource Access Librarian

Scream Dir: Wes Craven (1996)

Scream is a rarity: a horror movie spoof that succeeds almost as well at provoking scares as laughs.

-- James Berardinelli (Reel Views)


Saw Dir: James Wan (2004)

“The horror genre takes a new direction using extreme violence to support a surprisingly evocative story of redemptive torture.

– Wesley Lovell (Cinema Sight)

The Purge Dir: James DeMonaco (2013)

A fascinating commentary on class warfare is blended into this fun quasi-futuristic horror thriller.

– Wesley Lovell (Cinema Sight)

Hostel Dir: Eli Roth (2005)

There isn't really much suspense or scariness in this film, but it is seriously nightmarish

– Rich Cline (Shadows on the Wall)