Kia ora! I’m Kath, one of the Community Librarians and I’m an avid film and television viewer. I’m regularly diving deep into the excellent DVD collection we have at Wellington City Libraries, as well as content from Beamafilm and Kanopy — the two streaming platforms available to Wellington City Libraries customers.
In this series of posts, I’m hoping to share some of the gems I come across each month with Pōneke film and television enthusiasts! Some of those I’ve watched recently include:
Moonage Daydream (DVD)
This gorgeous documentary is narrated by Bowie himself, taken from archival footage and recordings. Covering his professional life from his early days as a teenage saxophone player through to his final magnificent work Black Star, released on his birthday in 2016, two days before he passed. The viewer is given an insight into his life, philosophy and incredible artistic talent. I’ve been a fan since my teenage years and had a good cry by the end, I only wish there would be more of his work come to light in the future.
Best bit: snippets of unseen interviews with Bowie himself.
The Lost City (DVD)
A delightfully silly movie. Think Romancing the Stone starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, but a modern version. Sandra Bullock is at her comedy best, and Channing Tatum is a perfect partner for this duo adventure-comedy. I found myself absolutely guffawing with laughter in some parts and there’s just enough heart to the story to keep you invested. Daniel Radcliffe has lots of fun chewing the scenery as the villain, and Brad Pitt has a cameo as the cheesiest character ever.
Best bit: Look for the wheelbarrow and Brad Pitt’s hair.
Ans Westra (Ans Westra – Private Journeys / Public Signposts) (Beamafilm)
I actually watched this a few weeks ago, before the sad news of Ans Westra’s passing. This one is available on both DVD and through Beamafilm. Being relatively new to Aotearoa, I was not aware of Ans Westra’s work until recently. On viewing her amazing photographs through Wellington City Recollect, I was curious to find out more about this talented photographer. I found this short documentary fascinating and it’s chock full of her work, as well as stories about the controversies some of her photographs have stirred over the years.
Nude Tuesday: A Comedy in Gibberish (DVD)
Another fun, silly film, but one done very cleverly. This New Zealand film was created with gibberish dialogue which was then subtitled by British comedian Julia Davis. I’ll watch anything with Jemaine Clement in it, but I can assure you the whole cast does a fantastic job in this film. Couple Bruno and Laura find themselves in a retreat to attempt to save their marriage, and of course the “guru” leading the retreat is Jemaine Clement as Bjorg. Lots of laughs and a story that has heart. I loved how beautifully the nude scenes were handled in this film, there was something magical about them after all the silliness of the first two thirds of the film.
Best Bit: ICY POOL!
Good Luck to You Leo Grande (DVD)
An intimate film that feels like a stage play. Emma Thompson plays Nancy, a widowed school teacher who is looking for intimacy, adventure and sex. She hires sex worker Leo Grande, whom she meets in a hotel room. Nancy is nervous, but Leo knows how to put people at ease. This film explores womanhood, pleasure, regret, secrets, family and so much more. Both Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack give fantastic performances and it’s a refreshing perspective we don’t often see in film.
Best bit: How can anyone go past Emma Thompson? She’s one of the best in the business! Mind you, Daryl McCormack is talented and also very easy on the eyes.
Gloriavale: New Zealand’s Secret Cult (DVD)
This is a sensitively made documentary into the Gloriavale community and how those in power have treated the vulnerable members of the sect. Told from the perspective of those who have left the community and the people in the regular world who are supporting the leavers, this documentary film is bringing the injustices of the organisation into light. It is compelling viewing and many of the participants are telling their stories for the first time.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (DVD)
What can I say about this movie? Let’s start with it being the best film I’ve seen in quite some years. It’s currently sweeping all of the awards in Hollywood for it’s cast, directors and the film itself. Beautifully acted, lots of twists and turns and what you think is an absurd storyline all comes together beautifully and breathlessly. The entire cast is incredible, the martial arts scenes are mind blowing and there is a deep heart to the story. Do not miss this film.
Best Bit: Ke Huy Quan’s fight scene with the bum bag. Or perhaps Raccacoonie. Or the googly eyes. Or hotdog fingers. Wait, maybe the fight with the tiny dog. Oh don’t make me choose!
What have you been watching from our collection of late? Recommend a documentary or film for us in the comments below.