[The Thin Blue Line title screen]
The Thin Blue Line
Groundbreaking is probably too strong a word, but this film by Errol Morris certainly helped shape the form and direction of documentaries that came after it – here he presents a compelling (if sometimes arguably disingenuous) case that a man convicted of a cop killing was railroaded.
[The NSU-Complex title screen]
Persuasive documentary dealing with the German neo-nazi movement from which sprang the National Socialist Underground, from Stefan Must (of RAF fame) and Dirk Laabs. Lots of material, particularly on the relationship between security agencies (at both Bundes- and Land- level) and the far right violent activists whom they were supposed to be monitoring, which silly has not been covered much in the English language media.
[Hail, Caesar! title screen]
Lesser Coen Bros business, with Clooney mugging up as a thirties movie heartthrob kidnapped by secret Hollywood Reds. Considerably less fun than it seems to think.
[Sarajevo title screen]
Stodgy but compelling historical drama about the assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, seen from the perspective of a dogged outsider investigator, Cabrinovic (Mateusz Dopieralski) – a Jew amongst gentiles, with a habit of looking too closely at matters his superiors would wish him forget. Interesting nods towards the Second World War, Kennedy, and the post-9/11 invasion of Iraq from director Andreas Prochaska and writer Martin Ambrosch. The Dr Sattler (Heino Ferch) strand is, however, a little too well semaphored, and melodramatic to boot.
[Aces High title screen]
Jack Gold’s mid-seventies curiosity stages JC Sherriff’s Great War-set trench tragedy Journey’s End in the skies above the Western Front; Malcolm McDowell is our battle weary unit commander ever more reliant on the bottle, Simon Ward his combat fatigued junior, Christopher Plummer the kindly father figure, Peter Firth the wide eyed ingenue.
[Network title screen]
Sidney Lumet and Paddy Chayefsky’s satire on the direction of news entertainment – mad as hell, etc. NEWSFLASH: things got even worse. Great performances from William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt and all.