Errol Morris' latest Oscar-winning documentary is no Moore-style polemic but an artful interrogation of infamous US Defence Secretary Robert McNamara, who gave Morris 23 hours of filmed interviews in 2001, before 9/11 and the Iraq war, though unspoken parallels are hard to ignore. A formidable intellectual bruiser at 87, the old Cold Warrior seizes what may prove to be his last chance to make peace with history. Riveting.
Peter Fonda's cool Captain America rides across America with the wired Billy (Dennis Hopper), encountering hippies, rednecks and Jack Nicholson as dipso lawyer George Hanson. It looks as mythically beautiful as it did back in '69. And Hanson's campfire speech about Amerika is more chillingly relevant than ever.
David Fincher's homage to Hitchcock (the North By Northwest title sequence, Howard Shore's score, the Rope/Vertigo-like apartment-as-stage conceit) finds Jodie Foster as the beleaguered mum trying to stay one step ahead of Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam and Jared Leto's housebreakers
John Singleton's explosive debut lifted the lid on South Central LA in the early '90s, and was arguably as influential as the burgeoning wave of hip hop of the same period in bringing black urban culture to a wider audience. It's characterised by Singleton's unflinching storytelling, plus a career-best performance from Cuba Gooding Jr.
In October 1992, Brazil's notorious São Paulo Detention Centre—aka Carandiru—erupted in a full-scale riot which left 111 inmates brutally slaughtered by trigger-happy military police. Director Hector Babenco's movie charts the events that led to the uprising, using the arrival, some 12 years earlier, of Drauzio Varella, a doctor employed by the authorities to quell the rapidly rising AIDS epidemic in the facility, as our entry point into the story of this hellish, overcrowded facility.
In the late eighties that poster adorned every young man's wall, and not just because the French subtitle looked chic. However, those who sneer at Jean-Jacques Beineix's film (here available on DVD only through HMV shops), putting its charm down simply to Béatrice Dalle's deeply erotic mouth (and suchlike), miss the point. Yes, it's visually ravishing throughout (as the pinnacle of the Cinéma Du Look) but it also lives by the true definition of Romantic Art, which has tragic connotations.
For all his bravado, Vincent Gallo's reputation as a lunatic genius rests chiefly on this (not always intentionally) hilarious/absurd 1998 psalm of self-pity. The writer/director stars as a just-freed convict who forces Christina Ricci's dancer to pretend to be his wife to impress his folks. It's beautifully shot, and support from Mickey Rourke and other cult figures is staunch.
There was genuine suspense and intelligence in Michael Winner's original 1974 thriller, which addressed some of the same debates about rising crime and liberal impotence as Dirty Harry and Straw Dogs. But this 1982 sequel, relocating Charles Bronson's wounded architect to LA and forcing him to endure another double rape/murder episode, veers dangerously close to shabby exploitation.
John Cassavetes' last movie looks like 'one for the studio' compared to the ragged glories of his greatest independent films; in fact, Cassavetes claimed he was the film's director in name only. Though bland, it's still a bizarrely watchable spoof thriller, riffing on Double Indemnity, with Alan Arkin as the harassed insurance man who becomes involved in a scheme to bump off Beverly D'Angelo's husband, Cassavetes regular Peter Falk, so he can then afford to send his a cappella-singing musical prodigy triplets to university. Nuts, lightly salted.
Feature-length spin-off from the Japanimated sci-fi TV show about a group of bounty hunters in the late 21st century. Here, they're battling renegade bio-terrorist commandos from Mars and a nanobyte virus. Innovative ideas and gizmos a-go-go, and though a tad predictable, its energy keeps you watching.