No End In Sight
Chronicles the conflation of astounding arrogance and ignorance that lead resulted in the US-led invasion of Iraq seven years ago. Interviews with key figures, including some as senior as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and General Jay Garner, who was in charge of military operations in Iraq until he was replaced by the embarrassingly incompetent L. Paul Bremer. Journalists George Packer, Nir Rosen, Chris Allbritton of Time magazine, and long-time correspondent for The Atlantic, James Fallows, are also interviewed. A litany of mistruths, and not just occasional miscommunication but a complete lack of communication, period, lead to the quagmire the States finds itself embroiled in in the region today. The film was exec-produced by Alex Gibney—whose recent films Taxi to the Dark Side and Gonzo are wonderfully-crafted documentaries—and his touch is felt here in the overall layout of the film, which is slick without being glossy or superficial, and informative without being glib or pandering to a presupposed audience. This is a well-researched documentary that never once lapses into conspiratorial territory—even though much of what is being relayed is so ludicrous that many would find it hard to believe the most powerful nation on Earth actually made this many stupid mistakes. As one commentator remarks toward the end, “There were about two or three ways we could have done it [the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein] right—and about 500 ways we could have done it wrong. I didn’t realise we were going to go through all 500!”
The Secret of Dorian Grey
1970 adaptation of the novel which places Oscar Wilde’s character in swinging London—which is every bit as terrible as it sounds. Stars the strikingly-handsome Austrian-born actor Helmut Berger—best known for his performance in Visconti’s The Damned—and is entertaining only for its flamboyance and kitsch qualities.
Future Cop II
The second in a series of Z-grade Blade Runner knock-offs about a man named Jack Deth—that’s not a typo—who comes back from the future to exterminate beings called ‘Trancers,’ who leave blackened, smoking ground in their wake. The tagline at the end of 1985’s Trancers—the series, which eventually reached near-Police Academy lengths in 2002 with its sixth instalment, a straight-to video entry subtitled “Life After Deth,” was later renamed presumably to reach a wider, though unsuspecting, audience of mallrats—should indicate the kind of attention the writers paid to their craft: “Jack Deth is back, and he hasn’t even been here before.” Deth’s boss, McNulty—no relation, not even by way of some intra-generational wormhole or flux capacitor meltdown, to the character on The Wire—is sent back to 1991 (from a future that looks suspiciously like a 1960s TV stage) in some sort of Tardis-like device to avenge a death. Only he doesn’t appear as himself—he’s been transported across time into the body of an adolescent girl. Helen Hunt appears as Deth’s wife, and her Oscar-worthy performance is considered by many—including this writer—to be her finest work to date.