A documentary crew travels to a remote religious community to conduct an interview. Its found-footage approach to its riff on the Jim Jones/Jamestown cult mass suicide works, but the film doesn’t convince in the storyline logic of its sudden dark turn. A shame, as there’s talent involved, and Gene Jones is great as the messianic Father.
The Laundromat (2019, dir. Steven Soderbergh)
A widow investigates an insurance company; a complicated web of financial fraud unravels. Superficially similar to The Big Short and Vice in its mix of drama, comedy and mockumentary, The Laundromat offers a clear and accessible primer to the Panama Papers scandal, and to Mossack (Oldman) and Fonseca (Banderas), both gleeful at its heart.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014, dir. Taika Waititi)
A documentary crew follows a band of New Zealand vampires over several months. The mock-doc format is the weakest element here, but this is a funny and inventive flick made with real affection and a sense of depth in the characterisations. Recommended.
6 Days (2017, dir. Toa Fraser)
A dramatisation of the 1980 Iranian embassy siege. Glum retelling which struggles to evidence a point for its existence, delivering neither on insight, telling detail, nor even on SAS action. Who Dare Wins was, at least, bonkers.
Killing Gunther (2017, dir. Taran Killam)
Misjudged mocumentary that tries too hard to be funny, as a group of mismatched assassins attempt to kill off the deadliest assassin who ever lived. This desperately wants to be a Christopher Guest film, but fails on most levels. Disappointing. 😦
Out of the Shadows [AKA The Devil’s Toy Box] (2017, dir. Allen Kellogg)
A documentary team investigate a supposedly-haunted asylum, the site of a reality show gone wrong five years before. Straightforward jumpscare found-footage horror sequel (to Seven Nights of Darkness), effective for an hour before collapsing in on itself, storywise.
Frost/Nixon (2008, dir. Ron Howard)
Peter Morgan’s adaptation of his own play about the 1977 David Frost/Richard Nixon TV interviews. A riveting docudrama which plays like a thriller, anchored by two standout performances in the title roles, supported ably by a strong cast. Recommended.
Phoenix Forgotten (2017, dir. Justin Barber)
Decent found footage mockumentary. Crazy lights over Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997 lead to the disappearance of three teens. 20 years later, the sister of one of them investigates what happened. Quite well done, with more character than you usually see in these.
Tour de Pharmacy (2017, Jake Szymanski)
Mockumentary about rampant drug taking at the 1982 Tour de France. Monumentally silly at times, there are still more comedic hits than misses. The casting is phenomenal, with a stand out turn from Lance Armstrong as himself. Entertaining.
Mascots (2016, Dir. Christopher Guest)
Subtle yet clever mockumentary from Christoper Guest. Some memorable characters adlib their way through some awkward scenes and situations at a Mascot competition. Your sides wont split, but you’ll certainly be laughing! Worth a watch 🙂