The Astronaut’s Wife

I recently watched The Astronaut’s Wife after not having seen it for ten years and I am happy to report that the film holds up extremely well.  Mixing genre conventions is always a tricky business, but writer-director Rand Ravich manages to make the sci-fi/thriller hybrid work.  Let’s start with the thriller conventions.  Ravich wrings every … More The Astronaut’s Wife

Life

Life, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and directed by Daniel Espinosa, raises the question, “What is the value of originality?”  Why?  Because very little about Life is original.  (Potential for a quip, there, but I’ll let it go.)  Life delivers body penetration in the form of a male crew member being raped orally … More Life

Demon

“The return of the repressed” is an apt description for the thematic content of countless horror films, but rarely is the idea that the traumatic past cannot be truly forgotten presented as overtly as it is in Marcin Wrona’s ghost story Demon.  English groom Piotr, played by Itay Tyran, marries Polish bride Zaneta, played by … More Demon

Burn Country

Let’s begin at the beginning, which, in this case, is a bravura opening sequence presenting a scene from a visually aggressive, abstract stage play delivered entirely in angry Polish without subtitles.  Disorienting?  You bet.  One can imagine viewers in a theater wondering if they wandered into the wrong film.  And I was wondering if Netflix … More Burn Country

Alien: Covenant

A few weeks ago, I expressed my hope that Alien: Covenant would return to the “Lost Patrol Template” employed to excellent effect in the franchise’s first installment, Alien.  Alas, that didn’t happen.  Instead, Alien: Covenant gives us more of the interminable exposition that characterized Prometheus.  Who but the most obsessive of fanboys and fangirls could … More Alien: Covenant

In Dubious Battle

Full Disclosure: I have been a union leader in one form or another for my entire adult life.  However, that doesn’t mean that I recommend watching all films that advocate for the rights of working people.  Take, for example, Bread and Roses and Harlan County War.  Politically, both films are spot-on.  But they fail aesthetically, … More In Dubious Battle

Alien 3

Given that Alien: Covenant is coming out on Friday, I thought it would be timely to say something about one of the films in the franchise.  I chose Alien 3 because I’ve always been interested in the primary, general objection to the film at the time of its release, namely that it was “too dark.”  … More Alien 3

Shetland

This post gives me special satisfaction because its subject – the Scottish crime series Shetland – was recommended to me by one of Lanni’s List’s followers.  It seems that the List is starting to fulfill its function as a forum for exchanging ideas and recommendations!  Warms my heart!  Anyway, down to business.  Why is Shetland … More Shetland

Mystery and Mayhem: Great Television Shows Featuring Distinctive Detectives

What’s the best thing about the advent of online media streaming?  Binge-viewing?  Close, but no.  At least not for me.  For me, it’s the access to international mysteries.  Specifically, police procedurals.  Give me a damaged detective, an interesting sidekick, and an engaging rapport between them and I’m a happy camper.  Take, for example, the Swedish … More Mystery and Mayhem: Great Television Shows Featuring Distinctive Detectives