Absentia is an ultra-low budget horror film about the grief experienced when a loved one disappears without a trace. I’ve never bought into the concept of “closure” as psychologists typically apply it to death. The beloved dead haunt us regardless of whether or not we had an opportunity to see a body or to exchange … More Absentia

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


“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

“A rose by any other name”: Great Films with God-Awful Titles

The history of cinema is chock-full of god-awful titles.  No news there.  But how many great films have had to overcome such titles to reach audiences?  More than you might think.  Take, for example, “The Americanization of Emily.”  What was Paddy Chayefsky thinking?!  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a huge Paddy Chayefsky fan.  I’ve … More “A rose by any other name”: Great Films with God-Awful Titles

Lanni’s List Launches

It’s official – my blog is live!  25 years in the making, Lanni’s List enumerates nearly fifteen hundred films that I believe are worth watching.  Each entry provides a title, a rating for film elements such as plot, character and cinematography, and an IMDB link.  The List also includes a hundred and fifty fun Sub-Lists like “Fast Zombies Suck!”: Great Slow-Zombie Flicks and … More Lanni’s List Launches

The Babadook

Social realism meets fantasy horror.  A match made in hell – which, in this case, is a very good thing.  Mister Babadook, a cardboard cut-out from a children’s book, isn’t exactly terrifying.  Neither are the other scare tactics employed by the film, which are basically the tired “things that go bump in the night” found in countless ghost … More The Babadook

Berberian Sound Studio

  A neo-giallo about a nebbish recording post-production sound for a giallo. No idea what I’m talking about? Google it. “Giallo,” not “neo-giallo.” “Neo-giallo” I just coined a second ago. And if you don’t know what a “nebbish” is, then you’ve never seen a classic Woody Allen film and probably shouldn’t be reading this blog. … More Berberian Sound Studio