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

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

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

“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

From Hell

Appropriating the opium dream framing device from Sergio Leoni’s Once Upon a Time in America, the Hughes Brothers serve up a druggy supernatural thriller involving Jack the Ripper, Freemasons, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. Do the conspiracy theories make any sense to a sober mind? Not really. Does that matter? Not really, because the film … More From Hell