Viewer’s Discretion: ‘This is England ‘86’

  THIS IS ENGLAND ’86 (AMAZON) Imagine living in a dystopian society. If you lived in England in the 1980s, and you weren’t of a certain class, you didn’t have to imagine, you were there. The view on the street was a lot worse than the one presented in the media there, full of Mrs. [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘1983’ and ‘Bancroft’

‘1983’ (NETFLIX) This Polish series is alternative history science fiction, telling the story of a dystopian world where the Iron Curtain never fell and Poland is the center of the universe, but in doing so, manages to ask some more subtle questions about political control that are rewarding over the course of the series. The [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Black Earth Rising’ and ‘Trepalium’

‘BLACK EARTH RISING’ (NETFLIX) Pulling inspiration from the Rwandan genocide, there’s no way the series “Black Earth Rising” was going to be light entertainment. But there’s always a danger that such a depiction could cheapen the massive tragedy in a quest for thrills. That’s not what happens here, though, as writer/director Hugo Blick, who did [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Giuseppe Makes a Movie’ and ‘National Treasure’

Giuseppe Makes A Movie (Amazon, Apple, Fandor, Google Play, Sundance, Vudu) Everybody has a different idea of what makes a community or a family, and though that’s often a reason for conflict in the United States, it would be nice if more people could just let things be. The documentary film “Giuseppe Makes A Movie” [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Un Village Francais’

‘A FRENCH VILLAGE’ (MHZ CHOICE) Following the lives of the citizens of Villefranche during its occupation by Nazis during World War II, and examining the moral conundrums the citizens face and which will affect the rest of their lives, “Un Village Francais” is one television show I have no problem proclaiming as one of my [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Journey To Greenland’ and ‘Thicker Than Water’

‘JOURNEY TO GREENLAND’ (NETFLIX) Cross-cultural stories have become harder to put onto film as awareness has risen about the offensive tropes such narratives cling to. If it’s not the white-person-as-savior chestnut, then it’s the magic foreigner one. We’ve become so accustomed to those cliches that they seem reasonable as if they somehow reflect any of [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Casting JonBenet’ and ‘Hard Sun’

‘CASTING JONBENET’ (NETFLIX) There’s a surge in interest in true crime, and the deluge has revealed more than a few people creating works about a specific crime that don’t seem to know what makes true crime an alluring subject. Hint — it’s not just about the crime, it’s about the people. And I don’t mean only the [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Dark’ and ‘Jordskott’

‘DARK’ (NETFLIX) Being called “Dark,” you’re not going to expect this German series to be a chipper pick-me-up, but the title possibly hints at something it is not. Dark implies darkness, which implies horror and monsters, and in some of the lazier tropes of today, that’s what you would get. Not so with this meticulously [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Enfield Haunting’ and ‘Santoalla’

THE ENFIELD HAUNTING (HULU) Based on actual events that gripped Great Britain in the 1970s, this three-parter manages to deliver as both a drama and a horror film by letting neither overtake things, but allowing them both to intermingle and cooperate. The film,”The Conjuring 2,” is based on the same incident. The Hodgson family has [...]