Mystery

[7] Joan Crawford won her Oscar for playing the title character in this noir-melodrama from director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Based on the book by James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce is told largely in flashback, with Crawford spilling the beans to police after her second husband is found murdered in their beach house. She tells them how she divorced her adulterous first husband and pulled herself …

[7] A London man gives refuge to a female spy, but after she’s knifed in the back he’s accused of her murder. The only way to clear his name is to piece together the clues she left behind and prevent top secret information from being smuggled out of the country. The 39 Steps is an taut espionage-thriller from Alfred Hitchcock that exemplifies the director’s fascination …

[6] A persistent newspaper reporter (Lee Tracy) sneaks into a clifftop mansion where a scientist (Lionel Atwill) is conducting experiments to determine which of his college associates may be the nefarious ‘Moon Killer’. The cast of Doctor X, which includes King Kong‘s Fay Wray as Atwill’s daughter and love interest to Tracy, give predictably theatrical performances, but Tracy wields a brand of subtle humor that …

[7] Gerard Butler (300) and Morena Maccarin (Firefly) star in this end-times thriller about a family trying to find shelter before a comet smashes into Earth. We’ve seen this plot play out in movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact, but Greenland distinguishes itself by its psychological focus on the two main characters. There are, of course, visual effects depicting destruction and devastation, and harrowing crowd …

[8] Writer/director Alex Garland (The Beach, Sunshine) casts Natalie Portman as a biologist who joins a team of other female scientists into a mysterious, growing dome called ‘the shimmer’. Inside they quickly learn that the phenomenon is altering the DNA of flora and fauna — including themselves. They head to the source of the mystery, a lighthouse where a meteor crashed years ago. Will they …

[7] Humphrey Bogart escapes from San Quentin to try and prove he’s innocent of killing his wife. Lauren Bacall plays the woman who believes him and gives him shelter. He resorts to plastic surgery to hide his identity from the police and extortionists, but will he be able to discover who the real killer is? Or will he be forced to flee the country? Dark …

[5] Chris Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker), Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly), and Emily VanCamp (Everwood) roam the empty western United States after a plague has killed most of the population. They do their best to avoid desperate stragglers, but have a harder time not turning on each other when the disease finally catches up with them. Carriers is well acted and captures a compelling post-apocalyptic …

[4] Samuel L. Jackson stars as a homeless man trying to solve the murder of a young gay man who was the muse for a famous New York City photographer. Jackson’s character has a hard time getting anyone to take him seriously — not just because he’s homeless, but because he’s delusional. He believes an all-powerful man lives at the top of the Chrysler Building …

[6] British men and women are held captive in segregated prison camps under the rule of a sadistic Japanese commander who vows to kill them all if Japan loses World War II. When the Brits secretly learn of the war’s end, they have to keep their Japanese torturers from finding out. They sabotage radio equipment and attempt to delay the mail. But when an American …

[7] Fredric March plays a 1950s Czechoslovakian circus owner trying to lead his troupe in a daring escape from the Iron Curtain. The plan is to obtain a permit to perform for communist soldiers in the border territories — then create a distraction and make a run for freedom over a narrow bridge into American occupation. At the same time, March’s character is dealing with …

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