BARKSKINS
2020, National Geographic, 52 min, USA, Dir: David Slade

Although National Geographic has been producing scripted programming for nearly 10 years, BARKSKINS is the network’s first program based on a work of fiction (the New York Times bestselling novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx) but the series is still in fact authentic and historically accurate. Set in the 1690s in what is now the Canadian province of Quebec, the series tells a thrilling story of exploration, adventure and ambition among dreamers and fighters - some with a utopian vision of the world, others crass and conniving, but all navigating the perils of a treacherous new frontier. As tensions escalate, unlikely alliances are forged, old antagonisms deepen and new families are formed against the seemingly endless natural riches and hidden dangers of the new American continent. The outstanding ensemble cast includes David Thewlis, Marcia Gay Harden and Aneurin Barnard


THE MIST
2007, The Weinstein Company, 126 min, USA, Dir: Frank Darabont

"The story is less about the monsters outside than about the monsters inside, the people you're stuck with, your friends and neighbors breaking under the strain," noted writer-director Frank Darabont of this muscular sci-fi horror thriller, which features a darker ending than the original Stephen King novella. After a thunderstorm knocks out power in Bridgton, Maine, residents seeking supplies become trapped inside a local supermarket, where a mist conceals deadly creatures from another dimension. With Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden and Andre Braugher.


MILLER’S CROSSING
1990, 20th Century Fox, 115 min, USA, Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen’s brilliant, atmospheric tribute to 1930s gangster melodramas is full to the brim with venomous one-liners and a catalog of characters worthy of any pre-WWII James Cagney/Warner Bros. picture. Bitter Gabriel Byrne is adviser to sentimental but tough gang boss Albert Finney in a small Northeastern town. But their complacently corrupt burg is about to erupt in violence when nouveau riche newcomer Jon Polito and his merciless, grim reaper of an enforcer (J.E. Freeman) make a play for the big time. The supporting cast - including Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro - is superb, all getting to voice some of the most vitriolic dialogue this side of 1957’s SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. “The Coens are artists too, and their cool dazzler is an elegy to a day when Hollywood could locate moral gravity in a genre film for grownups.” - Richard Corliss, Time


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