Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, so good in “The Killing” on TV from 2011-14, are together again in a highly suspenseful eight-part series named “Hanna” on Amazon Prime. It opens in Romania, where a man named Erik (Kinnaman) and a woman steal an infant from what looks like a state-run medical facility of some sort. They are pursued, there is a car crash, the woman dies, Erik and the stolen baby survive and spend the next 15 years living off the grid deep in a huge, isolated forest. During that time, Erik trains the child—now named Hanna and played beautifully by Esme Creek-Miles—to fight, to hunt for game—and be a killer. Enos plays Marissa, Erik’s pursuer, a higher-up in a U.S. government security branch. As we are firmly in the gray area of all thrillers, we do not know for a while who are the good guys and who are the bad. Or are they both good and bad? Created by David Farr and based on the 2011 film of the same name, the series is a winner, the scripts are excellent, the direction is crisp and all the actors are at the top of their game.
Those majestic Emperor penguins featured in the brilliant 2005 documentary “March of the Penguins” are three or four times the size of their feisty little Amelie cousins featured in “Penguins,” the latest film from Disneynature, now playing in theaters. Small these creatures may be, yet the film covers the same territory—mating, laying eggs, keeping those eggs warm throughout the pitiless winter months, mom and dad taking turns finding food and sitting on the eggs. As it is child-oriented, the filmmakers emphasize the cute little waddling creatures as they skid on the ice or take a header, pushing the chuckle-inducing moments while pretty much avoiding any depictions of harsh reality and death. There is a light-hearted narrative by Ed Helms that I found off-putting but I’m thinking I’m not the age demographic the movie is aimed at. The main penguin is named Steve, by the way, to “humanize” the critter. It’s the Disney version of nature, made palatable for the young set.
“Bosch” is back on Amazon Prime for season five, and its quality is intact. The Michael Connelly mysteries featuring Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch (brought to life by a spot-on Titus Welliver) is served well, once again. This time, Harry goes undercover in an attempt to break up an opioid smuggling ring. As with previous seasons, there are several threads that run parallel to the main police-procedural plot; Harry’s daughter and her need for answers, an old case of Harry’s that’s being looked at again due to new evidence that he might have put the wrong man in jail, and whether or not it’s time to retire the two older detectives who function as comedy relief. Highly recommended.
Once in a while, I like to find a film on TV that opened and closed in theaters way too soon. “Searching,” now streaming on Starz, is from 2018, and the smaller screen is perfect for its more intimate story. It’s a mystery and a really good one at that, starring John Cho as a frantic father whose daughter is missing. In the same way that there are epistolary novels—stories told through written letters only—it’s told mostly through the devices of secret cameras, cell phone texts and the internet with all its various uses. In the father’s search for his daughter, he finds there was much about her he didn’t know. The mystery goes through a lot of twists and turns; just when we think we know, we find out we’re wrong. The ending is completely unexpected and, therefore, quite satisfying. Even though some of the plot twists and red herrings are at the edge of believable and Cho’s role is played pretty much on one note, it’s a perfect Sunday-afternoon-at-home treat for mystery buffs and all others.