This never occurred to me before, but "train" movies are a really interesting sub-genre. You could program an entire two-week film festival of train movies, from comedies (The "Three Stooges" shorts, The General, The Darjeeling Limited) to suspense movies (James Bond, Strangers on a Train, Murder on the Orient Express, Runaway Train) and tons of others. It's the perfect setting for a movie: it's a limited space, but long -- for chases -- and it moves through the frame as opposed to sitting still like a hospital room or a warehouse. Plus, unlike an airplane, there are plenty of beautiful views going by outside. And so, if the train movie is a genre, it follows that it needs a solid genre director to add another potential classic to the list.

Brad Anderson (no relation to me, by the way) is such a director. Like Howard Hawks or Billy Wilder, he has been able to effortlessly leap between dark, genre films (Session 9, The Machinist) and romances (Next Stop Wonderland), and even weird combinations of the two (Happy Accidents). His films may not reach the pinnacles of great art, but each and every one of them represents a good, sturdy, entertaining example of sheer, joyful craftsmanship. Anderson's fifth feature (not counting his early, hard-to-find The Darien Gap) is Transsiberian, a film that I would be proud to add to the list of recommended train movies. The title train runs from Beijing to Moscow and crosses through some pretty remote, snowy terrain; it's a great place for something devious and sinister to happen. (The 1973 Peter Cushing / Christopher Lee film Horror Express took place on the same train!)