Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino star in the film noir by Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray’s ‘On Dangerous Ground’ on FilmStruck

On Dangerous Ground (1952), directed by Nicholas Ray from a script he developed with A.I. Bezzerides and producer John Houseman, opens on the urgent yet fractured dramatic score by Bernard Herrmann, a theme that rushes forward anxiously, pauses with quieter instruments, then jumps again as we watch the nocturnal city streets in the rain through […]

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 'World on a Wire'

‘World on a Wire’ – the first virtual reality thriller on FilmStruck

World on a Wire (Germany, 1973), made by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973 for German television, is to the best of my knowledge the first film to explore virtual reality. And this from a director who never made a science film before or since. There are no Matrix visuals here—you might say that Fassbinder suggests his […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Essential Viewing: Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on Hulu

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

Jenna Coleman is Queen Victoria in the British historical drama

‘Victoria: Season 1’ on Amazon Prime

One-time Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman ascends the throne in Victoria: Season 1, the British TV drama that chronicles the life and reign of young Victoria as she crowned Queen of England in 1837 at the age of 18. Created by veteran BBC producer and novelist Daisy Goodwin, the first season covers the first few […]

Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame star, Nicholas Ray directs from the Dorothy B. Hughes novel

Nicholas Ray’s ‘In a Lonely Place’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

In a Lonely Place (1950) hasn’t much to do with the Dorothy B. Hughes novel on which it was ostensibly based, beyond the title (one of the most evocative in noir history), the Los Angeles setting, and the murder of a young woman that puts our ostensible hero, volatile, hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey […]

Gunnar Hansen with leatherface and chainsaw in Tobe Hooper's original 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

The original ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ – restored on Amazon Prime

The saw is family in Tobe Hooper’s brutal, brilliant debut The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) a grungy, grisly horror about a perverse Texas cannibal clan (inspired by the story of Ed Gein) and the teenagers who wander into their home (decorated in furniture constructed from human bones) and wind up on their meat hooks and […]

Meryl Streep is "Florence Foster Jenkins."

Meryl Streep is ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) may sound like a one-joke contrivance—a rich, generous, arts-loving heiress in 1940s New York City gives private recitals to a select group of high society insiders who never let on to the oblivious woman that she is quite possibly the worst singer to ever trod a stage—but it is both a […]

Natalie Portman stars in 'Jackie,' directed by Pablo Larraín

Natalie Portman is ‘Jackie’ on HBO Now

Jackie (2016) – Natalie Portman earned an Oscar nomination playing American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the week following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This is not the conspiracy drama of Oliver Stone’s JFK, nor is it a sentimental spectacle of a country mourning the death of an inspirational President. This is an […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]