Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria

‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ on Netflix

Olivier Assayas wrote this drama about a veteran actress facing a transition in her career after Juliette Binoche, arguably France’s greatest and certainly most ambitious actress working today, challenged him to write a film centered on women. It was a friendly challenge—she had already starred in two films he wrote for director André Téchiné and […]

Henry Silva and Woody Strode in Fernando di Leo's gangster classic

‘The Italian Connection’ – Mob schemes on Amazon Prime and Fandor

The Italian Connection (Italy, 1972), from Italy’s king of crime cinema Fernando di Leo, stars Mario Adani (the top dog thug of the Americano’s gang in di Leo’s earlier Caliber 9) as Luca, a remarkably affable and well-liked pimp whose popularity on the street makes the Milan boss nervous. So he frames Luca for a […]

Blu-ray round-up: Boxes of ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ and ‘Hellraiser,’ anniversary editions of ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘Dirty Dancing,’ and more

I try to keep up on the most interesting releases on Blu-ray and DVD but I don’t have the time to cover everything in the detail it deserves. Here are some of the special editions and stand-out releases that have come out over the past few weeks. The Man Who Fell To Earth (Lionsgate, Blu-ray), […]

Meiko Kaji stars in the Japanese women-in-prison series

‘Female Prisoner Scorpion’ Saga on Amazon Prime

The women in prison genre has never been so much fun as the Female Prisoner Scorpion series from Japan. Gonzo doesn’t begin to describe this mad mix of outrageous exploitation, flamboyant art movie, and energetic comic-book craziness. Meiko Kaji gives a near silent performance as Nami Matsushima, aka Scorpion, a woman framed for a crime […]

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in the Oscar-nominated drama "Loving." from filmmaker Jeff Nichols

‘Loving’ – The couple behind the history on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Loving (2016), Jeff Nichols’s portrait of Richard and Mildred Loving, does more than put a face to a landmark Supreme Court decision. Their 1958 marriage was a crime in the state of Virginia because Richard (played by Joel Edgerton with a terse determination) was a white man and Mildred (Ruth Negga, vulnerable yet hopeful) was […]

Luc Merenda stars in Fernando di Leo's crime drama from Italy

‘Shoot First, Die Later’ – Revenge of the corrupted on Amazon Prime

Shoot First, Die Later (Italy, 1974), directed by Italian gangster specialist Fernando di Leo, stars Luc Merenda as Domenico Malacarne, a hotshot cop on the Milan strike force. Young, good looking, and always at the center of big, splashy cases, Domenico is the department poster boy for police heroism and he kicks off the film […]

Carroll Baker and Ralph Meeker in the film by Jack Garfein

Blu-ray: ‘Something Wild’ – a 1962 rediscovery on Criterion

Not to be confused with the Jonathan Demme screwball comedy/thriller by the same name, the 1962 Something Wild (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is an unusually frank and sensitive drama about a teenage girl recovering from rape. The film opens on the assault, a non-explicit scene that communicates both the violence of the rape and the terrible […]

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the film by Howard Hawks

Blu-ray: ‘His Girl Friday’ vs. ‘The Front Page’ on Criterion

His Girl Friday (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) should really be listed as a double feature, for the “bonus” movie—a new edition of the original screen version of The Front Page, adapted from the snappy, cynical, double-barrel Broadway hit by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur—is not just a home video debut but a major discovery. The Front […]