Hiroshi Abe and Yôko Maki star in the family drama by Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda

‘After the Storm’ on Amazon Prime

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda directs the most perceptive and compassionate films about the difficult relations that put strains on families and the generosity and understanding that helps overcome those difficulties. After the Storm (Japan, 2017) is one of his most understated family dramas, a lovely, low-key film about divorce and disappointment that, like the title […]

Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Riley Keough star in the horror thriller from Trey Edward Shults

‘It Comes at Night’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The title of It Comes at Night (2017) sets certain expectations. What exactly comes at night? But the survival thriller from writer/director Trey Edward Shults, set sometime after the ravages of an unnamed and unexplained plague have ripped through the cities and sent survivors into the isolation of the wilderness, isn’t about monsters (human or […]

Nicolas Cage stars in the drama by Andrew Niccol

Nicolas Cage is the ‘Lord of War’ on Netflix

“There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?” The opening line of Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War (2005) captures the film in a phrase: it’s serious, it’s sardonic, and it has both a […]

Federico Luppi stars in the vampire film from Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cronos’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Cronos (Mexico, 1993, R, with subtitles), the feature debut of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, is an alchemic twist on vampire lore and the costs of eternal life. It’s also the first expression of the budding genre master’s affinity for cinema fantasy and horror as a crucible for exploring humanity. Federico Luppi stars as Jesus, […]

Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen star in the hobo drama by William Wellman

Silents Please! – ‘Beggars of Life’ with Louise Brooks, ‘Varieté’ from Germany, and more

Catching up on some of the silent films released to Blu-ray and DVD in the past months… Beggars of Life (Kino Lorber) William Wellman was one of the most versatile directors of his day, making everything from comedies and musicals to gritty dramas and war movies, and his World War I epic Wings (1927) won […]

Jessica Harper stars in Dario Argento's giallo classic

Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’ on Amazon Prime

Dario Argento, the master choreographer of the distinctly Italian art of horror known as giallo, was the pop-art fabulist of the slasher movie set. He was popular in Europe but a cult figure among horror fans in the U.S. Suspiria (Italy, 1977), a stylish, surreal, downright puzzling piece of seventies Grand Guignol weirdness, was his […]

Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer in the true story directed by Theodore Melfi

‘Hidden Figures’ on HBO

Hidden Figures (2016), a Hollywood drama based on the true stories of three African-American women who were essential yet unseen and uncelebrated members of the team that put the first Americans in space, is terrific drama, eye-opening history, and a great lesson for Hollywood. This movie headlined by three African-American actresses was the number one […]

Ham Tran directs this Vietnamese caper film

‘Bitcoin Heist’ – Caper film from Vietnam on Netflix

Bitcoin Heist (Vietnam, 2016) is a conundrum of a title. After all, Bitcoin is a virtual currency and a heist suggests, well, something a little more physical than computer hacking. That’s part of the fun of this colorful and zippy Vietnamese action film: old-fashioned heist thriller meets the high-tech world of cybercrime, a production modeled […]

Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig star in the film directed by Noah Baumbach

Ben Stiller is ‘Greenberg’ on Netflix

In Greenberg (2010), Ben Stiller delivers the youngest curmudgeon in the movies. Roger Greenberg is a fortysomething guy recovering from a nervous breakdown and avoiding confronting the mid-life crisis he’s been tangling with since his twenties, apparently. Noah Baumbach, directing from a story developed with his wife, Jenifer Jason Leigh, is a shrewd student of […]

‘Alien: Covenant’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

You may recall Prometheus with both awe and astonishment, a film with astounding moments of beauty and horror and brilliance bumping up against stupidity and sloppiness and half-baked ideas. Alien: Covenant (2017), the second film in the Alien prequel series, takes place a decade after the events of Prometheus (2012) and continues writing the xenomorph […]