Denzel Washington and Viola Davis star in the Oscar-winning film

Oscar-winner ‘Fences’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Fences (2016) – Denzel Washington and Viola Davis earned Tony Awards for their performances in the 2010 Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play “Fences,” the story of a working class African-American family in 1950s Pittsburgh. With the blessing of Wilson’s widow (the playwright passed away in 2005), Washington brought the play to the big screen, […]

Carroll Baker and Ralph Meeker in the film by Jack Garfein

‘Something Wild’ – Rediscovered 1962 New York story on Criterion Channel

The 1962 Something Wild, not to be confused with the Jonathan Demme screwball comedy/thriller by the same name, is a film nurtured in an Actor’s Studio environment and shot as an early American Independent film. It’s also an unusually frank drama about a teenage girl recovering from sexual assault with a weird dramatic detour. Director […]

‘Shotgun Stories’ on Amazon Prime

Arkansas-born director Jeff Nichols has carved out a terrific career making distinctive films with a personal commitment and a personal take on American Southern culture: Take Shelter (2011), Mud (2012), Midnight Special (2016), and the Oscar-nominated Loving (2016). It all begins with his debut feature Shotgun Stories (2007) The story revolves around three adult brothers—Son, […]

‘Manchester by the Sea’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Some emotional wounds can’t be healed. Manchester by the Sea (2016), the third film from playwright and screenwriter turned filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, takes on that proposition in family drama, or rather a drama about what we do for family even when there are things we can’t do for ourselves. Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) lives on […]

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 […]

David Oyelowo and Madina Nalwanga in Disney's "Queen of Katwe."

‘Queen of Katwe’ – Inspiring true story on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Queen of Katwe (2016) tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a poor, uneducated girl in Uganda who sells corn on the street of her impoverished slum until an encounter with chess offers her the possibility of something more. Newcomer Madina Nalwanga plays Phiona, the nine-year-old daughter of single mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), taking […]

Mathieu Amalric and Catherine Deneuve, directed by Arnaud Desplechin

‘A Christmas Tale’ – A messy family holiday on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

A Christmas Tale (France, 2008), Arnaud Desplechin’s mercurial, knotty and cinematically vibrant drama of family dysfunction stirred up over a Christmas gathering, was my pick for best film of 2008. Directing with restless energy, Desplechin sketches out a family tragedy, the untimely death of a first-born, that precedes the story by decades and then only […]