Paul Schrader’s ‘Affliction’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Paul Schrader made his mark on American cinema revealing the scarred psyches of American men trying to reconcile the contradictions of masculine fantasy and social reality, from his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to his own movies, beginning with Blue Collar. Affliction (1998), adapted from the novel by Russell Banks, is his most […]

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the Oscar nominated film by Debra Granik

‘Winter’s Bone’ – Jennifer Lawrence on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (2010), set in the crime and poverty of the Ozark Mountains, is a coming-of-age survival story in an outlaw culture where meth labs have replaced moonshine stills and the code of silence is enforced with pitiless finality. Jennifer Lawrence was revelation as the 17-year-old Ree, who has grown up fast to […]

Oscar-winning drama ‘Manchester by the Sea’ on Amazon Prime

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 […]

Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in "American Honey," directed by Andrea Arnold

‘American Honey’ – Youth unbound on Amazon Prime

American Honey (2016), the first American film from British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, is a road movie powered by the restlessness and passion of its young heroine Star (newcomer Sasha Lane), the eldest daughter of a deadbeat mom and a skeezy father (step-father?) who won’t stop pawing her teenage body. Recruited by Jake (Shia LaBeouf), a […]

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

‘Queen of Katwe’ – The inspiring true story on Netflix

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 […]

Daniel Day-Lewis earned his second Best Actor Academy Award for his riveting performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's sinewy film

‘There Will be Blood’ on Amazon Prime

There Will be Blood (2007) – “I built my hate bit by bit.” Daniel Day-Lewis earned his second Best Actor Academy Award for his riveting performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s sinewy film. Loosely adapted from Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Oil!,” it reworks the American entrepreneurial success story as an elemental frontier myth, roughly hewn out of […]

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in David Lowery's 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ on Netflix and Hulu

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), second feature from director / writer David Lowery, plays like the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play lovers Ruth and Bob, young adults who grew up fast under the watch of dubious father figure Skerrit (Keith Carradine) and ended up as small-time hold-up […]