Kim Ok-bin stars in the South Korean action hit from Byung-gil Jung

‘The Villainess’ – a ferocious South Korean Nikita on Hulu

The Villainess (South Korea, 2017) is not a remake of La Femme Nikita but it is surely built from the DNA of that defining action classic. It opens on an amazing action sequence, a seemingly unbroken take from the jittery POV of some ferocious but still-unseen fighter wiping out armies of thugs with bullets, knives, […]

Catherine Deneuve stars in the bittersweet musical from Jacques Demy

‘Umbrellas,’ ‘Young Girls,’ and the essential Jacques Demy on FilmStruck

Jacques Demy, the most romantic of the French nouvelle vague filmmakers, loved American movies, especially musicals, but his taste for American musicals and candy-colored romance was balanced with a bittersweet sensibility. For all the energizing music and dreamy love affairs, his romances more often than not don’t really get happy endings. FilmStruck presents a collection […]

Animation on Blu-ray: ‘Your Name,’ ‘Napping Princess,’ ‘In This Corner of the World’ from Japan

Your Name. (Funimation, Blu-ray, DVD) Napping Princess (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray, DVD) In This Corner of the World (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray, DVD) Japanese animator and filmmaker Makoto Shinkai turns his own young adult novel into Your Name. (Japan, 2016), an animated feature that brings a fresh approach to the classic comic situation of body swapping. In […]

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Zach Snyder's 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

Last Chance: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ on HBO Now

The smartest thing about Zach Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) is its revisionist take on the destruction that concluded his Superman reboot Man of Steel. After an unnecessary (but at least relatively brief) recap of the Batman story, we are plunged back into the battle but this perspective comes from the ground. […]

‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station (2013) embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009. Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life […]

Nieves Navarro and Simon Andreu star in Luciano Ercoli's classic giallo from Italy.

‘Death Walks at Midnight’ – Giallo meets high fashion on Amazon Prime

Death Walks at Midnight (Italy, 1972) is not actually a sequel to Death Walks on High Heels (1971) but in the proudly opportunistic tradition of Italian genre pictures it recalls an earlier success and director Luciano Ercoli he reunites his team of collaborators.This time around, Nieves Navarro (under the screen name Susan Scott) is a […]

Henry Thomas and friend in Steven Spielberg's beloved science fiction fantasy

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on HBO Now

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg’s suburban fairy tale for kids who think they are too hip to believe in fairies, is as glorious as ever 35 years after its debut. Henry Thomas is Elliot, an emotionally bruised kid suffering under his parents’ separation who finds another lonely, lost soul, a benevolent alien left behind […]

Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver in Steven Soderbergh's red state heist comedy

‘Logan Lucky’ – Steven Soderbergh’s red state heist comedy on Amazon Prime

Four years after Steven Soderbergh’s “retirement” from feature filmmaking (he found a loophole by making Behind the Candelabra for HBO and creating and directing the cable series The Knick), he returned to the big screen with Logan Lucky (2017), a bouncy, deft, sweetly and cleverly comic heist picture about a pair of hard-luck brothers in […]

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans picks sides in "Captain America: Civil War."

‘Captain America: Civil War’ on Netflix

Captain America: Civil War (2016) is an Avengers movie in everything but name. It’s got Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) as team captains picking sides in the hero-vs.-hero fight over government oversight of the self-appointed world policemen. Thor and Hulk are MIA but everyone else, from Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) […]

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto in the J.J. Abrams revival of the original Enterprise crew

‘Star Trek’ – The beginning on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Talk about boldly going: Star Trek (2009)—no numbers, no subtitles, no tags—is not simply a prequel to the franchise. It’s an entire relaunch and director J.J. Abrams dares to rewrite Trek lore with an origin story that chronicles the first voyage of the Enterprise crew with a mission that sends them into a whole new Federation […]