Samantha Robinson is The Love Witch in Anna Biller's retro-styled feminist / horror / fantasy / melodrama

‘The Love Witch’ – Sex, magic, and sixties style on Amazon Prime

The Love Witch (2016), Anna Biller’s collision of feminism, romantic fantasy, power, sex, and horror opens with its cool heroine Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a slim, raven-haired beauty with a smear of turquoise eye shadow and eyelashes like wings, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway in a candy apple red convertible and matching outfit. She could […]

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe star in Lars von Trier's horror film / psychodrama

Lars von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’ on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

I’m not sure how I manage to keep my simultaneous fascination with /repulsion for Lars von Trier in balance, but it’s back with a vengeance in Antichrist (2009), a provocation that is at once beautiful and perverse, personal and cynical, and filled with his sour vision of the emotional small-mindedness (small-heartedness?) of the human animal. […]

Jeff Bridges is the Dude in 'The Big Lebowski' from Joel and Ethan Coen.

‘The Big Lebowski’ abides on HBO Now and Blu-ray/DVD

Rolling Stone once called The Big Lebowski (1998) “the most worshipped comedy of its generation.” I like to think of it as the Book of Duderonomy, the lost gospel of the post-modern Testament. Jeff Bridges is brilliant as the Dude, one of the most strangely centered individuals in the movies. This bowler/stoner/free spirit is mistaken […]

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 […]

Sarah Gadon and Logan Lerman in James Schamus's adaptation of Philip Roth's novel 'Indignation'

‘Indignation’ – Philip Roth’s America on HBO Now

Indignation (2016) – Could you have found a more challenging project upon which to build a directorial debut? James Schamus, the longtime maverick film producer who co-wrote many of Ang Lee’s films, adapts the 2008 Philip Roth novel and directs this measured, serious, heavily introspective coming-of-age drama. Logan Lerman stars as Marcus, a serious, studious, […]

James Caviezel is Jesus in Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'

‘The Passion of the Christ’ on Amazon Prime

The Passion of the Christ (2004), Mel Gibson’s passionate, personal, and visceral take on the final 12 hours of Christ’s life on Earth is, in its own way, as controversial as Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ. Taking the Gospels as his source, Gibson creates his own cinematic version of […]