Bertrand Bonello write and directs this mesmerizing political thriller

‘Nocturama’ – A different kind of terrorism on Netflix

Bertrand Bonello’s Nocturama (France, 2017) is mesmerizing. Ostensibly a terrorist thriller about a group of French millennials who stage an attack on the symbols of global capitalism, it becomes a portrait of anger and resistance transformed into an exacting yet vaguely-defined assault on property and information and cultural landmarks. The first half is a crisply […]

Billy Howle stars in the Agatha Christie adaptation with Toby Jones, Kim Cattrall, and Andrea Riseborough

‘Witness for the Prosecution’ – A darker shade of Agatha Christie on Acorn

The British telefilm version of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution (2016) returns to the original source material, in this case the 1925 short story, to create a very different version from the play and 1957 film. It’s set in London after World War I where Leonard Vole (Billy Howle), a former soldier struggling to […]

Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in Noah Baumbach's family satire

Nicole Kidman is ‘Margot at the Wedding’ on Netflix

Nicole Kidman is Margot, a tightly wound author and dubiously maternal mother who breaks the silence with her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to attend her wedding, in Noah Baumbach’s savagely funny satire Margot at the Wedding (2007). Nicole Kidman plays brittle and chilly beautifully, but her self-involved and judgmental Margo is something else altogether. […]

The second film in Dario Argento's "Three Mothers" trilogy is his most abstractly beautiful

Dario Argento’s ‘Inferno’ on Amazon Prime

Inferno (Italy, 1980), the second film in Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy, is ostensibly a sequel to Suspiria, though it has no characters or storylines in common with Dario Argento’s giallo classic. What it shares is style and sensibility and dreamy, unreal imagery. Irene Miracle appears to be our heroine, a New York girl captivated […]

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

Quick pick: ‘An American Werewolf in London’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]

Harry Dean Stanton in the film by Wim Wenders

‘Paris, Texas’ on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, Paris, Texas (1984) was not Wim Wenders’ first American film—that would be Hammett (1982), which proved to be a dispiriting experience when producer Francis Ford Coppola decided to step in and re-edit Wenders’ vision to something more commercial (so much for the creative freedom […]

Angelina Jolie directs the story of human rights activist Loung Ung

What to stream: Angelina Jolie’s ‘First They Killed My Father,’ a ‘Lost City’ on Amazon, ‘Nocturama’ on Netflix, ‘It Comes’ to VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … First They Killed My Father (2017, not rated), from filmmaker Angelina Jolie, dramatizes the story of human rights activist Loung Ung as young girl surviving the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. Jolie wrote […]

Ringo Lam directs the lavish Hong Kong action film

‘Sky on Fire’ – Hong Kong action on Netflix

Ringo Lam made his name as Hong Kong cinema’s grittier, leaner alternative to John Woo’s flamboyant action films with Prison on Fire (1987) and City on Fire (1987), the latter most famous as one of the primary inspirations of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (the heist, the undercover cop, and the image of the multi-gun stand-off […]

Tim Streeter and Doug Cooeyate star in the directorial debut of Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant’s ‘Mala Noche’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Mala Noche (1986), the feature debut of Gus Van Sant adapted from the autobiographical novel by Portland “street poet” Walt Curtis, is an intimate black and white tale of l’amour fou steeped in the culture of Portland, Oregon’s (now long gone) skid row. Walt (Tim Streeter), a counter jockey at a grimy liquor store in […]