David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Dr.’ on VOD and disc

Mulholland Dr. (2001) – David Lynch pulled a near magic trick in what can only be an exercise in creative rewriting and re-conception. Taking an open ended TV pilot rejected by the networks, he added 45 minutes and created closure in a weird, mystical logic that, in its unique Lynchian way, makes a twisted emotional […]

Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney in the 1944 film noir 'Laura' directed by Otto Preminger

‘Laura’ – The silkiest film noir of all on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

I’m a big fan of film noir, those shadowy, often hardboiled crime dramas a morally-tarnished urban world of the forties and fifties. Laura (1944) is elegance incarnate in a genre known for its hard edge, the sleekest, silkiest noir of all. Gene Tierney is the cultured beauty whose murder investigation opens the film and Dana […]

Joan Crawford stars in the film noir directed by David Miller

Joan Crawford in ‘Sudden Fear’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Joan Crawford took charge of her career as she aged out of the ingénue roles that propelled her to stardom, developing stories and pursuing properties that offered strong characters for a mature woman. She gave herself a second act when she fought hard for Mildred Pierce (1945) at Warner Bros. and seven years later, as […]

Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino star in the film noir by Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray’s ‘On Dangerous Ground’ on FilmStruck

On Dangerous Ground (1952), directed by Nicholas Ray from a script he developed with A.I. Bezzerides and producer John Houseman, opens on the urgent yet fractured dramatic score by Bernard Herrmann, a theme that rushes forward anxiously, pauses with quieter instruments, then jumps again as we watch the nocturnal city streets in the rain through […]

Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame star, Nicholas Ray directs from the Dorothy B. Hughes novel

Nicholas Ray’s ‘In a Lonely Place’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

In a Lonely Place (1950) hasn’t much to do with the Dorothy B. Hughes novel on which it was ostensibly based, beyond the title (one of the most evocative in noir history), the Los Angeles setting, and the murder of a young woman that puts our ostensible hero, volatile, hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey […]

Alain Delon stars in the Jean-Pierre Melville French crime film classic

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ on Criterion Channel

Alain Delon is the coolest killer hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere 1967 French crime classic Le Samourai (France, 1967). Delon’s impassive hitman Jeff Costello is a professional’s professional, an assassin with a face of stone, nerves of ice, and the patience of a monk. He […]

Patricia Neal, John Garfield, and Juano Hernandez in a film by Michael Curtiz

Blu-ray: ‘The Breaking Point’ on Criterion

The Breaking Point (1950), the second of three big screen adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not, stars John Garfield as Harry Morgan, the role that Humphrey Bogart played in the original. The Howard Hawks film took great liberties with Hemingway’s story. This version is more faithful but takes its own liberties. Harry […]

Simone Simon stars in the 1942 classic from director Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton

The original ‘Cat People’ on Criterion Channel

The original Cat People (1942) was made on a low budget for RKO’s B-movie unit, the first in an amazing series of B-horror films from producer Val Lewton that transcended its origins. It’s a masterpiece of mood and psychological ambiguity masquerading as a cheap exploitation knock-off. Cheap it is, but Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur […]

Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, and Dennis Hopper star in Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel.

Blu-ray: ‘Rumble Fish’ – “An art film for teenagers” on Criterion

Francis Ford Coppola described Rumble Fish (1983), his screen adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s young adult novel, as “an art film for teenagers.” He shot it right after making The Outsiders (1982), also adapted from a Hinton novel, but where that was a lush, operatic tale, Coppola made Rumble Fish in stylized black and white, like […]