Dennis Hopper is Tom Ripley in Wim Wender's take on Patricia HIghsmith

‘The American Friend’ on Criterion Channel

The American Friend (Germany, 1977) – “What’s wrong with a cowboy in Hamburg?” Dennis Hopper’s Tom Ripley is nothing like the character that Patricia Highsmith created and explored in five novels, and while Wim Wender’s adaptation of Ripley’s Game, the sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley, remains more or less faithful to the plot (with […]

Matthias Schoenaerts stars in Alice Winocour's psychological thriller from France

‘Disorder’ on Netflix

Alice Winocour’s psychological thriller Disorder (France, 2015) stars Matthias Schoenaerts as Vincent, a French Special Forces soldier recovering from hearing loss and suffering from PTSD from his service in Afghanistan. While he awaits the medical verdict, he takes a security job for a Lebanese businessman throwing a lavish party filled with wealthy businessmen and government […]

František Vláčil directs this epic from Czechoslovakia

‘Marketa Lazarova’ – Czech epic on Criterion Channel

Marketa Lazarova (Czechoslovakia, 1967), an epic based on one of the revered masterpieces of Czech literature (considered unfilmmable by many), was voted the greatest Czech film ever made in a 1998 poll of Czechoslovakian film critics and professionals. Yet it is all but unknown in the U.S., rarely revived and never on home video before […]

Simon Yam stars in the South Korean heist thriller

‘The Thieves’ – Korean high tech heist on Hulu

The Thieves (South Korea, 2012) is Asia’s answer to the Ocean’s films, a sleek, snappy heist movie with plenty of working parts, eccentric personalities, and convoluted plotlines complicated even more by a confusing flashback structure more entertaining than elucidating and more twists than you can easily track. The basic premise brings together two separate crack […]

Gong Yoo stars in the South Korean zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho

‘Train to Busan’ – Korean zombies on Netflix

You could call Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) “Zombies on a Train”—it certainly makes a catchy logline and it frames the premise accurately and succinctly—but it reduces this fleet, fierce, unexpectedly human thriller to a mere gimmick. Apart from the slyly eerie prologue, the film opens without any hint of the viral rampage to […]

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's award-winning film

Wong Kar-Wai’s melancholy ‘In the Mood for Love’ on FilmStruck

There may be no more sensual director in the world than Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai, and In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong, 2000) is one of his richest and most melancholy works, a shadow dance of would-be lovers sketched in suggestions and intimations. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai star as next door neighbors […]