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 […]

Carlos Gomez and Silke star in the film by Julio Medem

Blu-ray: ‘Tierra,’ ‘Vacas,’ ‘Red Squirrel’ – Three by Julio Medem on Olive

Vacas (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD) Red Squirrel (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD) Tierra (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD) The vivid and lush films of Spain’s Julio Medem are as much about his country’s distinctive landscapes and natural wonders as they are about the restless and obsessive characters that wander through his world. Lovers of the Arctic Circle […]

Donnie Yen and Andy Lau in the Hong Kong crime drama from Wong Jing

Blu-ray: Donny Yen and Andy Lau in ‘Chasing the Dragon’ on Well Go

Chasing the Dragon (Well Go) Directed by the insanely prolific Hong Kong action veteran Wong Jing, Chasing the Dragon (China, 2017) is the filmmaker’s crime epic, a historical drama that charts the rise and fall of two notorious gangsters who thrived in the rampant corruption enabled by Britain’s colonial rule of Hong Kong in the […]

Timur Bekmambetov directs 'Night Watch' and 'Day Watch,' grunge-noir urban fantasy set in contemporary Moscow.

‘Night Watch’ and ‘Day Watch’: Russian urban fantasy on VOD and disc

The Russian diptych Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2006), based on the first two novels of a supernatural trilogy from author Sergei Lukyanenko and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, are what I like to think of as fantasy noir set amidst an urban underworld subculture of sorcerers, shapeshifters, seers and vampires in a depressed modern Moscow. […]

Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska star in the polish horror fantasy by Agnieszka Smoczynska

‘The Lure’ – these Little Mermaids have teeth on Criterion Channel

The strangest take on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” ever put on the screen, The Lure (Poland, 2015) is a musical-horror-fantasy-romantic tragedy from Poland about mermaid sisters with a taste for human flesh. Like the sirens of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) are feral creatures who […]