Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant in Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece 'Let the Right One In '

‘Let the Right One In’ – A Swedish vampire on Hulu

Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece Let the Right One In (2008) is grounded in a devoted friendship that bonds two outcasts in a predatory world. Bullied schoolboy Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a loner so blond he looks albino, meets twelve-year-old Eli (Lina Leandersson), a fellow loner hanging around the snow-covered playground of […]

Juliette Binoche vacations in ‘Slack Bay’ on Netflix

Bruno Dumont, once the chronicler of misery, alienation, and violence in rural France, has become a director of odd comedies with dark edges, first with the miniseries Li’l Quinquin and now Slack Bay (France, 2016). Slack Bay is set on the coast of Northern France in 1910, where the eccentric and wealthy Van Peteghem family arrives to […]

Masaki Kobayashi directs the quartet of Japanese ghost stories

‘Kwaidan’ – Japanese ghost stories on Criterion Channel

Kwaidan (Japan, 1964), Masaki Kobayashi’s quartet of ancient ghost stories, may not be strictly speaking a horror film. It’s not scary or particularly unsettling apart for a few exquisitely created images. It is, however, breathtakingly lovely, visually composed like a painting, scored and sound designed by Toru Takemitsu with a spareness that leans on silence, […]

‘Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key’ on Amazon Prime

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Italy, 1972), directed by Sergio Martino and ostensibly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat,” stars the voluptuous, dark-eyed beauty Edwige Fenech, the sex bomb of giallo, in what was (in the words of genre film historian Justin Harries) “Her finest and […]

Marianne Morris and Anulka star in the Erotica horror film from Joseph Larraz

‘Vampyres’ – Seventies Eurotica horror on Amazon Prime

In Vampyres (1974, NC-17), one of the more interesting slices of seventies vampire Eurotica, Spanish filmmaker Joseph Larraz (aka José Ramón Larraz) reworks “Carmilla” and rewrites the vampire myth to make his bloodsucking lovelies the restless ghosts of lesbian lovers murdered while making love in their shadowy castle. Reappearing nightly in the twilight forest, they […]

‘Miss Hokusai’ on Netflix

Miss Hokusai (Japan, 2015) is actually an artist from early 19th century Japan by the name of O-Ei Katsushika, a young woman who trained under her father, the legendary Japanese painter Hokusai Katsushika. Based on the biographical manga “Sarusuberi” by Hinako Sugiura, this is an episodic animated feature, like a collection of memories and vignettes […]

Jackie Chan stars in the China / India co-production directed by Stanley Tong

Jackie Chan in ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ on Netflix

For Kung Fu Yoga (China, 2017), Jackie Chan returns to the Indiana Jones-inspired adventure comedy of his 1986 hit Armour of God, albeit as an older, more modest archaeologist adventurer, for this co-production between China and India. Jackie is Professor Jack Chan, ostensibly the same character he played in The Myth, who is lured back […]

Charles Berling and Juliette Binoche star in Olivier Assayas’ touching French drama

‘Summer Hours’ on Hulu and Criterion Channel

Olivier Assayas’ Summer Hours (France, 2008) plays like a miniature, a small film of small dramas in the scope of large lives. Mortality once again hangs over the story of a family estate and the rich treasures of art history that goes with it. Family matriarch Helene (Edith Scob) has preserved the country home of […]