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 […]

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 […]

Una Stubbs, Simon Callow, Virginia McKenna, and Bernard Hill star in the British caper comedy

‘Golden Years’ – Senior citizen crime wave on Acorn TV

Golden Years (2016) – Think of this caper comedy as a British twist on Going in Style with a side of social commentary on the treatment of aging pensioners. Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna star as retirees who have lost their retirement savings in the financial crisis and turn to robbing banks, targeting the bonuses […]

Ham Tran directs this Vietnamese caper film

‘Bitcoin Heist’ – Caper film from Vietnam on Netflix

Bitcoin Heist (Vietnam, 2016) is a conundrum of a title. After all, Bitcoin is a virtual currency and a heist suggests, well, something a little more physical than computer hacking. That’s part of the fun of this colorful and zippy Vietnamese action film: old-fashioned heist thriller meets the high-tech world of cybercrime, a production modeled […]

Casey Affleck in Ben Affleck's directorial debut

‘Gone Baby Gone’ on Netflix

Ben Affleck made a confident and compelling directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone (2007), his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s mystery novel about a pair of young private detectives (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) hired to look for the missing daughter of a junkie mother (Amy Ryan, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance). It’s […]

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 […]