Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric in the French drama by Arnaud Desplechin

‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ – Life, art, and love on Hulu

French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin makes films about the messiness of families, lovers, and creative lives that can become quite messy in their telling. Ismael’s Ghosts (France, 2018) jumps abruptly back and forth in time and between biography and fiction and dreams, smudging the line between biography, fiction, and artistic imagination. Desplechin regular Mathieu Amalric is […]

Leonardo DiCaprio is Howard Hughes in 'The Aviator,' directed by Martin Scorsese

‘The Aviator’ – Martin Scorsese on Howard Hughes on Netflix

The Aviator (2004), Martin Scorsese’s epic biography of the life of Howard Hughes, is his love-letter to the old-Hollywood bio-pic. This is high-style filmmaking wrapped up in a tormented hero whose soaring flights of greatness are matched by the mortal pull of his devils, which Scorsese establishes (perhaps too patly) in a childhood prologue bathed […]

David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Dr.’ on Amazon Prime Video

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 […]

Lambert Wilson as Jacques Cousteau in the film by Jérôme Salle

‘The Odyssey’ of Jacques Cousteau on Netflix

The Odyssey (France, 2016) is not Homer’s mythic quest but the epic voyage that Jacques Cousteau took around the world for years of TV documentaries on the exploration for marine life. Lambert Wilson is Jacques-Yves Cousteau in a biographical drama that presents a portrait of a man cultivating an on-screen image very different from the […]

French filmmaker and film historian Bertrand Tavernier is your tour guide in this personal documentary

Bertrand Tavernier presents ‘My Journey Through French Cinema’ on FilmStruck

Bertrand Tavernier is both an essential French filmmaker and a dedicated film historian. His epic (over three hours long) documentary My Journey Through French Cinema (France, 2016) combines the two professional callings in a decidedly personal look at the cinema that shaped and excited him as both a cinephile and a filmmaker. Forget the familiar […]

Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh on the set of the 1960 film 'Psycho' from the documentary by Alexandre O. Philippe

’78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene’ – exploring ‘Psycho’ on Hulu

The title of 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene (2017), a documentary on the legendary sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1961 classic Psycho, refers to the 78 camera set-ups and 52 cuts in the three-minute scene, an astounding attention to detail to a brief sequence that shocked American audiences with transgressions suggested but not actually shown on screen. […]

Kirk Douglas stars with Edward G. Robinson in the 1962 melodrama by director Vincent Minnelli.

‘Two Weeks in Another Town’ – Old Hollywood meets the 1960s on FilmStruck

Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) is one of my favorite Vincent Minnelli films of the 1960s, a movie melodrama (as in a melodrama about the movies) set in the Italy, where has-beens and struggling talents come to cash in on cut-rate productions and one washed-up actor (Kirk Douglas) tries to find his confidence after […]

A documentary on the life and career of American filmmaker Sidney Lumet.

‘By Sidney Lumet’ – Celebrating New York’s filmmaker on Amazon Prime Video

Sidney Lumet was one of the great American filmmakers. He earned his first of four best director Oscar nominations for his feature debut, 12 Angry Men (1957), and directed such American classics as The Pawnbroker (1964), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and Network (1976) in a career that spanned more than 50 years of […]

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Martin Scorsese's love letter to the movies and his first PG movie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ on Amazon Prime

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s first family film (it’s PG!) and his first engagement with 3D, is a love letter to the magic of cinema. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, it is a tribute to early film pioneer George Méliès (played by Ben Kinsgley), a child’s adventure through a grown-up world of loss and […]

Martin Scorsese and Michael Henry Wilson present this documentary

‘A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies’ on Amazon Prime Video

A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995) is both the title and the description of this idiosyncratic production made as part of the BFI’s A Century of Cinema celebration. The assignment was to make a 52-minute program. Scorsese and his collaborator Michael Henry Wilson overshot their target length by quite a distance: […]