Anna Magnani stars in Jean Renoir's adaptation of the Prosper Merimee play

Jean Renoir’s ‘The Golden Coach’ on Amazon Prime

Anna Magnani stars as the earthy, vivacious diva of The Golden Coach (France/Italy, 1952), an adaptation of a Prosper Merimee play about a traveling troupe of Italian commedia dell’arte players in a Peruvian backwater where three men (a viceroy, a bullfighter, and a fellow performer) vie for the affections of the company’s leading lady. An […]

'Straight Outta Compton': The story of N.W.A.

‘Straight Outta Compton’ on VOD and disc

Billed as “The World’s Most Dangerous Group,” N.W.A. was a musical bomb that blew up the hip-hop world with such force that the reverberations were felt all through popular culture. Straight Outta Compton, developed by N.W.A. founding members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre and directed by F. Gary Gray, dramatizes origins and impact of the […]

Miike Takashi’s deliriously bizarre 2001 Japanese musical remake of the South Korean dark comedy The Quiet Family

‘The Happiness of the Katakuris’ – Musical madness on Amazon Prime

The Happiness of the Katakuris (Japan, 2001), Miike Takashi’s deliriously bizarre 2001 musical remake of the South Korean dark comedy The Quiet Family, is a bright, energetic, gonzo comedy about a dysfunctional family who run a secluded inn where guests check in but they don’t check out. Think The Sound of Music at the Bates […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]

John Sheinfeld's documentary portrait of Harry Nilsson

‘Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talking About Him)?’ on Amazon Prime

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talking About Him)? (2006) – The name may not be instantly recognizable but Harry Nilsson (who died of cancer in 1994) was once the golden boy of American pop music. The Grammy-winning singer (“Everybody’s Talking,” “Without You”) and songwriter (“Me and My Arrow,” “Jump Into the Fire”) […]

P.J. Soles and The Ramones

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ on Criterion Channel

“Do your parents know you’re Ramones?” If Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) isn’t the greatest rock and rebellion film of all time it is certainly on the short list, a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it’s there. They aren’t exactly […]

Patrick McGoohan, Paul Harris, Marti Stevens star, Basil Dearden directs

‘All Night Long’ – Jazz Othello on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Set over the course of a single night in a sleek jazz club carved out of a waterfront warehouse (the passion of a jazz-loving millionaire played by Richard Attenborough), All Night Long (1962) reworks Shakespeare’s Othello for the 1960s jazz culture culture of musicians and singers and nightclub showbiz dealings. Iago here is America drummer […]

The Beatles come to America in the documentary 'The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.'

‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years’ on Hulu

Do we need another documentary on The Beatles? Yes, they are music legends, rock royalty, and a popular culture phenomenon, and they have been duly studied, appreciated, dissected, and celebrated practically from the moment they set foot on American soil. Is there anything left to say? Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – […]

Oscar Isaac in the Coen Bros. film 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ on Amazon Prime

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), directed by the Coen Bros. and starring Oscar Isaac in his breakthrough role, was almost entirely overlooked at the Oscars. Perhaps that’s because, despite the astounding recreation of the Greenwich Village scene and an atmosphere and texture that you can almost feel through the screen, struggling folk singer Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) […]