Bruce Willis and Reece Thompson in the film by Brett Simon

‘Assassination of a High School President’ on Amazon Prime Video

The name’s Bobby Funke. I write for the paper.” At least that’s how this picked-on sophomore imagines himself in Assassination of a High School President (2008): the loner who walks a straight line through the crooked halls of his corrupt Catholic high school. Funke (who is inevitably called “Funky” by his schoolmates) narrates his tale […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Netflix

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

Humphrey Bogart and Lizbeth Scott star in the 1947 film noir directed by John Cromwell

Humphrey Bogart in ‘Dead Reckoning’ on Amazon Prime Video

Any resemblance between Dead Reckoning (1947) and classic hard-boiled Humphrey Bogart classics The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep is anything but coincidental (“A guy’s buddy gets killed, he oughta do something about it,” Bogie explains in an line from the Sam Spade playbook) in this murder mystery of deception and double crosses. Narrating in […]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the high school neo-noir by Rian Johnson

‘Brick’- High school noir on Netflix

Brick (2005), the debut feature from Star Trek: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson, puts the collected works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett in a blender with a jigger of teenage melodrama and pours it into a high school mold. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays things so close to his chest that he’s almost unreadable as […]

Myrna Loy and William Powell (with Asta) as Nick and Nora Charles in the great mystery series

‘The Thin Man’ collection on VOD and DVD

It’s cocktail hour on the mystery beat: William Powell and Myrna Loy are Nick and Nora Charles, the world’s most debonair detective team, in six delightful mysteries. It all begins with The Thin Man (1934), a sparkling adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel of a former working class sleuth gone high society and his game social […]

Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh in the film by Orson Welles

‘Touch of Evil’ – Orson Welles on the border on Netflix

Orson Welles’ baroque border town murder mystery Touch of Evil (1958/1998) is a wild masterpiece, a sleazy, grimy, jittery, and ultimately dazzling work of cinematic magic. It’s considered the last great film noir and the bookend to the true noir era. It was also Welles’s last attempt at a career in Hollywood before he packed […]

Luke Treadaway, Anna Chancellor, Bill Nighy and Morven Christie in the Agatha Christie miniseries

What to stream: ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ on Amazon Prime, the ‘Guernsey’ Society on Netflix, ‘Borg vs McEnroe’ on Hulu

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Ordeal by Innocence, a three-part murder mystery based on one of Agatha Christie’s favorite novels, stars Anna Chancellor as a wealthy philanthropist and murder victim and Bill Nighy, Matthew Goode, Alice […]

Yael Stone and Noah Taylor in the Australian crime drama 'Deep Water'

‘Deep Water’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Acorn TV

Noah Taylor is veteran police detective Nick Manning and Yael Stone (180 degrees from her Orange is the New Black Jersey girl Lorna) his young partner Tori Lustigman in the Australian crime drama miniseries Deep Water (2016). It’s set in Bondi Beach, a suburb of Sydney famous for its tourist beaches and nightclubs that was […]

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorsese's film of the Dennis Lahane novel

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Shutter Island (2009) opens, appropriately, shrouded in fog. Then our hero, Detective Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), cuts through the gray, standing on the prow of a tug boat chugging toward an isolated island hospital for the criminally insane. Daniels and his partner (Mark Ruffalo), city cops from an era of fedoras and trench coats and […]