Matt Damon is Mark Whitacre in the movie by Steven Soderbergh

Matt Damon is ‘The Informant!’ on Netflix

Biochemical engineer and corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre might have been a national hero for his help in exposing international price fixing. Too bad he was also a compulsive liar and an embezzler caught up in delusions of grandeur and secret-agent fantasies. Though based on a true story, The Informant! (2009) is not The Insider but […]

Jean-Pierre Melville directs the French Resistance classic starring Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret

‘Army of Shadows’ – Jean-Pierre Melville’s French Resistance on FilmStruck

Legendary gangster movie director Jean-Pierre Melville turned his familiar crime film iconography on its head with Army of Shadows (France, 1969), his gravely personal drama about the early days of the French Resistance in World War II. Gangster movie icon Lino Ventura plays Resistance leader Philippe Gerbier with an observant stillness and coiled calm different […]

Kirk Douglas stars in Billy's Wilder's noir-tinged newspaper drama from 1951

‘Ace in the Hole’ – newspaper noir at its most acidic on FilmStruck

Billy Wilder is the American cinema’s most famous cynic, but nothing in his career is as scathing as his noir-tinged newspaper drama Ace in the Hole (1951), his indictment of the American media circus. There’s not a more amoral hero in Wilder’s filmography than Kirk Douglas’s Chuck Tatum, an arrogant big city newsman stuck in […]

Daniel Radcliffe stars as an FBI agent undercover in the white supremacist underground in Imperium

‘Imperium’- Undercover in Amerikkka on Amazon Prime Video

Imperium (2016), an undercover thriller “inspired by real events” (which I guess is a step removed from “based on a true story”), stars Daniel Radcliffe as an FBI analyst working the social media end of the terrorist watch team. Nate is intelligent, observant, and cultured but socially awkward, a loner and the butt of jokes […]

Ricardo Darin and Gaston Pauls in the film by Fabian Bielinsky from Argentina

‘Nine Queens’ – Argentina con artist classic on Hulu and FilmStruck

There is no honor among thieves in Fabian Bielinsky’s Nine Queens (Argentina, 2000), at least not in the code of Marcos (Ricardo Darin). The world is a mercenary place, he instructs his new acolyte Juan (Gaston Pauls). To illustrate the camera turns to the Argentine urban jungle around them and reveals the feeding frenzy of […]

Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin star in the psychological drama directed by Hubert Cornfield

Sidney Poitier finds his ‘Pressure Point’ on Amazon Prime

Pressure Point (1962) stars Sidney Poitier is a veteran psychiatrist who talks a frustrated younger colleague (played with animated gusto by Peter Falk) through a difficult patient by sharing a story from his past. As a young psychiatrist working in a federal penitentiary in 1942, he’s assigned the case of an angry young white supremacist […]

Lars von Trier directs Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe in his dark psychological thriller

Lars von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’ on FilmStruck

I’m not sure how I manage to keep my simultaneous fascination with /repulsion for Lars von Trier in balance, but it’s there with a vengeance in Antichrist (Denmark, 2009), another provocation that is at once beautiful and perverse, personal and cynical, and filled with his sour vision of the emotional small-mindedness (small-heartedness?) of the human […]

The complete ‘Lost’ on Hulu

Lost: Complete Series (2004-2010) – The very definition of high-concept television, this addictive survival series turned metaphysical mystery is arguably the most successful and certainly the most richly and deeply woven show of its kind. What began as an exotic Gilligan’s Island through The Twilight Zone turned into a mind-bending show with supernatural echoes and […]

Blu-ray: ‘Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection’ on Universal

Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Blu-ray) – The box set of 15 Alfred Hitchcock pictures made between 1942 and 1976 (featuring films from Paramount, Warner Bros, and MGM as well as Universal Studios) expands on the 2012 Blu-ray box set Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection with two bonus DVDs highlighting Hitchcock’s […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

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 […]