Jamie Chung in 'Eden,' directed by Megan Griffiths

‘Eden’ – Surviving sexual slavery on Amazon Prime

Eden (2012) is the name given to Hyun-Jae (Jamie Chung), an 18-year-old Korean-American teenager kidnapped and imprisoned in a sex slavery ring in the American southwest, in Megan Griffiths’s dramatization of the true story of Chong Kim (who collaborated on the screen story). Hyun-Jae is held captive with dozens of other girls in what can […]

Mel Gibson in George Miller's original 1979 'Mad Max'

‘Mad Max’ on FilmStruck

The original Mad Max (1979), George Miller’s grungy 1979 revenge flick, was an international smash when American International Pictures—the kings of the drive-in movies who spawned Roger Corman, teen horror, and biker films—acquired the film and replaced those Aussie accents with good ol’ American talk. It never really hit in the US and it’s hard to […]

Édgar Ramírez plays Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, in 'Carlos,' from filmmaker Olivier Assayas

‘Carlos’ – The making of a terrorist superstar on Netflix and Sundance Now

Carlos (2010), Olivier Assayas’ epic account of the life and myth of real-life terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is a mesmerizing portrait of a committed activist who transforms himself into a media-hungry rock star of an international terrorist. Édgar Ramírez plays Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal (a name he appropriates from a Fredrick Forsythe […]

‘Legend’-ary Martial Arts Comedy with Jet Li and Jackie Chan on Netflix

Jet Li became a superstar in Asia after taking the lead in the hit Once Upon a Time in China films, epic martial arts adventures set at the turn of the century and featuring Li as the real-life healer and martial arts master Wong Fei-hung, transformed into a modest, soft-spoken scholar who unleashes his unworldly […]

The delirious cinematic dreamscape world of Guy Maddin's 'The Forbidden Room'

‘The Forbidden Room’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Fandor

Canadian iconoclast Guy Maddin has been making strange, surreal films that evoke the images and storytelling traditions of silent movies for decades. The Forbidden Room (2015), which he co-directed with his former student Evan Johnson, is like a compendium of his obsessions and cinematic fetishes. It opens on a mock-instructional film on “How to Take […]

Teyonah Parris stars in Spike Lee's 'Chi-Raq.'

Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’ on Amazon Prime

Spike Lee weaves a familiar call through Chi-Raq (2015), his polarizing portrait of violence on Chicago’s South Side. Wake up. It’s been a cry and a plea since his first studio feature, School Daze (1998), and it’s particularly resonant in a film about black-on-black gang violence in Chicago, where more Americans have been murdered in […]