Aubrey Plaza stars with Elizabeth Olsen in the social media satire turned stalker drama from filmmaker Matt Spicer

‘Ingrid Goes West’ – Aubrey Plaza is following you on Hulu

Aubrey Plaza goes full on stalker in Ingrid Goes West (2017), a discomfortingly funny satire of social media obsession and living virtually through online interaction goes into some dark places. And I don’t mean just the disturbing psychology of our manic heroine or the cutting commentary on the way social media dominates our lives. This […]

Brie Larson stars in the award-winning 'Short Term 12,' inspired by the personal experience of filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton

‘Short Term 12’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Brie Larson earned an Oscar for her performance in Room (2015) but her breakout role was in Short Term 12 (2013), a tender and touching drama set in a facility for at risk, abandoned, or otherwise homeless kids that can’t get placement with foster families. What could be a portrait of instability and institutional failings, however, […]

Michael Stuhlbarg stars in the 2009 film by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coen Bros.’ ‘A Serious Man’ – a modern Job on Netflix

A Serious Man (2009) is a serious (and seriously funny) meditation on little themes like the meaning of life and why are we here and how can we know God’s purpose, and is as funny, heartbreaking, questioning, trying, exasperating and sincerely inquisitive a portrait of the human condition as you’ll find on screen. You could […]

Peter Wyngarde and Janet Blair star in the adaptation of the Fritz Leiber novel from director Sidney Hayers

‘Burn, Witch, Burn!’ on Amazon Prime

Burn, Witch, Burn! (1962), also called Night of the Eagle, is a smartly-turned thriller about witchcraft, skepticism and dark magic adapted from the Fritz Leiber novel “Conjure Wife” by two of the masters of fantasy, horror and suspense: Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont (both veteran Twilight Zone scriptwriters). Peter Wyngarde stars as the college psychology […]

Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska star in the polish horror fantasy by Agnieszka Smoczynska

‘The Lure’ – these Little Mermaids have teeth on Criterion Channel

The strangest take on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” ever put on the screen, The Lure (Poland, 2015) is a musical-horror-fantasy-romantic tragedy from Poland about mermaid sisters with a taste for human flesh. Like the sirens of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) are feral creatures who […]

Matthew McConaughey won an Academy Award for playing Ron Woodroof in the film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

Oscar-winning ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ on Netflix

Matthew McConaughey is so good in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) that he shows up the limitations of this drama based on true events. McConaughey lost a lot weight to play Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician and rodeo rider in the late 1980s whose reckless lifestyle leaves him with AIDS, a diagnosis this redneck homophobe denies […]

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 […]

Ryan Gosling stars in the sequel to the sci-fi cult classic, Denis Villeneuve directs

‘Blade Runner 2049’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

35 years after the original Blade Runner changed the landscape of big screen science fiction, Blade Runner 2049 (2017) dared build on the dystopian portrait of the ecologically devastated urban imaged on screen by director Ridley Scott and his team of designers and artists. Just as in the original, this film is as much about […]

Errol Morris’s landmark ‘The Thin Blue Line’ on Netflix

Documentaries have changed minds, championed causes, and even reversed policy, but The Thin Blue Line (1988) may be the first film to free a man from prison. Randall Adams was on death row in Texas for the murder of a patrolman, convicted on the testimony of another suspect and a psychiatrist who made his living […]