Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer star in Rob Reiner's 'This is Spinal Tap'

‘This Is Spinal Tap’ – crank it to 11 on Hulu

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” – Nigel Tufnel Rob Reiner walks that fine line in his hilarious mockrockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), ostensibly the portrait of a has-been metal band resurrected from a well-deserved obscurity for a disastrous comeback tour. Improv comedy veterans Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer don’t […]

Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman in the 1955 film by Douglas Sirk

‘All that Heaven Allows’ – Love as suburban opera on Amazon Prime Video

Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman were so successful in Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession that they all reteamed for All that Heaven Allows (1955) as Sirk became Universal’s house melodramatist. He turned improbable plots into social commentary and pulling back the covers of middle class hypocrisy with an ironic visual style and an almost operatic emotional […]

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 […]

Charles Laughton and Kathleen Burke in the 1932 horror classic based on H.G. Wells' 'The Island of Dr. Moreau'

Are we not men? – ‘Island of Lost Souls’ on Amazon Prime Video

Dr. Moreau: What is the law? Sayer of the Law: Not to spill blood, that is the law. Are we not men? “Are we not men?” That question is at the heart of Island of Lost Souls (1932), the first adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel and (for all the changes from the novel) still […]

Leo Gordon and Neville Brand in the prison drama by Don Siegel

‘Riot in Cell Block 11’ on Amazon Prime Video

It may not have been obvious at the time but Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) was a perfect match of film and filmmaker. Don Siegel later made a name for himself with his gritty Clint Eastwood collaborations (not to mention his brilliant Invasion of the Body Snatchers) but was just a promising journeyman director […]

Ingrid Thulin and Max Von Sydow in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Dark theater: Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Magician’ on Filmstruck

Ingmar Bergman created The Magician (Sweden, 1958), in the midst of his most fertile and prolific period of filmmaking. It’s a chamber drama about a travelling medicine show fronted by a mute mesmerist (Max von Sydow) that enters into a battle of wills with the Minister of Health (Gunnar Björnstrand), a rationalist who considers the […]

Victor Sjöström and Ingrid Thulin in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman recalls the ‘Wild Strawberries’ of youth on FilmStruck

In Wild Strawberries (Sweden, 1957), Ingmar Bergman takes that most venerable of modern genres, the road movie, and transforms it into the contemplative journey of an aging professor into his unexamined past. Victor Sjöström, one of the great Swedish director of the silent era as well as an actor (and one of Bergman’s heroes), was […]

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot star in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Life, death, and chess in Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ on FilmStruck

Arguably the most famous of Ingmar Bergman’s films and certainly his most iconic, The Seventh Seal (Sweden, 1957) is Bergman at his most allegorical. Max von Sydow, young and blond and heroic, is a disillusioned knight returned from the Crusades in a state of spiritual desperation: his faith has been shaken by senseless death and […]

The Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Smiles of a Summer Night’ on FilmStruck

Ingmar Bergman’s reputation is built on a foundation of introspective human dramas and personal crises steeped in philosophical discussions, conversations that scrape tender emotions and troubled relationships laid bare. And yes, his career is filled with such cinema, much of it dark, most of it very serious and all of it (to a greater or […]