Jacques Tati directs, writes, and stars in this sublime comedy from France.

‘Playtime’ – Jacques Tati’s comic masterpiece on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

A film comedy directed with the grace of a ballet, the painstaking detail of an action painting and the affection of a love song, Jacques Tati’s Playtime (1967) is one of the most sublime celebrations of individualism in the alienated landscape of modern urban life and consumer culture. This is a different kind of symphony of […]

Joan Crawford stars in the film noir directed by David Miller

Joan Crawford in ‘Sudden Fear’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Joan Crawford took charge of her career as she aged out of the ingénue roles that propelled her to stardom, developing stories and pursuing properties that offered strong characters for a mature woman. She gave herself a second act when she fought hard for Mildred Pierce (1945) at Warner Bros. and seven years later, as […]

What to stream: Writing the ‘Obit.’ on Amazon and a ‘Little Evil’ on Netflix

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 … The documentary Obit. (2016, not rated) profiles the staff obituary writers of The New York Times, one of the last papers in the country to support a staff of writers dedicated […]

Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino star in the film noir by Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray’s ‘On Dangerous Ground’ on FilmStruck

On Dangerous Ground (1952), directed by Nicholas Ray from a script he developed with A.I. Bezzerides and producer John Houseman, opens on the urgent yet fractured dramatic score by Bernard Herrmann, a theme that rushes forward anxiously, pauses with quieter instruments, then jumps again as we watch the nocturnal city streets in the rain through […]

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 'World on a Wire'

‘World on a Wire’ – the first virtual reality thriller on FilmStruck

World on a Wire (Germany, 1973), made by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973 for German television, is to the best of my knowledge the first film to explore virtual reality. And this from a director who never made a science film before or since. There are no Matrix visuals here—you might say that Fassbinder suggests his […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on FilmStruck

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

Peter Serafinowicz is "The Tick" in the superhero comedy series.

What to stream: ‘The Tick’ is back and as cheerfully dim as ever on Amazon and more ‘Guardians’ on VOD

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 … Peter Serafinowicz plays the big blue insect of justice, most cheerfully, sweetly oblivious hero to squeeze into tights, in the Amazon original series The Tick, the third version of the superhero […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]

Robert Mitchum stars in the Peter Yates crime classic adapted from the George V. Higgins novel

‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), adapted from the terrific novel by George V. Higgins and produced in the wake of The French Connection, is probably the least heralded crime movie classic of the seventies. Robert Mitchum is Eddie ‘Fingers’ Coyle, a middleman working the fringes of the Boston underworld while awaiting sentencing, which prompts […]

Seret Scott and Bill Gunn in the landmark feature film debut by Kathleen Collins

‘Losing Ground’ – The landmark American indie on FilmStruck

If you’ve never heard of American playwright and filmmaker Kathleen Collins, don’t feel bad. At least not for yourself. Collins succumbed to cancer in 1988 at the age of 46 after completing just one feature. The independently-made Losing Ground (1982) was produced before the American Indie film culture established itself with the successes of Spike […]