Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ on Hulu and Sundance Now

Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese’s incendiary masterpiece of alienation and anger and urban anxiety may be the most maverick vision of seventies American cinema. It is certainly one of the most visceral portraits of the American urban underbelly ever put on film, a movie bathed in blood as much as in light, and almost forty years […]

Mathieu Amalric and Catherine Deneuve, directed by Arnaud Desplechin

‘A Christmas Tale’ – A messy family holiday on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

A Christmas Tale (France, 2008), Arnaud Desplechin’s mercurial, knotty and cinematically vibrant drama of family dysfunction stirred up over a Christmas gathering, was my pick for best film of 2008. Directing with restless energy, Desplechin sketches out a family tragedy, the untimely death of a first-born, that precedes the story by decades and then only […]

Peter O’Toole, Barbara Hershey, and Steve Railsback star in Richard Rush’s Oscar-nominated film

‘The Stunt Man’ on Sundance Now

The Stunt Man (1980), Richard Rush’s brilliant little backstage drama of illusion and reality and moviemaking sleight of hand, earned three Oscar nominations and universally glowing reviews, yet is was barely seen on its initial release and became an almost instant cult classic. Steve Railsback is intense and haunted as the Vietnam vet on the […]

Alison Brie stars in the Netflix original series

What to stream: ‘GLOW’ with Alison Brie and Disney’s ‘Moana’ on Netflix

The Netflix original comedy GLOW: Season 1 stars Alison Brie as a frustrated actress in 1980s Los Angeles who answers a casting call for “unconventional women” and finds herself cast in a women’s wrestling cable series. The series was real: “GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” played on cable for years. This series, created by Nurse […]

What to stream: ‘War Machine’ on Netflix, ‘Moonlight’ on Amazon, ‘Becoming Bond’ on Hulu

Brad Pitt is an American career officer charged with winding down the war in Afghanistan in the satirical War Machine, a fictionalized version of the non-fiction book by Michael Hastings reworked by Australian director/screenwriter David Michod (Animal Kingdom) as a black comedy of bureaucratic dysfunction and military arrogance. “At its best, War Machine crackles with […]

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe star in Lars von Trier's horror film / psychodrama

Lars von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’ on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

I’m not sure how I manage to keep my simultaneous fascination with /repulsion for Lars von Trier in balance, but it’s back with a vengeance in Antichrist (2009), a 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 animal. […]

The Netflix reboot of MST3K from creator Joel Hodgson stars Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt

What to stream: The next generation of MST3K on Netflix, Oscar-nominees on VOD

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return revives the cult comedy show built around robot puppets heckling bad movies with Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as the new mad scientists (“the mads,” as the fans say) and Jonah Ray as their human test subject. “The deceptively ingenious structure of the show offers a double experience, of […]

'American Playboy' - Chicago Playboy club opening night.

What to stream: ‘American Playboy’ on Amazon, ‘The BFG’ on Netflix, ‘Rogue One’ and ‘Paterson’ on VOD

Amazon Prime presents the original documentary series American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, which profiles the man, the brand, and the lifestyle he advocated through his magazine and his clubs with a mix of documentary and dramatic recreation. “If not quite a hagiography, it is very much an official document — “my story, or at […]