Miike Takashi’s deliriously bizarre 2001 Japanese musical remake of the South Korean dark comedy The Quiet Family

‘The Happiness of the Katakuris’ – Musical madness on Amazon Prime

The Happiness of the Katakuris (Japan, 2001), Miike Takashi’s deliriously bizarre 2001 musical remake of the South Korean dark comedy The Quiet Family, is a bright, energetic, gonzo comedy about a dysfunctional family who run a secluded inn where guests check in but they don’t check out. Think The Sound of Music at the Bates […]

Billy Howle stars in the Agatha Christie adaptation with Toby Jones, Kim Cattrall, and Andrea Riseborough

‘Witness for the Prosecution’ – A darker shade of Agatha Christie on Acorn

The British telefilm version of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution (2016) returns to the original source material, in this case the 1925 short story, to create a very different version from the play and 1957 film. It’s set in London after World War I where Leonard Vole (Billy Howle), a former soldier struggling to […]

Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in Noah Baumbach's family satire

Nicole Kidman is ‘Margot at the Wedding’ on Netflix

Nicole Kidman is Margot, a tightly wound author and dubiously maternal mother who breaks the silence with her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to attend her wedding, in Noah Baumbach’s savagely funny satire Margot at the Wedding (2007). Nicole Kidman plays brittle and chilly beautifully, but her self-involved and judgmental Margo is something else altogether. […]

The second film in Dario Argento's "Three Mothers" trilogy is his most abstractly beautiful

Dario Argento’s ‘Inferno’ on Amazon Prime

Inferno (Italy, 1980), the second film in Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy, is ostensibly a sequel to Suspiria, though it has no characters or storylines in common with Dario Argento’s giallo classic. What it shares is style and sensibility and dreamy, unreal imagery. Irene Miracle appears to be our heroine, a New York girl captivated […]

Angelina Jolie directs the story of human rights activist Loung Ung

What to stream: Angelina Jolie’s ‘First They Killed My Father,’ a ‘Lost City’ on Amazon, ‘Nocturama’ on Netflix, ‘It Comes’ to VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … First They Killed My Father (2017, not rated), from filmmaker Angelina Jolie, dramatizes the story of human rights activist Loung Ung as young girl surviving the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. Jolie wrote […]

Ringo Lam directs the lavish Hong Kong action film

‘Sky on Fire’ – Hong Kong action on Netflix

Ringo Lam made his name as Hong Kong cinema’s grittier, leaner alternative to John Woo’s flamboyant action films with Prison on Fire (1987) and City on Fire (1987), the latter most famous as one of the primary inspirations of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (the heist, the undercover cop, and the image of the multi-gun stand-off […]

Tim Streeter and Doug Cooeyate star in the directorial debut of Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant’s ‘Mala Noche’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Mala Noche (1986), the feature debut of Gus Van Sant adapted from the autobiographical novel by Portland “street poet” Walt Curtis, is an intimate black and white tale of l’amour fou steeped in the culture of Portland, Oregon’s (now long gone) skid row. Walt (Tim Streeter), a counter jockey at a grimy liquor store in […]

Hiroshi Abe and Yôko Maki star in the family drama by Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda

‘After the Storm’ on Amazon Prime

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda directs the most perceptive and compassionate films about the difficult relations that put strains on families and the generosity and understanding that helps overcome those difficulties. After the Storm (Japan, 2017) is one of his most understated family dramas, a lovely, low-key film about divorce and disappointment that, like the title […]

Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Riley Keough star in the horror thriller from Trey Edward Shults

‘It Comes at Night’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The title of It Comes at Night (2017) sets certain expectations. What exactly comes at night? But the survival thriller from writer/director Trey Edward Shults, set sometime after the ravages of an unnamed and unexplained plague have ripped through the cities and sent survivors into the isolation of the wilderness, isn’t about monsters (human or […]