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

‘This Is Spinal Tap’ on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

“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 […]

What to stream: ‘Jackie’ and ‘Moana’ on VOD and more

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand Natalie Portman earned an Oscar nomination in Jackie as the widow of JFK in the days after his assassination. Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain brings his passion for political and social history to his American film debut and his perspective is illuminating. Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt co-star (R). […]

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's award-winning film

Wong Kar-Wai’s melancholy ‘In the Mood for Love’ on FilmStruck

There may be no more sensual director in the world than Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai, and In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong, 2000) is one of his richest and most melancholy works, a shadow dance of would-be lovers sketched in suggestions and intimations. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai star as next door neighbors […]

P.J. Soles and The Ramones

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ on Criterion Channel

“Do your parents know you’re Ramones?” If Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) isn’t the greatest rock and rebellion film of all time it is certainly on the short list, a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it’s there. They aren’t exactly […]

Juliette Binoche and William Shimell star in Abbas Kiarostami's first European production

‘Certified Copy’ on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

The Certified Copy (2010) of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami’s first European production refers to artworks—Why do we value a reproduction less than an original and what does authenticity even mean?—but resonates just as effectively with the art of filmmaking and its relationship to reproduction and recreation. “It’s our perception that gives it value,” to quote […]

Kim Jin-kyu and Lee Eun-shim in Kim Ki-young's original "The Housemaid" from South Korea

‘The Housemaid’ – The 1960 Korean classic on FilmStruck

Kim Ki-young’s The Housemaid (South Korea, 1960) is a classic of South Korean cinema but until Criterion released the film on disc in 2013 it was largely unknown (or at least unseen) to even the most dedicated cinephile apart from its inspiration for Im Sang-soo’s 2010 remake. As I discovered, the two films couldn’t be […]

Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Irene Jacob star in Krzysztof Kieslowski 's Blue, White, and Red trilogy

‘Three Colors’ – Kieslowski’s sublime trilogy on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

The three colors are blue, white and red. They are the colors of the French flag, of course, and they are appropriated by director Krzysztof Kieslowski along with the themes of the motto they more or less represent: liberty, equality, fraternity. But the films Three Colors: Blue (1993), Three Colors: White (1993), and Three Colors: […]

Patrick McGoohan, Paul Harris, Marti Stevens star, Basil Dearden directs

‘All Night Long’ – Jazz Othello on Criterion Channel

Set over the course of a single night in a sleek jazz club carved out of a waterfront warehouse (the passion of a jazz-loving millionaire played by Richard Attenborough), All Night Long (1962) reworks Shakespeare’s Othello for the 1960s jazz culture culture of musicians and singers and nightclub showbiz dealings. Iago here is America drummer […]

John Wayne , Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Donald Meek, Louise Platt, directed by John Ford

John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’ on Criterion Channel

Stagecoach (1939) – John Ford’s classic western is a landmark of the genre for so many reasons: mature, classically constructed and superbly directed, it made a star of John Wayne, revitalized the western genre, and introduced Ford to the breathtaking landscape of Monument Valley, which would become the mythic backdrop of his west. It was […]