Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric in the French drama by Arnaud Desplechin

‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ – Life, art, and love on Hulu

French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin makes films about the messiness of families, lovers, and creative lives that can become quite messy in their telling. Ismael’s Ghosts (France, 2018) jumps abruptly back and forth in time and between biography and fiction and dreams, smudging the line between biography, fiction, and artistic imagination. Desplechin regular Mathieu Amalric is […]

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 […]

What to stream: Robin Williams on HBO Now, ‘ Lucky Them’ on Amazon Prime Video, ‘Disobedience’ on VOD, and more

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 … Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (2018, TV-MA) is an affectionate portrait of the actor and groundbreaking comedian narrated by Williams himself (created from interview clips) and featuring testimony from family, friends, […]

Frank Langella in the literary drama directed by Andrew Wagner

Frank Langella is ‘Starting Out in the Evening’ on VOD and DVD

In Starting Out in the Evening (2007), Frank Langella is heartbreakingly good as author Leonard Schiller, a once-celebrated author forgotten in the years since his last novel and flattered by the attention of an appreciative graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) intent on reintroducing his work to the world with her thesis. His discreet performance, all politeness […]

Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, and Bella Heathcote star in the film by Angela Robinson

‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ on Hulu

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017) is not your usual comic superhero origin story. It turns out that the majestic Amazon princess from a mythic island of female warriors was born of a Harvard psychologist and outspoken feminist who had a polyamorous relationship with two women who inspired the character and a passion for […]

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Martin Scorsese's love letter to the movies and his first PG movie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ on Amazon Prime

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s first family film (it’s PG!) and his first engagement with 3D, is a love letter to the magic of cinema. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, it is a tribute to early film pioneer George Méliès (played by Ben Kinsgley), a child’s adventure through a grown-up world of loss and […]

Ava Gardner and James Mason star in the ravishing romantic drama from Albert Lewin

‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’ on FilmStruck

I have a soft spot for Albert Lewin, a literary Hollywood writer/producer turned director with a continental sensibility and an eye for handsome imagery (if not always cinematic storytelling). His productions tended toward literary adaptations (The Good Earth, which he produced, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, which he scripted and directed) but Pandora and […]

The Rape of Europa

‘The Rape of Europa’ – Saving the treasures of Europe on Amazon Prime

“What is more important, a work of art or a human life?” The Rape of Europa (2007) does not attempt to answer the question, posed rhetorically by one of the men who was charged with securing and repatriating recovered artworks looted by the Nazis or damaged in combat. But it shows that the question has […]

‘Miss Hokusai’ on Netflix

Miss Hokusai (Japan, 2015) is actually an artist from early 19th century Japan by the name of O-Ei Katsushika, a young woman who trained under her father, the legendary Japanese painter Hokusai Katsushika. Based on the biographical manga “Sarusuberi” by Hinako Sugiura, this is an episodic animated feature, like a collection of memories and vignettes […]