Michelle Williams in Kelly Reichardt's frontier western

‘Meek’s Cutoff’ – Lost on the Oregon Trail on Hulu

Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff (2010) opens without preamble. We are given a place and a year—”Oregon, 1845,” stitched into a piece of homespun embroidery—and then dropped in the high desert to observe three frontier families ford a river. They wordlessly, almost morosely, march across, then take the opportunity to fill canteens, wash and check the […]

Michelle Williams stars in the film by Kelly Reichardt

The ballad of ‘Wendy and Lucy’ on Hulu

New York-based filmmaker Kelly Reichardt found great inspiration in the state of Oregon. After making Old Joy on a DIY budget, she reunited with Oregon writer Jon Raymond for an indie feature with a somewhat larger scope but the same intimate qualities. Wendy and Lucy (2008) isn’t the romantic road movie of Alexander Supertramp in […]

Blu-ray: ‘Early Women Filmmakers’ – An anthology from Flicker Alley

A year after Kino’s superb Pioneers of African-American Cinema, Flicker Alley’s Early Women Filmmakers collects and curates the work of women filmmakers in the U.S. and Europe before World War II. Women ironically had more opportunities in the early years of filmmaking, not just as directors but as writers, editors, and producers, than they did […]

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 […]

Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in "American Honey," directed by Andrea Arnold

‘American Honey’ – Youth unbound on Amazon Prime

American Honey (2016), the first American film from British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, is a road movie powered by the restlessness and passion of its young heroine Star (newcomer Sasha Lane), the eldest daughter of a deadbeat mom and a skeezy father (step-father?) who won’t stop pawing her teenage body. Recruited by Jake (Shia LaBeouf), a […]

Samantha Robinson is The Love Witch in Anna Biller's retro-styled feminist / horror / fantasy / melodrama

‘The Love Witch’ – Sex, magic, and sixties style on Amazon Prime

The Love Witch (2016), Anna Biller’s collision of feminism, romantic fantasy, power, sex, and horror opens with its cool heroine Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a slim, raven-haired beauty with a smear of turquoise eye shadow and eyelashes like wings, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway in a candy apple red convertible and matching outfit. She could […]

Essie Kent and Noah Wiseman in Jennifer Kent's horror film.

‘The Babadook’ on Netflix and Showtime Anytime

The Babadook, one of the best and most original horror films in years, raises goosebumps with old-fashioned scares, relatable characters, and a provocative psychological foundation. Amelia (Essie Kent) is a single mother who is still in mourning for her dead husband—she barely seems to be able to rouse herself to face the world—and is unable […]

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in the young adult vampire romance based on the Stephenie Meyer novel

‘Twilight’ – Young vampires in love on Netflix

Stephenie Meyer’s vampires are not your parents’ vampires. They walk around in daylight. They sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight. And they love baseball. Meyer’s young love vampire series of novels became a veritable pop phenomenon among teen girls (and their mothers) and the very faithful screen adaptation was an unqualified hit with the fans. […]

David Oyelowo is Martin Luther King in Ava DuVernay's 'Selma.'

Academy Award winner ‘Selma’ on VOD and disc

Selma, directed by Ava Duvernay (who also rewrote the screenplay without credit, due to conditions of original screenwriter Paul Webb’s deal), takes on the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King through Alabama as a benchmark moment in the fight for voting rights and, more generally, civil rights for black citizens in the American […]