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 […]

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 […]

Benicio Del Toro and Halle Berry in 'Things We Lost in the Fire,' directed by Susanne Bier

‘Things We Lost in the Fire’ on Netflix

Things We Lost in the Fire (2007) – Grieving widow Audrey (Halle Berry) reluctantly tracks down her husband’s best friend, the down-and-out heroin addict Jerry (Benicio Del Toro), for the funeral. She disliked Jerry in life but her husband wouldn’t abandon his friend (flashbacks show their connection). Now she unexpectedly invites him to move in […]

Jamie Chung in 'Eden,' directed by Megan Griffiths

‘Eden’ – Surviving sexual slavery on Amazon Prime

Eden (2012) is the name given to Hyun-Jae (Jamie Chung), an 18-year-old Korean-American teenager kidnapped and imprisoned in a sex slavery ring in the American southwest, in Megan Griffiths’s dramatization of the true story of Chong Kim (who collaborated on the screen story). Hyun-Jae is held captive with dozens of other girls in what can […]

Susanne Wuest in the German horror drama 'Goodnight Mommy,' directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz

‘Goodnight Mommy’ on Amazon Prime

Goodnight Mommy (2015) is an unsettling horror film built on scars (physical and psychological) that upset the connection between a mother (Susanne Wuest) and her sons, adolescent twins named Lukas and Elias played by real-life twin brothers Lukas Schwarz and Elias Schwarz. That fraternal connection is apparent in every scene, not just affection but the […]

Kathryn Bigelow's 'Near Dark.'

‘Near Dark’ – There’s a price for the night – Blu-ray and DVD

They hunt by night, picking off stray hitchhikers, wandering loners and anyone else unlucky enough to stray into their path. They keep to back roads and lonely towns of the American southwest. They are a feral clan, more a pack than a gang. They are family. And they feed off the blood of humans. To […]