‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009. Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life […]

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 […]

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, and others star in the film by Lana and Lilly (formerly Andy) Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

‘Cloud Atlas’ on Netflix

Cloud Atlas (2012) wants nothing for ambition. Jumping between six distinctive stories in six different eras, with a cast that plays different (yet connected) parts in the various storyline, it’s at once literal and evasive, a film that wears its heart on its beautifully stitched sleeve and its meaning in its design and yet finds […]

Axel Jodorowsky and Adan Jodorowsky star in Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult movie

‘Santa Sangre’ – Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal psychodrama on Amazon Prime

Santa Sangre (Mexico, 1989) – A student of Marcel Marceau in Paris, a founder of the surrealist theater Panic Movement in Mexico City, a Zen Buddhist, playwright and comic strip author, the Chilean-born Alejandro Jodorowsky made his fame as a cult film director with his sprawling, symbolic, surreal films El Topo and The Holy Mountain, […]

Simone Simon stars in the 1942 classic from director Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton

The original ‘Cat People’ on Criterion Channel

The original Cat People (1942) was made on a low budget for RKO’s B-movie unit, the first in an amazing series of B-horror films from producer Val Lewton that transcended its origins. It’s a masterpiece of mood and psychological ambiguity masquerading as a cheap exploitation knock-off. Cheap it is, but Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur […]

Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek star in the G-rated drama by David Lynch

David Lynch’s ‘The Straight Story’ on Showtime Anytime

The Straight Story (1999) is not the kind of film you expect from David Lynch, a G-rated, family friendly tale from America’s most subversive filmmaker. Yet it’s a genuine David Lynch movie. His often mesmerizing, measured pacing, and out-of-step conversational style is put the true story of Alvin Straight, the 73 year old man who […]

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the Oscar nominated film by Debra Granik

‘Winter’s Bone’ – Jennifer Lawrence on SVOD and disc

Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (2010), set in the crime and poverty of the Ozark Mountains, is a coming-of-age survival story in an outlaw culture where meth labs have replaced moonshine stills and the code of silence is enforced with pitiless finality. Jennifer Lawrence was revelation as the 17-year-old Ree, who has grown up fast to […]

Emile Hirsch stars in Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild,' adapted from Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book

Head ‘Into the Wild’ on Amazon Prime

08Into the Wild (2007), Sean Penn’s adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book, is a bracing cinematic plunge into the odyssey of Christopher McCandless. The real-life young man fled a middle-class life of what he perceived to be the compromises and corruptions of the material world to embark on an “Alaskan Adventure,” a quest of self-reliance […]