František Vláčil directs this epic from Czechoslovakia

‘Marketa Lazarova’ – Czech epic on Criterion Channel

Marketa Lazarova (Czechoslovakia, 1967), an epic based on one of the revered masterpieces of Czech literature (considered unfilmmable by many), was voted the greatest Czech film ever made in a 1998 poll of Czechoslovakian film critics and professionals. Yet it is all but unknown in the U.S., rarely revived and never on home video before […]

Carroll Baker and Ralph Meeker in the film by Jack Garfein

‘Something Wild’ – Rediscovered 1962 New York story on Criterion Channel

The 1962 Something Wild, not to be confused with the Jonathan Demme screwball comedy/thriller by the same name, is a film nurtured in an Actor’s Studio environment and shot as an early American Independent film. It’s also an unusually frank drama about a teenage girl recovering from sexual assault with a weird dramatic detour. Director […]

Miguel Sandoval, Spike Lee, and Ossie Davis

Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ on HBO Now

Do The Right Thing (1989), Spike Lee’s vibrant, vital, thoroughly accomplished third feature, opens on a call to action – “Fight the Power,” shouts Public Enemy in the credits – and ends with a call to “Wake up!” Rosie Perez pumps out an aggressive shout of a dance in the opening credits, staged in front […]

Joel McCrea, Claudette Colbert , and Rudy Vallee in the classic romantic comedy from Preston Sturges

‘The Palm Beach Story’ on VOD and Criterion Blu-ray/DVD

The Palm Beach Story (1942) – Leave it to Preston Sturges to create the funniest, sexiest, and most grown-up romantic comedy of his day. Claudette Colbert has never been more desirable as Gerry Jeffers, the flirtatious pragmatist with a clear-eyed take on the realities of men, women, and sex, and Sturges turns Joel McCrea’s All-American […]

Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria

‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ on Netflix

Olivier Assayas wrote this drama about a veteran actress facing a transition in her career after Juliette Binoche, arguably France’s greatest and certainly most ambitious actress working today, challenged him to write a film centered on women. It was a friendly challenge—she had already starred in two films he wrote for director André Téchiné and […]

Carroll Baker and Ralph Meeker in the film by Jack Garfein

Blu-ray: ‘Something Wild’ – a 1962 rediscovery on Criterion

Not to be confused with the Jonathan Demme screwball comedy/thriller by the same name, the 1962 Something Wild (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is an unusually frank and sensitive drama about a teenage girl recovering from rape. The film opens on the assault, a non-explicit scene that communicates both the violence of the rape and the terrible […]

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the film by Howard Hawks

Blu-ray: ‘His Girl Friday’ vs. ‘The Front Page’ on Criterion

His Girl Friday (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) should really be listed as a double feature, for the “bonus” movie—a new edition of the original screen version of The Front Page, adapted from the snappy, cynical, double-barrel Broadway hit by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur—is not just a home video debut but a major discovery. The Front […]

Jack Nance stars in David Lynch's directorial debut

‘Eraserhead’ – Everything is fine on FilmStruck and Criterion disc

“In heaven, everything is fine,” but in Eraserhead (1977) nothing is fine. David Lynch’s debut feature is grim, disturbed, mutated, claustrophobic, a world that appears to be unraveling—or, more accurately, decaying—before our eyes. Jack Nance stars as the doughy, dim factory worker who is suddenly thrust into marriage and parenthood and escapes his grimy, oppressive […]