Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom,' starring Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and more

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ – Wes Anderson’s endless summer on Hulu and Showtime

Wes Anderson has made a career exploring the childhood neuroses that keep adult characters in an arrested state of adolescence and stasis. It’s been a lively career with creatively energetic high points like Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums but an approach with diminishing returns. Until Fantastic Mr. Fox, a film that refracted his portraits of dysfunctional families […]

Dominique Sanda and Stefania Sandrelli in Bernardo Bertolucci's 'The Conformist' starring Jean-Louis Trintignant

Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘The Conformist’ on Amazon Prime Video

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970), his dense, visually intricate, and stylistically ornate adaptation of the revered novel by Alberto Moravio, tosses sex, desire, politics, and personal responsibility into the Fascist era before World War II. Marcello (an actively repressed Jean-Louis Trintignant), a petty bourgeois man in late 1930s Italy, joins the Italian Fascist party as […]

Angie Dickinson in the thriller by Brian De Palma with Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon and Nancy Allen

Brian De Palma’s ‘Dressed to Kill’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Dressed to Kill (1980), Brian De Palma’s signature thriller and one of his best films ever, has been called De Palma’s take on Hitchcock’s Psycho and the parallels are undeniable: a sexually independent heroine (Angie Dickinson) who is murdered in the opening act, the amateur detectives (Keith Gordon and Nancy Allen) who team up to […]

Oona Laurence and Oakes Fegley with a fuzzy, flying best friend in Disney's "Pete's Dragon."

Last chance: ‘Pete’s Dragon’ – A storybook wonder on Netflix

Pete’s Dragon (2016) is that rare breed of remake that outshines the original. The 1977 film, about an orphaned boy who runs away from his abusive adoptive parents with a magical dragon, was a live action film with a bright cartoon character taking the part of the dragon. The dragon is no less animated in […]

Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac. Lionel Stander, and Jack MacGowran star in the 1966 film by Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski’s ‘Cul-De-Sac’ on Criterion Channel

Roman Polanski once cited Cul-De-Sac (1966), a sly little character piece set in an isolated medieval castle on the barren British coast, as his personal favorite of his films, and the closest he came to creating “pure cinema.” It’s Polanski’s third feature and his second English language film, and he wrote the original script with […]

Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ on HBO Now

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” GoodFellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s violent, dynamic, exhilarating adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book Wiseguy, about real-life wiseguy-turned-witness against the mob Henry Hill, exploded across screens in 1990 and was embraced as the first great American gangster movie since Coppola’s The Godfather […]

Myrna Loy and William Powell (with Asta) as Nick and Nora Charles in the great mystery series

‘The Thin Man’ collection on VOD and DVD

It’s cocktail hour on the mystery beat: William Powell and Myrna Loy are Nick and Nora Charles, the world’s most debonair detective team, in six delightful mysteries. It all begins with The Thin Man (1934), a sparkling adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel of a former working class sleuth gone high society and his game social […]

Shauna Macdonald stars in the subterranean horror from Neil Marshall

‘The Descent’ – subterranean horror on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray

British genre maven Neil Marshall howled his arrival with his werewolf combat thriller Dog Soldiers, a sly and inspired UK hit that made cult ripples stateside. With The Descent (2005), a nerve wracking, claustrophobic survival thriller about six spelunking women hunted by the creepiest cave dwellers to skitter across a screen, Marshall honed his skills […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]