Casey Affleck in Ben Affleck's directorial debut

‘Gone Baby Gone’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Ben Affleck made a confident and compelling directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone (2007), his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s mystery novel about a pair of young private detectives (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) hired to look for the missing daughter of a junkie mother (Amy Ryan, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance). It’s […]

Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine , and James Franco star in Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers'

‘Spring Breakers’ – free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Spring Breakers (2012) is not your traditional summer fun in the sun spring break movie. But then you wouldn’t expect that from Harmony Korine, the self-appointed agent provocateur of American indie cinema confrontation, even with a cast that includes Disney Channel sweethearts Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. They play two of the four college girls […]

Viggo Mortensen offers ‘Eastern Promises’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

David Cronenberg returns to A History of Violence territory and Viggo Mortensen comes with him to bring Eastern Promises (2007) to ambiguous, shadowy life. Nikolai (Mortensen), a chauffeur and foot soldier in a Russian crime family in London, wears his shadow of a smile like an impenetrable mask. One minute he’s indifferently hacking up and […]

Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame star, Nicholas Ray directs from the Dorothy B. Hughes novel

Humphrey Bogart ‘In a Lonely Place’ on VOD and Criterion Blu-ray/DVD

In a Lonely Place (1950) hasn’t much to do with the Dorothy B. Hughes novel on which it was ostensibly based, beyond the title (one of the most evocative in noir history), the Los Angeles setting, and the murder of a young woman that puts our ostensible hero, volatile, hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey […]

Jake Gyllenhaal is Louis Bloom in Dan Gilroy's 'Nightcrawler'

‘Nightcrawler’ on Showtime Anytime

Nightcrawler (2014) earned an Oscar nomination for director Dan Gilroy’s screenplay, a wicked satire of the tabloid news television that chases sensationalistic stories for ratings (the cliché “if it bleeds, it leads” is the guiding philosophy). It should also have earned a nomination for Jake Gyllenhaal, whose Louis Bloom is a twisted Horatio Alger with […]

What to stream: ‘Vice’ on Hulu, Martin Scorsese’s Dylan on Netflix, ‘Captain Marvel’ on VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Brie Larson plays the first female superhero to headline a Marvel movie in Captain Marvel (2019, PG-13), which begins across the galaxy and lands in 1990s America. Larson’s chemistry with Samuel Jackson (as a […]

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

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Netflix

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 […]

‘Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’ on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

There’s something of a shaggy dog story quality to Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), an offbeat road movie / caper film starring Clint Eastwood as Thunderbolt, an ex-thief on the run from his former partners, and Jeff Bridges as a hotshot kid who calls himself Lightfoot and decides to become this flinty veteran’s sidekick. They’re unlikely […]

Mick Jagger and James Fox in the 1970 film by Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell

‘Performance’ – British crime and counterculture collide on The Criterion Channel

Performance (1970) may have been released in 1970 but this collision of London gangster machismo and drug culture, where “Nothing is true; everything is permitted,” is unmistakably a product of the sixties. Mick Jagger makes his feature acting debut as Turner, a reclusive rock star in a dilapidated manor home in a London slum, but […]

Christian Bale is Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'

‘Batman Begins’ – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight on Netflix

One of the defining films in the elevation of comic book movies to adult fare, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back to the shadows, both figuratively and literally. It’s quite a leap from the previous Batman revival launched by Tim Burton’s 1989 […]