Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington in 'Training Day,' directed by Antoine Fuqua

What to watch: ‘Training Day’ and more on Netflix, Amazon, and VOD

Training Day (2001) earned Denzel Washington an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as a corrupt narcotics cop. In part it’s because he’s playing against type: Denzel earned his reputation as Hollywood’s bedrock of decency and morality: his screen heroes fight fear, prejudice, and self-doubt for their goodness. Detective Alonzo Harris proved that the […]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Philippe Petit in Robert Zemeckis's 'The Walk.'

‘The Walk’ on VOD

The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, the French aerialist who strung a tightwire between the Twin Towers and walked between the newly-constructed buildings in 1974, comes from Robert Zemeckis, a filmmaker who has pushed cinema technology to offer previously unseen sights and experiences. Here he uses digital effects to recreate not just the […]

Valora Noland and John Hanek in the 1965 film 'Summer Children,' a lost indie film restored in 2011.

Lost and Found: ‘Summer Children’ on Amazon Prime

With the news that the Vilmos Zsigmond, the great cinematographer of McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, and many other defining American films of the seventies, passed away this week, I’ve revived this review of an early Zsigmond feature, a lost American indie from the sixties discovered early this century. Produced in […]

Bernadette Lafont, Stephane Audran, and Clotilde Joano in Claude Chabrol's 'Les Bonnes Femmes'

‘Les Bonnes Femmes’ on Amazon Prime

The “bonnes femmes” of Claude Chabrol’s Les Bonnes Femmes (1960) are four shopgirls at a small appliance store in Paris. Good time girl Bernadette Lafont spends her nights in empty flirtations with boorish womanizers, social climbing Lucile Saint-Simon withers under the disdainful gaze of her boyfriend’s haughty parents, seemingly confident Stephane Audran secretly follows her […]

Jon Hamm in 'Black Mirror: White Christmas'

What to watch: ‘Black Mirror: White Christmas’ is a cynical holiday special on Netflix

Don’t expect any holiday cheer from Black Mirror: White Christmas, a Christmas story from the dark British series about technology bringing out the worst human impulses. But if you are looking for a shot of cynicism to counter the seasonal spirit, this clever anthology of three stories with a science fiction twist should fit the […]

Kris Kringle in 'Santa Claus is Comin' to Town,' a Rankin and Bass TV special

Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty: Beloved Christmas specials on Amazon Prime

For big kids of certain age, it wasn’t really Christmas until all those silly Christmas specials produced by Rankin& Bass, usually with stop motion animation that looked like toy rooms come to life but sometimes with more traditional hand-drawn animation, started showing up on prime time TV. Sure, A Charlie Brown Christmas and the original […]