‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ on Amazon Prime

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium, 2012) is devastating. And I mean that in all the best ways. The story of a passionate love rocked by tragedy, it is both joyous and anguished, celebratory and sad. It’s set in a subculture of bluegrass aficionados in Belgium (who knew?), where it is practically love at first sight […]

‘Bell, Book and Candle’ – James Stewart, Kim Novak and a touch of witchcraft

Kim Novak glows in Bell, Book and Candle (1958) as the bewitching downstairs neighbor of staid, secure publisher James Stewart in this colorful romantic comedy adapted from the lighthearted Broadway comedy by John Van Druten. Novak is at her best as Gillian, a modern day witch in Greenwich Village, halfway between the worlds of magical […]

What to stream: ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ on Netflix, ‘The Expanse’ returns on Amazon, ‘Tenet’ comes to 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 …   Viola Davis plays Ma Rainey, the mother of the blues, and Chadwick Boseman (in his final screen performance) is the fiery trumpeter in her band in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (2020, R), a […]

Bette Davis stars in the adaptation of the Lillian Hellman play directed by William Wyler

‘The Little Foxes’ – Bette Davis reigns supreme on Amazon Prime and free on Kanopy

Bette Davis could freeze almost anyone with her icy stare, the practiced look of a woman who’s learned how to operate in the man’s world of business, in The Little Foxes (1941), director William Wyler’s film version of Lillian Hellman’s chilly play of greed and power in a Southern family on the edge of financial […]

What to stream: ‘Boys in the Band’ on Netflix, ‘Monsterland’ and ‘Wilderness of Error’ on Hulu

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, and Matt Bomer star in “The Boys in the Band” (2020, R), a new revival of the groundbreaking 1968 play about the lives of gay friends in the era […]

What to stream: Broadway phenomenon ‘Hamilton’ debuts on Disney+, ‘Anne Frank’ and ‘The Babysitter’s Club’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Celebrate July 4 with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” (2020, PG-13), a filmed version of the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning Broadway phenomenon. The film was shot in 2016 with the original cast in front of a […]

Shirley Clarke directs this pioneering American independent film

Shirley Clarke’s landmark ‘The Connection’ on Criterion Channel

The Connection (1962), the debut feature from Shirley Clarke, turns a stage play originally produced by New York’s revolutionary Living Theater as a play within a play into an innovative work of cinema. Clarke was a pioneering American independent filmmaker before that label was even invented and her work was unpreserved and largely unavailable until […]

Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton in Billy Wilder's adaptation of the Agatha Christie play

‘Witness for the Prosecution’ with Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich on Amazon Prime Video

Based on the stage play by Agatha Christie, Witness for the Prosecution (1957) isn’t opened up for the screen so much as it is perked up with witty dialogue and wily characterizations, two strengths of filmmaker Billy Wilder and writing and producing partner I.A.L. Diamond. Charles Laughton plays the legendary barrister who defies doctor’s order […]

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ – Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Howard Hawks discovered one of the great female screen teams in bubbly gold digger Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and wry, unapologetically man-hungry Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), a musical take on the Jazz Age novel by screenwriting great Anita Loos. Lorelei and Dorothy are showgirls and best friends on a luxury […]

Margit Carstensen stars in the film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

RW Fassbinder’s ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’ on Amazon Prime Video

Rainer Werner Fassbinder adapted his own stage play for The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Germany, 1972), a modern twist on The Women, the great all-woman Hollywood classic of sex and social conventions in high society. Margit Carstensen is successful fashion designer Petra von Kant, who lives alone in her stark apartment with Marlene […]