Lee Marvin in the 1967 neo-noir crime drama from director John Boorman

‘Point Blank’ – Lee Marvin’s neo-noir quest on Amazon Prime Video

John Boorman had only one feature to his credit, the rock and roll lark Catch Us If You Can with the Dave Clark Five, when he came to Hollywood to direct the one-of-kind thriller Point Blank (1967). Boorman’s film, based on Richard Stark’s novel “The Hunter,” shuffles the story of a gunman named Walker (Lee […]

Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in the 1971 western by Robert Altman

Warren Beatty and Julie Christie are ‘McCabe & Mrs. Miller’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Robert Altman’s third film since staking out his claim on 1970s cinema with M*A*S*H (1970), turns the western myth into a metaphor for the fantasy of the American Dream colliding with the power of big business. Warren Beatty is John McCabe, a drifting gambler who rides into the mining camp […]

Evan Rachel Wood and Kate Winslet in the 2011 miniseries adaptation of the James M. Cain novel by Todd Haynes

‘Mildred Pierce’ – the miniseries on Amazon Prime and HBO Now

Mildred Pierce (2011) is less a remake than a new run at adapting the James M. Cain novel. Previously made into a Hollywood classic (which earned Joan Crawford her only Oscar), it’s been transformed into a five-hour mini-series by director Todd Haynes, who cast Kate Winslet in the title role as the mother blindly devoted […]

Sean Connery and Michael Caine star in John Huston's adaptation

John Huston’s ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) – John Huston originally wanted to make a film of Rudyard Kipling’s grand adventure in the late 1950s with Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable in the leading roles. It would’ve made a hell of a picture. And, as a matter of fact, it did, only with Sean Connery […]

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star in the Hammer horror film from Terence Fisher

‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ – Hammer horror on VOD and DVD

Britain’s Hammer Studios had been making films for decades before they suddenly redefined themselves with this lurid remake of the Universal Studios horror classic. Prohibited by Universal from copying their blocky make-up (and their script for that matter), Hammer returned to Mary Shelley’s novel for inspiration for The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)… and then went […]

Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld in Christian Petzold's 'Phoenix'

‘Phoenix’ – from the ashes on The Criterion Channel

Just as the title suggests, Phoenix (Germany, 2014) is about rising from the ashes, but filmmaker Christian Petzold is more interested than the smudged moral world in the ashes of Germany after World War II than in the promise of the rise. Nina Hoss, one of the great actresses of our time and star of […]

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 'World on a Wire'

‘World on a Wire’ – the first virtual reality thriller on The Criterion Channel

World on a Wire (Germany, 1973), made by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973 for German television, is to the best of my knowledge the first film to explore virtual reality. And this from a director who never made a science film before or since. There are no Matrix visuals here—you might say that Fassbinder suggests his […]

Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan are 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' in the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ on Netflix

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015), adapted from the dense, richly-woven debut novel by Susanna Clarke, brings a different of approach to fantasy fiction and the idea of magic in the real world. Set in 19th century England, at the start of the Napoleonic Wars, it weaves the tale of two magicians—Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan), […]