‘Araya’ – a landmark of poetic nonfiction on Criterion Channel

Araya (Venezuela, 1959), Margot Benacerraf’s 1959 documentary of the hardscrabble lives on the peninsula of Araya, is non-fiction filmmaking as poetic realist portrait. Araya is a barren desert surround by ocean and salt marshes on the northern reaches of Caribbean Venezuela and was originally settled by the Spanish in 1500. The “daily ritual of salt” […]

What to stream: ‘Them’ on Amazon Prime, ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ on HBO Max, ‘Thunder Force’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   A Black family is terrorized when they move into an all-white neighborhood in 1950s Los Angeles in “Them” (not rated). The first season of the anthology series plays out over ten days […]

Arnold Schwarzenegger pumps himself up for success in George Butler's documentary 'Pumping Iron.'

‘Pumping Iron’ – Arnold Schwarzenegger begins on Amazon Prime

Anyone who believes that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to Hollywood superstar was a fluke needs to see Pumping Iron (1977), George Butler’s documentary on bodybuilding culture of the 1970s which did more to popularize the sport in the culture at large than anything before or since. The film follows a handful of bodybuilders preparing for the […]

John Entwistle, Pete Townsend, Keith Moon and Roger Daltry perform at Shepperton

‘The Kids Are Alright’ – Long live rock on Amazon Prime Video

There isn’t another rock documentary in the world like The Kids Are Alright (1979). This is no familiar biographical narrative or historical overview talking about their generation, but a scrappy, vibrant musical portrait painted in the bold colors of rock itself: impassioned lyrics, power chords, crashing drums and smashing guitars. Die-hard fans of The Who […]

Behind the ‘Hype!’ of the nineties Seattle music scene on Amazon Prime

Hype! (1996), Doug Pray’s look at the Seattle music scene explosion of the eighties and nineties, takes the hype with bemused humor but treats the music with respect. Looking behind the media over-exposure and beyond the grunge sound, Pray reveals the musical legacy that inspired bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney and the test […]

‘Dawson City: Frozen Time’ – Film/history on Criterion Channel and free on Kanopy

Bill Morrison’s films straddle film history and avant-garde expressionism, mining the wealth of silent film history and exploring the abstract beauty of decaying nitrate film, a particularly volatile medium that breaks down over time. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) celebrates the “Dawson Film Find” of 1978, thousands of reels of film buried in the permafrost, […]

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: documentaries ‘All In’ on Amazon, ‘The Fight’ on Hulu, ‘Challenger’ on Netflix, plus ‘We Are’ on HBO

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Election season brings out the political documentaries. “All In: The Fight for Democracy” (2020, PG-13) takes on the rights of American citizens to vote and the issue of voter suppression, guided by the […]

Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb in the documentary 'Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made'

‘Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016) – The legend is true. In 1982, 12-year-old friends Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb started shooting a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark on a borrowed VHS camcorder in their small Mississippi town. Chris played Indiana Jones, Eric directed and […]

What to stream: ‘Class Action Park’ on HBO Max, ‘Get Duked!’ on Amazon, ‘Night Comes On’ Netflix

What to stream: ‘Class Action Park’ on HBO Max, ‘Get Duked!’ on Amazon, ‘Night Comes On’ Netflix Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   The documentary “Class Action Park” (2020, TV-MA) looks back at New Jersey’s Action Park, which earned […]