‘Shoplifters’ – a family business on Hulu

“What defines a family?” is a question that runs through many of the films of Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda, from the heartbreaking abandoned children of Nobody Knows to the strained relations and recriminations of Still Walking to the loving embrace of Our Little Sister. Shoplifters (Japan, 2018) presents a family on the margins brought together by […]

Brie Larson stars in the award-winning 'Short Term 12,' inspired by the personal experience of filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton

‘Short Term 12’ on Peacock

Brie Larson earned an Oscar for her performance in Room (2015) but her breakout role was in Short Term 12 (2013), a tender and touching drama set in a facility for at risk, abandoned, or otherwise homeless kids that can’t get placement with foster families. What could be a portrait of instability and institutional failings, however, […]

Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke in Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood'

Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ on Criterion Channel

It’s common knowledge that filmmaker Richard Linklater and his four central actors—Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as the parents, Lorelei Linklater (the director’s daughter) as the older sister, and Ellar Coltrane as Mason, a six-year-old boy as the film begins—shot Boyhood (2014) over the course of 12 years to watch not just Mason but everyone […]

‘Being John Malkovich’ on Netflix

Being John Malkovich (1999), a devastatingly funny portrait of unhappiness, desperation, desire, and the vicious things we do for love, catapulted Spike Jonze from music video wunderkind to visionary director and Charlie Kaufman from sitcom scribe to brilliant screenwriter. In 1999, when our obsession with celebrity was mainly fed by gossip magazines and entertainment programs, […]

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett , and Taraji P. Henson star in the film by David Fincher

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ on HBO Max and HBO Now

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story is expanded into a sweeping survey of 20th century history and culture as seen through the eyes of a man who is born old and grows younger through the century. Brad Pitt completely commits to the part of the old/young man who […]

Wim Wenders’ ‘The Road Trilogy’ on Criterion Channel

Wim Wenders was never exactly a household name but the German filmmaker made a reputation as a thoughtful, sensitive director of stories about wanderers, travelers, and outsiders whose journeys are both an escape and a road back. His American odyssey Paris, Texas (1984) and Wings of Desire (1987), a journey of a celestial being from […]

‘Listen Up Philip’ on Amazon Prime Video and Peacock

Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman), an abrasive, narcissistic thirtysomething New York novelist who follows up his acclaimed debut with a sophomore effort he doesn’t want to promote. That’s simply the first of the self-destructive impulses he follows down the rabbit hole of arrogance in Listen Up Philip (2014), the third feature from indie filmmaker Alex […]