Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot star in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Life, death, and chess in Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ on Criterion Channel

Arguably the most famous of Ingmar Bergman’s films and certainly his most iconic, The Seventh Seal (Sweden, 1957) is Bergman at his most allegorical. Max von Sydow, young and blond and heroic, is a disillusioned knight returned from the Crusades in a state of spiritual desperation: his faith has been shaken by senseless death and […]

Ingrid Thulin and Max Von Sydow in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Dark theater: Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Magician’ on Criterion Channel

Ingmar Bergman created The Magician (Sweden, 1958), in the midst of his most fertile and prolific period of filmmaking. It’s a chamber drama about a travelling medicine show fronted by a mute mesmerist (Max von Sydow) that enters into a battle of wills with the Minister of Health (Gunnar Björnstrand), a rationalist who considers the […]

Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ on Netflix

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” GoodFellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s violent, dynamic, exhilarating adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book Wiseguy, about real-life wiseguy-turned-witness against the mob Henry Hill, exploded across screens in 1990 and was embraced as the first great American gangster movie since Coppola’s The Godfather […]

‘Listen Up Philip’ on Amazon Prime Video

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 […]

‘The Pianist’ – the devastating Oscar-winning drama on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

The Pianist (2002), Roman Polanski’s film of the true story of Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman, is uncompromising in its portrayal of survival. We see the Holocaust through his eyes (via actor Adrien Brody) as the occupying Nazi military slowly but inexorably takes away the rights, the property, the humanity, and in most cases the lives […]

Steven Spielberg makes compelling drama from the statesmanship it took to pass the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution

Daniel Day-Lewis is ‘Lincoln’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012) is a remarkable historical drama. Scripted by Tony Kushner, guided by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book A Team of Rivals, Lincoln casts a spotlight on one of the most important political actions in American history: passing the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which abolished slavery. In compelling detail, this film shows […]

Jesse Eisenberg stars in the Kelly Reichardt film with Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ on Amazon Prime Video

Night Moves (2013), the fourth film that New York-based director Kelly Reichardt made in Oregon with screenwriter Jon Raymond, was her most commercial project to that, though you won’t mistake this drama of eco-terrorists who blow a dam on a southern Oregon river for a Hollywood thriller. Reichardt and longtime screenwriting partner Jon Raymond focus […]

Sean Penn is Harvey Milk in the Oscar-winning film directed by Gus Van Sant

Last chance: Sean Penn is ‘Milk’ on Netflix

Milk (2008) – The story of San Francisco activist and politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the U.S., was first brought to the screen in the Oscar-winning 1985 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. It took more than twenty years for Hollywood to finally tackle the story, with […]

Marlon Brando in ‘Last Tango in Paris’ on HBO Now

Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (1972) was one of the most controversial films of the 1970s, rated X upon its original release for nudity and sexuality (since rerated NC-17). The drama of a widower who escapes his anguish and despair after his wife’s suicide in a purely physical relationship with a free-spirited young beauty […]

Channing Tatum is 'Magic Mike' in an unexpectedly compelling story inspired by the actor's real life experiences. Steven Soderbergh directs.

‘Magic Mike’ on Amazon Prime Video

Magic Mike (2012) was an underdog success story of 2012. While megabudget spectacles and potential tentpole films collapsed under the weight of heavy productions over flimsy scripts, Steven Soderbergh took a story inspired by actor Channing Tatum’s early experiences as a male stripper and a budget that wouldn’t pay for the reshoots on Battleship and […]