Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in David Lowery's 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ on Criterion Channel

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), second feature from director / writer David Lowery, plays like the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play lovers Ruth and Bob, young adults who grew up fast under the watch of dubious father figure Skerrit (Keith Carradine) and ended up as small-time hold-up […]

Sanaa Lathan navigates ‘Love & Basketball’ on Hulu and HBO Max

Using sports as a metaphor for life and love is nothing new but filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood, a former college athlete, puts her spin on it with Love & Basketball (2000). Sanaa Lathan is the fiercely driven, hot tempered tomboy Monica, who gives her all for basketball. Omar Epps is Quincy, the son of an NBA […]

Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell star in the 1948 film noir classic.

Nicholas Ray’s ‘They Live by Night’ on Criterion Channel

“This boy… and this girl… were never properly introduced to the world we live in…,” begins They Live By Night (1948), a bubble of a brief, idealized vision of young love immediately swept away in the urgency and desperation of the prison break in the very next scene. The directorial debut of American filmmaker Nicholas […]

David Bradley stars in the 1969 drama by Ken Loach

‘Kes’ – a boy and his kestrel on Amazon Prime

The story of a boy and his bird, Kes (1969) is something of a small cinematic treasure in Britain. Set and shot in the North of England and cast overwhelming with non-professional locals from the area, it cast its lens on the dreary life and hopeless future of a scrawny, fatherless teenager, Billy Casper (David […]

Emayatzy Corinealdi in Ava Duverny's 'Middle of Nowhere'

Ava DuVernay’s ‘Middle of Nowhere’ on Netflix

Before directing Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay made Middle of Nowhere (2012), a small story about a woman who put her aspirations on hold when her husband goes to prison. Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) drops out of medical school and takes a nursing job so that she can be at home for daily calls from […]

Paul Schrader’s ‘Affliction’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Paul Schrader made his mark on American cinema revealing the scarred psyches of American men trying to reconcile the contradictions of masculine fantasy and social reality, from his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to his own movies, beginning with Blue Collar. Affliction (1998), adapted from the novel by Russell Banks, is his most […]

Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric in the French drama by Arnaud Desplechin

‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ – Life, art, and love on Amazon Prime

French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin makes films about the messiness of families, lovers, and creative lives that can become quite messy in their telling. Ismael’s Ghosts (France, 2018) jumps abruptly back and forth in time and between biography and fiction and dreams, smudging the line between biography, fiction, and artistic imagination. Desplechin regular Mathieu Amalric is […]

What to stream: ‘Malcolm & Marie’ and ‘Firefly Lane’ on Netflix, ‘Possessor’ on Hulu, ‘Bliss’ on Amazon

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 …   The romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (2021, R) stars Zendaya and John David Washington as a Hollywood couple who spend an evening debating art, representation, and authenticity while the strains of their […]

‘Sideways’ – a road trip through wine country on Hulu

“A bottle of wine is actually alive; it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks – like your ’61 – and begins its stead, inevitable decline. And it tastes so f***ing good.” Sideways (2004), Alexander Payne’s road movie about best friends taking a bachelor party on the road through California vineyard country, […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]