Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe star in the film noir from John Huston

John Huston’s ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ on Criterion Channel

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is one of John Huston’s rare forays into the genre that would later be called film noir. His first, The Maltese Falcon (1941), helped set the template of the private eye noir. Ten years later, working from an adaptation of the caper novel by W.R. Burnett scripted in collaboration with the […]

Oscar-winning Hollywood love letter ‘The Artist’ on Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max

The Artist (2011) is a valentine to silent movies. You’ve likely heard that before and it’s true, but it’s more than that. A modern movie in a classical mode, shot in glorious black and white without spoken dialogue (but filled with music and sound) and directed with a lively spirit of romance and adventure and […]

‘Millennium Actress’ – Satoshi Kon’s celebration of cinema on Amazon Prime

As loving and perceptive a tribute to the power and legacy of movies as I’ve ever seen, Satoshi Kon’s animated drama Millennium Actress (Japan, 2001) deftly weaves history and film and memory into an imaginative meditation on way the movies become a part of our lives. It’s Not exactly the first thing you’d expect from […]

‘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, […]

The ‘Alexandria’ Trilogy – Youseff Chahine’s autobiographical epic on Netflix

Youseff Chahine, the Egyptian director who first drew international attention to his country’s cinema and earned a lifetime achievement award at Cannes 1997, was always a groundbreaker in his domestic cinema. Whether or not his autobiographical Alexandria trilogy are the greatest films of his career, they are in many ways his crowning achievement: his love […]

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Martin Scorsese's love letter to the movies and his first PG movie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ on Netflix

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s first family film (it’s PG!) and his first engagement with 3D, is a love letter to the magic of cinema. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, it is a tribute to early film pioneer George Méliès (played by Ben Kinsgley), a child’s adventure through a grown-up world of loss and […]

Black Film History Pioneers – ‘The Flying Ace’ on Netflix and Criterion Channel

The legacy of films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs. They were rarely seen by white audiences in their day and were rarely preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. Netflix and Criterion Channel present over 20 […]

‘Two Knights’ and a ‘Mummy’ – early African-American slapstick cinema on Netflix and Criterion Channel

The legacy of films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs. They were rarely seen by white audiences in their day and were rarely preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. Netflix and Criterion Channel present over 20 […]

Francine Everett is "Dirty Gertie" in the film directed by Spencer Williams

Black Film History Pioneers – The ‘Blood’ of Spencer Williams on Netflix and Criterion Channel

The legacy of films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs. They were rarely seen by white audiences in their day and were rarely preserved with the same dedication given to the maverick films of Hollywood. Netflix and Criterion Channel present over 20 […]