‘Babylon Berlin’ – Wiemer noir on Netflix

Originally published on the Film Noir Foundation website The most expensive German TV series ever produced, Babylon Berlin (Germany, 2017-2018) is Weimar noir, a detective drama turned conspiracy thriller set against the backdrop of decadence and poverty and corruption in 1929 Berlin just before the Nazi party rode the swell of nationalism to power. Think […]

Leonardo DiCaprio is Howard Hughes in 'The Aviator,' directed by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s’The Aviator’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The Aviator (2004), Martin Scorsese’s epic biography of the life of Howard Hughes, is his love-letter to the old-Hollywood bio-pic. This is high-style filmmaking wrapped up in a tormented hero whose soaring flights of greatness are matched by the mortal pull of his devils, which Scorsese establishes (perhaps too patly) in a childhood prologue bathed […]

What to stream: ‘The Irishman’ and ‘I Lost My Body’ on Netflix, ‘The Report’ and ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ on Amazon

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. After the major film studio passed, Martin Scorsese turned to Netflix to finance “The Irishman” (2019, R) his latest and […]

‘Good Night, and Good Luck.’ – Why journalism matters on Netflix

David Strathairn plays broadcast journalism godfather Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005, PG), George Clooney’s austere, astounding drama about his career-threatening decision to use the airwaves to take on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1953. Directing in a stripped down style, Clooney’s direction captures the […]

What to stream: ‘The Crown’ and Dolly Parton on Netflix, ‘Booksmart’ on Hulu, more holiday programming

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies is Prince Philip […]

Anya Taylor-Joy in Robert Eggers' 'The Witch.'

‘The Witch’ – Puritan horrors free on Kanopy

The Witch (2015) is a primal horror film rooted in fear and superstition, and there is no shortage of either in early 17th century New England, where a devout Puritan father has taken his family to start a new life. Adding to the general hardship of British village folk carving a new colony out of […]

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ on Criterion Channel

Before Hellboy, Pan’t Labyrinth, and his Academy Award winning The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro directed the elegant and harrowing ghost story The Devil’s Backbone (Spain, 2001). Set in the collapsing days of the Spanish Civil War, in a makeshift orphanage where the sons of fallen Republican soldiers are protected by a war widow […]

Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan star in 'Anthropoid,' directed by Sean Ellis.

‘Anthropoid’ – Killing Heydrich on Hulu and Kanopy

Anthropoid (2016) isn’t the first film to dramatize the real-life operation to assassinate SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Final Solution and Hitler’s third in command in the Nazi hierarchy. That honor belongs to Fritz Lang, who made the highly fictionalized and highly charged Hangmen Also Die in 1943, barely a year after the […]

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 Amazon Prime Video

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 […]