Mick Jagger and James Fox in the 1970 film by Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell

‘Performance’ – British crime and counterculture collide on The Criterion Channel

Performance (1970) may have been released in 1970 but this collision of London gangster machismo and drug culture, where “Nothing is true; everything is permitted,” is unmistakably a product of the sixties. Mick Jagger makes his feature acting debut as Turner, a reclusive rock star in a dilapidated manor home in a London slum, but […]

Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska star in the polish horror fantasy by Agnieszka Smoczynska

‘The Lure’ – these Little Mermaids have teeth on The Criterion Channel

The strangest take on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” ever put on the screen, The Lure (Poland, 2015) is a musical-horror-fantasy-romantic tragedy from Poland about mermaid sisters with a taste for human flesh. Like the sirens of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) are feral creatures who […]

What to stream: ‘Guava Island’ on Amazon, Beyoncé on Netflix, ‘I Am the Night’ and ‘Ramy’ on Hulu

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Guava Island (2019, not rated), a “tropical thriller” by way of a musical fable created by Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) and his “Atlanta” collaborators and costarring Rhianna, made its world premiere last week […]

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ – Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Howard Hawks discovered one of the great female screen teams in bubbly gold digger Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and wry, unapologetically man-hungry Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), a musical take on the Jazz Age novel by screenwriting great Anita Loos. Lorelei and Dorothy are showgirls and best friends on a luxury […]

Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka in the musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel

The original ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ on Amazon Prime Video

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder is the weird, wonderful, slightly sinister candy bar king who invites five children into his factory kingdom in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s fantasy. It is a rare breed: an imaginative live-action […]

P.J. Soles and The Ramones

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

“Do your parents know you’re Ramones?” If Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) isn’t the greatest rock and rebellion film of all time it is certainly on the short list, a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it’s there. They aren’t exactly […]

Catherine Deneuve stars in the bittersweet musical from Jacques Demy

‘Umbrellas’ and ‘Young Girls’ – the essential Jacques Demy on Kanopy

Jacques Demy, the most romantic of the French nouvelle vague filmmakers, loved American movies, especially musicals, but his taste for American musicals and candy-colored romance was balanced with a bittersweet sensibility. For all the energizing music and dreamy love affairs, his romances more often than not don’t really get happy endings. Kanopy presents these essentials. […]

John Entwistle, Pete Townsend, Keith Moon and Roger Daltry perform at Shepperton

‘The Kids Are Alright’ – Long live rock on Amazon Prime Video

There isn’t another rock documentary in the world like The Kids Are Alright (1979). This is no familiar biographical narrative or historical overview talking about their generation, but a scrappy, vibrant musical portrait painted in the bold colors of rock itself: impassioned lyrics, power chords, crashing drums and smashing guitars. Die-hard fans of The Who […]

‘The Wrecking Crew!’ – the musicians behind the sixties hits on Hulu

The Wrecking Crew! (2008/2015) was the secret weapon of the Los Angeles recording studio culture of the sixties and seventies. Hal Blaine, Plas Johnson, Carol Kaye, Earl Palmer, Don Randi and Tommy Tedesco played on literally hundreds of pop songs and albums, working with everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Beach Boys, Herb Albert to The […]