‘Moonrise’ – dreamy rural noir on Kanopy

The most authentically romantic filmmaker of classic Hollywood, Frank Borzage made films where the power of love conquered all, not simply narrative obstacles and stubborn complications but time and space itself. He’s the last filmmaker you would expect to produce a film noir masterpiece yet in Moonrise (1948) he delivers beautifully. Dane Clark is Danny […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’ on Netflix

Strangers on a Train (1951) is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s undisputed masterpieces, a thriller of demented wish fulfillment turned into a waking nightmare that turns on a chance meeting. Demented playboy Bruno (Robert Walker, whose insidious insincerity is unsettling from his first scene) meets champion tennis player Guy (Farley Granger). Bruno knows that Guy has […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime Video

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

Albert Finney plays ‘Gumshoe’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I want to write The Maltese Falcon, record ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and play Las Vegas.” So proclaims Eddie Ginley (Albert Finney), a small-time bingo caller and wannabe stand-up comic, to his therapist in the opening scene of Gumshoe (1971). But he’ll settle for running an ad in the local paper offering his services as a […]

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the Oscar nominated film by Debra Granik

Jennifer Lawrence arrives in ‘Winter’s Bone’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (2010), set in the crime and poverty of the Ozark Mountains, is a coming-of-age survival story in an outlaw culture where meth labs have replaced moonshine stills and the code of silence is enforced with pitiless finality. Jennifer Lawrence was revelation as the 17-year-old Ree, who has grown up fast to […]

‘A Most Wanted Man’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

A Most Wanted Man is the final film completed by Philip Seymour Hoffman before his untimely death in February and that alone is reason enough to see the film, adapted from the post 9/11 novel by John le Carré and directed by Anton Corbijn, a music video veteran who becomes more accomplished with each feature. […]

Patrick McGoohan and Leo McKern in the cult TV classic

‘The Prisoner: Complete Series’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am my own man.” There are those who proclaim The Prisoner: Complete Series (1968), Patrick McGoohan’s cerebral spy show and portrait of personal freedom as an existential prison, the greatest TV show of all time. I won’t argue the point. His insidiously […]

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, and Frank in Richard Kelly's cult movie of teen confusion

‘Donnie Darko’ – Life’s a mystery on Amazon Prime Video

Donnie Darko (2001) – Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an otherwise normal rebellious, angry kid who slumps and frumps his way through the confusion of his life. He just happens to have a little more confusion than the most of us, much of it caused by visitations from a demonic looking six-foot rabbit named Frank […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Netflix

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]