David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Dr.’ on The Criterion Channel

Mulholland Dr. (2001) – David Lynch pulled a near magic trick in what can only be an exercise in creative rewriting and re-conception. Taking an open ended TV pilot rejected by the networks, he added 45 minutes and created closure in a weird, mystical logic that, in its unique Lynchian way, makes a twisted emotional […]

‘District 9’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The aliens arrived almost thirty years ago, their crippled spacecraft hovering to a halt over Johannesburg, where it remains floating over the city. That defining image hovers over the entirety of District 9 (2009), a savagely whipsmart satire of first contact with an alien species that has been reduced to repressed immigrant population stranded in […]

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 […]

Shauna Macdonald stars in the subterranean horror from Neil Marshall

‘The Descent’ – subterranean horror on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

British genre maven Neil Marshall howled his arrival with his werewolf combat thriller Dog Soldiers, a sly and inspired UK hit that made cult ripples stateside. With The Descent (2005), a nerve wracking, claustrophobic survival thriller about six spelunking women hunted by the creepiest cave dwellers to skitter across a screen, Marshall honed his skills […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

‘The Guilty’ – a rivetting Danish thriller on Hulu

There is a particular kind of challenge to making a movie tethered to a single, self-contained location where the dialogue is conducted almost entirely over the phone and the story plays out in real time. When it works—and look no farther than Steven Knight’s Locke (2013) with Tom Hardy navigating a life-altering action while driving […]

Bradley Cooper finds his potential ‘Limitless’ on Netflix

The premise behind Limitless (2011) is irresistible. How many times have we heard that we only consciously access 10% or so of our brains? Without complicated scientific blather, the film offers up a drug that gives the user access to the other 90%, making them more focused, more efficient, more perceptive, more creative, and, well, […]

James Cagney stars in the gangster classic from Raoul Walsh

‘White Heat’ – James Cagney on top of the world on The Criterion Channel

“Made it, ma. Top of the world!” One of the greatest gangster classics of all time, White Heat (1949) stars James Cagney in an explosive performance as psychotic career criminal Cody Jarrett, driven over the edge by blinding headaches and murderous rages that only his mother can calm. Until, that is, she’s murdered while he’s […]