‘Lore’ – navigating the collapse of Nazi Germany – free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Before she was tapped to helm Black Widow for Marvel, Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland directed Lore (Germany, 2012). A coproduction of Germany and Australia with a German cast, setting, and language, Lore takes the viewer on a harrowing odyssey through Germany after the fall of Hitler. The privileged life of fresh-faced German teenager Lore (Saskia […]

Tony Jaa, stars in the Thailand martial arts sensation directed by Prachya Pinkaew

Last chance: Tony Jaa is ‘Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior’ on Hulu

Tony Jaa, the stocky Thai stuntman turned action hero in Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Thailand, 2003), harkens back to an earlier kind of screen martial artist. Jaa has an impressive physique, a steel snap to his delivery, and a gymnastic prowess to his style, and director Prachya Pinkaew puts it all on display in an […]

Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti's adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel

Last chance: Burt Lancaster is ‘The Leopard’ in Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece on Criterion Channel

The Leopard (Italy, 1963), Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel (said to be a national touchstone for Italy), is his masterpiece. Burt Lancaster (his voice is dubbed by a deep-voiced Italian) may seem an unusual choice to play Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, an idealistic 19th century Sicilian prince (Visconti favored Laurence Olivier, a […]

Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, and Kang-ho Song in the Korean action blast from Kim Jee-Woon

Last chance: ‘The Good, the Bad, the Weird’- Kim Jee-won’s “Oriental Western” on Hulu

Kim Jee-won’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (South Korea, 2008) is a self-proclaimed “Oriental Western.” That about pegs this treasure hunt right out of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by way of Peking Opera Blues and Dragon Gate Inn, set in thirties Manchuria and filled with Korean expatriates, Chinese bandits, Japanese occupiers, […]

‘Fantastic Planet’ – the animated cult classic on HBO Max and Criterion Channel

La planète sauvage, the original French title of Rene Laloux’s legendary animated feature Fantastic Planet (France, 1973), is a better indication of the torments that await the inhabitants of this cult science fiction classic. The oppressed (and very human-like) Oms live in a world ruled by blue-skinned giants called the Draags, who treat the diminutive […]

Adèle Haenel stars in the film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

‘The Unknown Girl’ from the Dardenne Bros. on Hulu

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Unknown Girl (Belgium, 2016) revisits themes from their earlier films—poverty in poor communities, families going paycheck to paycheck, immigrants at the bottom of the social food chain—but this time views them through the eyes of a young doctor (Adèle Haenel). She’s on her way out of a small neighborhood office […]

‘Uzumaki’ – Spiraling into madness on Amazon Prime

Equal parts David Cronenberg biological mutation and supernatural curse, outré horror film Uzumaki (Japan, 2000) about a town gripped in an obsession with spirals—shells, snails, pottery, even the workings of a washing machine–is the most gonzo horror to twist onto celluloid in years. Bubbly Japanese schoolgirl Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) is our tour guide through a […]

‘The Executioner’ – a satire of Spain under Franco on Criterion Channel

The Executioner (Spain, 1963), Luis García Berlanga’s black comedy about an apprentice undertaker who marries the daughter of a veteran prison executioner and reluctantly takes his father-in-law’s job so they do not lose their government apartment, is a social satire with a sly sense of humor. Nino Manfredi plays the undertaker, a frustrated young man […]

‘Tears of the Black Tiger’ – Wild Thailand western on Amazon Prime

Tears of the Black Tiger (Thailand, 2000), Wisit Sasanatieng’s madcap new wave western, both a spoof and a celebration of the crazy conventions of movie melodramas and genre cinema from decades back. Imagine the Cisco Kid dropped into a Bollywood version of a Sergio Leone western, as re-imagined by Douglas Sirk with costumes out of […]

LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE, (aka LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF), Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, 1991

‘The Lovers on the Bridge’ – L’amour fou on Paramount+

The Lovers on the Bridge (France, 1991), Leos Carax’s tale of l’amour fou, was the most expensive film ever made in France at the time and remains one of the most ravishing made anywhere ever. It was also a commercial disaster, alternately celebrated as a triumph of personal expression and vilified as the French equivalent […]