‘Inglourious Basterds’ rewrites history on Netflix

I don’t know of another American filmmaker who brings such joy to the act of cinematic storytelling as Quentin Tarantino. I don’t mean tackling big issues or making epic statements. I’m talking about the sheer pleasure of telling audiences a tale that takes them places they don’t expect and ways they haven’t quite experienced before. […]

Pam Grier is Jackie Brown in Quentin Tarantino's film of Elmore Leonard's novel 'Rum Punch'

Pam Grier is ‘Jackie Brown’ on Amazon Prime

Quentin Tarantino’s challenge with Jackie Brown (1997) was how make someone else’s story—Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch, to be specific—his own. His solution: set it in his own reference riddled world. From the film’s opening shot—a quote from The Graduate overlaid with early seventies movie lettering and set to a Motown tune—we know we’re in Tarantino […]

Oscar-winning drama ‘Manchester by the Sea’ on Amazon Prime

Some emotional wounds can’t be healed. Manchester by the Sea (2016), the third film from playwright and screenwriter turned filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, takes on that proposition in family drama, or rather a drama about what we do for family even when there are things we can’t do for ourselves. Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) lives on […]

Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher are an improv comedy team in this comic drama

‘Don’t Think Twice’ – Improvising life on Netflix

Whether you call Don’t Think Twice (2016) a hilarious drama or a serious comedy, it is a bittersweet story of frustrated dreams and difficult passages of funny people in a pitiless business. Mike Birbiglia, a standup comedian and “This American Life” contributor turned filmmaker, writes, directs, and co-stars in the film as Miles, founder and […]

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in David Lowery's 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ on Netflix and Hulu

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), second feature from director / writer David Lowery, plays like the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play lovers Ruth and Bob, young adults who grew up fast under the watch of dubious father figure Skerrit (Keith Carradine) and ended up as small-time hold-up […]

Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee, and Ha Jung-woo star in the film by Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’ on Amazon Prime

Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (Sony, DVD) leaves behind the austerity and cool tone of his superb but unheralded American debut Stoker to return to the intense imagery, twisting narratives, perverse subcultures, and elevated emotions of his Sympathy trilogy. The story of con artists in 1930s Korea, adapted from the British novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters […]