‘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 […]

‘The Bedroom Window’ on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Future Oscar-winning filmmaker Curtis Hanson first made his reputation with The Bedroom Window (1987), which draws deep from the well of Alfred Hitchcock. Steve Guttenberg plays the everyman hero Terry, a “romantic fool” (in the words of one character) having an affair with the boss’s wife (Isabelle Huppert). She witnesses an assault through his bedroom […]

Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. in the David Fincher thriller

David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’ on Amazon Prime

Zodiac (2007), David Fincher’s drama about the notorious unsolved Zodiac killings that had San Francisco gripped in fear during the early seventies, was the filmmaker’s most disciplined, focused, and mesmerizing film to date when it was released in 2007. Based on the non-fiction book by Robert Graysmith, a newspaper cartoonist who became obsessed with the […]

‘Moonrise’ – dreamy rural noir free 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 […]

Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig are "20th Century Women."

’20th Century Women’ free on Kanopy and Hoopla

20th Century Women (2016) stars Annette Bening as Dorothea, a single mother of a teenage boy (Lucas Jade Zumann) determined to give him good life lessons with a little help from her friends. Elle Fanning is her son’s best friend, who escapes her troubled family and is warmly welcomed Dorothea, and Greta Gerwig and Billy […]

‘A Most Wanted Man’ on Hulu and free on Hoopla

A Most Wanted Man (2014) is the final film completed by Philip Seymour Hoffman before his untimely death in 2014. 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. […]

Gong Yoo stars in the South Korean zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho

‘Train to Busan’ – Korean zombie classic on Hulu and more

You could call Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) “Zombies on a Train”—it certainly makes a catchy logline and it frames the premise accurately and succinctly—but it reduces this fleet, fierce, unexpectedly human thriller to a mere gimmick. Apart from the slyly eerie prologue, the film opens without any hint of the viral rampage to […]

Cyril Raffaelli and Dany Verissimo in 'District B13,' aka 'Banlieue 13'

‘District B13’ – Stunning stunt action free on Kanopy

District B13 (France, 2004), Pierre Morel’s twist on Escape From New York set in a near-future Paris, is a lean, clean, adrenaline and indignation-fueled B-movie action machine. Urban athlete David Belle, one of the creators of the extreme sport known as Parkour, stars as ghetto hero Leito and he set the tone, the pace, and […]

Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant in Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece 'Let the Right One In '

‘Let the Right One In’ – A Swedish vampire tale on Amazon Prime and free on Kanopy

Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece Let the Right One In (2008) is grounded in a devoted friendship that bonds two outcasts in a predatory world. Bullied schoolboy Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a loner so blond he looks albino, meets twelve-year-old Eli (Lina Leandersson), a fellow loner hanging around the snow-covered playground of […]

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche in the romantic drama from Fred Schepisi

‘Words and Pictures’ on HBO Max and free on Kanopy

Words and Pictures (2013) is both a romantic drama, with Clive Owen as passionate but alcoholic English teacher at an expensive prep school and Juliette Binoche as the new art teacher who clashes with the brash Owen, and a pedagogical drama where a “war” between the written word and the image inspires the student body […]