William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal debate the 1968 elections on ABC in 'Best of Enemies'

‘Best of Enemies’ – Buckley vs. Vidal on Amazon Prime

Best of Enemies (2015) carries the subtitle “Buckley vs. Vidal” and it is indeed a portrait of a rivalry, one that was presented on prime time network television at a time when there were three networks and TV news strived to be fair and balanced to a fault. In 1968, William F. Buckley was the […]

‘Lore’ – navigating the collapse of Nazi Germany on Criterion Channel and 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 […]

Jeffrey Hunter is Jesus in Nicholas Ray's take on the story of Christ

‘King of Kings’ – the 1961 Biblical epic free on Hoopla

King of Kings (1961), Nicholas Ray’s epic drama of the story of Christ (and ostensible remake of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 silent classic), has less spectacle than the other epics of its era but it remains one of the most interesting and perceptive Biblical epics of its era. Narration (by Orson Welles) takes us back […]

Jesse Eisenberg stars in the Kelly Reichardt film with Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ on Amazon Prime and free on Kanopy

Night Moves (2013), the fourth film that New York-based director Kelly Reichardt made in Oregon with screenwriter Jon Raymond, was her most commercial project to that time, though you won’t mistake this drama of eco-terrorists who blow a dam on a southern Oregon river for a Hollywood thriller. Reichardt and longtime screenwriting partner Jon Raymond […]

Bette Davis stars in the adaptation of the Lillian Hellman play directed by William Wyler

‘The Little Foxes’ – Bette Davis reigns supreme on Amazon Prime and free on Kanopy

Bette Davis could freeze almost anyone with her icy stare, the practiced look of a woman who’s learned how to operate in the man’s world of business, in The Little Foxes (1941), director William Wyler’s film version of Lillian Hellman’s chilly play of greed and power in a Southern family on the edge of financial […]

Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska star in the polish horror fantasy by Agnieszka Smoczynska

‘The Lure’ – Little Mermaids with teeth on Criterion Channel and Kanopy

The strangest take on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” ever put on the screen, The Lure (Poland, 2015) is a musical-horror-fantasy-romantic tragedy from Poland about mermaid sisters with a taste for human flesh. Like the sirens of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) are feral creatures who […]