Rudy Ray Moore is the original ‘Dolemite’ on Amazon Prime Video

Who’s the baddest mother (shut yo mouth!) to blow into the early seventies? Forget Shaft and just ask X-rated comic and “godfather of rap” Rudy Ray Moore. He’ll give you the gospel of Dolemite (1975). Street hustler, pimp, and all around ghetto superhero Dolemite began life as a character in Moore’s nightclub act and was […]

Jafar Panahi’s ‘3 Faces’ free on Kanopy

In 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was arrested and charged for “Propaganda against the Iranian government.” His sentence: he was forbidden to leave Iran or make any films for 20 years. 3 Faces (Iran, 2018) is the fourth feature he has made since the sentence was passed. And once again Panahi plays himself on screen, […]

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner appear in Wind River by Taylor Sheridan, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. © 2016 Sundance Institute.

Last chance: ‘Wind River’ – Frontier justice on Netflix

Wind River (2017) isn’t actually the directorial debut of Taylor Sheridan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Siccario and Hell And High Water, but it may as well be. It most certainly is his film (unlike his forgotten 2011 horror film, Vile) and, like his earlier screenplays, a drama of frontier justice in the modern world (when […]

Takeshi Kitano in 'Battle Royale,' directed by Kinji Fukasaku.

‘Battle Royale’ – The original ‘Hunger Games’ on Amazon Prime Video

Battle Royale (Japan, 2000), the gleefully gruesome splatter satire of teenage nihilism, adult paranoia, and social sadism, was released in Japan in 2000 to big success and instant cult status. It was a 21st century version of a fifties youth gang drama, rooted in the adult panic at the sudden rise of youth violence in […]

What to stream: ‘Diagnosis’ on Netflix, ‘The Chaperone’ on PBS, ‘Our Boys’ on HBO, ‘Avengers’ ends on VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Avengers: Endgame (2019, PG-13) brings practically every superhero of the Marvel big screen universe together to save the universe and bring the second phase of the interconnected stories to a close. It’s now the […]

Maribel Verdú in Pablo Berger's 'Blancanieves' from Spain

‘Blancanieves’ on The Criterion Channel

Blancanieves (2009), an inventive retelling of Snow White as a silent-movie melodrama in the 1920s world of bullfighting royalty and flamenco style in Spain, stirs in grand melodrama, circus fantasy, and toreador hero worship with a mix of silent film conventions and contemporary storytelling. We’re talking the same sort of modern silent film as The […]

What to stream: ‘Wu Assassins’ and ‘The Family’ on Netflix, ‘Fosse/Verdon’ on Hulu, ‘Free Meek’ on Amazon

Indonesian action star Iko Uwais (The Raid: Redemption) plays a young chef who is gifted with the power of a thousand monks to fight evil in Wu Assassins: Season 1, a martial arts action series with a dash of fantasy set in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Katheryn Winnick and Mark Dacasos costar. 10 episodes streaming on […]

Robert Hossein directs and stars in 'Cemetery Without Crosses,' a spaghetti western with French seasonings

‘Cemetery Without Crosses’ on Amazon Prime

A spaghetti western with French seasonings, Cemetery Without Crosses (1969) is a Franco-Italian co-production shot in Almeria, Spain, the definitive badlands landscape of the Euro-western. The director, screenwriters, two stars, and even composer are French and the supporting cast largely Italian. And while this is not shot in the widescreen dimension of CinemaScope, de rigueur […]

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in 'Jupiter Ascending' from the Wachowskis

‘Jupiter Ascending’ – Space opera silliness on Netflix

Jupiter Ascending (2015) was a player at the Razzie Awards, the snarky organization that puts the spotlight in the worst and most over-hyped films of the year. Not exactly the kind of attention you seek out as a filmmaker, and maybe not completely deserved, though that’s admittedly a minority opinion. This is old fashioned space […]

What to stream: ‘Red Sea Diving’ and ‘Otherhood’ on Netflix, ‘Four Weddings’ on Hulu, ‘Share’ on HBO

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Chris Evans plays an Israeli Mossad agent smuggling Ethiopian Jews from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel through an abandoned seaside hotel in The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019, not rated), an Argo-like drama […]