Viggo Mortensen stars in "Captain Fantastic."

‘Captain Fantastic’ – Alternative family values on Kanopy

Captain Fantastic (2016) is a road movie, a family drama, a tale of loss, and a loving portrait of an alternative family that is prepared to face everything but the modern world. Viggo Mortensen is Ben, the father who (with his equally committed but currently absent wife) moved into the deep woods of the Pacific […]

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the Oscar nominated film by Debra Granik

Jennifer Lawrence arrives in ‘Winter’s Bone’ on Netflix

Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (2010), set in the crime and poverty of the Ozark Mountains, is a coming-of-age survival story in an outlaw culture where meth labs have replaced moonshine stills and the code of silence is enforced with pitiless finality. Jennifer Lawrence was revelation as the 17-year-old Ree, who has grown up fast to […]

Richard Linklater's 'Dazed and Confused

‘Dazed and Confused’ on Hulu

Dazed and Confused (1993) – Cinema has the unique ability to create a sensory experience vivid enough to make the past suddenly present and alive. Richard Linklater’s cinematic flashback Dazed and Confused captures a rich pageant of high-school life, circa 1976, in a mere 100 minutes, leaning on nostalgia without wallowing in it. Jason London […]

‘The King’ – An Elvis road trip through the American Dream on Amazon Prime Video

Elvis Presley is ostensibly the subject of The King (2018), Eugene Jarecki’s rambling road movie of a documentary. The award-winning director drives Presley’s 1963 Rolls-Royce across the US, from Mississippi and Memphis to Nashville, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and elsewhere, talking to historians, musicians, members of Presley’s inner circle, and everyday Americans. Elvis centers […]

Michelle Williams stars in the film by Kelly Reichardt

The ballad of ‘Wendy and Lucy’ on The Criterion Channel

New York-based filmmaker Kelly Reichardt found great inspiration in the state of Oregon. After making Old Joy on a DIY budget, she reunited with Oregon writer Jon Raymond for an indie feature with a somewhat larger scope but the same intimate qualities. Wendy and Lucy (2008) isn’t the romantic road movie of Alexander Supertramp in […]

Maika Monroe in David Robert Mitchell 's 'It Follows'

‘It Follows’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

It Follows (2015) is both the title and the premise of this simple but intelligent low-budget horror. The premise is like a twist on Ringu / The Ring, except that this curse is passed on through sex, which writer / director David Robert Mitchell plays with a tender sense of romance that twists into a terrible betrayal […]

What to stream: ‘Leave No Trace’ on Amazon, ‘Support the Girls’ on Hulu, ‘Hell or High Water’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Start 2019 with some of the best films of last year. Leave No Trace (2018, PG), inspired by a true story and shot in and around Portland, Oregon, is a touching […]

Poignant drama ‘Any Day Now’ on Amazon Prime Video

Any Day Now (2012) is the kind of American drama that Hollywood used to specialize in: character based, issue-focused, emotionally-grounded, and an actor’s showcase. It’s 1979 and two gay men–Alan Cumming as a flamboyant female impersonator and Garret Dillahunt as a newly-out and still uncomfortable gay man working for a conservative legal firm–take on the […]

Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina

‘Ex Machina’ on Kanopy

Ex Machina (2014) plays the man-vs.-machine story as a chamber drama. Domhnall Gleeson is the socially naïve computer programmer Caleb who wins a company contest to spend a weekend in the private retreat of visionary company CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a software genius who can’t wait to show Caleb his new project: a sophisticated artificial intelligence […]

Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's 'Mean Streets,' starring Harvey Keitel, Amy Robinson, and David Proval.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“You don’t pay for your sins in church. You pay for them on the street. All the rest is bullshit.” Mean Streets (1973) is not Martin Scorsese’s first film, but it is the film in which he came into his own. Passionate, energetic, stylistically inventive and personally driven, it is the first mature, full blooded “Martin […]