Quentin Dolmaire and Lou Roy-Lecollinet in Arnaud Desplichin's 'My Golden Days'

Last chance: ‘My Golden Days’ on Criterion Channel

My Golden Days (2015), from French filmmaker Arnaud Desplichin, is ostensibly a sequel / prequel to Desplichin’s breakthrough feature My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) but it lives on its own as a remembrance of times past. Mathieu Amalric (Desplichin’s cinematic alter-ego) reprises his role as Paul Dédalus twenty years […]

Kirk Douglas in ‘Detective Story’ – the original precinct cop drama on Peacock

Detective Story (1951) is the godfather of the TV precinct show. Adapted from Sidney Kingsley’s Broadway play and directed by Hollywood master craftsman William Wyler, it plays out almost entirely in the detective squad room over the course of a long shift. Kirk Douglas stars as Det. James McLeod, a law and order zealot with […]

Shu Qi in Hou Hsiou-Hsien's rapturous wuxia 'The Assassin'

Hou Hsiou-Hsien’s ‘The Assassin’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

The Assassin (China, 2015) is a martial arts drama as cinematic poem. Chinese filmmaker Hou Hsiou-Hsien won the Best Director Award at Cannes for his direction, which reimagines the genre from a spectacle of action and choreography and acrobatic skill to a vision of stillness and tension. The first film from Hou in eight years, […]

Oscar-winning Hollywood love letter ‘The Artist’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max

The Artist (2011) is a valentine to silent movies. You’ve likely heard that before and it’s true, but it’s more than that. A modern movie in a classical mode, shot in glorious black and white without spoken dialogue (but filled with music and sound) and directed with a lively spirit of romance and adventure and […]

‘Araya’ – a landmark of poetic nonfiction on Criterion Channel

Araya (Venezuela, 1959), Margot Benacerraf’s 1959 documentary of the hardscrabble lives on the peninsula of Araya, is non-fiction filmmaking as poetic realist portrait. Araya is a barren desert surround by ocean and salt marshes on the northern reaches of Caribbean Venezuela and was originally settled by the Spanish in 1500. The “daily ritual of salt” […]

Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti's adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel

Burt Lancaster is ‘The Leopard’ in Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece on Criterion Channel

The Leopard (Italy, 1963), Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel (said to be a national touchstone for Italy), is his masterpiece. Burt Lancaster (his voice is dubbed by a deep-voiced Italian) may seem an unusual choice to play Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, an idealistic 19th century Sicilian prince (Visconti favored Laurence Olivier, a […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Criterion Channel

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

‘Easy Rider’ – On the road to find America on HBO Max

Peter Fonda was already a counterculture icon when he suited up in black leather and a star-spangled helmet, mounted a Harley-Davidson chopper, tossed his watch to the desert floor, and drove off with a shaggy Dennis Hopper in search of America. The film was Easy Rider (1969), an independent film produced by Fonda, directed by Hopper, […]

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’

Taxi Driver (1976), Martin Scorsese’s incendiary masterpiece of alienation and anger and urban anxiety may be the most maverick vision of seventies American cinema. It is certainly one of the most visceral portraits of the American urban underbelly ever put on film, a movie bathed in blood as much as in light, and almost forty years […]

Viggo Mortensen stars in "Captain Fantastic."

‘Captain Fantastic’ – Alternative family values on Netflix and 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 […]