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 […]

David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Dr.’ on HBO Max

Mulholland Dr. (2001) – David Lynch pulled a near magic trick in what can only be an exercise in creative rewriting and re-conception. Taking an open ended TV pilot rejected by the networks, he added 45 minutes and created closure in a weird, mystical logic that, in its unique Lynchian way, makes a twisted emotional […]

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's award-winning film

‘In the Mood for Love’ on Criterion Channel

There may be no more sensual director in the world than Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai, and In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong, 2000) is one of his richest and most melancholy works, a shadow dance of would-be lovers sketched in suggestions and intimations. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai star as next door neighbors […]

Diane Kruger stars in the German drama directed by Fatih Akin

Diane Kruger is ‘In the Fade’ on Amazon Prime

Director Fatih Akin, a German filmmaker of Turkish heritage, likes to dig deep into raw emotion and conflict, both personal and cultural. In the Fade (Germany, 2017) takes on the rise of white nationalism and domestic terrorism through the ordeal of a young widow grieving over the brutal bombing murder of her family. Diane Kruger […]

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

‘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 […]

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ on Amazon Prime

Is there another American filmmaker who takes such joy in telling stories and spinning cinematic spells as Quentin Tarantino? I don’t mean tackling big issues or making epic statements. I’m talking about the sheer pleasure of telling audiences a tale that takes them places they don’t expect and ways they haven’t quite experienced before. The […]

‘Drive’ – Ryan Gosling’s getaway

Sleek pulp crime cool meets arthouse style thriller in Drive (2011, R) starring Ryan Gosling as a taciturn getaway driver. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (a veteran of gritty, brutal Danish underworld dramas) with a silky smoothness and a stylized cool that recalls Le Samourai and Walter Hill’s The Driver, and an eighties vibe and […]

Johannes Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli star in the Swedish drama from Ruben Östlund

‘Force Majeure’ from Sweden on Amazon Prime and Hulu

One of the surprises in the 2015 Oscar nominations was that Force Majeure (Sweden, 2014), Sweden’s official entry for the foreign language film category and a Cannes film festival winner, did not place among the five nominated films. Director Ruben Östlund gives us a family on vacation and what appears to be the inciting event […]

‘Shoplifters’ – a family business on Hulu

“What defines a family?” is a question that runs through many of the films of Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda, from the heartbreaking abandoned children of Nobody Knows to the strained relations and recriminations of Still Walking to the loving embrace of Our Little Sister. Shoplifters (Japan, 2018) presents a family on the margins brought together by […]

Wim Wenders’ ‘The Road Trilogy’ on Criterion Channel

Wim Wenders was never exactly a household name but the German filmmaker made a reputation as a thoughtful, sensitive director of stories about wanderers, travelers, and outsiders whose journeys are both an escape and a road back. His American odyssey Paris, Texas (1984) and Wings of Desire (1987), a journey of a celestial being from […]