‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ on Criterion Channel and Kanopy

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) written and directed by California-based filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, is a vampire movie that stirs American movie references into a stylized Iranian street drama. The Girl (as she is identified in the credits), played by Sheila Vand (Argo), walks the streets (and at one point rides a purloined […]

Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in Susan Seidelman's 'Desperately Seeking Susan'

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Desperately Seeking Susan (1982) is remembered for giving Madonna her first starring role; she’s the Susan of the title, a free spirit in thrift store chic fashions who connects up with her musician boyfriend through personal ads in the local weekly papers. This modern bohemian take on the classic screwball comedy (complete with amnesia, mistaken […]

‘I Am the Night’ on Hulu and Hoopla

We can thank Wonder Woman for the miniseries I Am the Night. Director Patty Jenkins not only connected with her star, Chris Pine, over the project, but Pine’s interest inspired a new character in the screenplay her husband, Sam Sheridan, was writing. The result is an “inspired by a true story” six-part TV-miniseries as dark and lurid as […]

Agnieszka Holland's political thriller 'Burning Bush' tackles one of the most harrowing events of Czech social history

‘Burning Bush’ on The Criterion Channel and Kanopy

Burning Bush (2013), Agnieszka Holland’s almost four-hour political thriller, tackles one of the most harrowing events of Czech social history: On January 6, 1969, college student Jan Palach doused himself in gasoline and lit himself afire in downtown Prague to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Originally created as a three-part cable film for HBO […]

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds in 'Mississippi Grind,' directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Ryan Reynolds works the ‘Mississippi Grind’ on Netflix and free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Mississippi Grind (2015) plays like a seventies character drama, a meandering road movie through the byways of American characters who populate the card rooms and dice tables and racetracks, and an oddball buddy movie built on a chance encounter and an instant kinship between two losers gambling their lives away. Ryan Reynolds is Curtis, a […]

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

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ on Netflix

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, 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 focus […]

What to stream: ‘Vice’ on Hulu, Martin Scorsese’s Dylan on Netflix, ‘Captain Marvel’ 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 … Brie Larson plays the first female superhero to headline a Marvel movie in Captain Marvel (2019, PG-13), which begins across the galaxy and lands in 1990s America. Larson’s chemistry with Samuel Jackson (as a […]

Samantha Robinson is The Love Witch in Anna Biller's retro-styled feminist / horror / fantasy / melodrama

‘The Love Witch’ – Sex, magic, and sixties style on The Criterion Channel

The Love Witch (2016), Anna Biller’s collision of feminism, romantic fantasy, power, sex, and horror opens with its cool heroine Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a slim, raven-haired beauty with a smear of turquoise eye shadow and eyelashes like wings, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway in a candy apple red convertible and matching outfit. She could […]

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 […]

Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in "American Honey," directed by Andrea Arnold

‘American Honey’ – Youth unbound on Netflix

American Honey (2016), the first American film from British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, is a road movie powered by the restlessness and passion of its young heroine Star (newcomer Sasha Lane), the eldest daughter of a deadbeat mom and a skeezy father (step-father?) who won’t stop pawing her teenage body. Recruited by Jake (Shia LaBeouf), a […]