Sanaa Lathan navigates ‘Love & Basketball’ on Netflix

Using sports as a metaphor for life and love is nothing new but filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood, a former college athlete, puts her spin on it with Love & Basketball (2000). Sanaa Lathan is the fiercely driven, hot tempered tomboy Monica, who gives her all for basketball. Omar Epps is Quincy, the son of an NBA […]

Kathryn Bigelow's 'Near Dark.'

There’s a price for the night – ‘Near Dark’ on Criterion Channel

They hunt by night, picking off stray hitchhikers, wandering loners and anyone else unlucky enough to stray into their path. They keep to back roads and lonely towns of the American southwest. They are a feral clan, more a pack than a gang. They are family. And they feed off the blood of humans. To […]

‘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 […]