Arletty, Marcel Herrand, Pierre Brasseur, and Jean-Louis Barrault star in Marcel Carné's classic of French cinema

‘Children of Paradise’ – The theatre of love and crime on The Criterion Channel

Children of Paradise (France, 1945), Marcel Carné’s legendary drama of love, theater, and crime in 19th Century Paris, is an epic in every sense of the word. It opens and ends on a stage curtain, which rises to reveal the Boulevard of Crime, the theater district of 1830s Paris, where street performers and pickpockets alike ply […]

Judy Garland is Dorothy Gale in the beloved screen adaptation of Frank L. Baum's fantasy

‘The Wizard of Oz’ – Over the rainbow on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

When gingham-clad farm girl Dorothy Gale rode the tornado out of the somber, sepia-tinged black and white of her Kansas dustbowl farm and into the sparkling Technicolor fantasy land somewhere over the rainbow, she changed the lives of her audiences (both then and now) as assuredly as she changed her own. The Wizard of Oz […]

Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, and Jackie Gleason, directed by Robert Rossen

Paul Newman is ‘The Hustler’ on VOD and Vlu-ray/DVD

The Hustler (1961) – Paul Newman is cocky poolroom hustler “Fast” Eddie Felson, a swaggering pool shark punk who works his trade in dingy bars and seedy poolrooms, in Robert Rossen’s atmospheric adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel. Crashing into a pit of self-pity after losing big to king of the poolroom Minnesota Fats (a […]

Mia Farrow in Roman Polanski's 'Rosemary's Baby'

The original ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Roman Polanski’s American directing debut, is one of the most celebrated American horror films of all time, but horror isn’t really the right description for this film. Yes, it is about a cabal of devil worshippers in modern day (circa late 1960s) and an innocent served up to bear Satan’s child, but Polanski […]

Miguel Sandoval, Spike Lee, and Ossie Davis

Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ on HBO Now

Do The Right Thing (1989), Spike Lee’s vibrant, vital, thoroughly accomplished third feature, opens on a call to action – “Fight the Power,” shouts Public Enemy in the credits – and ends with a call to “Wake up!” Rosie Perez pumps out an aggressive shout of a dance in the opening credits, staged in front […]

David Oyelowo is Martin Luther King in Ava DuVernay's 'Selma.'

Academy Award winner ‘Selma’ on VOD and disc

Selma, directed by Ava Duvernay (who also rewrote the screenplay without credit, due to conditions of original screenwriter Paul Webb’s deal), takes on the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King through Alabama as a benchmark moment in the fight for voting rights and, more generally, civil rights for black citizens in the American […]

John Wayne , Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Donald Meek, Louise Platt, directed by John Ford

John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’ on Kanopy

Stagecoach (1939) – John Ford’s classic western is a landmark of the genre for so many reasons: mature, classically constructed and superbly directed, it made a star of John Wayne, revitalized the western genre, and introduced Ford to the breathtaking landscape of Monument Valley, which would become the mythic backdrop of his west. It was […]

Two takes on ‘Apocalypse Now’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now: Redux (1979/2001) – Drawing from a script by John Milius, rewritten under the influence of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and a production in a constant state of chaos, Francis Ford Coppola turns Vietnam into a war as drug-addled theme park ride: “Pirates of the South Seas” with real […]