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 […]

Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Irene Jacob star in Krzysztof Kieslowski 's Blue, White, and Red trilogy

‘Three Colors’ – Kieslowski’s sublime trilogy on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

The three colors are blue, white and red. They are the colors of the French flag, of course, and they are appropriated by director Krzysztof Kieslowski along with the themes of the motto they more or less represent: liberty, equality, fraternity. But the films Three Colors: Blue (1993), Three Colors: White (1993), and Three Colors: […]

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 […]

Harold Lloyd in 'Safety Last,' his most famous thrill comedy.

Criterion Streams: Harold Lloyd’s ‘Safety Last’ on Hulu

Safety Last (1923) is the most famous of Harold Lloyd’s silent comedies and first of his “thrill pictures,” films that he built around slapstick ingenuity in the midst of daredevil stunts. This one has a doozy: Lloyd scales an office building in downtown Los Angeles, fumbling and fighting with obstacles the entire way. The image […]