Dave Johns stars in the Cannes Film Festival award-winning film from Ken Loach

Ken Loach’s ‘I, Daniel Blake’ on Netflix

Ken Loach won the Palm d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for I, Daniel Blake (2016), a classic Loach social commentary taking on the struggles of the working classes and underclasses let down by society. This one, about a 59-year-old carpenter and widower in Newcastle recovering from a heart attack while fighting for assistance, […]

‘Moonrise’ – dreamy rural noir on Kanopy

The most authentically romantic filmmaker of classic Hollywood, Frank Borzage made films where the power of love conquered all, not simply narrative obstacles and stubborn complications but time and space itself. He’s the last filmmaker you would expect to produce a film noir masterpiece yet in Moonrise (1948) he delivers beautifully. Dane Clark is Danny […]

George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, and Vera Farmiga in Jason Reitman's 'Up in the Air.'

‘Up in the Air’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

“To know me is to fly with me,” proclaims philosopher-in-flight Ryan Bingham. “This is where I live.” And it’s clear in the opening moments of Up in the Air (2009) as Ryan—as played by George Clooney—walks through the airport, perfectly at home as checks in to the preferred customer counter and eases through security with […]

Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman cast ‘Doubt’ on Netflix

Take the title at face value: Doubt (2008), directed and adapted for the screen by playwright John Patrick Shanley, does not offer answers. Rather, it challenges us to understand our own instincts to believe in the absence of proof. Sunny, optimistic idealist Sister James (Amy Adams), a young nun teaching history to junior high boys […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime Video

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

‘Get Low’ with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray on Netflix

A lovely film about regret, self-punishment and redemption on a scale both human and mythic (or at least American folkloric), Get Low (2009) is a feature film with the personality of a short story, filled with quietly offbeat characters and directed with a deft balance of comedy and tragedy. Which is why it had a […]

Peter Sarsgaard is Stanley Milgram in Michael Almereyda's 'Experimenter'

‘Experimenter’ with Peter Sarsgaard on Hulu

Experimenter (2015) opens with the infamous experiment that made Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram’s reputation. Subjects are told to ask questions of a person in a booth (heard but unseen) and give them increasingly bigger electrical shocks every time they answer incorrectly. It’s an experiment in teaching methods, they are told, but in fact they […]

Albert Finney plays ‘Gumshoe’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I want to write The Maltese Falcon, record ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and play Las Vegas.” So proclaims Eddie Ginley (Albert Finney), a small-time bingo caller and wannabe stand-up comic, to his therapist in the opening scene of Gumshoe (1971). But he’ll settle for running an ad in the local paper offering his services as a […]

Clive Owen and Clare-Hope Ashitey star in the science fiction drama directed by Alfonso Cuaron

‘Children of Men’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Children of Men (2007), Alfonso Cuaron’s adaptation of by P.D. James’ dystopian thriller, is set in a bleak, impoverished near future where two decades of infertility have created a mood of hopelessness as devastating and destructive as a nuclear holocaust. Britain has thrown up walls around the borders and is actively deporting immigrants, becoming a […]