'I'm Not There,' directed by Todd Haynes and starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, and Heath Ledger.

‘I’m Not There’ – the lives of Bob Dylan on Amazon Prime

Todd Haynes draws from the songs, lives (real and imagined) and mysteries of Bob Dylan for his impressionistic survey of the artist, his art, his interaction (and at times collision) with the culture he both grabs onto and flees, and the mysteries that surround him.

Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe star in the film noir from John Huston

John Huston’s ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ on Criterion Channel

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is one of John Huston’s rare forays into the genre that would later be called film noir. His first, The Maltese Falcon (1941), helped set the template of the private eye noir. Ten years later, working from an adaptation of the caper novel by W.R. Burnett scripted in collaboration with the […]

‘The Executioner’ – a satire of Spain under Franco on Criterion Channel

The Executioner (Spain, 1963), Luis García Berlanga’s black comedy about an apprentice undertaker who marries the daughter of a veteran prison executioner and reluctantly takes his father-in-law’s job so they do not lose their government apartment, is a social satire with a sly sense of humor. Nino Manfredi plays the undertaker, a frustrated young man […]

‘Ponyo’ – Hayao Miyaki’s ‘Little Mermaid’ fable on HBO Max

Part Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, part ecological fable, and part children’s fantasy come to life, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo (Japan, 2008) is a gentle storybook film, a simple, sweet tale animated with a delicacy unique to animated features. Ponyo is a water sprite, a curious undersea creature and daughter of the sea gods who […]

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

‘Children of Men’ on Peacock

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 […]

Michelle Williams in Kelly Reichardt's frontier western

‘Meek’s Cutoff’ – Lost on the Oregon Trail on Amazon Prime

Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff (2010) opens without preamble. We are given a place and a year—”Oregon, 1845,” stitched into a piece of homespun embroidery—and then dropped in the high desert to observe three frontier families ford a river. They wordlessly, almost morosely, march across, then take the opportunity to fill canteens, wash and check the […]

Ingrid Thulin and Max Von Sydow in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Dark theater: Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Magician’ on Criterion Channel

Ingmar Bergman created The Magician (Sweden, 1958), in the midst of his most fertile and prolific period of filmmaking. It’s a chamber drama about a travelling medicine show fronted by a mute mesmerist (Max von Sydow) that enters into a battle of wills with the Minister of Health (Gunnar Björnstrand), a rationalist who considers the […]

Victor Sjöström and Ingrid Thulin in the Swedish classic by Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman recalls the ‘Wild Strawberries’ of youth on Criterion Channel

In Wild Strawberries (Sweden, 1957), Ingmar Bergman takes that most venerable of modern genres, the road movie, and transforms it into the contemplative journey of an aging professor into his unexamined past. Victor Sjöström, one of the great Swedish director of the silent era as well as an actor (and one of Bergman’s heroes), was […]