‘The Silent Partner’ – crooked Santa on Criterion Channel and free on Kanopy

The twist of the ingenious crime drama The Silent Partner (1978) comes early in the film. Miles (Elliott Gould), a teller in a mall bank during the busy Christmas season, figures out that the suspicious Santa (Christopher Plummer) is casing the branch for a robbery. So he plots his own heist, stealing money that will […]

The ‘Alexandria’ Trilogy – Youseff Chahine’s autobiographical epic on Netflix

Youseff Chahine, the Egyptian director who first drew international attention to his country’s cinema and earned a lifetime achievement award at Cannes 1997, was always a groundbreaker in his domestic cinema. Whether or not his autobiographical Alexandria trilogy are the greatest films of his career, they are in many ways his crowning achievement: his love […]

‘Perceval’ on Amazon Prime Video

Eric Rohmer’s unique retelling of the tale of Perceval (France, 1978) is a great and glorious anomaly in the career of the nouvelle vague filmmaker. Adapted by Rohmer from the 12th century book by Cretien de Troyes, it’s a strange, sophisticated mix of ancient theater, medieval painting, music and prose in a beautifully stylized film […]

‘Gates of Heaven’ and ‘Vernon, Florida’ – the early documentaries of Errol Morris on Netflix

Errol Morris is one of the most celebrated—and most distinctive—documentary filmmakers of our time and his interest in unconventional portraits and offbeat subjects began with his first films. Gates of Heaven (1978, not rated) profiles two pet cemeteries—one that went out of business and another, more financially stable business where the graves were relocated—and the […]

Jackie Chan and Yuen Siu-tin in the martial arts classic by Yuen Woo-ping

Blu-ray: Jackie Chan begins in ‘Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow / Drunken Master’ from Twilight Time

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow / Drunken Master (Twilight Time) Boyish, baby-faced Jackie Chan trained at the famed Peking Opera Academy, had an early career as a stunt man, supporting player and fight choreographer in scores of Hong Kong films, and was unexpectedly chosen as “the next Bruce Lee” in a series of stiff, serious […]