Jesse Eisenberg stars in the Kelly Reichardt film with Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ on Amazon Prime and free on Kanopy

Night Moves (2013), the fourth film that New York-based director Kelly Reichardt made in Oregon with screenwriter Jon Raymond, was her most commercial project to that time, though you won’t mistake this drama of eco-terrorists who blow a dam on a southern Oregon river for a Hollywood thriller. Reichardt and longtime screenwriting partner Jon Raymond […]

‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station (2013) embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009. Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life […]

Steve Zahn, Ryan Kwanten, Peter Dinklage, and Summer Glau star in the horror-fantasy comedy set in the Live Action Role Playing world

‘Knights of Badassdom’ – Nerds vs. demons on Amazon Prime

Knights of Badassdom (2013), a modest little horror comedy set in the fantasy gaming LARP (that’s Live Action Role Playing) culture, has a good time sending up its obsessive nerds and cosplay veterans gathered for a weekend championship of stage combat and mock-Shakespearean patter. Then it unleashes a succubus from hell on them. Actually it’s […]

Last chance: Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’ on Netflix

Ip Man was the martial arts master who became a hero during World War II and a respected teacher who mentored, among others, Bruce Lee. And there’s been a cottage industry in Ip Man films in the last decade, most famously with Donnie Yen in the lead as the modest, unassuming master martial artist. The […]

Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’ on HBO Max

The Wind Rises (Japan, 2013) is a very different kind of feature from Hayao Miyazaki, the beloved filmmaker and animation legend famed for his lush, ambitious, inventive fantasies and mythical adventures. It was a passion project for the director and he chose it as his fitting swan song, a final feature before retiring from filmmaking […]

Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux star in 'Blue is the Warmest Color,' directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche explores the lives of outsiders looking for their place in Blue is the Warmest Color (France, 2013) an intimate love story based on a graphic novel. Thanks to Academy rules for foreign films, it wasn’t eligible for an Oscar nomination due to the timing of its French theatrical release. But it took home […]

David Tennant stars in the British mini-series based on the Alan Furst novel.

‘Spies of Warsaw’ – WWII espionage on Amazon Prime Video

Spies of Warsaw (2013), adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais from the novel by Alan Furst, has an almost old-fashioned clarity to it. It’s set in 1937 Poland, and Germany is quietly amassing troops outside the border. David Tennant continued his post-Doctor Who career redefinition playing French military attaché Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, an […]

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche in the romantic drama from Fred Schepisi

‘Words and Pictures’ free on Kanopy

Words and Pictures (2013) is both a romantic drama, with Clive Owen as passionate but alcoholic English teacher at an expensive prep school and Juliette Binoche as the new art teacher who clashes with the brash Owen, and a pedagogical drama where a “war” between the written word and the image inspires the student body […]

Tilda Swinton in Bong Joon-ho 's 'Snowpiercer'

‘Snowpiercer’ – careening allegory on Netflix

Snowpiercer (2013), an international production from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and a French graphic novel, is a high-speed allegory speeding down the science fiction tracks of genre cinema. That’s the way I like this brand of filmmaking: with the symbols big, muscular, detailed, and punchy. You either give yourself over to the metaphor, in this […]

Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Julia Ormond, Rachel Boston, and Mädchen Amick in the sexy TV show

‘The Witches of East End: Complete Series’ on Hulu

Lifetime Channel original series The Witches of East End (2013-2014) is not a remake of The Witches of Eastwick, mind you (creator Maggie Friedman already tried that) but a femme-centered supernatural series centered on a family of witches beset by a curse. Joanna Beauchamp (Julia Ormond) is immortal and doomed to watch her two daughters […]