Pixar's animated feature 'Inside Out,' directed by Pete Docter

‘Inside Out’ – An emotional Pixar adventure on Disney+

In Inside Out (2015), the 15th feature from Pixar, feelings are not just the focus of the story. They are the main characters. The primary emotions of preteen girl Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) get a workout when she’s uprooted from friends and activities in Minnesota, where she’s a devoted member of a hockey team, and […]

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in 'American Ultra.' Photo credit: Lionsgate

‘American Ultra’ – stoners and spies on Amazon Prime and Hulu

American Ultra (2015) reworks The Bourne Identity as a slacker comedy with a killer punchline. Jesse Eisenberg is Mike Howell, a sweet, underachieving stoner prone to panic attacks. He gets by as convenience store clerk in a dead-end West Virginia town with a supportive girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), who is almost impossibly understanding when it […]

Anya Taylor-Joy in Robert Eggers' 'The Witch.'

‘The Witch’ – Puritan horrors free on Kanopy

The Witch (2015) is a primal horror film rooted in fear and superstition, and there is no shortage of either in early 17th century New England, where a devout Puritan father has taken his family to start a new life. Adding to the general hardship of British village folk carving a new colony out of […]

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in 'Jupiter Ascending' from the Wachowskis

‘Jupiter Ascending’ – Space opera silliness on Netflix

Jupiter Ascending (2015) was a player at the Razzie Awards, the snarky organization that puts the spotlight in the worst and most over-hyped films of the year. Not exactly the kind of attention you seek out as a filmmaker, and maybe not completely deserved, though that’s admittedly a minority opinion. This is old fashioned space […]

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds in 'Mississippi Grind,' directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Ryan Reynolds works the ‘Mississippi Grind’ on Netflix and free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Mississippi Grind (2015) plays like a seventies character drama, a meandering road movie through the byways of American characters who populate the card rooms and dice tables and racetracks, and an oddball buddy movie built on a chance encounter and an instant kinship between two losers gambling their lives away. Ryan Reynolds is Curtis, a […]

Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine , and James Franco star in Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers'

‘Spring Breakers’ – free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Spring Breakers (2012) is not your traditional summer fun in the sun spring break movie. But then you wouldn’t expect that from Harmony Korine, the self-appointed agent provocateur of American indie cinema confrontation, even with a cast that includes Disney Channel sweethearts Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. They play two of the four college girls […]

Maika Monroe in David Robert Mitchell 's 'It Follows'

‘It Follows’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

It Follows (2015) is both the title and the premise of this simple but intelligent low-budget horror. The premise is like a twist on Ringu / The Ring, except that this curse is passed on through sex, which writer / director David Robert Mitchell plays with a tender sense of romance that twists into a terrible betrayal […]

Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, and Brian d'Arcy James in 'Spotlight,' directed by Tom McCarthy.

Oscar-winning ‘Spotlight’ on Showtime

Winner of the Academy Awards for Best Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Ensemble Cast by the Screen Actors Guild, Best Screenplay by the Writer’s Guild of America, Best Picture by the American Film Institute, and scores of other awards from professional and critics organizations, Spotlight (2015) is the kind of film that […]

Harold and Lillian Michelson in the documentary by Daniel Raim

‘Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story’ on Netflix

Harold and Lillian Michelson were Hollywood’s best-kept secret for decades. Harold Michelson, who passed away in 2007, was an art director and storyboard artist on some of the greatest films ever made. Lillian Michelson ran a Hollywood research library that was an essential resource for hundreds of productions. Their work was strictly behind the scenes […]