Alia Shawkat, Clea DuVall, Ben Schwartz, Jason Ritter, Cobie Smulders, and Natasha Lyonne in "The Intervention."

‘The Intervention’ – A smaller ‘Chill’ on Amazon Prime

The Intervention (2016) of this indie spin on The Big Chill is a marriage intervention instigated by Annie (Melanie Lynskey). She is convinced that Ruby (Cobie Smulders) and Peter (Vincent Piazza), an eternally bickering couple, are in a toxic marriage and she’s invited the old gang to back up her plea that they stop dancing […]

Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster star in the modern outlaw western from director David Mackenzie

‘Hell or High Water’ – Outlaws of the new west on Hulu

Hell or High Water (2016) is as good an American drama as you’ll see this year. Jeff Bridges stars as a Texas Ranger on the trail of a pair of bank robbers and his playfully crusty performance as a laconic frontier lawman on the verge of retirement gives an easy, laid back quality to a […]

‘Dawson City: Frozen Time’ – Film/history on Criterion Channel and free on Kanopy

Bill Morrison’s films straddle film history and avant-garde expressionism, mining the wealth of silent film history and exploring the abstract beauty of decaying nitrate film, a particularly volatile medium that breaks down over time. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) celebrates the “Dawson Film Find” of 1978, thousands of reels of film buried in the permafrost, […]

Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris in 'Our Kind of Traitor,' based on the John le Carré novel

‘Our Kind of Traitor’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Our Kind of Traitor (2016), based on the 2010 novel by John le Carré, drops a civilian couple in the midst of international intrigue involving Russian mobsters and British Intelligence. Ewan McGregor is a professor of poetics trying to salvage a petrified romance on a vacation trip in Morocco with his girlfriend Gail (Naomie Harris), […]

Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, and Angourie Rice in Shane Black's 'The Nice Guys'

‘The Nice Guys’ – wise guy action on Hulu

Shane Black helped remake the modern American action movie with his screenplays Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout. For The Nice Guys (2016), he slips into flashback mode for a tribute to the old school action movies and private eye thrillers of the 1970s mixed with Black’s knowing sense of humor. Ryan Gosling is Holland […]

Elle Fanning stars in Nicholas Winding Refn's "The Neon Demon"

‘The Neon Demon’ on Amazon Prime and free on Hoopla

The Neon Demon (2016) – “I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t write… no real talent. But I’m pretty, and I can make money off pretty.” We first meet Jesse (Elle Fanning), a 16-year-old girl from Middle America looking to leverage her youth and innocent beauty into a modeling career in Los Angeles, made […]

‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ on Netflix

While Warner Bros. builds it superhero universe on the big screen by reinventing the classic heroes, it’s also creating a parallel universe of animated movies that are, for the most part, faithful adaptations of some of the great storylines and graphic novels of the comic book line. Produced for home video, they’re low budget by […]

Taika Waititi’s ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ on Netflix

Based on title alone, you might expect Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) to follow the mockumentary spoofing of Taika Waititi’s previous film What We Do in the Shadows, his deadpan portrait of ancient vampires as eternal idiots on the fringes of Wellington nightlife. In fact it’s a coming of age comedy with a heartwarming soul […]