Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in Alexander Mackendrick's great Broadway noir

‘Sweet Smell of Success’ – Broadway noir on Amazon Prime

“I love this dirty town.” The first and only time that Burt Lancaster’s J.J. Hunsecker drops the cynical twist from his clenched smile and allows genuine appreciation cross his face in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) is when he drops that line while strolling down the nighttime streets of Broadway. It’s not a proclamation or […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on Amazon Prime Video

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

The original Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy with Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist

The original ‘Dragon Tattoo Trilogy’ on Amazon Prime Video

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, a trio of novels that teams up a disgraced journalist with a punk hacker, was an international phenomenon. The books sold millions in translation across the globe and were brought to the screen in Sweden, both in feature films and extended versions for TV. David Fincher directed an English-language version of […]

Richard Burton is ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’ on Amazon Prime Video and free on Kanopy

Richard Burton is Alec Leamas, a once-sturdy MI-6 agent who has become a disillusioned burn-out after seeing too many fellow agents die, in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), Martin Ritt’s superb film of John le Carré’s novel. The author was a British agent in his own right and his books were […]

‘The House of the Devil’ on Amazon Prime Video

Ti West was a young horror director with old-school sensibilities when he made his name with The House of the Devil (2010), a film that seems to come from another time, specifically the boom of the early eighties. Jocelin Donahue (who recalls a young Karen Allen) is well cast as the small-town college girl, future […]

Shauna Macdonald stars in the subterranean horror from Neil Marshall

‘The Descent’ – subterranean horror on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

British genre maven Neil Marshall howled his arrival with his werewolf combat thriller Dog Soldiers, a sly and inspired UK hit that made cult ripples stateside. With The Descent (2005), a nerve wracking, claustrophobic survival thriller about six spelunking women hunted by the creepiest cave dwellers to skitter across a screen, Marshall honed his skills […]

‘The Bedroom Window’ on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

Future Oscar-winning filmmaker Curtis Hanson first made his reputation with The Bedroom Window (1987), which draws deep from the well of Alfred Hitchcock. Steve Guttenberg plays the everyman hero Terry, a “romantic fool” (in the words of one character) having an affair with the boss’s wife (Isabelle Huppert). She witnesses an assault through his bedroom […]

‘Slightly Scarlet’ – Film rouge on Amazon Prime Video

Slightly Scarlet (1956) isn’t well known to even many film buffs but it’s an interesting film noir in lurid Technicolor (call it a film rouge) from veteran director Allan Dwan, who began making films in the early 1910s and directed everything from Douglas Fairbanks action epics to Shirley Temple dramas to comedies to westerns in […]