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

‘Sweet Smell of Success’ – Broadway noir on Criterion Channel

“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 […]

Charlton Heston is ‘The Omega Man’ on Criterion Channel

The story of the last human in a world decimated by plague, The Omega Man (1971) is the second film based on Richard Matheson’s haunting novel I Am Legend. Charlton Heston stars as Robert Neville, the last man on Earth, or so he thinks. By day, he hunts and exterminates all the sun-shunning mutants he […]

What to stream: ‘The Outsider’ and ‘The New Pope’ on HBO Now, ‘Troop Zero’ on Amazon, more ‘Grace and Frankie’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. HBO launches “The Outsider,” a murder mystery with a supernatural twist, adapted from the Stephen King novel by Richard Price […]

‘No Blade of Grass’ – Surviving the end of the world on Criterion Channel

Cornel Wilde’s grim No Blade of Grass (1970) is a forgotten dystopian classic due for rediscovery. Gritty and brutal, built on fears of ecological devastation through pollution and overcrowding (with hints of genetic manipulation gone bad), this 1970 end-of-the-world thriller seems to have gotten lost in the overcrowded apocalypse now science fiction cinema of the […]

What to stream: ‘Dracula’ and ‘Giri/Haji’ on Netflix, Aladdin’ on Disney+, ‘Joker’ on VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. Joaquin Phoenix took home a Golden Globe for his performance as a mentally-troubled man who becomes a psychopathic supervillain in […]

Don Johnson stars in the film directed by L.Q. Jones from the Harlan Ellison novella

‘A Boy and His Dog’ on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

A Boy and His Dog (1976), the directorial debut of longtime character actor and Sam Peckinpah regular L.Q. Jones, is not the first post-apocalyptic vision of America but it does offer a different approach to the empty streets and ghostly cities that previously stood in for life after the end. Jones, adapting the novella by […]

What to stream: ‘Midsommar’ on Amazon, ‘Messiah’ begins and ‘Anne with an E’ ends on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. “Midsommar” (2019, R) sends a quartet of American students to a Swedish commune for its annual solstice celebration, but all […]

Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria

‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ on Criterion Channel

Olivier Assayas wrote this drama about a veteran actress facing a transition in her career after Juliette Binoche, arguably France’s greatest and certainly most ambitious actress working today, challenged him to write a film centered on women. It was a friendly challenge—she had already starred in two films he wrote for director André Téchiné and […]

What to stream: Tarantino’s ‘Hollywood’ on VOD, ‘The Expanse’ returns on Amazon, ‘6 Underground’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” (2019, R) is another mix of history and fantasy from Quentin Tarantino, a paean […]

Patricia Neal, John Garfield, and Juano Hernandez in a film by Michael Curtiz

John Garfield hits ‘The Breaking Point’ on Criterion Channel

The Breaking Point (1950), the second of three big screen adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not, stars John Garfield as Harry Morgan, the role that Humphrey Bogart played in the original. The Howard Hawks film took great liberties with Hemingway’s story. This version is more faithful but takes its own liberties. Harry […]