Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 'World on a Wire'

‘World on a Wire’ – the first virtual reality thriller on The Criterion Channel

World on a Wire (Germany, 1973), made by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973 for German television, is to the best of my knowledge the first film to explore virtual reality. And this from a director who never made a science film before or since. There are no Matrix visuals here—you might say that Fassbinder suggests his […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

Jenna Coleman is Queen Victoria in the British historical drama

‘Victoria: Season 1’ on Amazon Prime

One-time Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman ascends the throne in Victoria: Season 1, the British TV drama that chronicles the life and reign of young Victoria as she crowned Queen of England in 1837 at the age of 18. Created by veteran BBC producer and novelist Daisy Goodwin, the first season covers the first few […]

Natalie Portman stars in 'Jackie,' directed by Pablo Larraín

Natalie Portman is ‘Jackie’ on HBO Now

Jackie (2016) – Natalie Portman earned an Oscar nomination playing American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the week following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This is not the conspiracy drama of Oliver Stone’s JFK, nor is it a sentimental spectacle of a country mourning the death of an inspirational President. This is an […]

Tobey Maguire is back in Sam Raimi's sequel, with Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 2’ on Hulu

Sam Raimi’s adaptation of the legendary super-hero comic book continues in the high young-adult melodrama mode in Spider-Man 2 (2004). Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) life is a shambles: his studies suffer in the (im)balance of school, work, and crime-fighting, his romance with redheaded sweetheart M.J. (Kirsten Dunst) is sacrificed to the demands of his alter-ego, […]

Cheng Pei-Pei and Yueh Hua star in King Hu's classic wuxia pian

The Romantic Chivalry of ‘Come Drink with Me’ on Amazon Prime

Come Drink with Me (Hong Kong, 1966) is a landmark of Hong Kong cinema and a classic of the wuxia pian (“martial chivalry” genre), a genre that director King Hu redefined with this delightfully spry mix of action, humor, and costume spectacle. Cheng Pei-Pei stars as the pixie-ish Golden Swallow, a determined young female warrior […]

Anne Hathaway stars in the film from Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme’s ‘Rachel Getting Married’ on Hulu

High-strung, self-involved rehab veteran Kym (Anne Hathaway) takes a vacation from her home away from home for a shaky trip back to the bosom of her family to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding in Rachel Getting Married (2008). Still not recovered from being the center of attention, Kym constantly and blatantly grabs for […]

Seret Scott and Bill Gunn in the landmark feature film debut by Kathleen Collins

‘Losing Ground’ – The landmark American indie on Milestone Blu-ray/DVD

If you’ve never heard of American playwright and filmmaker Kathleen Collins, don’t feel bad. At least not for yourself. Collins succumbed to cancer in 1988 at the age of 46 after completing just one feature. The independently-made Losing Ground (1982) was produced before the American Indie film culture established itself with the successes of Spike […]