Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina

Free stream: ‘Ex Machina’ on Kanopy and Hoopla

Ex Machina (2014) plays the man-vs.-machine story as a chamber drama. Domhnall Gleeson is the socially naïve computer programmer Caleb who wins a company contest to spend a weekend in the private retreat of visionary company CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a software genius who can’t wait to show Caleb his new project: a sophisticated artificial intelligence […]

Jafar Panahi’s ‘3 Faces’ free on Kanopy

In 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was arrested and charged for “Propaganda against the Iranian government.” His sentence: he was forbidden to leave Iran or make any films for 20 years. 3 Faces (Iran, 2018) is the fourth feature he has made since the sentence was passed. And once again Panahi plays himself on screen, […]

Rock Hudson has ‘Seconds’ on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

John Frankenheimer’s nightmarish thriller Seconds (1966) opens on John Randolph as a businessman who has lost all interest in his life and tries an experimental program which promises a new, exciting existence. When he wakes up from the first step, he discovers he’s turned into… Rock Hudson! Hudson was not Frankenheimer’s first choice—he was, in […]

Alain Delon stars in the Jean-Pierre Melville French crime film classic

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ on Kanopy and The Criterion Channel

Alain Delon is the coolest killer hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere 1967 French crime classic Le Samourai (France, 1967). Delon’s impassive hitman Jeff Costello is a professional’s professional, an assassin with a face of stone, nerves of ice, and the patience of a monk. He […]

‘Moonrise’ – dreamy rural noir on Kanopy

The most authentically romantic filmmaker of classic Hollywood, Frank Borzage made films where the power of love conquered all, not simply narrative obstacles and stubborn complications but time and space itself. He’s the last filmmaker you would expect to produce a film noir masterpiece yet in Moonrise (1948) he delivers beautifully. Dane Clark is Danny […]

Nathan Fillion leads the crew in Joss Whedon's short-lived series 'Firefly.'

Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly’ on Hulu and Facebook Watch

Firefly: Complete Series, Joss Whedon’s short-lived foray into sci-fi television, was (purposely or not) sabotaged by Fox when it finally premiered on network TV. The 14 episodes (that’s counting the movie-length pilot as a single episode) were rearranged by the network brain trust, completely disrupting the carefully constructed narrative that he wove through the episodes […]

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in 'The Lobster' from Yorgos Lanthimos.

Love is strange: ‘The Lobster’ on Netflix and Kanopy

Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos describes his English language debut The Lobster as his film about love (following Dogtooth, his film on life, and Alps, on death). Which is not necessarily to call it a love story. It is, in its own way, but it just as much about the social expectations of love and marriage […]

‘A Most Violent Year’ – free on Kanopy and Hoopla

A Most Violent Year (2014) should have been an Oscar contender. Written and directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) and set in the crime-ridden culture of early 1980s New York City (which was the most violent year on record in the city’s history), smart, shadowy tribute to the crime dramas of the seventies and early eighties, […]

Ethan Hawke in the film by Paul Schrader

Paul Schrader’s ‘First Reformed’ on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

Anyone who has followed the career of Paul Schrader could fall into the trap of simply cataloguing the ways in which First Reformed (2018) is a summation of his themes and inspirations. Imagine the promotional possibilities: “From the author of “Transcendental Cinema” and “Notes on Film Noir” and the screenwriter of Taxi Driver and The Last […]

Jacob Tremblay and Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson in 'Room,' directed by Lenny Abrahamson

Brie Larson in ‘Room’ on Netflix and free on Kanopy and Hoopla

It’s called Room (2015). Not The Room, simply Room, as if there were no others. And for Jack (Jacob Tremblay), the five-year-old son of a young mother (Brie Larson), there aren’t. It’s his entire world, his universe, and as far as he knows nothing exists outside the walls. His mother, known only as Ma in the film, […]