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

‘Ex Machina’ on Kanopy

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 […]

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 […]

Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea in the classic western by Sam Peckinpah

‘Ride the High Country’ – Sam Peckinpah’s sunset western on VOD and disc

Ride the High Country (1962), the second feature by Sam Peckinpah—and his first unqualified masterpiece—is a laconic tale about the end of the frontier that both celebrates and deconstructs the romantic view of old west nobility and heroism. He casts two old hands at the genre—Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea—as old friends and veteran lawmen […]

Sean Connery and Michael Caine star in John Huston's adaptation

‘The Man Who Would Be King’ on Amazon Prime Video

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) – John Huston originally wanted to make a film of Rudyard Kipling’s grand adventure in the late 1950s with Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable in the leading roles. It would’ve made a hell of a picture. And, as a matter of fact, it did, only with Sean Connery […]

Aaron Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage star in the superhero movie by Matthew Vaughn

‘Kick-Ass’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Kick-Ass (2010) is a comic book movie with a killer premise: what if regular people in the real world became costume vigilantes like the superheroes in comic books? Based on the uber-violent comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., this film tosses a high school teenager (Aaron Johnson) into a crime-fighting culture he isn’t the […]

Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, and Yayan Ruhian star in the film by Gareth Huw Evans

‘The Raid: Redemption’ – Extreme action on Netflix

Set almost entirely in an apartment building in the slums of Jakarta, the extreme action film The Raid: Redemption (Indonesia, 2011) has a reputation as one of the fiercest, most brutal crime thrillers around. It’s a well-earned reputation. Directed by Gareth Huw Evans, a Brit (actually Welsh) in Asia, and starring martial arts professionals in […]

François Civil, Pio Marmaï, and Ana Girardot in the film by Cedric Klapisch

‘Back to Burgundy’ – A year in wine country on Amazon Prime Video

Back to Burgundy (France, 2017), the sweet and sentimental drama by French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, is in many ways a gorgeous travelogue of the winemaking life through the seasons of a family vineyard set against the gentle melodrama of three siblings who inherit their father’s legacy along with a big inheritance bill. Jean (Pio Marmaï), […]

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, and Frank in Richard Kelly's cult movie of teen confusion

‘Donnie Darko’ – Life’s a mystery on Amazon Prime Video

Donnie Darko (2001) – Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an otherwise normal rebellious, angry kid who slumps and frumps his way through the confusion of his life. He just happens to have a little more confusion than the most of us, much of it caused by visitations from a demonic looking six-foot rabbit named Frank […]