Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Netflix

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

‘For All Mankind’ – To the moon and back on Amazon Prime Video

For All Mankind (1989), Al Reinert’s celebration of the nine manned space flights between 1968 and 1972, was released to theaters in 1989, twenty years after first manned moon landing. It’s a stunning tribute composed entirely of the film documentation shot and archived by NASA, not a documentary of an Apollo mission but the story […]

Mathieu Amalric and Catherine Deneuve, directed by Arnaud Desplechin

‘A Christmas Tale’ – A messy family holiday on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

A Christmas Tale (France, 2008), Arnaud Desplechin’s mercurial, knotty and cinematically vibrant drama of family dysfunction stirred up over a Christmas gathering, was my pick for best film of 2008. Directing with restless energy, Desplechin sketches out a family tragedy, the untimely death of a first-born, that precedes the story by decades and then only […]

What to stream: ‘Jean-Claude Van Johnson’ and ‘Marjorie Prime’ on Amazon, ‘Wormwood’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Jean-Claude Van Damme spoofs his image and his career in Jean-Claude Van Johnson, a spy comedy about a retired action star who used his movie career as cover for his real […]

Garrett Hedlund (back to camera), Mary K. Blige, and Rob Morgan in a film directed by Dee Rees

What to stream: ‘Mudbound’ and ‘The Punisher’ on Netflix, ‘Future Man’ and ‘There’s… Johnny’ on Hulu, and Amazon Prime’s Pilot Season

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Mudbound (2017, not rated), Dee Rees’s drama of two families—one white, one black—living and farming in the poverty of the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s, takes on knotty issues of race […]

Sarah Gadon stars in the Netflix series adapted from the Margaret Atwood novel by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron

What to stream: ‘Alias Grace’ on Netflix, ‘Arrival’ on Amazon and Hulu, and more

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … The Netflix original mini-series Alias Grace takes on the true story of a servant girl convicted of murder in 19th century Canada as reinterpreted by Margaret Atwood in her historical novel. […]

Harry Bauer is Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret in the film by Julien Duvivier

French classics ‘David Golder’ and ‘La tête d’un homme’ on Criterion Channel

Julien Duvivier was once a giant of French cinema with a string of popular and critical hits in the thirties and a successful foray into Hollywood in the forties. He’s been largely forgotten as filmmaker even with though one of his biggest hits, Pépé le Moko (1937), remains a revered (and oft-revived) classic of gangster […]

Hafsia Herzi and Habib Boufares in Abdellatif Kechiche's Cesar-winning film

‘The Secret of the Grain’ on Criterion Channel

The Secret of the Grain (France, 2007) – Tunisian-French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche’s rich drama of an aging French-Arab shipwright who, with the help of his extended family, transforms an abandoned ship left for scrap into a floating restaurant, is a magnificent journey through culture and family and community. The old man Slimane (Habib Boufares), divorced […]

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe star in Lars von Trier's horror film / psychodrama

Lars von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’ on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

I’m not sure how I manage to keep my simultaneous fascination with /repulsion for Lars von Trier in balance, but it’s back with a vengeance in Antichrist (2009), a provocation that is at once beautiful and perverse, personal and cynical, and filled with his sour vision of the emotional small-mindedness (small-heartedness?) of the human animal. […]

Dennis Hopper is Tom Ripley in Wim Wender's take on Patricia HIghsmith

‘The American Friend’ on Criterion Channel and Blu-ray/DVD

The American Friend (Germany, 1977) – “What’s wrong with a cowboy in Hamburg?” Dennis Hopper’s Tom Ripley is nothing like the character that Patricia Highsmith created and explored in five novels, and while Wim Wender’s adaptation of Ripley’s Game, the sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley, remains more or less faithful to the plot (with […]