Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe star in the film noir from John Huston

John Huston’s ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ on Criterion Channel

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is one of John Huston’s rare forays into the genre that would later be called film noir. His first, The Maltese Falcon (1941), helped set the template of the private eye noir. Ten years later, working from an adaptation of the caper novel by W.R. Burnett scripted in collaboration with the […]

Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Irene Jacob star in Krzysztof Kieslowski 's Blue, White, and Red trilogy

‘Three Colors’ – Kieslowski’s sublime trilogy on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max

The three colors are blue, white and red. They are the colors of the French flag, of course, and they are appropriated by director Krzysztof Kieslowski along with the themes of the motto they more or less represent: liberty, equality, fraternity. But the films Three Colors: Blue (1993), Three Colors: White (1993), and Three Colors: […]

Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti's adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel

Last chance: Burt Lancaster is ‘The Leopard’ in Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece on Criterion Channel

The Leopard (Italy, 1963), Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel (said to be a national touchstone for Italy), is his masterpiece. Burt Lancaster (his voice is dubbed by a deep-voiced Italian) may seem an unusual choice to play Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, an idealistic 19th century Sicilian prince (Visconti favored Laurence Olivier, a […]

King Hu directs this classic of Chinese cinema

‘A Touch of Zen’ on The Criterion Channel

A Touch of Zen (Taiwan, 1971), King Hu’s romantic chivalry adventure, is a masterpiece of Chinese cinema, a magnificent epic with grand battles fought with the grace of a ballet with swords, and the most significant cinematic inspiration for Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The three-hour film took the uniquely Chinese genre of wuxia […]

John Travolta in Brian De Palma's 'Blow Out'

Brian De Palma’s ‘Blow Out’ on Amazon Prime

Is it too sweeping to call Jack Terry, the movie soundman of Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1981), John Travolta’s best performance ever? So be it. Who knew that De Palma—a director still more often than not dismissed as a technician with a Hitchcock obsession, a facility for bravura camerawork, and a penchant for split […]

Carl Th. Dreyer's 19322 horror classic

‘Vampyr’ – Classic horror as tone poem on HBO Max and Criterion Channel

Vampyr (Denmark, 1932) is a horror movie as tone poem. An early sound film shot with a distinctive and evocative silent film aesthetic, dialogue is sparse and large blocks of text (either intertitles or pages from a book of vampire lore) provide the exposition. And it’s eerily abstract film with vague motivations and ethereal imagery […]

Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux star in 'Blue is the Warmest Color,' directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche explores the lives of outsiders looking for their place in Blue is the Warmest Color (France, 2013) an intimate love story based on a graphic novel. Thanks to Academy rules for foreign films, it wasn’t eligible for an Oscar nomination due to the timing of its French theatrical release. But it took home […]

Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, and Dennis Hopper star in Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel.

‘Rumble Fish’ – “An art film for teenagers” on Peacock

Francis Ford Coppola described Rumble Fish (1983), his screen adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s young adult novel, as “an art film for teenagers.” He shot it right after making The Outsiders (1982), also adapted from a Hinton novel, but where that was a lush, operatic tale, Coppola made Rumble Fish in stylized black and white, like […]

Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, and George Macready, directed by Charles Vidor

Rita Hayworth is ‘Gilda’ on Criterion Channel

Rita Hayworth is at her most iconic as the forties sex-bomb in Gilda (1946), a film noir classic co-starring Glenn Ford as Johnny Farrell, an American tough guy in Buenos Aires, and George Macready as Ballin Mundson, the owner of a nightclub and illegal casino who hires Johnny as his club manager. Just as in […]

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 […]