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The High-Wire Energy of Great Ensemble Acting

At their best, movies that showcase a sizable collective of virtuosic actors can give you the feeling of a rich ecosystem being brought to life.

By Isaac Butler

The Evolution of Synth Soundtracks

A collection on the Criterion Channel charts the evolution of the synthesizer—from its infancy in the 1950s to its maturity in the 1980s—and its transformative impact on film music.

By Danz CM

Rediscovering Yasuzo Masumura at Karlovy Vary

An underrated figure of Japanese cinema’s postwar era, the director tackled a wide range of subjects over his long career, including corporate double-dealing, government espionage, and various forms of fanaticism.

By Farran Smith Nehme

Great Adaptations: Columbia in the 1950s

Perhaps the most hard-to-categorize of the great Hollywood studios came into its own with a string of critically acclaimed films based on popular books and plays, including Born Yesterday, A Raisin in the Sun, and From Here to Eternity.

By Imogen Sara Smith

Night and the Cities

From After Hours to Mikey and Nicky to Collateral, movies centered on the twists and turns of a single night give filmmakers the chance to boldly experiment with cinematic time and space.

By Jessica Kiang

Thoughts Transcending Time and Distance: Makoto Shinkai’s Voices of a Distant Star

In this early-career gem from one of the most beloved Japanese animation directors of all time, an extravagant sci-fi narrative is anchored by the transcendent power of young love and poignant observations of modern life.

By Jonathan R. Lack

Trash and Treasure at the Razzies

What makes a “bad” movie anyway? By surveying the bombs, disasters, and secret masterpieces (dis)honored at the Golden Raspberry Awards, we can learn much about American cinema’s prevailing standards of taste.

By Mark Asch

Cinema Revolutionary: Fernando de Fuentes in Morelia

The subject of a revelatory retrospective at last year’s Morelia International Film Festival, this groundbreaking director ushered in Mexican cinema’s golden age with vibrant explorations of the nation’s folk traditions and revolutionary past.

By Imogen Sara Smith

Becoming Hou Hsiao-hsien

Though the Taiwanese director began working in commercial genres, even his earliest mainstream films contain the seeds of the inimitable style that would establish him as one of the world’s most important filmmakers.

By Sean Gilman

A Year’s Worth of Essential Reading

We’re ringing in the new year with a look back at a selection of the most exciting pieces we published in 2023.


Room Tone 2023

Look back on the collaborations that defined our year, captured in this compilation of moments that our crew shared with the artists, critics, and scholars who talked with us about the movies.

By Daniel Reis

Deep Dives

Deeper into Ozu

Six writers celebrate the 120th anniversary of Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu’s birth by highlighting underacknowledged elements of his artistry and lesser-known gems in his oeuvre.

For the Love of the Con

The best movies about con artists highlight something their makers share with the fraudsters they depict: an intuitive sense of people’s desires and a talent for ruthless manipulation.

By Terrence Rafferty

Don’t Fence Her In: On Women of the West

A string of important midcentury westerns, including Johnny Guitar and Rancho Notorious, elevated women from their traditionally marginal role in the genre to more potent and central positions.

By Imogen Sara Smith

Blood and Guts in High School

John Fawcett’s 2001 cult classic Ginger Snaps—a highlight of the Criterion Channel’s High School Horror collection—uses the werewolf trope to explore the psychosexual anxieties of female adolescence.

By Farihah Zaman

Linda Darnell’s Tough and Timeless Women

Despite being one of the most mesmerizing performers of 1940s Hollywood, Darnell struggled throughout her career to be seen as more than a great beauty.

By Mayukh Sen

Noir by Gaslight

A collection of films on the Criterion Channel combine the moodiness of noir with late-nineteenth-century period detail and dark romance.

By Farran Smith Nehme

The Man Behind the Wheel

Amid the anxiety and social turbulence of the Nixon era, car movies served to explore and embody the contradictions of American masculinity.

By Christina Newland

“The House Is the Monster”: Roger Corman’s Poe Cycle

In the great American writer’s Gothic tales, Corman found themes that inspired him to riff, invent, and create immersive cinematic environments.

By Geoffrey O’Brien

Hip-Hop’s Big-Screen Breakthrough

As the influence of the New York–born cultural movement began to spread across the country, cinema gave audiences a deeper sense of the sounds and styles that had emerged from it.

By Craig D. Lindsey

The Replacements: AI in the Movies

Over the past half-century of sci-fi cinema, the theme of artificial intelligence has foregrounded our anxieties about sex, reproduction, and labor in the modern world.

By Gregory Zinman

Elvis’s Adventures in Hollywood

Over the course of thirty-one feature films, one of the world’s most revered rock-and-roll icons developed a charismatic persona all his own—and created moments of surprising dramatic depth.

By Sheila O’Malley

Marilyn’s Method

Marilyn Monroe was already a brilliant performer before she began studying Method acting, but the immersive techniques she learned from teacher Lee Strasberg gave her a heightened sense of her craft as “a sort of religion.”

By Kim Morgan

Darkness Visible: Anthony Mann and James Stewart’s Westerns

One of Hollywood’s most beloved actors showed a turbulent, sometimes downright sinister side in his collaborations with director Anthony Mann, which include the classic westerns Winchester ’73 and The Man from Laramie.

By K. Austin Collins