Michael Stuhlbarg stars in the 2009 film by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coen Bros.’ ‘A Serious Man’ – a modern Job on Netflix

A Serious Man (2009) is a serious (and seriously funny) meditation on little themes like the meaning of life and why are we here and how can we know God’s purpose, and is as funny, heartbreaking, questioning, trying, exasperating and sincerely inquisitive a portrait of the human condition as you’ll find on screen. You could […]

Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka in the musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel

The original ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ on Netflix

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder is the weird, wonderful, slightly sinister candy bar king who invites five children into his factory kingdom in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s fantasy. It is a rare breed: an imaginative live-action […]

Gael García Bernal stars in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's breakthrough drama from Mexico

‘Amores Perros’ – A dog-eat-dog world on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

A wounded figure lies helplessly bleeding in the backseat of a car recklessly careening through city streets while a pistol blasting thug in a souped-up pickup drives the fleeing car into a shattering crash. The jerky in-your-face camerawork, raw, earthy colors, and jagged editing looks just like a low budget crime picture that exploded from […]

Peter O’Toole, Barbara Hershey, and Steve Railsback star in Richard Rush’s Oscar-nominated film

‘The Stunt Man’ on Criterion Channel and Sundance Now

The Stunt Man (1980), Richard Rush’s brilliant little backstage drama of illusion and reality and moviemaking sleight of hand, earned three Oscar nominations and universally glowing reviews, yet is was barely seen on its initial release and became an almost instant cult classic. Steve Railsback is intense and haunted as the Vietnam vet on the […]

George Clooney stars in the political thriller by Tony Gilroy

George Clooney is ‘Michael Clayton’ on Netflix

“I’m not a miracle worker. I’m a janitor.” George Clooney simmers as Michael Clayton (2007), a legal “fixer” who works behind the scenes of a powerful New York law firm, in Tony Gilroy’s smart, sharp legal drama. When he’s sent to clean up the moral meltdown of the firm’s leading litigator (Tom Wilkinson), he unwittingly […]

Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and others in Paul Thomas Anderson's indie epic

‘Boogie Nights’ – Porn in the USA on Netflix

Boogie Nights (1997), the sophomore feature from Paul Thomas Anderson, is a surprisingly vibrant, funny, and at times quite warm story of a dysfunctional filmmaking family in the adult film industry of the late 1970s. Partially inspired by the life of porno star John Holmes, it stars Burt Reynolds as a quiet but firm director […]

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the Oscar nominated film by Debra Granik

‘Winter’s Bone’ – Jennifer Lawrence arrives on Hulu

Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (2010), set in the crime and poverty of the Ozark Mountains, is a coming-of-age survival story in an outlaw culture where meth labs have replaced moonshine stills and the code of silence is enforced with pitiless finality. Jennifer Lawrence was revelation as the 17-year-old Ree, who has grown up fast to […]

‘My Life as a Zucchini’ – Oscar-nominated animation from France on Netflix

The Academy Award-nominated animated feature My Life as a Zucchini (France, 2016) uses stop-motion animation to tell the bitter-sweet story of an imaginative, vulnerable boy nicknamed Zucchini who is orphaned after the death of his abusive, alcoholic mother and sent to a foster home. But while it is set in France (the view from Zucchini’s […]

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star in the film they co-wrote with Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Midnight’ on Netflix

Before Midnight (2013), the third chapter in the story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), finds the lovers together in Europe, raising daughters of their own, and still talking about love and art and desires and compromises. We’re on vacation in Greece and the two are hoping to rekindle a little of their […]

Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer in the true story directed by Theodore Melfi

‘Hidden Figures’ on HBO

Hidden Figures (2016), a Hollywood drama based on the true stories of three African-American women who were essential yet unseen and uncelebrated members of the team that put the first Americans in space, is terrific drama, eye-opening history, and a great lesson for Hollywood. This movie headlined by three African-American actresses was the number one […]