‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009. Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life […]

Emmy-winning drama ‘Playing for Time’ on Amazon Prime

Playing for Time (1980), based on the memoir by Holocaust survivor Fania Fénelon and scripted for television by Arthur Miller, arrived a couple years after the excellent 1978 mini-series Holocaust to present a far more intimate drama and one of the most powerful TV events of its era. Vanessa Redgrave was a controversial choice to […]

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in the Oscar-nominated drama "Loving." from filmmaker Jeff Nichols

‘Loving’ – The couple behind the history on HBO

Loving (2016), Jeff Nichols’s portrait of Richard and Mildred Loving, does more than put a face to a landmark Supreme Court decision. Their 1958 marriage was a crime in the state of Virginia because Richard (played by Joel Edgerton with a terse determination) was a white man and Mildred (Ruth Negga, vulnerable yet hopeful) was […]

Steve Buscemi stars in the HBO series of Prohibition and organized crime created by Terence Winter

The complete ‘Boardwalk Empire’ on Amazon Prime and HBO Now

Boardwalk Empire opens with Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the treasurer of Atlantic City and the man who runs the town—and the graft—from behind the pose of public service, toasting the U.S. Congress and the new possibilities that the twenties will bring, thanks to the utterly disastrous “noble experiment” known as Prohibition. Everything changes from that […]

Meryl Streep is "Florence Foster Jenkins."

Meryl Streep is ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ on Amazon Prime

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) may sound like a one-joke contrivance—a rich, generous, arts-loving heiress in 1940s New York City gives private recitals to a select group of high society insiders who never let on to the oblivious woman that she is quite possibly the worst singer to ever trod a stage—but it is both a […]

David Oyelowo and Madina Nalwanga in Disney's "Queen of Katwe."

‘Queen of Katwe’ – The inspiring true story on Netflix

Queen of Katwe (2016) tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a poor, uneducated girl in Uganda who sells corn on the street of her impoverished slum until an encounter with chess offers her the possibility of something more. Newcomer Madina Nalwanga plays Phiona, the nine-year-old daughter of single mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), taking […]

Natalie Portman stars in 'Jackie,' directed by Pablo Larraín

Natalie Portman is ‘Jackie’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Jackie (2016) – Natalie Portman earned an Oscar nomination playing American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the week following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This is not the conspiracy drama of Oliver Stone’s JFK, nor is it a sentimental spectacle of a country mourning the death of an inspirational President. This is an […]

Michael Fassbender stars as 'Steve Jobs' in the feature written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle

‘Steve Jobs’ on SVOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Steve Jobs isn’t the usual big screen biopic. Ostensibly adapted from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay discards the familiar birth-to-death sweep to offer a triptych of snapshots of Jobs, the co-founder of Apple who became the face of the company over his stormy stewardship, driving innovation and driving out opposition. Apart from a […]

Kevin Costner and his team in 'McFarland, USA'

‘McFarland, USA’ with Kevin Costner on SVOD and Blu-ray/DVD

In McFarland, USA, Kevin Costner is the hothead of a coach who lands in an impoverished California desert town and starts a cross country team with Mexican-American students who, until his arrival, had little hope of a future outside of working the fields. Disney has really carved this genre out for itself: the true-life underdog […]