Donnie Yen and Andy Lau in the Hong Kong crime drama from Wong Jing

Donny Yen and Andy Lau are ‘Chasing the Dragon’ on Netflix

Directed by the insanely prolific Hong Kong action veteran Wong Jing, Chasing the Dragon (China, 2017) is the filmmaker’s crime epic, a historical drama that charts the rise and fall of two notorious gangsters who thrived in the rampant corruption enabled by Britain’s colonial rule of Hong Kong in the 1960s. The title is slang […]

Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as young John Lennon in the story of his early life directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson

‘Nowhere Boy’ – John Lennon before the Beatles on Netflix

Nowhere Boy (2009) tells the story of the early life of John Lennon, the man who would put together the Beatles as a teenage boy. What’s marvelous about the film is that it isn’t elevated into some mythological status. There are none of those clichéd lines where someone in the group or some prescient member […]

Daniel Radcliffe stars as an FBI agent undercover in the white supremacist underground in Imperium

‘Imperium’- Undercover in Amerikkka on Amazon Prime Video

Imperium (2016), an undercover thriller “inspired by real events” (which I guess is a step removed from “based on a true story”), stars Daniel Radcliffe as an FBI analyst working the social media end of the terrorist watch team. Nate is intelligent, observant, and cultured but socially awkward, a loner and the butt of jokes […]

Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks star in this family drama based on a true story

‘People Like Us’ on Netflix

People Like Us (2012), a based-on-a-true-story family drama, offers some touching moments between the Hollywood contrivances and some moving moments that remind us of the power of family ties. Chris Pine stars as Sam, an amoral wheeler dealer in financial straits who has to be pushed by his girlfriend (a terribly underserved Olivia Wilde) to […]

Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, and Bella Heathcote star in the film by Angela Robinson

‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ on Hulu

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017) is not your usual comic superhero origin story. It turns out that the majestic Amazon princess from a mythic island of female warriors was born of a Harvard psychologist and outspoken feminist who had a polyamorous relationship with two women who inspired the character and a passion for […]

Steven Spielberg makes compelling drama from the statesmanship it took to pass the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution

Daniel Day-Lewis is ‘Lincoln’ on Netflix

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012) is a remarkable historical drama. Scripted by Tony Kushner, guided by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book A Team of Rivals, Lincoln casts a spotlight on one of the most important political actions in American history: passing the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which abolished slavery. In compelling detail, this film shows […]

Robert De Niro in the Martin Scorese gangster epic with Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ on Netflix

“In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.” Five years after his gangland masterpiece GoodFellas, Martin Scorsese reunited with writer Nicholas Pileggi and stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci […]

‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station (2013) 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 […]

Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ on Netflix

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” GoodFellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s violent, dynamic, exhilarating adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book Wiseguy, about real-life wiseguy-turned-witness against the mob Henry Hill, exploded across screens in 1990 and was embraced as the first great American gangster movie since Coppola’s The Godfather […]