David Oyelowo is Martin Luther King in Ava DuVernay's 'Selma.'

Academy Award winner ‘Selma’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Selma, directed by Ava Duvernay (who also rewrote the screenplay without credit, due to conditions of original screenwriter Paul Webb’s deal), takes on the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King through Alabama as a benchmark moment in the fight for voting rights and, more generally, civil rights for black citizens in the American […]

Stuart Townsend's drama about 1999 WTO protests in Seattle

‘Battle in Seattle’ – Power to the people on Amazon Prime

Battle in Seattle (2008), the directorial debut of actor Stuart Townsend, is a conventional drama about the unconventional protest landmark: the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, Washington, a real event explored through the familiar fictional stories of various protesters, delegates and bystanders. Like far too many films and TV programs set in Seattle it was […]

Citizenfour, a documentary by Laura Poitras with Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald

‘Citizenfour’ – Edward Snowden on Amazon Prime

Citizenfour (2014), winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, is the story of Edward Snowden and his release of classified NSA documents that revealed the systematic surveillance of phone calls, E-mails, and internet activities of American citizens by the government. It was the biggest act of government whistleblowing since Daniel Ellsberg and […]

Paul Giamatti is John Adams in the HBO miniseries

‘John Adams’ and the birth of American democracy on Amazon Prime and HBO Now

One of the small moments of powerful insight offered in John Adams (2008), the superb HBO miniseries adapted from the biography by David McCullough and dramatized with a vivid sense of immediacy and historical texture, is the reminder that it wasn’t the election of George Washington that defined our democracy. It was the non-violent succession […]

Reese Witherspoon in Alexander Payne's satire 'Election' with Matthew Broderick

‘Election’ – Vote Tracy Flick on Showtime Anytime

Election (1999), Alexander Payne’s wicked satire of power and (social) politics set in the overheated incubator of a high school student body election, is as sharp and perceptive now as it was in 1999. Matthew Broderick is the passionately dedicated and somewhat condescending civics teacher Jim McAllister, whose extra-curricular involvement helps compensate for a passionless […]