Harold Russell, Dana Andrews, and Fredric March in William Wyler's 1946 drama

‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ – Coming home on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

By all rights, the homecoming drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) should have been another well intentioned film left to the dated dustbins of history, but World War II vet William Wyler (working from an original Robert Sherwood script) put more soul into this picture than anything else in his career. Clocking in […]

Judy Garland is Dorothy Gale in the beloved screen adaptation of Frank L. Baum's fantasy

‘The Wizard of Oz’ – Over the rainbow on Amazon Prime

When gingham-clad farm girl Dorothy Gale rode the tornado out of the somber, sepia-tinged black and white of her Kansas dustbowl farm and into the sparkling Technicolor fantasy land somewhere over the rainbow, she changed the lives of her audiences (both then and now) as assuredly as she changed her own. The Wizard of Oz […]

Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, and Jackie Gleason, directed by Robert Rossen

Paul Newman is ‘The Hustler’ on VOD and Vlu-ray/DVD

The Hustler (1961) – Paul Newman is cocky poolroom hustler “Fast” Eddie Felson, a swaggering pool shark punk who works his trade in dingy bars and seedy poolrooms, in Robert Rossen’s atmospheric adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel. Crashing into a pit of self-pity after losing big to king of the poolroom Minnesota Fats (a […]

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the film that won 10 Academy Awards

‘Gone with the Wind’ on Amazon Prime

Gone with the Wind (1939), one of the most beloved and revered of American classics, showcases the best and worst of old Hollywood. You can’t miss the idealization of antebellum South, presented as some sort of proud aristocracy blinded by arrogance and yet elevated to a kind of American Camelot served by complacent slaves, or […]

Al Pacino stars in 'Serpico',' directed by Sidney Lumet

Al Pacino is ‘Serpico’ on Hulu

“It’s incredible but I feel like a criminal because I don’t take money.” So says Al Pacino in Serpico (1973), Sidney Lumet’s take on the true story of frustrated New York policeman Frank Serpico. As portrayed by Al Pacino, Serpico is the resident nonconformist in the working class New York Police Department, a college-educated street […]

Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank in 'Million Dollar Baby'

‘Million Dollar Baby’ on Netflix

Always one of America’s most undervalued directors, Clint Eastwood is proving himself the American cinema’s national treasure in the third act of his impressive career. Million Dollar Baby (2004), an understated, unpretentious, powerfully told drama, adapted from F.X. Toole stories by Paul Haggis, earned Eastwood his second round of Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture […]

Mia Farrow in Roman Polanski's 'Rosemary's Baby'

The original ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ on Criterion Channel

Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Roman Polanski’s American directing debut, is one of the most celebrated American horror films of all time, but horror isn’t really the right description for this film. Yes, it is about a cabal of devil worshippers in modern day (circa late 1960s) and an innocent served up to bear Satan’s child, but Polanski […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Netflix

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's award-winning film

Wong Kar-Wai’s melancholy ‘In the Mood for Love’ on FilmStruck

There may be no more sensual director in the world than Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai, and In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong, 2000) is one of his richest and most melancholy works, a shadow dance of would-be lovers sketched in suggestions and intimations. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai star as next door neighbors […]