Joan Crawford stars with Ann Blyth, Zachary Scott, and Jack Carson

Joan Crawford is ‘Mildred Pierce’ on FilmStruck

Is Mildred Pierce (1945) film noir or melodrama? I say why choose? Film noir is almost entirely associated with crime stories and life in the shadows and at night in the city and sure enough Mildred Pierce, based on the novel by James M. Cain, opens with death and darkness and the twilight of the […]

Clark Gable, Tully Marshall, Donald Crisp and Jean Harlow in the 1932 MGM classic directed by Victor Fleming

Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in ‘Red Dust’ on FilmStruck

Red Dust (1932), the jungle melodrama starring Clark Gable as a rubber plantation foreman in East Asia and Jean Harlow as the street smart showgirl who takes a powder from “Say-gone” (as they call the future Vietnamese city of Saigon) and lands upriver in his primitive plantation manor, is as sexy, frank, and grown-up as […]

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

Martin Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“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 […]

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in the 1946 film noir classic directed by Howard Hawks

Bogie and Bacall in ‘The Big Sleep’ on FilmStruck

Humphrey Bogart is seductive in an insolent way as the screen’s smoothest Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946), Howard Hawks’ hardboiled adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s classic detective novel, and Lauren Bacall is his match as Vivian Rutledge, the spoiled socialite daughter of his client. The mystery revolves around blackmail, petty gangsters, and an underground […]

Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker on Netflix

Oscar winner ‘The Hurt Locker’ on Amazon Prime Video

“Tell me something. What’s the best way to disarm one of these things?” “The way you don’t die, sir.” Set in the Iraq war after the proclamation of “Mission Accomplished” and the transformation of a battlefield army into an occupation force, The Hurt Locker follows the finals days in the rotation of a bomb disposal […]

Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher star in the film directed by Milos Forman

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Milos Forman passed away at age of 86. In his memory, I’ve republished an article on the film that earned Forman his first Academy Award. A rare screen adaptation of a beloved novel to maintain the emotional and dramatic power of the original while establishing its own distinctive approach to the story, One Flew Over […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on Hulu

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s “Red Alert,” was a grave contemplation of the […]

Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on Netflix

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

Al Pacino is Cuban thug turned Miami drug lord Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's 'Scarface'

‘Scarface’ – Say hello to my little friend on Netflix

Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983), ostensibly a remake of the Howard Hawks gangster classic, moves the iconic rise and fall crime opera from the tommy-gun gangster street battles of the prohibition era to the cocaine wars of Florida in the eighties. In the process, De Palma, screenwriter Oliver Stone, and star Al Pacino carved out […]

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ on Hulu and Sundance Now

Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese’s incendiary masterpiece of alienation and anger and urban anxiety may be the most maverick vision of seventies American cinema. It is certainly one of the most visceral portraits of the American urban underbelly ever put on film, a movie bathed in blood as much as in light, and almost forty years […]