Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom,' starring Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and more

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ – Wes Anderson’s endless summer on Netflix

Wes Anderson has made a career exploring the childhood neuroses that keep adult characters in an arrested state of adolescence and stasis. It’s been a lively career with creatively energetic high points like Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums but an approach with diminishing returns. Until Fantastic Mr. Fox, a film that refracted his portraits of dysfunctional families […]

Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof star in the modern dress Shakespeare adaptation from Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon does ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ on Hulu

Joss Whedon shot Much Ado About Nothing (2012), his modern-dress take on the Shakespeare farce, in two weeks at his own house during down-time in the middle of making The Avengers, and his invited old friends and collaborators to join him. Angel co-stars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof take the lead roles of Beatrice and Benedick […]

Nola Darling and Tommy Redmond Hicks star in Spike Lee's debut feature

Spike Lee’s original ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ on Netflix

“Please baby, please baby, please baby baby baby please!” Spike Lee exploded in the independent film world with his debut feature She’s Gotta Have It (1986), an inventive low budget romance with a strong-willed heroine. Tracy Camilla Johns is the confident and sexually independent Nola Darling, a young professional Brooklynite who is happy to sample […]

Phil Karlson directs John Payne, Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, and Jack Elam in this B-movie film noir classic.

‘Kansas City Confidential’ on FilmStruck

Kansas City Confidential (1952), the first of three collaborations between Phil Karlson, a director who graduated from B-movies with a strong storytelling punch and a tough, two-fisted sensibility, and John Payne, a former light romantic lead and bland song-and-dance man of Fox musicals, was a career changer for both of them. Payne was already reinventing […]

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

‘Election’ – Vote Tracy Flick on Amazon Prime and Hulu

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 […]

Garrett Hedlund (back to camera), Mary K. Blige, and Rob Morgan in a film directed by Dee Rees

What to stream: ‘Mudbound’ and ‘The Punisher’ on Netflix, ‘Future Man’ and ‘There’s… Johnny’ on Hulu, and Amazon Prime’s Pilot Season

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Mudbound (2017, not rated), Dee Rees’s drama of two families—one white, one black—living and farming in the poverty of the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s, takes on knotty issues of race […]

Charlize Theron goes ‘Atomic Blonde’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Lean, mean, swift, and sure, Atomic Blonde (2017) is the kind of action movie we need in the contemporary morass of CGIed to mush spectacle. That’s not to say it eschews digital effects but director David Leitch, a co-creator and uncredited co-director of John Wick and a veteran stuntman and stunt choreographer, uses digital manipulation […]

Robert Hays and Julie Haggerty lead the cast in the disaster movie farce from David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams

‘Airplane!’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Airplane! (1980, PG), the directorial debut of the writing/directing team of David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams (who apprenticed on the screenplay of Kentucky Fried Movie), has my vote for the funniest film ever made. Ostensibly a goof on the barely remembered 1957 aviation thriller Zero Hour! (note the exclamation mark) by way of […]