Aaron Staton, Hattie Morahan, and Owen McDonnell in the BBC homefront drama

‘My Mother & Other Strangers’ – Growing up in wartime on Amazon Prime

Set in a rural Irish town during World War II, My Mother & Other Strangers (2017) is another British TV homefront drama, this one viewed through the memories of an adolescent boy. Francis Coyne (Michael Nevin) is the son of Rose (Hattie Morahan), who is London born and bred and treated like an outsider by […]

Kim Hunter and David Niven in the classic by Michael Powell and Emerich Pressburger

It’s ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ for Michael Powell on FilmStruck

Michael Powell and Emerich Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) (originally released in the U.S. as Stairway to Heaven) is as gorgeous and rapturously romantic as movies come. The film opens with a celestial prologue and narration that offers the sense of cosmic comfort of someone watching over it all, of some divine authority in […]

Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, and Kenneth Branagh star in Christopher Nolan's World War II drama

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan called in his favors from Warner Bros., where made the hit Batman / Dark Knight trilogy as well as Inception and Interstellar, to make Dunkirk (2017), a big-budget World War II drama that would never have been financed on the scale Nolan envisioned without his clout behind it. Warner may have been […]

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Who would have predicted that the second revival of the Planet of the Apes series would be so smart, so moving, so… human? Whatever your feelings on the 1969 original, at the time a startlingly unique film built on a warped-mirror fantasy premise, the sequels were exercises in diminishing ambition and the ridiculous 2001 Tim […]

Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and Ed Burns in Steven Spielberg's World War II platoon drama

‘Saving Private Ryan’ – Spielberg, Hanks, and WWII on Hulu

Saving Private Ryan (1998) was the first major World War II film made by Hollywood in decades and the timing was right. The 50th Anniversary of D-Day in 1994 brought the cultural conversation back to the sacrifice of American soldiers. After a generation of films revisiting Vietnam, Steven Spielberg steered Hollywood back to the pride […]

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

‘Wonder Woman’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Wonder Woman (2017) is, if you’ll pardon such an obvious comment, a wonder of a superhero movie, a film that doesn’t transcend the genre but most certainly sets a high bar, especially next to the ponderous, humorless films of the new big screen universe of interconnected DC Comics heroes. Gal Gadot debuted as Amazon princess […]

Nicolas Cage in Andrew Niccol's 'Lord of War'

Nicolas Cage is the ‘Lord of War’ on Netflix

“There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?” The opening line of Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War (2005) captures the film in a phrase: it’s serious, it’s sardonic, and it has both a […]

‘Inglourious Basterds’ rewrites history on Netflix

I don’t know of another American filmmaker who brings such joy to the act of cinematic storytelling as Quentin Tarantino. I don’t mean tackling big issues or making epic statements. I’m talking about the sheer pleasure of telling audiences a tale that takes them places they don’t expect and ways they haven’t quite experienced before. […]