Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw star in the great NYC subway heist

‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’ – The great subway heist on Amazon Prime and Hulu

The original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) hasn’t the credentials of Dog Day Afternoon or The French Connection but this ingenious crime caper / hostage drama is one of the great New York crime films of the 1970s. Walter Matthau is the everyman head of the transit police who takes charge of […]

Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer star in Rob Reiner's 'This is Spinal Tap'

‘This Is Spinal Tap’ on Netflix

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” – Nigel Tufnel Rob Reiner walks that fine line in his hilarious mockrockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), ostensibly the portrait of a has-been metal band resurrected from a well-deserved obscurity for a disastrous comeback tour. Improv comedy veterans Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer don’t […]

Richard Linklater's 'Everybody Wants Some'

‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ – Richard Linklater goes to college on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Filmmaker and chronicler of growing up in America Richard Linklater describes Everybody Wants Some!! (2015) as the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, his 1993 coming of age (or perhaps more accurately coming of self) classic. Set four years after Dazed and centered on a high school baseball all-star on a sports scholarship arriving on […]

The stop-motion animation dark fairy tale 'Coraline' directed by Henry Selick

‘Coraline’ on Netflix

Coraline (2009) opens on a rag doll efficiently taken apart by hands of skeletal steel (like Edward Scissorhands but with menacing needles for fingers) and then turned inside out and recreated in the image of the blue-haired heroine Coraline. It’s produced in the old-school stop motion animation style of articulated dolls and hand-crafted props increasingly […]

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 […]

‘Shotgun Stories’ on Amazon Prime

Arkansas-born director Jeff Nichols has carved out a terrific career making distinctive films with a personal commitment and a personal take on American Southern culture: Take Shelter (2011), Mud (2012), Midnight Special (2016), and the Oscar-nominated Loving (2016). It all begins with his debut feature Shotgun Stories (2007) The story revolves around three adult brothers—Son, […]

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in the young adult vampire romance based on the Stephenie Meyer novel

‘Twilight’ – Young vampires in love on Netflix

Stephenie Meyer’s vampires are not your parents’ vampires. They walk around in daylight. They sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight. And they love baseball. Meyer’s young love vampire series of novels became a veritable pop phenomenon among teen girls (and their mothers) and the very faithful screen adaptation was an unqualified hit with the fans. […]

Ewan McGregor is 'The Ghost Writer' in Roman Polanski's superb thriller.

Roman Polanski’s ‘The Ghost Writer’ on Netflix and Showtime Anytime

Ewan McGregor is The Ghost Writer (2010), a scribe-for-hire in the celebrity autobiography business who is contracted to rewrite the dry memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), in the smart, gripping, subtly Hitchcockian thriller from director Roman Polanski and author Robert Harris. The writer has no other name in the film—he introduces […]