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 […]

Kyle MacLachlan in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet"

David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ on Amazon Prime

David Lynch looks behind the smiling faces and stucco houses of small town America and finds a shadow world of pure evil in Blue Velvet (1986). From the opening shots Lynch turns the Technicolor picture postcard images of middle class homes and tree lined lanes into a dreamy vision on the edge of nightmare. College […]

Tobey Maguire is back in Sam Raimi's sequel, with Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 2’ on Hulu

Sam Raimi’s adaptation of the legendary super-hero comic book continues in the high young-adult melodrama mode in Spider-Man 2 (2004). Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) life is a shambles: his studies suffer in the (im)balance of school, work, and crime-fighting, his romance with redheaded sweetheart M.J. (Kirsten Dunst) is sacrificed to the demands of his alter-ego, […]

Anne Hathaway stars in the film from Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme’s ‘Rachel Getting Married’ on Hulu

High-strung, self-involved rehab veteran Kym (Anne Hathaway) takes a vacation from her home away from home for a shaky trip back to the bosom of her family to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding in Rachel Getting Married (2008). Still not recovered from being the center of attention, Kym constantly and blatantly grabs for […]

‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009. Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life […]

Tobey Maguire stars on Sam Raimi's big screen superhero movie

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ – The original big screen webslinger on Hulu

Superhero movies have been a big screen staple ever since Superman first flew through his first animated adventure in 1940. But for all the glory of Richard Donner’s majestic 1978 Superman and the kooky dark weirdness of Tim Burton’s Batman films, it took comic book fan-turned-fan-boy director Sam Raimi to capture the graphic thrills and […]

Pam Grier, Robert Forster and Samuel L. Jackson star in Quentin Tarantino's adaptation of Elmore Leonard

Pam Grier is ‘Jackie Brown’ on Netflix

Jackie Brown (1997) – “Amateurs borrow, professionals steal,” goes the maxim, and Quentin Tarantino steals like a pro. Where directors of the previous generation peppered their films with classic cinematic quotes, Tarantino plunders the films of his formative years for ideas—mostly B-movies and exploitation films about cars and capers and criminals—and riffs on them with […]

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

‘Two Days, One Night’ on Hulu

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne developed their own stable of actors when they moved from documentaries to fiction films about working class folks and life on the margins of society—Olivier Gourmet and Jérémie Renier have both gone on to great success—but steered clear of working with major movie stars. Until Two Days, One Night, with bona-fide […]

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, and others star in the film by Lana and Lilly (formerly Andy) Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

‘Cloud Atlas’ on Netflix

Cloud Atlas (2012) wants nothing for ambition. Jumping between six distinctive stories in six different eras, with a cast that plays different (yet connected) parts in the various storyline, it’s at once literal and evasive, a film that wears its heart on its beautifully stitched sleeve and its meaning in its design and yet finds […]