Hiromasa Yonebayashi directs the animated fantasy based on the children's novel by British author Mary Stewart

‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’ – a magical odyssey on Netflix

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japan, 2017), the magical fantasy by Japanese animator and filmmaker Hiromasa Yonebayashi (director of the marvelous When Marnie Was There), based on a children’s novel by British author Mary Stewart, follows the adventures of a schoolgirl who receives magical powers for a day from a magical flower that blooms once […]

James Cagney plays George M. Cohan in the musical directed by Michael Curtiz

‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ – James Cagney is George M. Cohan in FilmStruck

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) – James Cagney won his only Academy Award playing George M. Cohan in the rousing bio-pic directed by Michael Curtiz, who was the top director at Warner Bros. and arguably the studio’s most versatile filmmaker at the time. Cagney was a song-and-dance man before he found fame as a movie tough […]

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in the third "Harry Potter" feature

‘Harry Potter’ – the complete saga on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Looking back on the original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), directed by Chris Columbus, we see a painstakingly literal translations of J.K Rowling’s first novel, a near-perfect replica created with a kind of funhouse spectacle of the wonders of the magical world come to life. Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) is a lush, lavishly produced […]

Mowgli and friends in Disney's live-action 'The Jungle Book.'

‘The Jungle Book’ – Disney’s 2016 remake on VOD and disc

The Jungle Book (2016), Jon Favreau’s live action (or at least photo-realistic) version of the Rudyard Kipling stories, offers far more than the bare necessities as it combines Kipling’s stories and Walt Disney’s 1967 animated musical adaptation for a marvelous new version of the classic story of a boy quite literally raised by wolves. The […]

Lambert Wilson as Jacques Cousteau in the film by Jérôme Salle

‘The Odyssey’ of Jacques Cousteau on Netflix

The Odyssey (France, 2016) is not Homer’s mythic quest but the epic voyage that Jacques Cousteau took around the world for years of TV documentaries on the exploration for marine life. Lambert Wilson is Jacques-Yves Cousteau in a biographical drama that presents a portrait of a man cultivating an on-screen image very different from the […]

Danny Pudi stars in the immigration experience comedy by Lena Khan

‘The Tiger Hunter’ – Coming to America on Netflix

The Tiger Hunter (2016) – Danny Pudi (Abed from the cult sitcom Community) plays an engineer who travels from his village in India, where he runs the local electronic repair shop, to Chicago to take a high-paying position in an American firm. He’s determined to live up to the reputation of his father, revered in […]

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 […]

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Martin Scorsese's love letter to the movies and his first PG movie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ on Amazon Prime

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s first family film (it’s PG!) and his first engagement with 3D, is a love letter to the magic of cinema. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, it is a tribute to early film pioneer George Méliès (played by Ben Kinsgley), a child’s adventure through a grown-up world of loss and […]

Myrna Loy and William Powell (with Asta) as Nick and Nora Charles in the great mystery series

‘The Thin Man’ collection on FilmStruck

It’s cocktail hour on the mystery beat: William Powell and Myrna Loy are Nick and Nora Charles, the world’s most debonair detective team, in six delightful mysteries. It all begins with The Thin Man (1934), a sparkling adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel of a former working class sleuth gone high society and his game social […]

Henry Thomas and friend in Steven Spielberg's beloved science fiction fantasy

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on HBO Now

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg’s suburban fairy tale for kids who think they are too hip to believe in fairies, is as glorious as ever 35 years after its debut. Henry Thomas is Elliot, an emotionally bruised kid suffering under his parents’ separation who finds another lonely, lost soul, a benevolent alien left behind […]