Colin Blakely is Sherlock Holmes in the film by Billy Wilder

‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’ on FilmStruck

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) is one of the loveliest of Billy Wilder’s pictures, a sly, bittersweet, autumnal film that approaches the Holmes legacy with a sense of humor and a sense of respect. Robert Stephenson plays Holmes as a genial, witty fellow well aware of his reputation and quite a bit more […]

The animated Superman from Max and Dave Fleischer

‘The Complete Animated Superman’ – The original classics on Amazon Prime

The Complete Superman Collection (1941-1943) – “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The infant of Krypton is now the Man of Steel: Superman!” The 17 animated shorts produced by Max Fleischer between 1941 and 1943 were the first big screen incarnation of […]

Nicolas Cage stars in the surreal sequel directed by Werner Herzog

‘Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans’ on Amazon Prime Video

Neither remake nor sequel in any conventional sense of the terms, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans (2009) takes the basic premise out of the Abel Ferrara universe of guilt and redemption and drops it into post-Katrina New Orleans and the Herzog world of indifferent and unforgiving nature. It really is a […]

Kirk Douglas stars in Billy's Wilder's noir-tinged newspaper drama from 1951

‘Ace in the Hole’ – newspaper noir at its most acidic on FilmStruck

Billy Wilder is the American cinema’s most famous cynic, but nothing in his career is as scathing as his noir-tinged newspaper drama Ace in the Hole (1951), his indictment of the American media circus. There’s not a more amoral hero in Wilder’s filmography than Kirk Douglas’s Chuck Tatum, an arrogant big city newsman stuck in […]

Frank Langella in the literary drama directed by Andrew Wagner

Frank Langella is ‘Starting Out in the Evening’ on Amazon Prime Video

In Starting Out in the Evening (2007), Frank Langella is heartbreakingly good as author Leonard Schiller, a once-celebrated author forgotten in the years since his last novel and flattered by the attention of an appreciative graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) intent on reintroducing his work to the world with her thesis. His discreet performance, all politeness […]

‘For All Mankind’ – To the moon and back on Amazon Prime Video

For All Mankind (1989), Al Reinert’s celebration of the nine manned space flights between 1968 and 1972, was released to theaters in 1989, twenty years after first manned moon landing. It’s a stunning tribute composed entirely of the film documentation shot and archived by NASA, not a documentary of an Apollo mission but the story […]

Diane Kruger stars in the German drama directed by Fatih Akin

Diane Kruger is ‘In the Fade’ on Hulu

Director Fatih Akin, a German filmmaker of Turkish heritage, likes to dig deep into raw emotion and conflict, both personal and cultural. In the Fade (Germany, 2017) takes on the rise of white nationalism and domestic terrorism through the ordeal of a young widow grieving over the brutal bombing murder of her family. Diane Kruger […]

Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine star in the directorial debut of Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott’s ‘The Duellists’ on Amazon Prime Video

“The duelist demands satisfaction. Honor for him is an appetite.” The Duellists (1977), the feature debut of Ridley Scott, begins in 1800, “the year Napoleon became ruler of France,” with an early morning duel in a dewy green meadow where French military officer Gabriel Feraud (Harvey Keitel) runs his opponent through and then busies himself […]

Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as young John Lennon in the story of his early life directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson

‘Nowhere Boy’ – John Lennon before the Beatles on Netflix

Nowhere Boy (2009) tells the story of the early life of John Lennon, the man who would put together the Beatles as a teenage boy. What’s marvelous about the film is that it isn’t elevated into some mythological status. There are none of those clichéd lines where someone in the group or some prescient member […]

Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson star the homefront war drama directed by Oren Movermen

‘The Messenger’ – The bearer of bad news on Hulu

In The Messenger (2009), combat veteran Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) may be “a goddamn hero,” in the words of his commanding officer, but in the final months of his enlistment he’s assigned to the most challenging mission of his career: casualty notification and the emotional minefield of civilians dealing with the death of a loved […]