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 […]

Johnny Hallyday stars in the Johnnie To crime thriller from Hong Kong

Johnny Hallyday gets ‘Vengeance,’ Johnnie To style, on FilmStruck

Johnnie To, the reigning king of the crime movie and the romantic code of gangster brothers within the mercenary world of organized crime, delivers another perfect little genre piece with Vengeance (Hong Kong, 2009). French pop legend Johnny Hallyday stars as Costello, a retired pro who comes to Macau to take revenge on the men […]

Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks star in this family drama based on a true story

‘People Like Us’ on Netflix

People Like Us (2012), a based-on-a-true-story family drama, offers some touching moments between the Hollywood contrivances and some moving moments that remind us of the power of family ties. Chris Pine stars as Sam, an amoral wheeler dealer in financial straits who has to be pushed by his girlfriend (a terribly underserved Olivia Wilde) to […]

Christian Bale and Russell Crowe star in James Mangold's fine remake of the classic western

‘3:10 to Yuma’ – a superb western remake on Amazon Prime

3:10 to Yuma (2007) – Delmer Dave’s original 1957 3:10 to Yuma, based on the short story by Elmore Leonard, is a superior western: understated, smart, visually modest and dramatically surprising. James Mangold’s remake is a fine film its own right. It is respectful of the story and the situation and then it goes its […]

Patricia Neal, John Garfield, and Juano Hernandez in a film by Michael Curtiz

John Garfield hits ‘The Breaking Point’ on FilmStruck

The Breaking Point (1950), the second of three big screen adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not, stars John Garfield as Harry Morgan, the role that Humphrey Bogart played in the original. The Howard Hawks film took great liberties with Hemingway’s story. This version is more faithful but takes its own liberties. Harry […]

Shauna Macdonald stars in the subterranean horror from Neil Marshall

‘The Descent’ – subterranean horror on Netflix

British genre maven Neil Marshall howled his arrival with his werewolf combat thriller Dog Soldiers, a sly and inspired UK hit that made cult ripples stateside. With The Descent (2005), a nerve wracking, claustrophobic survival thriller about six spelunking women hunted by the creepiest cave dwellers to skitter across a screen, Marshall honed his skills […]

Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's 'Mean Streets,' starring Harvey Keitel, Amy Robinson, and David Proval.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets’ on FilmStruck

“You don’t pay for your sins in church. You pay for them on the street. All the rest is bullshit.” Mean Streets (1973) is not Martin Scorsese’s first film, but it is the film in which he came into his own. Passionate, energetic, stylistically inventive and personally driven, it is the first mature, full blooded “Martin […]