Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in Susan Seidelman's 'Desperately Seeking Susan'

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ on Amazon Prime Video

Desperately Seeking Susan (1982) is remembered for giving Madonna her first starring role; she’s the Susan of the title, a free spirit in thrift store chic fashions who connects up with her musician boyfriend through personal ads in the local weekly papers. This modern bohemian take on the classic screwball comedy (complete with amnesia, mistaken […]

John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, and George Clooney in the Coen Bros.' screwball odyssey 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'

‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ – That old-timey Coen comedy Hulu

In the opening credits of Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), their depression-era prison break movie-turned-screwball odyssey through the deep south, is the attribution: “Based upon The Odyssey by Homer.” It’s a cheeky proclamation and it doesn’t take a classical scholar to note that, if it’s indeed true, they’ve taken liberties […]

Miguel Sandoval, Spike Lee, and Ossie Davis

Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ on HBO Now

Do The Right Thing (1989), Spike Lee’s vibrant, vital, thoroughly accomplished third feature, opens on a call to action – “Fight the Power,” shouts Public Enemy in the credits – and ends with a call to “Wake up!” Rosie Perez pumps out an aggressive shout of a dance in the opening credits, staged in front […]

To Live and Die in L.A. - Photo credit: MGM, Blu-ray by Shout! Factory

Blu-ray: ‘To Live and Die in L.A.: Collector’s Edition’ from Shout Select

To Live and Die in L.A.: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray) (1985) has aged well. While on the one hand you can hold it up as the quintessential expression of the era’s music video aesthetics and sleek, slick style, it’s also a distinctively singular, perfectly pitched action thriller from William Friedkin, a director in full […]

Riz Ahmed, John Turturro, and Bill Camp star in the mini-series from Steven Zaillian and Richard Price

‘The Night Of’ – Justice grinds on HBO Now

The first episode of The Night Of (2016), the HBO mini-series created by Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and acclaimed author and screenwriter Richard Price (The Wire), plunges the audience into the skin of a Nasir “Naz” Khan (Riz Ahmed), a nerdy first-generation Pakistani-American college boy and tutor to the football star. A skinny […]