Ken Burns’s ‘Prohibition’ on Netflix

Prohibition (2011), Ken Burns’ portrait of “the Noble Experiment” turned American disaster, follows Burns’s trademark approach to American history by putting big events into perspective through the personal stories of both significant historical figures and the everyday citizens. That’s particularly effective in the story of prohibition, which traditionally is presented in terms of the activism […]

Paul Giamatti is John Adams in the HBO miniseries

‘John Adams’ and the birth of American democracy on Amazon Prime and HBO Now

One of the small moments of powerful insight offered in John Adams (2008), the superb HBO miniseries adapted from the biography by David McCullough and dramatized with a vivid sense of immediacy and historical texture, is the reminder that it wasn’t the election of George Washington that defined our democracy. It was the non-violent succession […]

Paul Dano is Brian Wilson in 'Love & Mercy'

‘Love & Mercy’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Capturing the life of Brian Wilson, the troubled genius who pushed the surf pop sound of The Beach Boys into psychedelic symphonies as he spiraled into depression, in just a few key years is a tricky proposition. Love & Mercy, a biopic that parallels the boyish enthusiasm and free-flowing creative drive of young visionary Brian […]

Robert Pattinson stars in David Cronenberg's creen adaptation of Don Delillo's sprawling novel

David Cronenberg’s ‘Cosmopolis’ on SVOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Cosmopolis (2012) is a microcosm of a disconnected existence, life lived in a bubble in financial dealings and digital communications and brief face-to-face conversations and sexual intermissions in a space shuttle of a limousine creeping through the gridlock of an anonymous New York City. David Cronenberg adapts Don Delillo’s massive novel, distilling it down to […]