‘Real Steel’ with Hugh Jackman on Netflix

Distill Rocky and The Champ, add a dash of The Rumble in the Jungle, shake well and serve in larger-than-life rock ’em sock ’em robots. That’s basically what you get with Real Steel (2011), and somehow all those second-hand pieces come together in a rousing (if awfully inevitable) underdog story. Ostensibly based on the same […]

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ – a dreamy Maurice Sendak adaptation on HBO Max

Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece of a picture book comes to the screen in Where the Wild Things Are (2009), a film as unique and heartfelt as the book itself. Director Spike Jonze (whose vision received the blessing of Sendak) and co-scripter Dave Eggars expand and reimagine the story of the defiant Max, a young boy in […]

The original ‘The Killers’ on Criterion Channel

The first 15 minutes of Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) remains the most the most faithful adaptation of Ernest Hemingway ever put on screen. Two gunmen from the city (Charles McGraw and William Conrad) take over a small town diner to wait for their target. When he doesn’t show, they take the hit to him, […]

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett , and Taraji P. Henson star in the film by David Fincher

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ on HBO Max and HBO Now

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story is expanded into a sweeping survey of 20th century history and culture as seen through the eyes of a man who is born old and grows younger through the century. Brad Pitt completely commits to the part of the old/young man who […]

Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank in 'Million Dollar Baby'

Clint Eastwood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’ on HBO Max

Always one of America’s most undervalued directors, Clint Eastwood proved himself American cinema’s national treasure in the third act of his impressive career. Million Dollar Baby (2004), an understated, unpretentious, powerfully told drama, adapted from F.X. Toole stories by Paul Haggis, earned Eastwood his second round of Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture (his […]

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Steven Spielberg’s future shock crime thriller Minority Report (2002), based on a story by sci-fi visionary Philip K. Dick, offers law enforcement as a preventative force managed by drugged-into-submission psychics: they predict a murder and the cops arrest the perpetrator before he perpetrates anything. The names of the potential killers and victims roll out of […]

‘Justified: Complete Series’ – TV’s best pulp storytelling on Hulu

Justified: Complete Series (2010-2015) – Timothy Olyphant is U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, a cowboy of a lawman whose brand as cowboy justice gets him demoted from his Miami posting and sent back to Kentucky, the home he thought he’d escaped once and for all. His new boss (Nick Searcy, a sharp leader with a laid-back […]