Jessie Eisenberg is Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’ on Hulu

The Social Network (2010) presents Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as a self-involved nerd genius in Harvard who wants social acceptance but hasn’t a clue as to how to social interaction really works, either on a date or with his friends. The irony inherent in the film is that this young, arrogant genius with no people […]

Leonardo DiCaprio is Howard Hughes in 'The Aviator,' directed by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator’ on Paramount+

The Aviator (2004), Martin Scorsese’s epic biography of the life of Howard Hughes, is his love-letter to the old-Hollywood bio-pic. This is high-style filmmaking wrapped up in a tormented hero whose soaring flights of greatness are matched by the mortal pull of his devils, which Scorsese establishes (perhaps too patly) in a childhood prologue bathed […]

Morgan Freeman is Nelson Mandella in ‘Invictus’ on Netflix

Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandella as the newly-elected President of South Africa in Invictus (2009), Clint Eastwood’s reverent tribute to Nelson Mandella’s efforts to unite post-apartheid South Africa. This isn’t a biography of Mandella. Audiences come to the film with the understanding that Nelson Mandella spent 24 years in prison for protesting South Africa’s apartheid […]

What to stream: ‘Minari’ on VOD, ‘Billie Holiday’ on Hulu, ‘Allen v. Farrow’ on HBO Max

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   A Korean family emigrates to rural Arkansas in “Minari” (2020, PG-13, with subtitles), a modest but rich drama from Korea-American filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung that takes a nuanced view of the immigrant […]

Matthew McConaughey won an Academy Award for playing Ron Woodroof in the film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

Oscar-winning ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ on Peacock

Matthew McConaughey is so good in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) that he shows up the limitations of this drama based on true events. McConaughey lost a lot weight to play Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician and rodeo rider in the late 1980s whose reckless lifestyle leaves him with AIDS, a diagnosis this redneck homophobe denies […]

Channing Tatum is 'Magic Mike' in an unexpectedly compelling story inspired by the actor's real life experiences. Steven Soderbergh directs.

‘Magic Mike’ on HBO Max

Magic Mike (2012) was an underdog success story of 2012. While megabudget spectacles and potential tentpole films collapsed under the weight of heavy productions over flimsy scripts, Steven Soderbergh took a story inspired by actor Channing Tatum’s early experiences as a male stripper and a budget that wouldn’t pay for the reshoots on Battleship and […]

Donnie Yen is legendary martial artist ‘Ip Man’ on Netflix

Hong Kong martial arts star Donnie Yen plays the legendary Ip Man (Hong Kong, 2008), teacher and grandmaster of Wing Chun, in this biographical drama (one in a long line of such tributes) based on the master’s life during the Japanese occupation of China. Yen is a superb screen fighter with an often bland presence. […]

‘Marie Antoinette’ – decadent young royals on Amazon Prime

Kirsten Dunst is Marie Antoinette (2006) in Sofia Coppola’s portrait of the decadent, indifferent monarchy that toppled in the French Revolution. Marie is a teenage Austrian princess married off to France’s distant young King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) and sent to the alien of the French court. She’s a political naïf dropped into a world […]

Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer in the true story directed by Theodore Melfi

‘Hidden Figures’ on Disney+

Hidden Figures (2016), a Hollywood drama based on the true stories of three African-American women who were essential yet unseen and uncelebrated members of the team that put the first Americans in space, is terrific drama, eye-opening history, and a great lesson for Hollywood. This movie headlined by three African-American actresses was the number one […]