‘Inception’ – Christopher Nolan’s mind-heist on Netflix

Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), a caper film that heists dreams instead of treasure, is surely the most cerebral action thriller to become a blockbuster. It’s a genre film that reshuffles the rules and lays them out in a mind-bending pattern. Playing out on multiple planes of dream reality, it’s also another Nolan film to completely […]

Antony Starr and Ivana Milicevic star in the Cinemax series 'Banshee'

The Pure Pulp Pleasure of ‘Banshee’ on Amazon Prime Video

I like to think of Cinemax as the grindhouse version of HBO: not as exclusive, not as ambitious, not as high-toned (late night Cinemax wasn’t called “Skinemax” for nothing). And it’s the same when it comes to original programming, the cable TV mark of distinction. Where HBO boasts such impressive productions as The Wire and […]

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ on Netflix

Is there another American filmmaker who takes such joy in telling stories and spinning cinematic spells as Quentin Tarantino? I don’t mean tackling big issues or making epic statements. I’m talking about the sheer pleasure of telling audiences a tale that takes them places they don’t expect and ways they haven’t quite experienced before. The […]

‘Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’ on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

There’s something of a shaggy dog story quality to Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), an offbeat road movie / caper film starring Clint Eastwood as Thunderbolt, an ex-thief on the run from his former partners, and Jeff Bridges as a hotshot kid who calls himself Lightfoot and decides to become this flinty veteran’s sidekick. They’re unlikely […]

Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver in Steven Soderbergh's red state heist comedy

‘Logan Lucky’ – Steven Soderbergh’s red state heist comedy on Kanopy

Four years after Steven Soderbergh’s “retirement” from feature filmmaking (he found a loophole by making Behind the Candelabra for HBO and creating and directing the cable series The Knick), he returned to the big screen with Logan Lucky (2017), a bouncy, deft, sweetly and cleverly comic heist picture about a pair of hard-luck brothers in […]

Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, and Mark Ruffalo in Rian Johnson's charming fantasy of a con movie 'The Brothers Bloom.'

‘The Brothers Bloom’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The Brothers Bloom (2008), the second feature from Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson, is a con artist comedy as living theater. After the almost color-leached images of his high-school noir Brick (2005), Johnson puts more brightness in his palette and more spring his step for this fantasy about stories and storytelling. In a […]

Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe star in the film noir from John Huston

John Huston’s ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is one of John Huston’s rare forays into the genre that would later be called film noir. His first, The Maltese Falcon (1941), helped set the template of the PI noir. Ten years later, working from an adaptation of the caper novel by W.R. Burnett scripted in collaboration […]

Alan Arkin and Peter Falk star in the hilarious 1979 comedy written by Andrew Bergman

The original ‘The In-Laws’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“You interested in joining the CIA? The benefits are great. The trick in not getting killed. That’s the key to the whole benefits program.” Ever had a relative who thinks they’re part of the CIA? Ever had one who really was? The original The In-Laws (1979) tackles both at once and delivers one of the […]