‘Midnight Run’ with Robert De Niro on HBO Max and HBO Now

The midnight run of Martin Brest’s action comedy Midnight Run (1988) refers to what is supposed to be an easy job for skip tracer and bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro). He’s hired to capture Jack “Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin), a mild-mannered accountant who stole $15 million from the mob and then skipped out […]

Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine in the horror comedy 'Tucker & Dale vs. Evil '

Last chance: ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ – Gory horror comedy on Netflix

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) turns a classic horror movie trope– the good looking group of city kids tormented by grimy rednecks and hermits in the backwoods – and turns it inside out, creating not so much a horror comedy as a comedy where the clueless characters think they’re in a horror film and […]

‘The Muppets’ return on Netflix

The Muppets (2011) brings the felt comedy stars back to the big screen for a new comedy that asks the eternal questions: What becomes a Muppet in the days of CGI and motion capture animation? Can their brand of innocent whimsy and madcap nonsense hold the attentions of a new generation of fans? And does […]

‘Red’ – Bruce Willis is deadly funny on Amazon Prime Video

Red (2010) isn’t a name (or a color) in this comic-book movie about retired covert agents who are roused back to action to teach the new breed a thing or two about the spy game. It’s a designation that stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.” Bruce Willis headlines an ensemble that includes John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman […]

Albert Brooks is ‘Lost in America’ on Criterion Channel

Albert Brooks has been making his offbeat brand of satirical comedies about the neuroses and anxieties of affluent Americans, lost in the bubble of their own insular cultures, for more than 40 years. His third feature Lost in America (1985) remains his most incisive satire and most popular film. Brooks is David, a successful Los […]

Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale star in "Love & Friendship," based on the novella by Jane Austen.

‘Love & Friendship’ – Jane Austen on Amazon Prime

Whit Stillman directs and scripts Love & Friendship (2016), a satirical, witty, and wickedly funny period piece adapted from the Jane Austen novella “Lady Susan.” It turns out Austen and Stillman are a great match; he’s been making comedies of manners in an American vein since Metropolitan and his dry wit and sharp observations of […]

'Back to the Future' and its sequels with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd

‘Back to the Future’ trilogy on Netflix

“The future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” Michael J. Fox goes backwards, forwards, and sideways through time as Marty McFly in a souped-up DeLorean for the first time in Back to the Future (1985), where he jaunts back to 1955, meets his parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson), and […]

‘Being John Malkovich’ on Netflix

Being John Malkovich (1999), a devastatingly funny portrait of unhappiness, desperation, desire, and the vicious things we do for love, catapulted Spike Jonze from music video wunderkind to visionary director and Charlie Kaufman from sitcom scribe to brilliant screenwriter. In 1999, when our obsession with celebrity was mainly fed by gossip magazines and entertainment programs, […]

The glory of Astaire and Rogers in ‘Swing Time’ on HBO Max

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the most elegant of Hollywood’s dance teams in the golden age of American musicals and Swing Time (1936) is the peak of their ten-film output. The plot is as absurd as anything from the era: Astaire is a dancer and gambler who is set to marry his hometown sweetheart […]

James Franco and Seth Rogen ride the ‘Pineapple Express’ on Netflix

The Judd Apatow factory refreshed the coming-of-age comedy (for all ages of adolescent men) in comedies like Knocked Up, Superbad, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall before stretching itself thin (that’s my best explanation for Drillbit Taylor and Step Brothers). One of the smartest things he did was to seek out directors not normally associated with his […]