Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw star in the great NYC subway heist

‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’ – The great subway heist on Amazon Prime Video

The original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) hasn’t the credentials of Dog Day Afternoon or The French Connection but this ingenious crime caper / hostage drama is one of the great New York crime films of the 1970s. Walter Matthau is the everyman head of the transit police who takes charge of […]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the high school neo-noir by Rian Johnson

‘Brick’- High school noir on Criterion Channel

Brick (2005), the debut feature from Star Trek: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson, puts the collected works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett in a blender with a jigger of teenage melodrama and pours it into a high school mold. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays things so close to his chest that he’s almost unreadable as […]

What to stream: ‘The White Lotus’ on HBO Max, ‘Dr. Death’ on Peacock, ‘A Quiet Place 2’ on Paramount+

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 …   “The White Lotus” (TV-MA), a new limited series comedy set at a luxury resort in Hawaii, uses discomforting humor in the collision of privileged characters and working class employees to navigate issues […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

What to stream: ‘No Sudden Move’ on HBO Max, ‘The Tomorrow War’ on Amazon, ‘Summer of Soul’ and ‘Bill & Ted’ on Hulu

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 …   Don Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro star as small time criminals in 1954 Detroit who end up in the middle of a tangled conspiracy in “No Sudden Move” (2021, R), a stylish, […]

Tommy Lee Jones in the Coen Bros.'s Oscar-winning 'No Country for Old Men'

Oscar-winner ‘No Country for Old Men’

No Country for Old Men (2007), adapted from Corman McCarthy’s novel by directors/screenwriters/auteurs-of-our-age Ethan and Joel Coen, is a perfect match of story and storyteller. Josh Brolin’s Llewelyn Moss, a cowboy in modern Texas who returns from poaching trip with a fortune in drug money, is just smart enough to outrun trouble, but he’s a […]

Pam Grier, Robert Forster and Samuel L. Jackson star in Quentin Tarantino's adaptation of Elmore Leonard

Pam Grier is ‘Jackie Brown’ on HBO Max

Jackie Brown (1997) – “Amateurs borrow, professionals steal,” goes the maxim, and Quentin Tarantino steals like a pro. Where directors of the previous generation peppered their films with classic cinematic quotes, Tarantino plunders the films of his formative years for ideas—mostly B-movies and exploitation films about cars and capers and criminals—and riffs on them with […]

Viggo Mortensen makes ‘Eastern Promises’ on Peacock

Eastern Promises (2007) reunites A History of Violence director David Cronenberg and star Viggo Mortensen for another dive into the shadowy, dangerous world of organized crime and hidden identities. As Nikolai, a chauffeur and foot soldier in a Russian crime family in London, Mortensen wears his shadow of a smile like an impenetrable mask. One […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Hulu

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Sun Honglei and Louis Koo headline 'Drug War' from Hong Kong action maestro Johnnie To

Johnnie To’s ‘Drug War’ on Amazon Prime

Drug War (2012) relocates Hong Kong director / producer Johnnie To, the most rigorous and disciplined (and the most socially observant and politically savvy) of Asian crime movie auteurs, to the Chinese mainland. He trades the urban overcrowding and overheated capitalism of Hong Kong for the open plains and lonely highways of Tianjin but otherwise […]