Sean Connery in ‘The Wind and the Lion’ on HBO Max

The Wind and the Lion (1975), the sophomore feature of director John Milius, is a small-scale version of the kind of grand historical epic that blossomed in the 1960s. Set in 1904 Morocco and loosely based on a true historical incident, the 1972 historical adventure stars Sean Connery as Berber chieftain and rebel leader Mulai […]

‘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 […]

Anya Taylor-Joy in Robert Eggers' 'The Witch.'

‘The Witch’ – Puritan horrors free on Kanopy

The Witch (2015) is a primal horror film rooted in fear and superstition, and there is no shortage of either in early 17th century New England, where a devout Puritan father has taken his family to start a new life. Adding to the general hardship of British village folk carving a new colony out of […]

‘Topsy-Turvy’ – Gilbert and Sullivan reborn on Peacock

Set in the world of London theater in the mid-1880s, Topsy-Turvy (1999) tackles the creative partnership between W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, the reigning kings of light operetta, at a turning in their career. Their work has become repetitive, their latest show a disappointment, and the partnership is under strain as composer Sullivan (Allan […]

Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’ on HBO Max

The Wind Rises (Japan, 2013) is a very different kind of feature from Hayao Miyazaki, the beloved filmmaker and animation legend famed for his lush, ambitious, inventive fantasies and mythical adventures. It was a passion project for the director and he chose it as his fitting swan song, a final feature before retiring from filmmaking […]

‘Public Enemies’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Public Enemies (2009) is Michael Mann’s take on the gangster glory days of the depression, when the most flamboyant and notorious bank robbers became the outlaw heroes of the day. That makes Johnny Depp great casting as John Dillinger, whose spree of daylight bank robberies and daring getaways between May 1933 (when he was paroled […]

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. […]

Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, and the cast of 'Mad Men'

The complete ‘Mad Men’ – free on IMDbTV

Mad Men: Seasons 1-7 (2007-2015) – “Who could not be happy with all this?” That’s the question at the heart of Mad Men, the series that transformed former movie network American Movie Classics into cable channel AMC, home to smart, daring, addictive original TV shows. Set the way-back machine to 1960, a world of cigarettes […]