Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy – free on Hoopla

BThe giddiest moments of The Iron Giant (1999), a delightful throwback to the classic era of hand-drawn animated movies, deliver the most amazing little boy wish fulfillment fantasies. But there’s much more to Brad Bird’s cartoon fable in science fiction clothing and fairy tale trappings is a delightful throwback to the classic era of hand-drawn animated movies.

Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti's adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel

Last chance: Burt Lancaster is ‘The Leopard’ in Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece on Criterion Channel

The Leopard (Italy, 1963), Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel (said to be a national touchstone for Italy), is his masterpiece. Burt Lancaster (his voice is dubbed by a deep-voiced Italian) may seem an unusual choice to play Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, an idealistic 19th century Sicilian prince (Visconti favored Laurence Olivier, a […]

David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’ on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

Great Expectations (1946), David Lean’s handsome adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, captures the warm humor and richness of character that so many filmmakers miss in their reverent recreations of Victorian England. From the nightmarish opening sequence on the windswept graveyard where young orphan Pip (Anthony Wager) meets the desperate escaped criminal Magwitch (Finlay Currie) […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on HBO Max

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s Red Alert, was a grave contemplation of the […]

The delightful live action ‘Peter Pan’ on Peacock

You may feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a storybook illustrated by Maxfield Parrish when you fly off to Neverland in Peter Pan (2003), P.J. Hogan’s deft and delightful take on the oft-filmed J.M. Barrie classic. Rachel Hurd-Wood brings a tomboyish spirit to Wendy, a girl on the verge of being a young […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on Hulu

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

Last chance: Errol Flynn is ‘Captain Blood’ on HBO Max

Errol Flynn was Warner Bros. contract player, barely a supporting actor on the Hollywood scene, when he shot to stardom in the starring role of Captain Blood (1935), Warner Bros.’ lavish adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s novel. His bravado and charisma brings to life the rousing tale Peter Blood, a courageous British doctor who, unjustly sold […]

Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka in the musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel

The original ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ – a world of pure imagination

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder is the weird, wonderful, slightly sinister candy bar king who invites five children into his factory kingdom in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s fantasy. It is a rare breed: an imaginative live-action […]

Last chance: Paul Schrader’s ‘Affliction’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Paul Schrader made his mark on American cinema revealing the scarred psyches of American men trying to reconcile the contradictions of masculine fantasy and social reality, from his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to his own movies, beginning with Blue Collar. Affliction (1998), adapted from the novel by Russell Banks, is his most […]

‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’ on Amazon Prime

Peter Weir’s sweeping nautical adventure Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), based on the beloved novels of Patrick O’Brien, all but blows sea spray from the screen. Russell Crowe is Captain Jack Aubrey of the H.M.S. Surprise, an English officer on the high seas during the Napoleonic wars, and Paul Bettany […]