Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and others in Paul Thomas Anderson's indie epic

‘Boogie Nights’ – Porn in the USA on HBO Max

Boogie Nights (1997), the sophomore feature from Paul Thomas Anderson, is a surprisingly vibrant, funny, and at times quite warm story of a dysfunctional filmmaking family in the adult film industry of the late 1970s. Partially inspired by the life of porno star John Holmes, it stars Burt Reynolds as a quiet but firm director […]

‘Millennium Actress’ – Satoshi Kon’s celebration of cinema on Amazon Prime

As loving and perceptive a tribute to the power and legacy of movies as I’ve ever seen, Satoshi Kon’s animated drama Millennium Actress (Japan, 2001) deftly weaves history and film and memory into an imaginative meditation on way the movies become a part of our lives. It’s Not exactly the first thing you’d expect from […]

Leonardo DiCaprio is Howard Hughes in 'The Aviator,' directed by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator’ on Paramount+

The Aviator (2004), Martin Scorsese’s epic biography of the life of Howard Hughes, is his love-letter to the old-Hollywood bio-pic. This is high-style filmmaking wrapped up in a tormented hero whose soaring flights of greatness are matched by the mortal pull of his devils, which Scorsese establishes (perhaps too patly) in a childhood prologue bathed […]

Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy just want to put on a picture show in the affectionate Hollywood lampoon written by Martin and directed by Frank Oz.

Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy in ‘Bowfinger’ on HBO Max

Bowfinger (1999), Steve Martin’s tribute to shoestring filmmaking and big-screen dreams, is a loving lampoon that gamely straddles the chasm between cynical con-artistry and benign innocence. Martin wrote the film and stars as commercial director and would-be filmmaker Bobbie Bowfinger, a Hollywood dreamer with more chutzpah than talent. When he stumbles upon the perfect, a […]

David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Dr.’ on HBO Max

Mulholland Dr. (2001) – David Lynch pulled a near magic trick in what can only be an exercise in creative rewriting and re-conception. Taking an open ended TV pilot rejected by the networks, he added 45 minutes and created closure in a weird, mystical logic that, in its unique Lynchian way, makes a twisted emotional […]

Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric in the French drama by Arnaud Desplechin

‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ – Life, art, and love on Amazon Prime

French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin makes films about the messiness of families, lovers, and creative lives that can become quite messy in their telling. Ismael’s Ghosts (France, 2018) jumps abruptly back and forth in time and between biography and fiction and dreams, smudging the line between biography, fiction, and artistic imagination. Desplechin regular Mathieu Amalric is […]

What to stream: ‘Mank’ and ‘Selena’ on Netflix, ‘Sound of Metal’ on Amazon, ‘The Hardy Boys’ on Hulu

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Gary Oldman stars as the colorful, alcoholic cowriter of “Citizen Kane” in “Mank” (2020, R), directed by David Fincher from his father’s screenplay. Fincher spent decades trying to get the film produced before […]

‘CQ’ – Groovy moviemaking in the sixties on Amazon Prime

There’s a real love of 1960s movie lore in CQ (2002), the feature film debut of Roman Coppola (son of Francis Ford, brother of Sofia, creative assistant to both). Jeremy Davies is the American in Paris hero, an aspiring director in the funky days of 1969. By days he edits a pop-art sci-fi spy adventure […]

‘Hollywood Boulevard’ – The glamorous world of B-movies on Amazon Prime

Joe Dante and Allan Arkush graduated from the trailer department of Roger Corman’s New World Pictures with their feature film debut Hollywood Boulevard (1976), an affectionate tribute to (what else?) the kinds of exploitation movies that Corman was churning out. New World starlet Candice Rialson is surprisingly funny as the Midwest blonde with dreams of […]

Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb in the documentary 'Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made'

‘Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016) – The legend is true. In 1982, 12-year-old friends Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb started shooting a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark on a borrowed VHS camcorder in their small Mississippi town. Chris played Indiana Jones, Eric directed and […]