George Clooney in 'Hail, Caesar!,' the loving Hollywood studio satire from Joel and Cthan Coen.

‘Hail, Caesar!’ from the Coen Bros. on Netflix

Hail, Caesar! (2015), the Coen Bros.’s sly lampoon of 1950s Hollywood, is an affectionate and satirical tribute to studio filmmaking and a wittily skewed comedy of cultural politics in early 1950s America, the beginning of the end of the studio era. Set at the fictional Capitol Pictures, an MGM-like studio, and centered on Eddie Mannix […]

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 Netflix

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 […]

Last chance: 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 […]

Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh on the set of the 1960 film 'Psycho' from the documentary by Alexandre O. Philippe

’78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene’ – exploring ‘Psycho’ on Hulu

The title of 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene (2017), a documentary on the legendary sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1961 classic Psycho, refers to the 78 camera set-ups and 52 cuts in the three-minute scene, an astounding attention to detail to a brief sequence that shocked American audiences with transgressions suggested but not actually shown on screen. […]

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 […]

John Travolta in Brian De Palma's 'Blow Out'

Brian De Palma’s ‘Blow Out’ on Amazon Prime

Is it too sweeping to call Jack Terry, the movie soundman of Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1981), John Travolta’s best performance ever? So be it. Who knew that De Palma—a director still more often than not dismissed as a technician with a Hitchcock obsession, a facility for bravura camerawork, and a penchant for split […]