Last chance: The glory of Astaire and Rogers in ‘Swing Time’ on HBO Max

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the most elegant of Hollywood’s dance teams in the golden age of American musicals and Swing Time (1936) is the peak of their ten-film output. The plot is as absurd as anything from the era: Astaire is a dancer and gambler who is set to marry his hometown sweetheart […]

‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ – Saving the future on Hulu and Paramount+

“This is the story of our most excellent dads.” Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter bring those most excellent characters, Theodore “Ted” Logan and William “Bill” S. Preston, Esq., back to the screen in Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020). More than thirty years after Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the teenage best friends, wannabe […]

Paul Dano is Brian Wilson in 'Love & Mercy'

‘Love & Mercy’ – Brian Wilson’s journey on Hulu and Peacock

Capturing the life of Brian Wilson, the troubled genius who pushed the surf pop sound of The Beach Boys into psychedelic symphonies as he spiraled into depression, in just a few key years is a tricky proposition. Love & Mercy (2014), a biopic that parallels the boyish enthusiasm and free-flowing creative drive of young visionary […]

‘Not Fade Away’ – coming of age in the sixties on Hulu

Not Fade Away (2012), the autobiographical feature debut by The Sopranos creator David Chase, is not the usual rise-and-fall story of the rock and roll band. There is a band at the center of the film and Douglas (John Magaro), a Jersey kid who graduates from high school as an overlooked schlub looking for something […]

Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson star in Cameron Crowe's autobiographical 'Almost Famous.'

‘Almost Famous’ – living the rock dream on Amazon Prime

Almost Famous (2000), Cameron Crowe’s thinly fictionalized autobiography, is deftly poised between rosy affection, thoughtful remembrance, and giddy adolescent awe. As perhaps it should be. The story of 15-year-old William (Crowe’s stand-in, played by Patrick Fugit) sent by Rolling Stone magazine to tour with an up-and-coming band (Stillwater, a fictional amalgamation of real-life bands The […]

What to stream: ‘In the Heights’ on HBO Max, ‘Infinite’ on Paramount+, ‘Loki’ on Disney+

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 …   Before “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda created a contemporary musical set in the predominantly Latino Manhattan neighborhood of the Washington Heights. “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu takes the Tony-winning stage musical “In […]

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 […]

‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ on Amazon Prime

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium, 2012) is devastating. And I mean that in all the best ways. The story of a passionate love rocked by tragedy, it is both joyous and anguished, celebratory and sad. It’s set in a subculture of bluegrass aficionados in Belgium (who knew?), where it is practically love at first sight […]

The original ‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney+

The Muppet Show: Complete Series (1977-1981) is the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational variety show to ever hit prime time. More than forty years later, it’s still funny, fast-paced, utterly madcap, and tremendous fun. Jim Henson was already a household name for bringing his Muppets to Sesame Street but his ambitions took him in all […]