Bruce Willis and Reece Thompson in the film by Brett Simon

‘Assassination of a High School President’ on Amazon Prime Video

The name’s Bobby Funke. I write for the paper.” At least that’s how this picked-on sophomore imagines himself in Assassination of a High School President (2008): the loner who walks a straight line through the crooked halls of his corrupt Catholic high school. Funke (who is inevitably called “Funky” by his schoolmates) narrates his tale […]

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorsese's film of the Dennis Lahane novel

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’ on Netflix

Shutter Island (2009) opens, appropriately, shrouded in fog. Then our hero, Detective Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), cuts through the gray, standing on the prow of a tug boat chugging toward an isolated island hospital for the criminally insane. Daniels and his partner (Mark Ruffalo), city cops from an era of fedoras and trench coats and […]

What to stream: ‘The White Tiger’ and the ‘Winx’ saga on Netflix, ‘Flack’ on Amazon, ‘C.B. Strike’ on HBO Max

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 …   “The White Tiger” (US/India, 2021, R), produced by and starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, is the flip side of “Slumdog Millionaire.” In this darkly comic social drama, an impoverished young man (Adarsh Gourav) […]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the high school neo-noir by Rian Johnson

‘Brick’- High school noir on Amazon Prime

Brick (2005), the debut feature from Star Trek: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson, puts the collected works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett in a blender with a jigger of teenage melodrama and pours it into a high school mold. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays things so close to his chest that he’s almost unreadable as […]

David Fincher’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ on Netflix

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), the American screen adaptation of the Swedish bestseller directed by David Fincher and scripted by Steve Zaillian, is a darker, richer, more compelling adaptation than the original Swedish version. Yes, after all those years of complaining about uninspired remakes of European films, we actually get to see a […]

Peter Falk is Lt. Columbo in the iconic detective series

Peter Falk is ‘Columbo’ – free on Peacock

“Actually, there is one thing. Not that it makes much difference, but…” Peter Falk dons the overcoat as the most distinctive detective on TV: the cigar-chomping, eternally disheveled LA police detective, Lt. Columbo. The character was actually created as supporting character in a Broadway play by Richard Levinson and William Link, where Thomas Mitchell played […]

Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in the science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer

‘Soylent Green’ – The future is bleak on HBO Max

Set in 2022 New York City, population 40,000,000, the eco-conscious science fiction artifact Soylent Green (1973) looks more prescient than ever. In this overpopulated world, the gap between the rich and everyone else is enormous, poverty is rampant, unemployment high and “the greenhouse effect” (those very words are used in the film) has brought on […]

‘Hot Fuzz’ – British mystery meets Hollywood action on HBO Max and HBO Now

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, as the family hung out the few hours before dinner, my brother and I started telling my dad why he would like Hot Fuzz (2007), a film that otherwise doesn’t appear to be his cup of English tea. It was from the guys who made Shaun of the Dead and […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s original ‘Psycho’ on Peacock

Psycho (1960) shocked America in 1960. Suburban theatergoers headed to the theaters to see the latest offering from the director of the glamorous and sexy Rear Window and the Technicolor confection North by Northwest. Who expected the droll host of TV’s showcase for suspense, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, to get so down and dirty and tawdry. […]

The original ‘The Wicker Man’ on Criterion Channel

The original The Wicker Man (1973) begins as a murder mystery and turns into something else entirely. Edward Woodward stars as the stiff English police detective who is sent to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl and discovers a culture living a happy “heathen” lifestyle, lorded over (literally) by […]