‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ – Tom Hanks vs. the USSR on Amazon Prime

If you think it was Rambo who led the American support of Afghan rebels against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the early eighties, here’s a hilarious reality check. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) is the story of an otherwise minor Texas congressman who worked behind the scenes to create a coalition of Arab states, secretly […]

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

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

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 […]

George Clooney stars in the political thriller by Tony Gilroy

George Clooney is ‘Michael Clayton’ on HBO Max

“I’m not a miracle worker. I’m a janitor.” George Clooney simmers as Michael Clayton (2007), a legal “fixer” who works behind the scenes of a powerful New York law firm, in Tony Gilroy’s smart, sharp legal drama. When he’s sent to clean up the moral meltdown of the firm’s leading litigator (Tom Wilkinson), he unwittingly […]

‘Thank You For Smoking’ on Amazon Prime

Aaron Eckhart is the glib, proudly obfuscating “Yuppie Mephistopheles” (in the words of his detractors) tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor in Thank You For Smoking (2006), Jason Reitman’s wickedly witty adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s novel. He’s also our hero. With brazen righteousness, Naylor zealously defends the right of “defenseless” corporate giants’ to market products that, when […]

Ian Richardson stars in the original BBC mini-series

The original British ‘House of Cards’ on Amazon Prime and Hoopla

The original The House of Cards Trilogy, a series of BBC mini-series produced in the 1990s, stars Ian Richardson as Francis Urqhart (F.U. to his friends), the Machiavellian Chief Whip of Britain’s conservative party and the most seductively ruthless politician you’ve ever had the pleasure to watch claw his way to the top (over the […]

‘Winter Kills’ – The great American conspiracy movie on Amazon Prime

Though technically a work of fiction, Winter Kills (1979, R) is the maddest and most entertaining of Kennedy conspiracy thrillers, a wild kaleidoscope of clashing theories directed with wit and performed with gusto by an astounding cast. Jeff Bridges is the half-brother of an assassinated President who digs up the “truth” 20 years later and […]

Reese Witherspoon in Alexander Payne's satire 'Election' with Matthew Broderick

‘Election’ – Vote Tracy Flick on Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Criterion Channel

Election (1999), Alexander Payne’s wicked satire of power and (social) politics set in the overheated incubator of a high school student body election, is as sharp and perceptive now as it was in 1999. Matthew Broderick is the passionately dedicated and somewhat condescending civics teacher Jim McAllister, whose extra-curricular involvement helps compensate for a passionless […]

What to stream: Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Chicago 7’ on Netflix, Heidi Schrek’s ‘Constitution’ on Amazon

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Courtroom drama meets political theater in “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (2020, not rated), Aaron Sorkin’s dramatization of the real-life trial of the protest leaders at the 1968 Democratic National Convention charged […]

What to stream: documentaries ‘All In’ on Amazon, ‘The Fight’ on Hulu, ‘Challenger’ on Netflix, plus ‘We Are’ on HBO

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Election season brings out the political documentaries. “All In: The Fight for Democracy” (2020, PG-13) takes on the rights of American citizens to vote and the issue of voter suppression, guided by the […]