William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal debate the 1968 elections on ABC in 'Best of Enemies'

‘Best of Enemies’ – Buckley vs. Vidal on Amazon Prime

Best of Enemies (2015) carries the subtitle “Buckley vs. Vidal” and it is indeed a portrait of a rivalry, one that was presented on prime time network television at a time when there were three networks and TV news strived to be fair and balanced to a fault. In 1968, William F. Buckley was the […]

Last chance: Morgan Freeman is Nelson Mandella in ‘Invictus’ on Netflix

Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandella as the newly-elected President of South Africa in Invictus (2009), Clint Eastwood’s reverent tribute to Nelson Mandella’s efforts to unite post-apartheid South Africa. This isn’t a biography of Mandella. Audiences come to the film with the understanding that Nelson Mandella spent 24 years in prison for protesting South Africa’s apartheid […]

‘The Executioner’ – a satire of Spain under Franco on Criterion Channel

The Executioner (Spain, 1963), Luis García Berlanga’s black comedy about an apprentice undertaker who marries the daughter of a veteran prison executioner and reluctantly takes his father-in-law’s job so they do not lose their government apartment, is a social satire with a sly sense of humor. Nino Manfredi plays the undertaker, a frustrated young man […]

Ewan McGregor is 'The Ghost Writer' in Roman Polanski's superb thriller.

Last chance: Roman Polanski’s ‘The Ghost Writer’ on Hulu

Ewan McGregor is The Ghost Writer (2010), a scribe-for-hire in the celebrity autobiography business who is contracted to rewrite the dry memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), in the smart, gripping, subtly Hitchcockian thriller from director Roman Polanski and author Robert Harris. The writer has no other name in the film—he introduces […]

‘The Tall Target’ – steam noir on Criterion Channel

Anthony Mann’s The Tall Target (1951) is a rare period piece noir. This one is set in 1860 and the tall target of the title is President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Dick Powell plays the lone police detective who believes in the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln on his journey to be sworn in as President and, in […]

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 […]