‘Fast & Furious’ – the rubber hits the road on Peacock

The fast cars and daring heists franchise fishtailed all over the place with in-name-only sequels to the 2001 hit The Fast and the Furious until the original cast—outlaw racer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), maverick FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Dominic’s partner-in crime girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and good girl Mia (Jordana Brewster)—finally reunited for […]

Paul Reubens is Pee-wee Herman in 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure.'

‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ on HBO Max

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) is the big screen debut for both the Paul Reubens alter ego Pee-wee Herman, the children’s TV show character he originally created in a live comedy revue, and director Tim Burton, and it was a perfect melding of sensibilities. Pee-wee, the spastic child with a neat, out-of-date preppie suit and a […]

‘Fast Five’ – the car heist franchise goes south on Peacock

Fast Five (2011) takes the fast cars and speed-demon criminals of the surprisingly resilient action franchise to Rio, which becomes more than just an exotic landing pad for the wanted crew. After kicking off with a prison transport jailbreak (because they don’t take on any job that doesn’t include precision driving and auto mayhem), the […]

‘Gun Crazy’ – a film noir classic on HBO Max

Gun Crazy (1950), the greatest of the criminal lovers-on-the-run thriller, explodes onto the screen in a fury of sex and guns and love and violence. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis, it is a masterpiece of style and a blast of cinematic ecstasy on a budget barely bigger than a B movie. John Dall is a […]

Taika Waititi’s ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ on Netflix

Based on title alone, you might expect Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) to follow the mockumentary spoofing of Taika Waititi’s previous film What We Do in the Shadows, his deadpan portrait of ancient vampires as eternal idiots on the fringes of Wellington nightlife. In fact it’s a coming of age comedy with a heartwarming soul […]

‘Midnight Run’ with Robert De Niro on HBO Max and HBO Now

The midnight run of Martin Brest’s action comedy Midnight Run (1988) refers to what is supposed to be an easy job for skip tracer and bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro). He’s hired to capture Jack “Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin), a mild-mannered accountant who stole $15 million from the mob and then skipped out […]

Albert Brooks is ‘Lost in America’ on Criterion Channel

Albert Brooks has been making his offbeat brand of satirical comedies about the neuroses and anxieties of affluent Americans, lost in the bubble of their own insular cultures, for more than 40 years. His third feature Lost in America (1985) remains his most incisive satire and most popular film. Brooks is David, a successful Los […]

Wim Wenders’ ‘The Road Trilogy’ on Criterion Channel

Wim Wenders was never exactly a household name but the German filmmaker made a reputation as a thoughtful, sensitive director of stories about wanderers, travelers, and outsiders whose journeys are both an escape and a road back. His American odyssey Paris, Texas (1984) and Wings of Desire (1987), a journey of a celestial being from […]

‘Sullivan’s Travels’ – Preston Sturges takes on Hollywood on Criterion Channel

Preston Sturges simultaneously lampoons and embraces Hollywood in his comedy masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels (1941). A very low-key Joel McCrea play John Sullivan, a popular Hollywood director  of lowbrow hits like Ants in Your Pants of 1939 who decides to make a serious film about social strife and human suffering called O Brother, Where Art Thou […]

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds in 'Mississippi Grind,' directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Ryan Reynolds works the ‘Mississippi Grind’ on Showtime and free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Mississippi Grind (2015) plays like a seventies character drama, a meandering road movie through the byways of American characters who populate the card rooms and dice tables and racetracks, and an oddball buddy movie built on a chance encounter and an instant kinship between two losers gambling their lives away. Ryan Reynolds is Curtis, a […]