Last chance: ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ – third time’s the charm on Netflix

George Cooney and Brad Pitt reunite to old gang for one more romp in Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), third film in Steven Soderberg’s jaunty heist franchise. This time they’re out to avenge group mentor Reuben (Elliott Gould), who has been cheated by international casino kingpin (Al Pacino, playing the financial shark with teeth bared). While Reuben […]

Last chance: ‘Moneyball’ – the business of baseball on Netflix

Brad Pitt makes it look effortless in Moneyball (2011), a drama about the business of baseball in the era of multi-million dollar payrolls. Pitt plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics struggling to field a competitive team against organizations with much deeper pockets. His solution is to—with the help of unprepossessing Peter […]

‘Drive’ – Ryan Gosling’s getaway on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray

Sleek pulp crime cool meets arthouse style thriller in Drive (2011, R) starring Ryan Gosling as a taciturn getaway driver. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (a veteran of gritty, brutal Danish underworld dramas) with a silky smoothness and a stylized cool that recalls Le Samourai and Walter Hill’s The Driver, and an eighties vibe and […]

John Wayne storms the ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ on HBO Max

Sands of Iwo Jima (1950) is the best war film that John Wayne made outside of John Ford’s masterpiece They Were Expendable. Made four years after the end of the war in 1949, it was the biggest picture that Allan Dwan, once a major director of big silent movie spectacles and handsome star vehicles, had […]

Last chance: Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’ on Netflix

Ip Man was the martial arts master who became a hero during World War II and a respected teacher who mentored, among others, Bruce Lee. And there’s been a cottage industry in Ip Man films in the last decade, most famously with Donnie Yen in the lead as the modest, unassuming master martial artist. The […]

'Back to the Future' and its sequels with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd

‘Back to the Future’ trilogy on Netflix

“The future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” Michael J. Fox goes backwards, forwards, and sideways through time as Marty McFly in a souped-up DeLorean for the first time in Back to the Future (1985), where he jaunts back to 1955, meets his parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson), and […]

Henry Thomas and friend in Steven Spielberg's beloved science fiction fantasy

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on Peacock

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg’s suburban fairy tale for kids who think they are too hip to believe in fairies, is as glorious as ever decades after its debut. Henry Thomas is Elliot, an emotionally bruised kid suffering under his parents’ separation who finds another lonely, lost soul, a benevolent alien left behind when […]

Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb in the documentary 'Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made'

‘Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016) – The legend is true. In 1982, 12-year-old friends Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb started shooting a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark on a borrowed VHS camcorder in their small Mississippi town. Chris played Indiana Jones, Eric directed and […]

Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, and Gort, directed by Robert Wise.

The original ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) remains the most thoughtful of the first contact films. Michael Rennie makes a striking American film debut as Klaatu, the well-spoken stranger from outer space who lands his saucer in Washington D.C. to speak to the world’s leaders. They shoot first, of course, and Klaatu escapes […]