Sean Connery and Michael Caine star in John Huston's adaptation

Last chance: John Huston’s ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ on HBO Max

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) – John Huston originally wanted to make a film of Rudyard Kipling’s grand adventure in the late 1950s with Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable in the leading roles. It would’ve made a hell of a picture. And, as a matter of fact, it did, only with Sean Connery […]

Last chance: Paul Schrader’s ‘Affliction’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Paul Schrader made his mark on American cinema revealing the scarred psyches of American men trying to reconcile the contradictions of masculine fantasy and social reality, from his screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to his own movies, beginning with Blue Collar. Affliction (1998), adapted from the novel by Russell Banks, is his most […]

Last chance: Sean Connery in ‘The Wind and the Lion’ on HBO Max

The Wind and the Lion (1975), the sophomore feature of director John Milius, is a small-scale version of the kind of grand historical epic that blossomed in the 1960s. Set in 1904 Morocco and loosely based on a true historical incident, the 1972 historical adventure stars Sean Connery as Berber chieftain and rebel leader Mulai […]

Last chance: ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Peter Weir’s sweeping nautical adventure Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), based on the beloved novels of Patrick O’Brien, all but blows sea spray from the screen. Russell Crowe is Captain Jack Aubrey of the H.M.S. Surprise, an English officer on the high seas during the Napoleonic wars, and Paul Bettany […]

Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, and Ernest Borgnine star in Sam Peckinpah's western masterpiece 'The Wild Bunch.'

Last chance: ‘The Wild Bunch’ – Sam Peckinpah’s frontier apocalypse on HBO Max

The film that branded Sam Peckinpah with the nickname “Bloody Sam,” The Wild Bunch (1969) blazed onto theater screens in the era of Bonnie and Clyde, when genre conventions were being blasted away and directors pushed the boundaries of what was once considered “acceptable.” Peckinpah, ever the irascible maverick, rode roughshod over every unspoken rule […]

Steve Martin and Michael Caine star in the comedy directed by Frank Oz

Last chance: Steve Martin and Michael Caine are ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988, PG), sloppy, brash American con man Steve Martin tramples through the carefully guarded French Riviera territory of elegant charlatan Michael Caine. This, of course, means war. The prize is the easy pickings of the rich widows who pass through the wealthy resort town. The battle? The first to separate an […]

‘Changing Lanes’ – Ben Affleck vs Samuel Jackson on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Samuel L. Jackson is a recovering alcoholic whose sincere efforts to put his life back together is frustrated by unresolved anger and a self-righteous sense of vengeance. Ben Affleck is a smug, self-absorbed lawyer who refuses to accept culpability for his moral lapses and deals with his pangs of guilt by going on the attack. […]

Tilda Swinton in Bong Joon-ho 's 'Snowpiercer'

Last chance: ‘Snowpiercer’ – careening allegory on Netflix

Snowpiercer (2013), an international production from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and a French graphic novel, is a high-speed allegory speeding down the science fiction tracks of genre cinema. That’s the way I like this brand of filmmaking: with the symbols big, muscular, detailed, and punchy. You either give yourself over to the metaphor, in this […]

Last chance: ‘The Night of Counting the Years’ – rediscovered and restored on Criterion Channel

A masterpiece of Egyptian cinema, The Night of Counting the Years (also known as The Mummy) (Egypt, 1969) is inspired by a real-life incident. An isolated mountain tribe in late 19th century Egypt was secretly selling off ancient artifacts from the tombs of the Pharaohs, specifically a cache of mummies hidden in the mountain caves […]

Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino's western

Last chance: ‘Django Unchained’ on Netflix

In Django Unchained (2012), Quentin Tarantino takes on one of his favorite genres: the spaghetti western, with all its extreme violence, operatic drama, eccentric characters, and brutal portrait of frontier existence. But Tarantino being Tarantino, he doesn’t just make a big, violent, sprawling western filled gunfights and clever talk and driven by revenge and Old […]