What to stream: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ on VOD, ‘Tales from the Loop’ on Amazon, ‘Onward’ on Disney+

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019, PG-13) brings the final trilogy in the odyssey begun by George Lucas in the original 1977 “Star Wars” to its conclusion with a rollercoaster ride of […]

Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder in the classic Mel Brooks comedy

‘Blazing Saddles’ on Hulu

When singer Frankie Laine was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air many years ago, he confessed that when he was engaged to record the theme song to Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1974), he was not told that the film (and the song) was a spoof. He simply thought it was a bad song […]

’20 Feet From Stardom’ on Netflix

The poster for the music documentary 20 Feet From Stardom (2013, PG-13) advertises the appearances of Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Bette Midler, ironic since the documentary is really about the back-up singers who performed with them and many others, always outside of the spotlight. Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Claudia […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on Amazon Prime Video

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Larry Fishburne in 'The Matrix'

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Netflix

The Matrix (1999) has become such a touchstone of American pop culture—referenced, copied, parodied, and parroted—that it’s hard to remember just how new and different and distinctive it was when it debuted in 1999. Which is not to say that it is completely original. Image Tron as a Greek Myth, or Sim City as an […]

‘Veronica Mars’ – the movie on Hulu

We used to be friends, a long time ago, Veronica Mars and I. Okay, that’s not exactly true, but it sure felt like it. I watched the show faithfully and was impressed by the display of support when creator Rob Thomas turned to Kickstarter to get starter funds to convince Warner there was an audience […]

What to stream: ‘Birds of Prey’ and ‘The Way Back’ early on VOD, ‘Portrait’ and ‘Baghdad Central’ on Hulu, free kids shows 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 …   The rush of theatrical movies to early streaming continues with a sizable slate of features now on video-on-demand at a premium price. A couple of new arrivals stand out: the purely escapist “Birds […]

‘A Most Wanted Man’ on Amazon Prime Video

A Most Wanted Man (2014) is the final film completed by Philip Seymour Hoffman before his untimely death in 2014. That alone is reason enough to see the film, adapted from the post 9/11 novel by John le Carré and directed by Anton Corbijn, a music video veteran who becomes more accomplished with each feature. […]

Richard Burton is ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’ on Amazon Prime Video and free on Kanopy

Richard Burton is Alec Leamas, a once-sturdy MI-6 agent who has become a disillusioned burn-out after seeing too many fellow agents die, in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), Martin Ritt’s superb film of John le Carré’s novel. The author was a British agent in his own right and his books were […]

Cillian Murphy in the zombie film by Danny Boyle

’28 Days Later’ – the zombie pandemic on Hulu

28 Days Later (2003), Danny Boyle’s 21st century take on the zombie film, isn’t actually a zombie film, Boyle insists, and technically he’s correct. The springy, savage human monsters aren’t dead, merely infected with an experimental viral weapon called “rage,” which has turned them into mindless animals intent in tearing every living thing they see […]