Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in Susan Seidelman's 'Desperately Seeking Susan'

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Desperately Seeking Susan (1982) is remembered for giving Madonna her first starring role; she’s the Susan of the title, a free spirit in thrift store chic fashions who connects up with her musician boyfriend through personal ads in the local weekly papers. This modern bohemian take on the classic screwball comedy (complete with amnesia, mistaken […]

Mohammad Rasoulof directs this Iranian thriller

‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’ on Amazon Prime

What’s most startling about Mohammad Rasoulof’s Iranian thriller Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Iran, 2013, not rated, with subtitles) is its audacity. Iranian filmmakers have a history of couching their criticisms of life in Iran in metaphor. This film puts its portrait of authoritarian oppression out in the open. We open on a contract murder that plays like […]

What to stream: ‘The Dark Crystal’ on Netflix, ‘Carnival Row’ on Amazon, ‘Rocketman’ and ‘The Last Black Man’ on VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Taron Egerton plays Elton John in Rocketman (2019, R), a biographical drama that takes on the rock legend’s rise, his collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), and his drug addiction in scenes out […]

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Martin Scorsese's love letter to the movies and his first PG movie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ on Amazon Prime Video

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s first family film (it’s PG!) and his first engagement with 3D, is a love letter to the magic of cinema. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, it is a tribute to early film pioneer George Méliès (played by Ben Kinsgley), a child’s adventure through a grown-up world of loss and […]

What to stream: ‘Mission: Impossible’ 6 and ‘A Simple Favor’ on Amazon and Hulu, ‘American Factory’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Tom Cruise reunites the team (including Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Alec Baldwin) for a personal mission in Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018, PG-13), the highly entertaining sixth film in the globetrotting spy […]

‘A Simple Favor’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Anna Kendrick is spot on casting as single mother Stephanie Smothers (mother is right there in her name, though she stops short of smothering), a suburban overachiever with a schoolboy son, a chirpy homemaking vlog, and a need to get involved in everything. Into her life steps Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), a sleek urban professional […]

Rudy Ray Moore is the original ‘Dolemite’ on Amazon Prime Video

Who’s the baddest mother (shut yo mouth!) to blow into the early seventies? Forget Shaft and just ask X-rated comic and “godfather of rap” Rudy Ray Moore. He’ll give you the gospel of Dolemite (1975). Street hustler, pimp, and all around ghetto superhero Dolemite began life as a character in Moore’s nightclub act and was […]

Takeshi Kitano in 'Battle Royale,' directed by Kinji Fukasaku.

‘Battle Royale’ – The original ‘Hunger Games’ on Amazon Prime Video

Battle Royale (Japan, 2000), the gleefully gruesome splatter satire of teenage nihilism, adult paranoia, and social sadism, was released in Japan in 2000 to big success and instant cult status. It was a 21st century version of a fifties youth gang drama, rooted in the adult panic at the sudden rise of youth violence in […]

What to stream: ‘Diagnosis’ on Netflix, ‘The Chaperone’ on PBS, ‘Our Boys’ on HBO, ‘Avengers’ ends on VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Avengers: Endgame (2019, PG-13) brings practically every superhero of the Marvel big screen universe together to save the universe and bring the second phase of the interconnected stories to a close. It’s now the […]