Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's 'The African Queen'

‘The African Queen’ – Bogie and Hepburn on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

The African Queen (1951) – Humphrey Bogart is Charlie Allnut, the hard-drinking captain of a sputtering steam-powered boat that gives the film its title. Katharine Hepburn is Rose Sayer, a spirited missionary spinster serving the Lord in German East Africa with her brother (Robert Morley). It’s September 1914, the early days of World War I, […]

The United States of ‘Zombieland’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The zombie comedy was hardly fresh territory when Zombieland (2009) came along (and really, will anyone top Shaun of the Dead?) but it nonetheless does a fine job of mining the humor inherent in the end of the world. Jesse Eisenberg is the loner college geek who finds that his obsessive-compulsive instincts are just what […]

Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Che’ on The Criterion Channel

Steven Soderbergh’s Che (2008) is both two features and one work, a 4 ½-hour production that carves out what Soderbergh, producer/star Benicio Del Toro, and screenwriter Peter Buchman see as the two defining periods in the life of Ernesto Che Guevara: the Cuban Revolution and the Bolivian expedition. Except for a brief scene where Guevara […]

Rutger Hauer in ‘Legend of the Holy Drinker’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I have no home. I sleep under bridges. A different bridge every night. But I am a man of honor.” Rutger Hauer delivers his most delicate and nuanced performance as Andreas Kartak, a homeless alcoholic in Paris in Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988), Ermanno Olmi’s adaptation of Joseph Roth’s novella. Andreas, who frequents taverns […]

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ on Netflix

Is there another American filmmaker who takes such joy in telling stories and spinning cinematic spells as Quentin Tarantino? I don’t mean tackling big issues or making epic statements. I’m talking about the sheer pleasure of telling audiences a tale that takes them places they don’t expect and ways they haven’t quite experienced before. The […]

Rock Hudson has ‘Seconds’ on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

John Frankenheimer’s nightmarish thriller Seconds (1966) opens on John Randolph as a businessman who has lost all interest in his life and tries an experimental program which promises a new, exciting existence. When he wakes up from the first step, he discovers he’s turned into… Rock Hudson! Hudson was not Frankenheimer’s first choice—he was, in […]

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ on Netflix

Taxi Driver (1976), Martin Scorsese’s incendiary masterpiece of alienation and anger and urban anxiety may be the most maverick vision of seventies American cinema. It is certainly one of the most visceral portraits of the American urban underbelly ever put on film, a movie bathed in blood as much as in light, and almost forty years […]

‘For All Mankind’ – To the moon and back on The Criterion Channel

For All Mankind (1989), Al Reinert’s celebration of the nine manned space flights between 1968 and 1972, was released to theaters in 1989, twenty years after first manned moon landing. It’s a stunning tribute composed entirely of the film documentation shot and archived by NASA, not a documentary of an Apollo mission but the story […]

‘From the Earth to the Moon’ on HBO Now

The history of the American space race is presented in terms both reverential and mortal in From the Earth to the Moon(1998), the sweeping Tom Hanks produced mini-series made for HBO. The debut episode “Can We Do This?,” directed by Hanks, is a quick survey of the birth of the space program from behind the […]