‘Ponyo’ – Hayao Miyaki’s ‘Little Mermaid’ fable on HBO Max

Part Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, part ecological fable, and part children’s fantasy come to life, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo (Japan, 2008) is a gentle storybook film, a simple, sweet tale animated with a delicacy unique to animated features. Ponyo is a water sprite, a curious undersea creature and daughter of the sea gods who […]

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle star in the 1995 mini-series

The definitive ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on HBO Max and BritBox

Pride and Prejudice (1995) – Movies are great for spectacle but the miniseries format has the luxury of time. This co-production between the BBC and the American cable channel A&E is still considered by Jane Austen fans to be the definitive adaptation of Austen’s most famous novel and her work in general. Jennifer Ehle is […]

What to stream: ‘Small Axe’ on Amazon Prime, ‘Run’ on Hulu, new seasons of ‘The Crown’ on Netflix and ‘His Dark Materials’ on HBO

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Olivia Colman returns as Queen Elizabeth in “The Crown: Season 4” (TV-MA), which follows the British monarchy into the 1980s as Elizabeth clashes with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Prince Charles […]

The all-star 1935 ‘David Copperfield’ on HBO Max

Charles Dickens’ sprawling, semi-autobiographical novel gets squeezed into a vivid (if episodic) 130-minute Hollywood feature in the handsome MGM production David Copperfield (1935). Produced by David O. Selznick, MGM’s resident producer of class and literature, and directed by George Cukor, the film follows the life of David from birth and boyhood (played by thirties child […]

What to stream: ‘The Life Ahead’ on Netflix, ‘I Am Greta’ and ‘A Teacher’ on Hulu, ‘Alex Rider’ 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 …   Screen legend Sophia Loren stars in her first feature in a decade as a Holocaust survivor who takes in an orphaned immigrant (Ibrahima Gueye) who robbed her in “The Life Ahead” (Italy, 2020, […]

James Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ on HBO Max

Before the 1950s, there were no teenagers in the movies, at least not as such. There were adults and children, and that awkward age in between was largely seen as, well, that awkward period in between. You had kids on the cusp, troubled young adults, and juvenile delinquents, but the teenager, with his / her […]

‘Quadrophenia’ – It’s Mod world on HBO Max

“I don’t wanna be like everybody else. That’s why I’m a mod, see?” Quadrophenia, the 1979 film of Pete Townsend’s landmark rock opera (originally performed by The Who) about teen rebellion and alienation in 1965 London hit the screen under the direction of Franc Roddam with Phil Daniels as the restless, Vespa-riding Jimmy, a Mod […]

Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on HBO Max

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

Reese Witherspoon in Alexander Payne's satire 'Election' with Matthew Broderick

‘Election’ – Vote Tracy Flick on Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Criterion Channel

Election (1999), Alexander Payne’s wicked satire of power and (social) politics set in the overheated incubator of a high school student body election, is as sharp and perceptive now as it was in 1999. Matthew Broderick is the passionately dedicated and somewhat condescending civics teacher Jim McAllister, whose extra-curricular involvement helps compensate for a passionless […]

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

‘An American Werewolf in London’ on HBO Max and HBO Now

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]