Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in the 1971 western by Robert Altman

Warren Beatty and Julie Christie are ‘McCabe & Mrs. Miller’ on Amazon Prime Video

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Robert Altman’s third film since staking out his claim on 1970s cinema with M*A*S*H (1970), turns the western myth into a metaphor for the fantasy of the American Dream colliding with the power of big business. Warren Beatty is John McCabe, a drifting gambler who rides into the mining camp […]

Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's 'Mean Streets,' starring Harvey Keitel, Amy Robinson, and David Proval.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets’ on Amazon Prime Video

“You don’t pay for your sins in church. You pay for them on the street. All the rest is bullshit.” Mean Streets (1973) is not Martin Scorsese’s first film, but it is the film in which he came into his own. Passionate, energetic, stylistically inventive and personally driven, it is the first mature, full blooded “Martin […]

Harold and Lillian Michelson in the documentary by Daniel Raim

‘Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story’ on Netflix

Harold and Lillian Michelson were Hollywood’s best-kept secret for decades. Harold Michelson, who passed away in 2007, was an art director and storyboard artist on some of the greatest films ever made. Lillian Michelson ran a Hollywood research library that was an essential resource for hundreds of productions. Their work was strictly behind the scenes […]

Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in the Oscar-winning film by Anthony Minghella

‘The English Patient’ – Love in wartime on Netflix

The African desert, WWII, and romance… no doubt about it, The English Patient (1996) is a Casablanca for the 90s, directed with sweep, elegance, and grand passions by Anthony Minghella from his screenplay adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel. Ralph Fiennes, scarred by fire and buried under bandages like an Egyptian mummy, is the mysterious patient […]

Patrick McGoohan and Leo McKern in the cult TV classic

‘The Prisoner: Complete Series’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am my own man.” There are those who proclaim The Prisoner: Complete Series (1968), Patrick McGoohan’s cerebral spy show and portrait of personal freedom as an existential prison, the greatest TV show of all time. I won’t argue the point. His insidiously […]

Evan Rachel Wood and Kate Winslet in the 2011 miniseries adaptation of the James M. Cain novel by Todd Haynes

‘Mildred Pierce’ – the miniseries on Amazon Prime and HBO Now

Mildred Pierce (2011) is less a remake than a new run at adapting the James M. Cain novel. Previously made into a Hollywood classic (which earned Joan Crawford her only Oscar), it’s been transformed into a five-hour mini-series by director Todd Haynes, who cast Kate Winslet in the title role as the mother blindly devoted […]

Ethan Hawke in the film by Paul Schrader

Paul Schrader’s ‘First Reformed’ on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

Anyone who has followed the career of Paul Schrader could fall into the trap of simply cataloguing the ways in which First Reformed (2018) is a summation of his themes and inspirations. Imagine the promotional possibilities: “From the author of “Transcendental Cinema” and “Notes on Film Noir” and the screenwriter of Taxi Driver and The Last […]

Nicolas Cage in Andrew Niccol's 'Lord of War'

Nicolas Cage is the ‘Lord of War’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

“There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?” The opening line of Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War (2005) captures the film in a phrase: it’s serious, it’s sardonic, and it has both a […]

Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg and friends in their BBC sitcom directed by Edgar Wright

‘Spaced’ – the cult British comedy on Amazon Prime Video

Before Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, director Edgar Wright and actor/writer Simon Pegg collaborated with actress/writer Jessica Hynes on the cult BBC sitcom Spaced (1999-2000, TV-14). Pegg and Hynes play Tim and Daisy, slackers who meet at a pub and decide to pose as a couple to get a great flat. They’re not […]

Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney in the film from director Robert Rodriguez

‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ – B-movie vampire orgy on Netflix

Quentin Tarantino’s work-for-hire rewrite of a B-movie script became an instant cult item when Robert Rodriguez took the reins of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996, R), a gory south-of-the-border horror tale with a spaghetti western flourish. George Clooney headlines the picture as a charming and deadly bank robber who, along with his a psycho brother […]