Sean Connery in ‘The Wind and the Lion’ on HBO Max

The Wind and the Lion (1975), the sophomore feature of director John Milius, is a small-scale version of the kind of grand historical epic that blossomed in the 1960s. Set in 1904 Morocco and loosely based on a true historical incident, the 1972 historical adventure stars Sean Connery as Berber chieftain and rebel leader Mulai […]

Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer in the true story directed by Theodore Melfi

‘Hidden Figures’ on Disney+

Hidden Figures (2016), a Hollywood drama based on the true stories of three African-American women who were essential yet unseen and uncelebrated members of the team that put the first Americans in space, is terrific drama, eye-opening history, and a great lesson for Hollywood. This movie headlined by three African-American actresses was the number one […]

Last chance: John Wayne storms the ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ on Amazon Prime Video

Sands of Iwo Jima (1950) is the best war film that John Wayne made outside of John Ford’s masterpiece They Were Expendable. Made four years after the end of the war in 1949, it was the biggest picture that Allan Dwan, once a major director of big silent movie spectacles and handsome star vehicles, had […]

‘Shoplifters’ – a family business on Hulu

“What defines a family?” is a question that runs through many of the films of Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda, from the heartbreaking abandoned children of Nobody Knows to the strained relations and recriminations of Still Walking to the loving embrace of Our Little Sister. Shoplifters (Japan, 2018) presents a family on the margins brought together by […]

Last chance: Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’ on Netflix

Ip Man was the martial arts master who became a hero during World War II and a respected teacher who mentored, among others, Bruce Lee. And there’s been a cottage industry in Ip Man films in the last decade, most famously with Donnie Yen in the lead as the modest, unassuming master martial artist. The […]

‘Being John Malkovich’ on Netflix

Being John Malkovich (1999), a devastatingly funny portrait of unhappiness, desperation, desire, and the vicious things we do for love, catapulted Spike Jonze from music video wunderkind to visionary director and Charlie Kaufman from sitcom scribe to brilliant screenwriter. In 1999, when our obsession with celebrity was mainly fed by gossip magazines and entertainment programs, […]

The original ‘The Killers’ on Criterion Channel

The first 15 minutes of Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) remains the most the most faithful adaptation of Ernest Hemingway ever put on screen. Two gunmen from the city (Charles McGraw and William Conrad) take over a small town diner to wait for their target. When he doesn’t show, they take the hit to him, […]

‘Prometheus’- the ‘Alien’ prequel on HBO Max and HBO platforms

Ridley Scott has taken pains to explain that Prometheus (2012) is not a prequel to Alien but a film that comes from the same DNA. That’s a bit disingenuous, considering how meticulously (and often very cleverly) it sets up the building blocks of Alien, but his pointed use of the term DNA is telling. It […]

Gary Cooper is ‘Beau Geste’ on Peacock

Golden-age Hollywood adventures don’t come more rousing than Beau Geste (1939). Gary Cooper, Ray Milland and Robert Preston are the boisterous Geste brothers, orphans raised by a society lady as gentlemen with a sense of playful camaraderie and undaunted chivalry. Their sense of honor and sacrifice inspires all three of them take the blame for […]

Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’ on HBO Max

The Wind Rises (Japan, 2013) is a very different kind of feature from Hayao Miyazaki, the beloved filmmaker and animation legend famed for his lush, ambitious, inventive fantasies and mythical adventures. It was a passion project for the director and he chose it as his fitting swan song, a final feature before retiring from filmmaking […]