Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders, Angela Lansbury and Donna Reed star in the film by Albert Lewin

‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ on Criterion Channel

Made for MGM in 1945, the handsome and elegant The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) is still the best adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s only novel. Hurd Hatfield plays Dorian Gray, a handsome, earnest young man who stops aging after having his portrait painted, and George Sanders is Lord Henry Wotton, the hedonistic cynic who tempts […]

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ on Amazon Prime

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 […]

‘Big Hero 6’ on Disney+

Big Hero 6 (2014) is an adaptation of a Marvel Comics title but the filmmakers thoroughly transform it into a Disney feature, complete with issues of loss and family at the center of the creation of a student superhero team, with the spark of Pixar in its visual invention and knowing wit. The comic book […]

‘Written on the Wind’ – the bad and the beautiful on Peacock

Douglas Sirk puts the opera back into “soap opera” in the exquisitely baroque melodrama Written on the Wind (1956). And it kicks it from the opening credits: a rushing car, a brewing storm kicking up leaves and whipping the trees, a gunshot, and a man stumbling out of the mansion before the pages of the […]

Underdog Oscar winner ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Danny Boyle’s underdog movie about a slum kid in India who defies all odds and follows his heart into the final rounds of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” was the most unabashedly, tragically, rapturously romantic film of 2008. Zipping back and forth through flashbacks told by adult Jamal (Dev Patal), it […]

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. […]

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Larry Fishburne in 'The Matrix'

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on HBO Max

The Matrix (1999) has become such a touchstone of American pop culture—referenced, copied, parodied, and parroted—that it’s hard to remember just how new and different and distinctive it was when it debuted in 1999. Which is not to say that it is completely original. Image Tron as a Greek Myth, or Sim City as an […]

‘Marie Antoinette’ – decadent young royals on Amazon Prime

Kirsten Dunst is Marie Antoinette (2006) in Sofia Coppola’s portrait of the decadent, indifferent monarchy that toppled in the French Revolution. Marie is a teenage Austrian princess married off to France’s distant young King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) and sent to the alien of the French court. She’s a political naïf dropped into a world […]

Jessie Eisenberg is Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The Social Network (2010) presents Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as a self-involved nerd genius in Harvard who wants social acceptance but hasn’t a clue as to how to social interaction really works, either on a date or with his friends. The irony inherent in the film is that this young, arrogant genius with no people […]

What to stream: ‘Enola Holmes’ on Netflix, ‘Utopia’ on Amazon, Oscar-winner ‘Judy’ on Amazon and Hulu

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”) is “Enola Holmes” (2020, PG-13), the teenage sister of Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), in the lively family-friendly mystery-adventure that sends the accomplished young woman in […]