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

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Netflix

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 […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

What to stream: ‘Birds of Prey’ and ‘The Way Back’ early on VOD, ‘Portrait’ and ‘Baghdad Central’ on Hulu, free kids shows 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 …   The rush of theatrical movies to early streaming continues with a sizable slate of features now on video-on-demand at a premium price. A couple of new arrivals stand out: the purely escapist “Birds […]

Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ on Netflix

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” GoodFellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s violent, dynamic, exhilarating adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book Wiseguy, about real-life wiseguy-turned-witness against the mob Henry Hill, exploded across screens in 1990 and was embraced as the first great American gangster movie since Coppola’s The Godfather […]

‘The Dirty Dozen’ – the original World War II caper on Netflix

The 1960s were full of big budget wartime caper-style films—The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare, Kelley’s Heroes, just to name a few—but none of them have the brawny machismo and wily bad boy gusto of The Dirty Dozen (1967), Robert Aldrich’s testosterone-fueled tough guy classic. Lee Marvin is the hard-as-nails Major who is “volunteered” to […]

‘The Pianist’ – the devastating Oscar-winning drama on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

The Pianist (2002), Roman Polanski’s film of the true story of Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman, is uncompromising in its portrayal of survival. We see the Holocaust through his eyes (via actor Adrien Brody) as the occupying Nazi military slowly but inexorably takes away the rights, the property, the humanity, and in most cases the lives […]

Steven Spielberg makes compelling drama from the statesmanship it took to pass the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution

Daniel Day-Lewis is ‘Lincoln’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012) is a remarkable historical drama. Scripted by Tony Kushner, guided by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book A Team of Rivals, Lincoln casts a spotlight on one of the most important political actions in American history: passing the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which abolished slavery. In compelling detail, this film shows […]

Sean Penn is Harvey Milk in the Oscar-winning film directed by Gus Van Sant

Last chance: Sean Penn is ‘Milk’ on Netflix

Milk (2008) – The story of San Francisco activist and politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the U.S., was first brought to the screen in the Oscar-winning 1985 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. It took more than twenty years for Hollywood to finally tackle the story, with […]

‘Day For Night’ –a love letter to moviemaking on Criterion Channel

Day For Night (France, 1973), François Truffaut’s Oscar-winning love letter to the cinema, celebrates the glorious chaos and creative heartache of making movies. Truffaut himself reigns over the on-screen cinema circus as director Ferrand, an aloof figure juggling productions delays, budget cuts, and the personal crises of his cast and crew as he tries to […]

‘Inception’ – Christopher Nolan’s mind-heist on Netflix

Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), a caper film that heists dreams instead of treasure, is surely the most cerebral action thriller to become a blockbuster. It’s a genre film that reshuffles the rules and lays them out in a mind-bending pattern. Playing out on multiple planes of dream reality, it’s also another Nolan film to completely […]