‘Klute’ with Jane Fonda on HBO Max

Jane Fonda’s call girl Bree Daniels is with a client, panting and screaming in his ear while he sweats and pumps away, but it’s just an act: her face is all business as she checks her watch without skipping a moan. Klute (1971), Alan Pakula’s stark, alienated neo-noir, is best remembered for Jane Fonda’s Oscar-winning […]

Oscar-winning Hollywood love letter ‘The Artist’ on Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max

The Artist (2011) is a valentine to silent movies. You’ve likely heard that before and it’s true, but it’s more than that. A modern movie in a classical mode, shot in glorious black and white without spoken dialogue (but filled with music and sound) and directed with a lively spirit of romance and adventure and […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on Amazon Prime

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino's western

Jamie Foxx is ‘Django Unchained’ on Netflix

In Django Unchained (2012), Quentin Tarantino takes on one of his favorite genres: the spaghetti western, with all its extreme violence, operatic drama, eccentric characters, and brutal portrait of frontier existence. But Tarantino being Tarantino, he doesn’t just make a big, violent, sprawling western filled gunfights and clever talk and driven by revenge and Old […]

Marlon Brando stars in the Oscar-winning film by Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ trilogy on Peacock

“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s bestseller remains the great American epic of the immigrant dream turned family business. Al Pacino stars as Michael Corleone, the clean-cut white sheep and patriotic soldier boy son of New York Godfather Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando in an Oscar–winning performance), and this […]

Last chance: Underdog Oscar winner ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ on 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 […]

Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, and Brian d'Arcy James in 'Spotlight,' directed by Tom McCarthy.

Last chance: Oscar-winning ‘Spotlight’ on Netflix

Winner of the Academy Awards for Best Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Ensemble Cast by the Screen Actors Guild, Best Screenplay by the Writer’s Guild of America, Best Picture by the American Film Institute, and scores of other awards from professional and critics organizations, Spotlight (2015) is the kind of film that […]

Last chance: ‘Argo’ – a stranger than fiction rescue tale on HBO Max

Winner of the 2013 Academy Award for best picture, Argo (2012) is also the name of a fake movie and a real-life rescue stranger-than-fiction mission to rescue the six Americans who escaped the U.S. Embassy in Iran when it was stormed in 1980. Ben Affleck directs (it’s his third film behind the camera) and takes […]

Last chance: The glory of Astaire and Rogers in ‘Swing Time’ on HBO Max

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the most elegant of Hollywood’s dance teams in the golden age of American musicals and Swing Time (1936) is the peak of their ten-film output. The plot is as absurd as anything from the era: Astaire is a dancer and gambler who is set to marry his hometown sweetheart […]

David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’ on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

Great Expectations (1946), David Lean’s handsome adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, captures the warm humor and richness of character that so many filmmakers miss in their reverent recreations of Victorian England. From the nightmarish opening sequence on the windswept graveyard where young orphan Pip (Anthony Wager) meets the desperate escaped criminal Magwitch (Finlay Currie) […]