‘Skyfall’ – James Bond faces his past on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Skyfall (2012), the 23rd official James Bond movie, attempts to make 007 more man than number as it works through some of Bond’s issues (James Bond has issues?) while he grudgingly returns to her majesty’s secret service when a conspiracy targets M and MI-5. It takes itself awfully seriously while doing some pretty crazy things […]

Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson star in Cameron Crowe's autobiographical 'Almost Famous.'

‘Almost Famous’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Almost Famous (2000), Cameron Crowe’s thinly fictionalized autobiography, is deftly poised between rosy affection, thoughtful remembrance, and giddy adolescent awe. As perhaps it should be. The story of 15-year-old William (Crowe’s stand-in, played by Patrick Fugit) sent by Rolling Stone magazine to tour with an up-and-coming band (Stillwater, a fictional amalgamation of real-life bands The […]

‘Inception’ – Christopher Nolan’s mind-heist on Amazon Prime

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 […]

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’ on Peacock

FBI agent Tom Hanks chases check forger Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can (2002), Steven Spielberg’s take on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. The real-life Abagnale successfully passed himself off as a pilot, a lawyer, and a doctor, and passed over $4 million in forged checks, all before his 21st birthday. […]

Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance as Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell in the BBC miniseries 'Wolf Hall'

‘Wolf Hall’ – power and privilege on Amazon Prime

The BBC historical miniseries Wolf Hall (2015) stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (not to be confused with Oliver Cromwell), advisor and legal counsel to Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry VIII. Rylance is a theatrical legend in Britain but not so well known in the U.S., although that’s changing thanks to his sublime performance in […]

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis star in the Oscar-winning film

Oscar-winner ‘Fences’ on Peacock

Fences (2016) – Denzel Washington and Viola Davis earned Tony Awards for their performances in the 2010 Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play “Fences,” the story of a working class African-American family in 1950s Pittsburgh. With the blessing of Wilson’s widow (the playwright passed away in 2005), Washington brought the play to the big screen, […]

Laurence Olivier is ‘The Entertainer’ on HBO Max

Laurence Olivier broke with the grand roles and theatrical poise of previous parts to play seedy music hall entertainer Archie Rice in John Osborne’s play The Entertainer. He reprised the role for Tony Richardson’s screen adaptation The Entertainer (1960), earning an Oscar nomination for his performance. Olivier gives his all as the gap tooth vaudevillian […]

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

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Netflix

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 […]

Jessie Eisenberg is Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’ on Hulu

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 […]

Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ on Peacock

Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, offers his most poignant and touching work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). You wouldn’t even know it was his work from the opening of the film, an awkwardly sweet romantic flirtation between shy sad sack Joel (Jim Carrey in his least mannered […]