Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx collide in ‘Collateral’ on HBO Max

Tom Cruise is well cast as a coldly efficient professional assassin and Jamie Foxx is excellent as the cabbie who picks unwittingly drives him to his targets in Michael Mann’s coolly attenuated thriller Collateral (2004). Mann is the king of crime movie professionalism and his characters are the best at what they do, consummate professionals […]

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 […]

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 […]

‘The Hunger Games’ – May the odds be ever in your favor on Peacock

Based on the first book in the dystopian trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (2012) was one of the more successful efforts to transform a hot young adult series into a big screen franchise, more mature than Harry Potter and grittier than Eclipse, and even a little political in its own right. The story […]

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

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 […]

Tom Hardy in George Miller's 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ – Tom Hardy is the post-apocalyptic road warrior

Mad Max: Fury Road wasn’t the biggest hit film of the summer of 2015 (that honor belongs to Jurassic World) but it is easily the most visceral and the most intelligent action film of that year. Decades in the making, there’s nothing else like this out there. Directed by George Miller (who made the first […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on HBO Max

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s Red Alert, was a grave contemplation of the […]

Mickey Rourke is ‘The Wrestler’ on Amazon Prime

“Warm” and “human” are not two words you associate with Darren Aronofsky, but in The Wrestler (2009) he is both, thanks in large part to the heartbreakingly open and vulnerable performance from Mickey Rourke, the comeback story of 2008. It’s been a long time coming for Rourke, who has been doing tremendous, unshowy work in […]

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

‘Almost Famous’ – living the rock dream on Amazon Prime

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 […]

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

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Hulu

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 […]