Jackie Chan in 'The Forbidden Kingdom,' which co-stars Jet Li.

‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ – Family-friendly martial arts fantasy on Amazon Prime

Jackie Chan and Jet Li team up for the first and only time in a feature film in The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), an American take on the classic Chinese folktale “The Monkey King.” Yes, Jackie Chan (who was 53 at the time) was no longer the youthful stunt daredevil and acrobatic dynamo and the 45-year-old […]

Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka in the musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel

The original ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ – a world of pure imagination on HBO Max

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder is the weird, wonderful, slightly sinister candy bar king who invites five children into his factory kingdom in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s fantasy. It is a rare breed: an imaginative live-action […]

What to stream: ‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ and ‘Things Heard’ on Netflix, ‘Without Remorse’ on Amazon, ‘Lucy’ on HBO Max

Here’s what’s new and now streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   A family road trip takes an unexpected detour when they face a robot invasion from outer space in “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” (2021, PG), an animated adventure comedy featuring the voices of Danny […]

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom,' starring Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and more

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ – Wes Anderson’s endless summer on Amazon Prime

Wes Anderson has made a career exploring the childhood neuroses that keep adult characters in an arrested state of adolescence and stasis. It’s been a lively career with creatively energetic high points like Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums but an approach with diminishing returns. Until Fantastic Mr. Fox, a film that refracted his portraits of dysfunctional families […]

Henry Thomas and friend in Steven Spielberg's beloved science fiction fantasy

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on Amazon Prime

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg’s suburban fairy tale for kids who think they are too hip to believe in fairies, is as glorious as ever decades after its debut. Henry Thomas is Elliot, an emotionally bruised kid suffering under his parents’ separation who finds another lonely, lost soul, a benevolent alien left behind when […]

Ruby Barnhill and Mark Rylance star in Steven Spielberg's "The BFG."

‘The BFG’ – Spielberg meets Roald Dahl on Netflix

The BFG (2016) – Steven Spielberg directs this big screen version of Roald Dahl’s storybook fantasy, the tale of orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and the dreamcatching giant she names BFG (Mark Rylance), short for Big Friendly Giant. And though big to Sophie—he can carry her in the palm of his hand and set her on […]

What to stream: ‘Bombay Rose’ and ‘Yes Day’ on Netflix, ‘Genera+ion’ on HBO Max

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   The hand-painted animated feature “Bombay Rose” (India, 2021, PG-13) is a romantic drama of two outsiders—a Muslim refugee and a Hindi girl escaping an arranged marriage—who dream of a Bollywood movie escape […]

The original ‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney+

The Muppet Show: Complete Series (1977-1981) is the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational variety show to ever hit prime time. More than forty years later, it’s still funny, fast-paced, utterly madcap, and tremendous fun. Jim Henson was already a household name for bringing his Muppets to Sesame Street but his ambitions took him in all […]

‘Steamboy’ – steampunk animation on Amazon Prime

Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 animated landmark Akira is one of the essential titles of cyberpunk cinema. With Steamboy (Japan, 2004), he steps to the industrial revolution of 1866 England to take on steampunk, a historical genre of science fiction with an alternate reality of scientific advancement. Idealistic boy inventor Ray Steam is happy to tinker over […]

Steven Spielberg directs the big screen adventure adapted from the Herge graphic novels

‘The Adventures of Tintin’ on Paramount+

The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Steven Spielberg’s first foray into motion capture filmmaking, turns the legendary boy journalist and globe-trotting adventurer from the early graphic novels of Herge into a big screen hero, complete with trademark cowlick and best friend canine Snowy watching his back. Spielberg and his collaborators (notably co-producer Peter Jackson) chose to […]