Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

Last chance: ‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on Hulu

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

‘Drums Along the Mohawk’ – John Ford’s Colonial America on Criterion Channel

John Ford made his Technicolor debut with Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), a stunning pre-western about young settlers in the rich forest lands of the Mohawk Valley during the Colonial era. Claudette Colbert takes top billing as the cultured wife and Henry Fonda is her salt-of-the-Earth husband who takes her out of the city and […]

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) […]

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ on IMDbTV

A town gets a buffet line for a weather system in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009), a colorful animated feature based on a children’s storybook tale. Director/writer team Phil Lord and Chris Miller cobble a story around the storybook’s premise but it’s the whimsical imagery of raining hamburgers, a Jell-O mold castle, an […]

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

‘The Adventures of Tintin’ on Hulu and 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 […]

What to stream: ‘Luca’ on Disney+, ‘Fatherhood’ on Netflix, and a timely ‘Civil War’ on Peacock

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 …   In the animated fantasy “Luca” (2021, PG), two best friends (voiced by Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer) have the summer of their lives in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian […]

The delightful live action ‘Peter Pan’ on Peacock

You may feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a storybook illustrated by Maxfield Parrish when you fly off to Neverland in Peter Pan (2003), P.J. Hogan’s deft and delightful take on the oft-filmed J.M. Barrie classic. Rachel Hurd-Wood brings a tomboyish spirit to Wendy, a girl on the verge of being a young […]

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in the third "Harry Potter" feature

‘Harry Potter’ – the complete saga on Peacock

Looking back on the original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), directed by Chris Columbus, we see a painstakingly literal translations of J.K Rowling’s first novel, a near-perfect replica created with a kind of funhouse spectacle of the wonders of the magical world come to life. Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) is a lush, lavishly produced […]

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

“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 […]