Viggo Mortensen stars in "Captain Fantastic."

‘Captain Fantastic’ – Alternative family values on Netflix and Kanopy

Captain Fantastic (2016) is a road movie, a family drama, a tale of loss, and a loving portrait of an alternative family that is prepared to face everything but the modern world. Viggo Mortensen is Ben, the father who (with his equally committed but currently absent wife) moved into the deep woods of the Pacific […]

Meryl Streep is "Florence Foster Jenkins."

Meryl Streep is ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) may sound like a one-joke contrivance—a rich, generous, arts-loving heiress in 1940s New York City gives private recitals to a select group of high society insiders who never let on to the oblivious woman that she is quite possibly the worst singer to ever trod a stage—but it is both a […]

Jason Statham in 'The Bank Job,' directed by Roger Donaldson

‘The Bank Job’ on Netflix

The Bank Job (2008) may sound like a generic crime vehicle from the title and the casting of genre action star Jason Statham, a stalwart tough guy with stocky presence and limited range, but don’t let that stop you from digging into this British film. Based on (or more accurately inspired by) the real life […]

Last chance: ‘Sunshine’ – Set the controls to the heart of the sun on Hulu

The initial premise of Sunshine (2007) – the sun is dying and mankind has put all hope in a desperate effort to reignite our star with a nuclear payload of galactic dimensions – is more fantasy than science fiction, powered by nonsense physics. An international crew makes the voyage in a magnificent spaceship with a […]

Last chance: ‘Gun Crazy’ – a film noir classic on HBO Max

Gun Crazy (1950), the greatest of the criminal lovers-on-the-run thriller, explodes onto the screen in a fury of sex and guns and love and violence. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis, it is a masterpiece of style and a blast of cinematic ecstasy on a budget barely bigger than a B movie. John Dall is a […]

Last chance: ‘Haywire’ – bad-ass action on Netflix

Haywire (2011) is Steven Soderbergh’s drive-in assassin action movie by way of a sleek art-house conspiracy thriller. According to the director, the film sprung from his desire to develop a film around the talents and skill of mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, and the finished film — which casts Carano as a covert agent […]

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in David Lowery's 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ on Criterion Channel

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), second feature from director / writer David Lowery, plays like the cinematic answer to an outlaw folk song. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play lovers Ruth and Bob, young adults who grew up fast under the watch of dubious father figure Skerrit (Keith Carradine) and ended up as small-time hold-up […]

Sanaa Lathan navigates ‘Love & Basketball’ on Hulu and HBO Max

Using sports as a metaphor for life and love is nothing new but filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood, a former college athlete, puts her spin on it with Love & Basketball (2000). Sanaa Lathan is the fiercely driven, hot tempered tomboy Monica, who gives her all for basketball. Omar Epps is Quincy, the son of an NBA […]

David Bradley stars in the 1969 drama by Ken Loach

‘Kes’ – a boy and his kestrel on Amazon Prime

The story of a boy and his bird, Kes (1969) is something of a small cinematic treasure in Britain. Set and shot in the North of England and cast overwhelming with non-professional locals from the area, it cast its lens on the dreary life and hopeless future of a scrawny, fatherless teenager, Billy Casper (David […]

Emayatzy Corinealdi in Ava Duverny's 'Middle of Nowhere'

Ava DuVernay’s ‘Middle of Nowhere’ on Netflix

Before directing Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay made Middle of Nowhere (2012), a small story about a woman who put her aspirations on hold when her husband goes to prison. Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) drops out of medical school and takes a nursing job so that she can be at home for daily calls from […]