‘Ocean’s Eleven’ – the art of the heist on Netflix

Steven Soderbergh and his cool cast accomplish what Lewis Milestone couldn’t with the original Vegas playboy Rat Pack back in the 1960s: they swing to the beat of the heist. Ostensibly a remake / reworking of the fun but often flat heist classic with Frank Sinatra and friends, Ocean’s Eleven (2001) is the most shamelessly […]

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ on Amazon Prime and Disney+

There is something very appealing in the gee-whiz earnestness and plucky patriotism of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), a red, white and blue superhero journey wrapped up in the nostalgia of the World War II era, where American pluck and moral certainty made the battle. As the title hints, it is something of a […]

‘Big Hero 6’ on Disney+

Big Hero 6 (2014) is an adaptation of a Marvel Comics title but the filmmakers thoroughly transform it into a Disney feature, complete with issues of loss and family at the center of the creation of a student superhero team, with the spark of Pixar in its visual invention and knowing wit. The comic book […]

Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. in the Marvel superhero movie directed by Peyton Reed.

‘Ant-Man’ – Marvel gets small on Disney+

Ant-Man (2015) hit theaters with a slightly different approach for a Marvel superhero movie. It’s more playful and comic, with a reluctant hero who has a motley crew of buddies and a mentor with a sly sense of humor as well a drive for justice, and while the stakes are big (stopping a tech giant […]

James Woods and his wild bunch of vampire hunters in 'John Carpenter's Vampires'

‘John Carpenter’s Vampires’ on Amazon Prime

John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998) is not just the first and only vampire film from the great American horror director, it’s the closest he’s gotten to directing an actual western. It’s not simply the dusty, dusky New Mexico setting or the Ry Cooder-esque electric country blues score. He and screenwriter Don Jakoby transform John Steakley’s novel […]

‘Midnight Run’ with Robert De Niro on HBO Max and HBO Now

The midnight run of Martin Brest’s action comedy Midnight Run (1988) refers to what is supposed to be an easy job for skip tracer and bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro). He’s hired to capture Jack “Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin), a mild-mannered accountant who stole $15 million from the mob and then skipped out […]

‘The Muppets’ return on Netflix

The Muppets (2011) brings the felt comedy stars back to the big screen for a new comedy that asks the eternal questions: What becomes a Muppet in the days of CGI and motion capture animation? Can their brand of innocent whimsy and madcap nonsense hold the attentions of a new generation of fans? And does […]

'Back to the Future' and its sequels with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd

‘Back to the Future’ trilogy on Netflix

“The future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” Michael J. Fox goes backwards, forwards, and sideways through time as Marty McFly in a souped-up DeLorean for the first time in Back to the Future (1985), where he jaunts back to 1955, meets his parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson), and […]

Daniel Craig is James Bond in ‘Casino Royale’ on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

For its 21st entry, the producers of the most resilient movie series in American cinema reintroduce British agent James Bond with a faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first novel. In Casino Royale (2006), Daniel Craig—the sixth actor to play Bond in the official series—has a streetwise scrappiness and a ruthless, reckless, cold-blooded intensity missing since […]

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 Peacock

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 […]