‘Dirty Pretty Things’ – Life in the social margins of London in HBO Max

In Dirty Pretty Things (2003), Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Okwe, a once respected Nigerian doctor just trying to preserve his dignity and integrity under the radar of London society. As an immigrant awaiting resident status, he spends his days hustling as a cabbie with a counterfeit license and his nights working the front desk of a […]

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Larry Fishburne in 'The Matrix'

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Peacock

The Matrix (1999) has become such a touchstone of American pop culture—referenced, copied, parodied, and parroted—that it’s hard to remember just how new and different and distinctive it was when it debuted in 1999. Which is not to say that it is completely original. Image Tron as a Greek Myth, or Sim City as an […]

Cillian Murphy in the zombie film by Danny Boyle

’28 Days Later’ – the zombie pandemic on Hulu

28 Days Later (2003), Danny Boyle’s 21st century take on the zombie film, isn’t actually a zombie film, Boyle insists, and technically he’s correct. The springy, savage human monsters aren’t dead, merely infected with an experimental viral weapon called “rage,” which has turned them into mindless animals intent in tearing every living thing they see […]

Last chance: ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Peter Weir’s sweeping nautical adventure Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), based on the beloved novels of Patrick O’Brien, all but blows sea spray from the screen. Russell Crowe is Captain Jack Aubrey of the H.M.S. Surprise, an English officer on the high seas during the Napoleonic wars, and Paul Bettany […]

‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ – a South Korean ghost story on Criterion Channel and Shudder

Ji-woon Kim has proven himself one of the most interesting and versatile filmmakers to come out of South Korea in the past two decades with such films as The Quiet Family (1998), The Good the Bad the Weird (2008), and I Saw the Devil (2010). With the haunting A Tale of Two Sisters (South Korea, […]

'Beyond,' a short story in the Matrix-inspired animated anthology 'The Animatrix.'

‘The Animatrix’ on HBO Max

The Wachowski Siblings conceived and produced The Animatrix (2003), an anthology of nine original animated short films, as a companion piece to their Matrix trilogy and a tribute to Japanese anime, one of their visual inspirations. The best pieces are short stories in the Matrix-verse concocted by the Japanese animation veterans: Beyond, a fanciful Miyazaki-in-Matrixland story […]

Michelle Williams and Peter Dinklage in 'The Station Agent,' directed by Tom McCarthy

‘The Station Agent’ on DVD and VOD

The Station Agent (2003) is in many ways the launching pad for two impressive careers. It is the directorial debut of actor Tom McCarthy, whose 2015 film Spotlight won the Academy Award for Best Feature, and it is the first starring role for actor Peter Dinklage, who since went on to become the Emmy-winning star […]

Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in the film from Gore Verbinksi

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ on Netflix

Buried under kerchief, blousy shirt, and the make-up of a heavy metal fashion victim, Johnny Depp bobs and weaves his way through the hit pirate trilogy as Jack Sparrow, a black pirate come high seas con man with a heart of tarnished stolen gold. He seems to have stumbled in from his own private movie […]