Matt Damon in 'The Bourne Identity' directed by Doug Liman

‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ on Peacock

Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne is the anti-Bond of Hollywood action cinema. He’s almost emotionless when he clicks into gear and lets his training take over, like a killing machine suddenly switched on. Doug Liman directs The Bourne Identity (2002), an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s novel (previously made as a TV movie with Richard Chamberlain) about […]

‘Napoleon Dynamite’ – high school eccentrics arise on Hulu

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) is the quintessential high school misfit. Gawky and slack-faced under a red afro and windowpane glasses, Napoleon (Jon Heder) runs in a squatting shuffle, whines every single utterance, and punctuates his eternal disappointment with a sigh like a slow leak on a Mack Truck. With a fantasy inner life and an outsized […]

James Caviezel is Jesus in Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'

‘The Passion of the Christ’ on Amazon Prime and free on Kanopy

The Passion of the Christ (2004), Mel Gibson’s passionate, personal, and visceral take on the final 12 hours of Christ’s life on Earth is, in its own way, as controversial as Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ. Taking the Gospels as his source, Gibson creates his own cinematic version of […]

‘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 […]

Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ on Peacock

Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, offers his most poignant and touching work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). You wouldn’t even know it was his work from the opening of the film, an awkwardly sweet romantic flirtation between shy sad sack Joel (Jim Carrey in his least mannered […]

‘Sideways’ – a road trip through wine country on Hulu

“A bottle of wine is actually alive; it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks – like your ’61 – and begins its stead, inevitable decline. And it tastes so f***ing good.” Sideways (2004), Alexander Payne’s road movie about best friends taking a bachelor party on the road through California vineyard country, […]

Lucy Davis, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Penelope Wilton, and Nick Frost in the film by Edgar Wright

‘Shaun of the Dead’ – the funniest zombie comedy ever on HBO Max

The apocalyptic hysteria of the zombie film has always been pitched on the edge of comedy: a horrible black joke played on humanity by a god with a sick sense of humor. Director/co-writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg’s self-proclaimed “rom-zom-com” (romantic zombie comedy) Shaun of the Dead (2004) simply nudges it over the edge. […]

Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank in 'Million Dollar Baby'

Clint Eastwood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’ on HBO Max

Always one of America’s most undervalued directors, Clint Eastwood proved himself American cinema’s national treasure in the third act of his impressive career. Million Dollar Baby (2004), an understated, unpretentious, powerfully told drama, adapted from F.X. Toole stories by Paul Haggis, earned Eastwood his second round of Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture (his […]