‘Public Enemies’ on Peacock

Public Enemies (2009) is Michael Mann’s take on the gangster glory days of the depression, when the most flamboyant and notorious bank robbers became the outlaw heroes of the day. That makes Johnny Depp great casting as John Dillinger, whose spree of daylight bank robberies and daring getaways between May 1933 (when he was paroled […]

‘District 9’ – the aliens have arrived on Hulu

The aliens arrived almost thirty years ago, their crippled spacecraft hovering to a halt over Johannesburg, where it remains floating over the city. That defining image hovers over the entirety of District 9 (2009), a savagely whipsmart satire of first contact with an alien species that has been reduced to repressed immigrant population stranded in […]

The United States of ‘Zombieland’ on Peacock

The zombie comedy was hardly fresh territory when Zombieland (2009) came along (and really, will anyone top Shaun of the Dead?) but it nonetheless does a fine job of mining the humor inherent in the end of the world. Jesse Eisenberg is the loner college geek who finds that his obsessive-compulsive instincts are just what […]

Michael Stuhlbarg stars in the 2009 film by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coen Bros.’ ‘A Serious Man’ – a modern Job on Peacock

A Serious Man (2009) is a serious (and seriously funny) meditation on little themes like the meaning of life and why are we here and how can we know God’s purpose, and is as funny, heartbreaking, questioning, trying, exasperating and sincerely inquisitive a portrait of the human condition as you’ll find on screen. You could […]

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ on Netflix and Hulu

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 […]

‘Fast & Furious’ – the rubber hits the road on Peacock

The fast cars and daring heists franchise fishtailed all over the place with in-name-only sequels to the 2001 hit The Fast and the Furious until the original cast—outlaw racer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), maverick FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Dominic’s partner-in crime girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and good girl Mia (Jordana Brewster)—finally reunited for […]

‘Splice’ – Genetic horror on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Splice (2009) – Professional partners and happily unmarried couple Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) don’t need children. They procreate with genetic experiments—splicing DNA from a dozen animals into a lab-created life-form they hope to harvest for pharmaceutical properties—and their masterpiece is a pirate side-project involving human DNA spliced into their zoological genetic […]

‘Black Dynamite’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

A tongue-in-cheek tribute to the black exploitation action cinema of the seventies, Black Dynamite (2009) is a dead-on parody of the sloppy filmmaking, aggressive overacting and slapdash writing of the cheapest films of the genre. Michael Jai White, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film, dons a neatly sculpted afro and a tough guy mustache […]

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ on Amazon Prime

Is there another American filmmaker who takes such joy in telling stories and spinning cinematic spells as Quentin Tarantino? I don’t mean tackling big issues or making epic statements. I’m talking about the sheer pleasure of telling audiences a tale that takes them places they don’t expect and ways they haven’t quite experienced before. The […]

‘Watchmen’ – Superhero redux on HBO Max

Zach Snyder delivers perhaps the most faithful adaptation of Watchmen (2009, R), the landmark graphic novel by writer Alan Moore (uncredited on screen, as is his tradition) and artist Dave Gibbons, that anyone could hope for. Moore’s story reimagines the history of comic book superheroes in the real world of global politics and complicated (and […]