David Fincher’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ on Netflix

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), the American screen adaptation of the Swedish bestseller directed by David Fincher and scripted by Steve Zaillian, is a darker, richer, more compelling adaptation than the original Swedish version. Yes, after all those years of complaining about uninspired remakes of European films, we actually get to see a […]

Johnny Depp is a lizard in the old West in ‘Rango’ on Netflix

Johnny Depp taps into his inner lizard for the animated adventure Rango (2011). He provides the voice of a pet chameleon with thespian ambitions who gets lost in the desert and takes the role of sheriff in a desert town, only find that what he thought was on old Hollywood oater is actually a spaghetti […]

‘Fast Five’ – the car heist franchise goes south on Peacock

Fast Five (2011) takes the fast cars and speed-demon criminals of the surprisingly resilient action franchise to Rio, which becomes more than just an exotic landing pad for the wanted crew. After kicking off with a prison transport jailbreak (because they don’t take on any job that doesn’t include precision driving and auto mayhem), the […]

‘Moneyball’ – the business of baseball on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Brad Pitt makes it look effortless in Moneyball (2011), a drama about the business of baseball in the era of multi-million dollar payrolls. Pitt plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics struggling to field a competitive team against organizations with much deeper pockets. His solution is to—with the help of unprepossessing Peter […]

‘Real Steel’ with Hugh Jackman on Netflix

Distill Rocky and The Champ, add a dash of The Rumble in the Jungle, shake well and serve in larger-than-life rock ’em sock ’em robots. That’s basically what you get with Real Steel (2011), and somehow all those second-hand pieces come together in a rousing (if awfully inevitable) underdog story. Ostensibly based on the same […]

‘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 […]

Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, and Zachary Quinto star in 'Margin Call'

‘Margin Call’ – the banality of greed on Peacock

The Big Short earned raves for explaining the economics of the financial crash of 2008 but the first dramatic feature to explore the subject, Margin Call (2011). The fictionalized drama, which echoes the real-life activities of Leman Brothers, digs into the how and why of the market crash, not just in terms of economics but in […]

‘Drive’ – Ryan Gosling’s getaway on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray

Sleek pulp crime cool meets arthouse style thriller in Drive (2011, R) starring Ryan Gosling as a taciturn getaway driver. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (a veteran of gritty, brutal Danish underworld dramas) with a silky smoothness and a stylized cool that recalls Le Samourai and Walter Hill’s The Driver, and an eighties vibe and […]