Jason Statham is ‘Safe’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

In Safe (2012), mid-budget action movie stalwart Jason Statham plays a former cop turned cage-match fighting burnout who, having run afoul of the Russian mob and his former colleagues in a thoroughly corrupt NYPD, rouses himself back to life as a one-man army top save Chinese math prodigy (Catherine Chan) from what appears to be […]

‘The Avengers’ – the birth of the Marvel supergroup on Disney+

The Avengers (2012) is a superhero epic years in the making. Unlike The X-Men, which arrived full formed in 2000, The Avengers is the comic book version of the supergroup, with stars in their own right coming together (not without some friction and ego-thumping) for a battle royale. So Marvel put together a long term […]

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 […]

Elle Fanning and Alice Englert star in 'Ginger and Rosa,' a touching coming of age drama set in the turbulent early 1960s and directed by Sally Potter

‘Ginger & Rosa’ on Showtime and free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Ginger & Rosa (2012) offers something we don’t usually see in the movies: a sensitive and nuanced portrait of two teenage girls, best friends since childhood, growing up and growing apart as they forge separate identities and diverging personalities and interests. It’s set in the volatile era of early 1960s London, before the Beatles but […]

Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino's western

‘Django Unchained’ on Netflix

In Django Unchained (2012), Quentin Tarantino takes on one of his favorite genres: the spaghetti western, with all its extreme violence, operatic drama, eccentric characters, and brutal portrait of frontier existence. But Tarantino being Tarantino, he doesn’t just make a big, violent, sprawling western filled gunfights and clever talk and driven by revenge and Old […]

Steven Spielberg makes compelling drama from the statesmanship it took to pass the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution

Daniel Day-Lewis is ‘Lincoln’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012) is a remarkable historical drama. Scripted by Tony Kushner, guided by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book A Team of Rivals, Lincoln casts a spotlight on one of the most important political actions in American history: passing the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which abolished slavery. In compelling detail, this film shows […]

‘Danny Collins’ on Amazon Prime and Kanopy

“The following is kind of based on a true story a little bit.” A very little bit, it turns out, but it is a great premise. Danny Collins was a musical phenom of the seventies turned pop music legend who has spent his last decades falling back on familiar songs and greatest hits tours. A […]

Poignant drama ‘Any Day Now’ on Amazon Prime Video

Any Day Now (2012) is the kind of American drama that Hollywood used to specialize in: character based, issue-focused, emotionally-grounded, and an actor’s showcase. It’s 1979 and two gay men–Alan Cumming as a flamboyant female impersonator and Garret Dillahunt as a newly-out and still uncomfortable gay man working for a conservative legal firm–take on the […]

Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks star in this family drama based on a true story

‘People Like Us’ on Netflix

People Like Us (2012), a based-on-a-true-story family drama, offers some touching moments between the Hollywood contrivances and some moving moments that remind us of the power of family ties. Chris Pine stars as Sam, an amoral wheeler dealer in financial straits who has to be pushed by his girlfriend (a terribly underserved Olivia Wilde) to […]

Timo Vuorensola directs this German farce about space Nazis.

‘Iron Sky’ – Steampunk Nazis on Amazon Prime

Iron Sky (Germany, 2012) is an inspired concept—Hitler escaped Germany with a cadre of Nazi loyalists and established a colony on the dark side of the moon—executed with total conviction, at least in the details. This isolated outpost lives in a steampunk world forged from the legacy of Krupp machineworks, all giant gears and pistons, […]